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Takeaways From the 2018 Combine Participant List

Posted Feb 12, 2018

The NFL Scouting Combine is just more than two weeks away and there are more than 300 players headed to Indianapolis. Here are some of the more interesting storylines.

More than 300 draft prospects will head to Indianapolis in about two weeks for the NFL Scouting Combine.

The NFL released the full list of participants, and here are some of the more interesting takeaways from the group:

Alabama Tops the List of College Invitees

Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome keeps a close eye on prospects from his alma mater, and he’s no stranger to drafting them. There will be plenty to watch in Lucas Oil Stadium. The national champions lead all college football programs with 14 invitees this year, including potentially four first-round prospects: wide receiver Calvin Ridley, defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, linebacker Rashaan Evans and defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne.

Maryland Brings Good Local Talent

The Ravens will get a look at two talented Terps in wide receiver D.J. Moore and cornerback J.C. Jackson. Moore is likely a Day 2 pick after a sparkling junior season. The 5-foot-10 prospect caught a single-season school record 80 passes for 1,033 yards and eight touchdowns. He was voted the Big Ten Receiver of the Year. Remember, Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs was a similarly smaller-framed prospect coming out of Maryland three years ago. Jackson is expected to be selected on Day 3.

Wide Receiver Position Is Stacked

As fans are keenly aware, the Ravens will be on the lookout for offensive playmakers, especially at wide receiver. There is a deep class this year, though pundits say it’s light at the top. The potential first-round prospects of Ridley, Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk, SMU’s Courtland Sutton and Oklahoma State’s James Washington will all be looking to prove they are worthy. However, keep an eye on a clump of about a dozen wideouts who could go on Day 2. Other than Moore, there’s LSU’s DJ Chark, Indiana’s Simmie Cobbs Jr., Notre Dame’s Equanimeous St. Brown, Colorado State’s Michael Gallup, Penn State’s DaeSean Hamilton, Memphis’s Anthony Miller and more.

First Big Opportunity for Tight Ends

In addition to wide receiver, Baltimore will scope out the pass-catching tight ends. This year is rich with talent, though like wide receiver, apparently not full of first-round options. Three of the top options haven’t been seen much, or at all, so far during the scouting process as Oklahoma’s Mark Andrews and South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst are both juniors and South Dakota State senior Dallas Goedert suffered a minor injury on the first day of Senior Bowl practices.

The Combine Snubs

Sometimes it’s just as interesting to see who’s on the Combine list as it is to look at who’s off it. According to NFL.com’s Chase Goodbread, some of the top names missing are N.C. State’s Tony Adams, Texas defensive tackle Poona Ford, Northern Iowa wide receiver Daurice Fountain, Washington State guard Cody O’Connell, Missouri defensive end Marcell Frazier and Sam Houston State defensive lineman P.J. Hall. Some of these players were at the East-West Shrine Game and/or Senior Bowl, but others will have to wait for their pro days to impress.

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