Twice a week between now and the NFL Draft Pro Player Insiders will take a look at 5 combine snubs to keep an eye on during draft.
Here is the second group in my series looking at those who were not at the NFL Combine but are worth remembering come the NFL Draft.
- DT XAVIER WILLIAMS, NORTHERN IOWA
When the NFL Combine invite list was released it was a surprise he was not on it. Williams is a big body at 6’2, 320 pounds and he has good strength at the point of attack, showing the ability to push the pocket and penetrate line. His athleticism is average with a 25 ½ inch vertical, 8’7 broad jump, and 5.3 40 but he is strong (30 reps) and has good length (80 ¼ wing, 33 arm). While he needs to work on his use of hands one thing he did not lack is production. Williams is a two-time All-MVFC selection and 2014 AP third-team All-American who finished with 93 tackles and 14 tackles for loss as a senior. Expect him to either be a late round pick or priority free agent signing
- ILB JEFF LUC, CINCINNATI
It was a mild surprise when Luc was snubbed by the NFL Combine but there is a chance he overcomes that and is drafted in the late rounds due to a strong postseason. After a solid performance in the Senior Bowl he ran a 4.57 and 4.61 in the 40 at 6’0, 251 pounds at his pro day. Luc had a 34 inch vertical, 4.56 short shuttle, and 7.30 3-cone as well. The 2014 1st-team All-AAC pick finished with 134 tackles and 10 tackles for loss. Don’t forget he was a former Florida State guy who was highly touted in high school. If he is not taken in the 6th or 7th round he will be a highly sought after undrafted free agent with a shot to contribute early on special teams and in forcing turnovers (6 forced fumbles as a senior).
- FS JACOB HAGEN, LIBERTY
You will not find many safeties with the ball production Hagen has shown over the last two years. As a junior he had six interceptions and seven pass breakups but improved on that in 2014 with eight picks and seven pass breakups as a senior. While at the Medal of Honor Bowl he did not stand out as much as expected so his pro day was key for putting him in position to solidify draft position and he certainly did that. Hagen ran a 4.62 40 at 6’2 ½, 205 pounds and put up a 36 ½ inch vertical, 10’4 broad jump, and 22 bench reps. We really like Hagen and would take him as high as the 5th round but are hearing he is likely to go in the 200-255 range on draft day. Don’t be surprised if he moves up our board a little between now and draft weekend.
- DT RODNEY GUNTER, DELAWARE STATE
NFL teams are looking for versatile big body linemen with upside in the late rounds and Gunter certainly fits that mold. Gunter was an All-MEAC selection each of his final three years and had 53 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and 7 sacks as a senior. While he never fully dominated as much as you would like he did flash it and has the physical tools NFL scouts love in the late rounds. Grades on him range but enough people have him in the late rounds that we believe he will be picked in the final 50 picks. His pro day workout was impressive with a 9’7 broad jump, 5.00 40, 27 inch vertical, 4.75 short shuttle, and 20 reps at 6’4 3/8, 298 pounds. Strength and technique will have to improve but he has a good get off and is able to fit in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense.
- DT KRISTJAN SOKOLI, BUFFALO
To be honest we had a low priority free agent grade on Sokoli during the fall due to the lack of consistency dominating competition. Sokoli measured in at 6’5, 290 pounds and ran a 4.8 40 along with a 38 inch vertical, 9’11 broad jump, 4.36 short shuttle, 7.25 3-cone, and did 31 bench reps. His wingspan (79 5/8) and arm length (32 3/8) were very solid and could make him a 3-4 end or a 4-3 tackle due to his athleticism. He never earned All-MAC honors (32 tkl, 3 TFL, 6 PBU as a senior) but during his pro day he showed enough upside to warrant a 7th round pick.
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