Wednesday, February 15, 2012
The NFL has become so big that they can televise guys running 40-yard dashes with drills, and people watch. Feb. 22 to Feb. 28, that's exactly what will happen when NFL teams descend on Indianapolis once more for the NFL Combine.
Getting an invite to the combine does not guarantee getting picked in the 2012 NFL Draft, but a majority of players drafted over the last few years have also been combine invites. Personal works on campus help, but all 32 teams are at the combine, and all 32 might not show up to a universities' pro day.
Players who spent their college careers in Mississippi will be well represented at the combine. A total of eight players from universities around the state have received invitations.
Mississippi State has the most invites with running back Vick Ballard, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, safety Charles Mitchell and offensive guard Quentin Saulsberry. Cox is considered a potential first-round pick, and Ballard is probably a second- to fourth-round pick.
At Southern Miss, record-breaking quarterback Austin Davis received an invite as did offensive tackle Lamar Holmes. Davis will get a long look if he throws well at the combine but will be a third- to seventh-round pick.
Two players from Ole Miss got invited to the combine. Running back Brandon Bolden and offensive tackle Bobby Massie will get a chance to show off their skills. Bolden will have to convince teams he can stay healthy and is a fourth- to seventh-round pick.
Scanning the list, one name I expected to see was not included: Jackson State quarterback Casey Therriault.
Therriault might have teams stay away from him until they learn more about his story and talk to people around the JSU program.
He comes with baggage, and NFL teams like to do their research before drafting any player.
Still, Therriault should have been able to throw at the combine. My hope is Therriault will get an invite to be a thrower. TJ Yates received the same opportunity and used it to get drafted and win a playoff game with the Houston Texans this season.
In fact, unless I missed a name, no SWAC player received an invite to the NFL Combine.
The NFL used to find talent by the boatload in the SWAC, and now no player from the conference will be at the combine.
I believe Therriault has the ability to play NFL football but he needs a chance to showcase his skills to have a chance.