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Positional changes in store for some combine invitees


The NFL Scouting Combineparticipant list has been announced, allowing us to examine some under-the-radar storylines to follow during the event.

Position changes

Four players are listed on the combine invitation list at positions other than what they played in college -- and Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch isn't one of them. Conventional wisdom is that Lynch can't play quarterback at the next level and instead will have to be a running back or wide receiver.

The four are Northwestern's Kain Colter (a quarterback listed at wide receiver), Utah's A.D. Denham (wide receiver to tight end), Georgia Southern's Jerick McKinnon (quarterback to running back) and UCLA's Xavier Su'a-Filo (tackle to guard).

Su'a-Filo (6-foot-3, 305 pounds) is expected to be one of the first guards drafted; he started at both guard and tackle during his career with the Bruins.

The others are considered third-day picks at best.

Colter (6-0, 200) spent most of 2011 as a receiver and is a good athlete with good quickness, but he doesn't have an NFL arm. He missed two full games this season after suffering a concussion, and he had to withdraw from the Reese's Senior Bowl because of an ankle injury.

Denham (6-4, 222) has a courageous back story -- he spent his high school days in the L.A. area in foster care -- and was a solid possession receiver in his two seasons with the Utes after transferring from a junior college.

McKinnon (5-9, 215) missed some time this season with injuries but still rushed for 1,050 yards and 12 TDs in the Eagles' triple-option attack. He rushed for 125 yards in Georgia Southern's upset of Florida.

Who are those guys?

There are two Division II teams with two players each at the combine, Bloomsburg (Pa.) and West Texas A&M. That's the same number as, among others, Georgia, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Washington and West Virginia.

Bloomsburg has offensive tackle Matt Feiler and defensive end Larry Webster. West Texas A&M has quarterback Dustin Vaughan and defensive end Ethan Westbrooks.

Feiler (6-6, 330) was a three-year starter for the Huskies and helped pave the way for tailback Franklyn Quiteh to put up 7,523 career rushing yards, second-most in Division II history and third-most in all of the NCAA. He was a guard in his first two seasons, then moved outside as a junior; he might be best-suited for guard at the next level.

Webster (6-7, 250) played just two seasons of college football; he arrived at Bloomsburg as a basketball player and was a solid four-year starter for the Huskies at center. He adapted quickly to football, piling up 26 sacks and 88 tackles in his two seasons.

Vaughan (6-5, 220) threw for 5,401 yards and 53 touchdowns this season. The yardage total led all of college football in 2013 and the TD total is the third-highest in Division II single-season history. Vaughan, a pre-med major, has prototypical size for a pocket passer and possesses a strong arm. He played two years of high school football and spent just one of those at quarterback.

Westbrooks (6-4, 275) is an Oakland native who arrived at West Texas A&M out of junior college. He had 26.5 sacks and 47.5 tackles for loss in his two seasons with the Buffaloes, including 19.5 sacks in 2012. He was named the defensive MVP of last month's East-West Shrine Game, when he had two sacks.

Another Division II star to watch is defensive end Zach Moore (6-6, 282), who is from Concordia in St. Paul, Minn., a school best-known athletically for its women's volleyball program (the Golden Bears have won an NCAA all-classes-record seven consecutive national titles). He attended Simeon Academy in Chicago and received some Big Ten recruiting attention as a high school junior. But he never received an offer because of academic issues and signed with Concordia; he has gained almost 45 pounds since enrolling. He had 33 sacks and 45 tackles for loss in his career and has been timed as quick as 4.82 second in the 40. If he approaches that time at the combine, he could wind up a late-round pick.

Bouncing back

There are at least four combine participants who suffered injuries that required season-ending surgery: cornerbacks Kyle Fuller of Virginia Tech and Dexter McDougle of Maryland and quarterbacks Aaron Murray of Georgia and Bryn Renner of North Carolina.

Fuller (6-0, 194) had surgery in November to repair a sports hernia and missed the final five games of the season; he also had to bypass the Senior Bowl. He generally was considered one of the top five or six senior cornerbacks in the nation, and still should be one of the first 10 corners selected in the draft. Fuller never redshirted and was a four-year starter for the Hokies; he started at corner and at a hybrid nickelback/linebacker spot. While he lacks elite speed, Fuller is physical in run support and improved his coverage ability in his final two seasons. He played through groin and shoulder injuries in 2012 without missing a game.

McDougle (5-10, 195) suffered a shoulder injury Sept. 16 against Cincinnati and missed the rest of the season; he had three picks in the first three games of the season. McDougle was a fulltime starter as a sophomore and junior and was known for his strong run support. He had six interceptions and 16 pass breakups in his career and is a possible third-day pick.

Murray (6-0, 201) suffered a torn ACL on Nov. 23 and had surgery three days later, missing the Bulldogs' final two games of the season. He tweeted a picture of himself throwing earlier this week; he is not expected to work out at the combine, instead throwing April 16 at Georgia's pro day. That would be about five months after having reconstructive surgery. He could go as high as the third round, though a fourth- or fifth-round selection seems more likely because of the knee injury.

Renner (6-3, 225) had surgery Nov. 6 for a torn labrum suffered in a game four days earlier; he also missed a game earlier in the season with a foot injury, missing six games in all in 2103. He also has had concussion issues in the past. He threw for 3,356 yards, 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions and completed 65.4 percent of his passes in 2012, and NFL Media draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah had Renner as the No. 3 senior quarterback in the nation and the No. 27 overall player heading into the season. But Renner generally struggled this season, throwing for 1,765 yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions. He was sharing time with backup Marquise Williams in the three games before his shoulder injury. He is considered a third-day pick at best.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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