Combine snubs can still make it in NFL, as Patriots prove


With the NFL Scouting Combine in the books, the league has now had the opportunity to poke and prod at 335 potential players in the last week.

That’s about 80 more than will be drafted, but as history has shown, being snubbed by the Combine doesn’t have to be bad sign for your NFL career.

As noted by Field Yates of, the Patriots have been particularly good at ferreting out such players. Three times in the last five years, the Patriots have taken the highest-drafted non-combine-invitee, with varying degrees of success.

Right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, their second-round pick in 2009, is clearly the best of the bunch. But they also used a second-rounder in 2012 (safety Tavon Wilson) and a third-rounder last year (safety Duron Harmon) on players who weren’t deemed interesting enough to bring to Indianapolis.

Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman was also never invited to the Underwear Olympics, and he managed to catch 105 passes last year.

Scouting is a look-under-every-rock business anyway, and the Patriots are among a group of teams (including the Colts and others) who seem to sometimes prefer the unconventional to the conventional.

But it’s also a reminder that players who aren’t noticed early in the process can still succeed.

9 responses to “Combine snubs can still make it in NFL, as Patriots prove

  1. Bill is excellent at identifying talent but not always adept at getting the best value. Too often Bill takes a player well in advance of his market value. Vollmer, Wilson, and Harmon were all drafted well in advance of where any other team would likely have picked them. Bill needs to better weigh the risk of losing such a player and the value of the draft choice used. He would say he doesn’t worry about another team’s board but that’s like saying you don’t care what the market value of a stock is before you acquire a position. You shouldn’t bid too high for any commodity.

  2. Or the Seahawks, who have the Super Bowl MVP that didn’t attend, and multiple other all pro’s and pro bowlers that didn’t attend or weren’t drafted. Can we get over the Patriots please? They were relevant a few years ago.

  3. Better look to the Seahawks for more and better examples of combine uninvites and low (5-7 rounder) draft picks making it good in the nfl.
    Uh…the article is about combine uninvites, not low round selections. So who are the SEA stars that were not invited to the combine?

  4. I hate when people talk about value and the draft. If you draft a productive starter earlier then you had to does it really matter?

  5. @sfm – It doesn’t matter. get players any way you can. But it is kinda like playing the stock market and much more fulfilling when you can get a guy that turns out like Richard Sherman in the 5th round. Perceived value is the fun of the draft. The Seahawks also took Aaron Curry with the 8th overall pick in ’09. Uh…snake eyes on that roll. Works in all directions.

  6. Combine Shmombine……

    ….If Seattle can win a superbowl with a “moneyball” team of likeable misfits, then rack the 225, set down the stop watch and actually LOOK at what players bring to the table.

    The last 2 seasons have taught me one thing….first rounders are not the end all be all of a teams future. Sometimes you get lucky, but most of the time you get a lemon.

  7. “I hate when people talk about value and the draft. If you draft a productive starter earlier then you had to does it really matter?”

    Of course what you pay matters. Paying more than you needed to pay wastes resources that could be allocated elsewhere. There are always exceptions, but you don’t want to get into a groove of consistently overpaying to get what you want and need. One of the reasons many teams wallowed in mediocrity was that they drafted poorly early in rounds (given their draft position) which was a double whammy (i.e., they paid a premium for unproductive players).

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