Photo Essays  

 

Published: Feb. 12, 2015 at 12:31 p.m.
Updated: Feb. 12, 2015 at 01:25 p.m.

11 current NFL players who weren’t invited to the combine

The NFL Scouting Combine begins Wednesday in Indianapolis, and much of the focus on the event, naturally, has been on the guys who will be there.

This exercise, though, is to give a shout out to notable current NFL players who were not invited to the combine the year they were drafted.

The combine has been around since 1982. The idea of a potential first-rounder not being invited to the combine would cause heads to explode, but there have been three first-round picks who were not invited to the combine (DE Aaron Jones in 1988, DT Eric Swann in 1991 and CB Darrien Gordon in 1993).

And consider: Key players in each of the past two Super Bowls -- Seattle LB Malcolm Smith in the 2013 season and New England CB Malcolm Butler this past season -- weren't invited to Indianapolis.

Here are 11 other current players of some renown who didn't participate in the combine.

11 Photos Total

  • <b>The skinny:</b> Baldwin was a lightly touted recruit when he signed with Stanford out of high school in the Florida panhandle, and he was a lightly regarded prospect when he left Stanford, too. The Seahawks signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2011. (Seahawks starting DT Tony McDaniel also was a non-invitee to the combine.) 11

    Paul Sakuma/Associated Press

    Seattle Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin

    The skinny: Baldwin was a lightly touted recruit when he signed with Stanford out of high school in the Florida panhandle, and he was a lightly regarded prospect when he left Stanford, too. The Seahawks signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2011. (Seahawks starting DT Tony McDaniel also was a non-invitee to the combine.)

  • <b>The skinny:</b> He played at Massachusetts when the Minutemen were an FCS program. He was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2010 and has become an important part of the Giants' passing attack. 10

    Nancy Palmieri/Associated Press

    New York Giants WR Victor Cruz

    The skinny: He played at Massachusetts when the Minutemen were an FCS program. He was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2010 and has become an important part of the Giants' passing attack.

  • <b>The skinny:</b> He was a quarterback at Kent State, but wasn't much of a passer and thus didn't get a combine invitation. But the Patriots liked his versatility and drafted him in the seventh round as a wide receiver in 2009. That was a pretty good pick, as it turned out. 9

    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman

    The skinny: He was a quarterback at Kent State, but wasn't much of a passer and thus didn't get a combine invitation. But the Patriots liked his versatility and drafted him in the seventh round as a wide receiver in 2009. That was a pretty good pick, as it turned out.

  • <b>The skinny:</b> We're cheating a bit here, as Gates played only basketball at Kent State. The Chargers signed him as an undrafted free agent, and his career very well could lead to a bust in Canton. 8

    Ed Reinke/Associated Press

    San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates

    The skinny: We're cheating a bit here, as Gates played only basketball at Kent State. The Chargers signed him as an undrafted free agent, and his career very well could lead to a bust in Canton.

  • <b>The skinny:</b> Harrison might decide to retire this offseason, but he had a sterling career with the Steelers after playing collegiately at Kent State (hmm -- he is the third former Golden Flashes alum on this list). He was an undrafted free agent after college. 7

    Scott Boehm/Associated Press

    Pittsburgh Steelers LB James Harrison

    The skinny: Harrison might decide to retire this offseason, but he had a sterling career with the Steelers after playing collegiately at Kent State (hmm -- he is the third former Golden Flashes alum on this list). He was an undrafted free agent after college.

  • <b>The skinny:</b> Jackson played at Coe, a Division III school in Iowa. He had a good career, but received scant NFL interest after his senior season in 2003. He eventually signed with the Bills in 2006, when Marv Levy -- also a Coe alum -- was the GM. 6

    Ric Tapia/NFL

    Buffalo Bills RB Fred Jackson

    The skinny: Jackson played at Coe, a Division III school in Iowa. He had a good career, but received scant NFL interest after his senior season in 2003. He eventually signed with the Bills in 2006, when Marv Levy -- also a Coe alum -- was the GM.

  • <b>The skinny:</b> Shields was a big-time recruit at wide receiver but had a nondescript college career at Miami. He played just one season at cornerback, and the Packers signed him as an undrafted free agent. Shields has become a solid NFL cornerback. 5

    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Green Bay Packers CB Sam Shields

    The skinny: Shields was a big-time recruit at wide receiver but had a nondescript college career at Miami. He played just one season at cornerback, and the Packers signed him as an undrafted free agent. Shields has become a solid NFL cornerback.

  • <b>The skinny:</b> Umenyiora, who went to Troy State, is on the downside of his career, but he was once one of the NFL's most feared pass rushers. Despite not receiving a combine invitation, Umeniyora was a second-round pick by the New York Giants in 2003. 4

    Scott Boehm/Associated Press

    Atlanta Falcons LB Osi Umenyiora

    The skinny: Umenyiora, who went to Troy State, is on the downside of his career, but he was once one of the NFL's most feared pass rushers. Despite not receiving a combine invitation, Umeniyora was a second-round pick by the New York Giants in 2003.

  • <b>The skinny:</b> He was one of three Patriots offensive starters in the Super Bowl who didn't go to the combine. Like Umenyiora, Vollmer was a second-round pick, out of Houston. 3

    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    New England Patriots OT Sebastian Vollmer

    The skinny: He was one of three Patriots offensive starters in the Super Bowl who didn't go to the combine. Like Umenyiora, Vollmer was a second-round pick, out of Houston.

  • <b>The skinny:</b> Welker reportedly is considering retirement, but even if he does hang up his cleats, he will go down as one of the most productive wide receivers of his era. He went to Texas Tech and wasn't drafted, either. 2

    Orlin Wagner/Associated Press

    Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker

    The skinny: Welker reportedly is considering retirement, but even if he does hang up his cleats, he will go down as one of the most productive wide receivers of his era. He went to Texas Tech and wasn't drafted, either.

  • <b>The skinny:</b> Worrilow, who attended FCS school Delaware, hasn't let the non-invitation (or his undrafted free agent status) bother him. He has made 269 tackles in his two seasons with the Falcons. 1

    Michael C. York/Associated Press

    Atlanta Falcons LB Paul Worrilow

    The skinny: Worrilow, who attended FCS school Delaware, hasn't let the non-invitation (or his undrafted free agent status) bother him. He has made 269 tackles in his two seasons with the Falcons.