The NFL world, save for the Broncos’ assistant coaches, travels to Indianapolis next week for the annual Scouting Combine.
A total of 336 prospects received invitations to go through medical, psychological and physical testing.
Here is a primer.
The introduction of the graduate transfer system has been a boon for players, but others have gone the junior college route or changed locales for better opportunities:
Francis Bernard, LB, Utah: Served LDS mission in Atlanta and played two years for BYU (2015-16) before leaving school due to “undisclosed violation of team rules. Started one year at Utah (85 tackles) and was first-team All-Pac 12.
Lawrence Cager, WR, Georgia: Spent four years at Miami (Fla.) and had 45 catches and one torn ACL. In nine games for Bulldogs in 2019, had 33 catches for 476 yards.
Brian Cole, S, Mississippi State: It was three stops for Cole — Michigan (2015 as a receiver), East Mississippi CC (2016 as a safety) and Mississippi State (2017-19). As a senior, played outside linebacker with nickel responsibilities.
Darrion Daniels, DT, Nebraska: Sustained a finger injury that required surgery four games into his first senior year at Oklahoma State (2018). Granted extra year, he transferred to Nebraska (34 tackles).
Jack Driscoll, RT, Auburn: At Massachusetts started at left/right guard and right tackle. Transferred to Auburn and started 26 games at right tackle.
Shea Patterson, QB, Michigan: Played for high schools in Texas, Louisiana and Florida and then two years apiece collegiately at Mississippi and Michigan (68 touchdown passes).
Players who have a red flag on their resume via arrest, suspension or both better have their stories straight:
Joe Bachie, ILB, Michigan State: Seasons of 100 and 102 tackles (2017-18) set him up for a big senior year. But after 71 tackles in eight games, he was declared ineligible for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.
Quintez Cephus, WR, Wisconsin: Did not play in 2018 after he was expelled from school while awaiting a sexual assault trial. Found not guilty in August 2019, was reinstated and had 59 catches for 901 yards and seven touchdowns.
Michael Divinity, OLB, LSU: A school rules violation (reportedly failed marijuana tests) led to four suspensions (Games 1, 3, 5 and 8-14) in 2019. Made 23 tackles in six games.
Willie Gay, OLB, Mississippi State: In practice leading up to the Bulldogs’ bowl game, slugged quarterback Garrett Shrader, who was unable to play. This after Gay served an eight-game suspension for violation of team rules.
C.J. O’Grady, TE, Arkansas: A top-100 player nationally in high school who never played a full college season. Suspended for two games in 2018 and left team in ’19 in midst of another suspension.
Chauncey Rivers, DE, Mississippi State: A four-star prospect at Georgia, lasted only four games before three marijuana charges in a span of seven months. Transferred to East Mississippi CC for one year and then played two years at Mississippi State (7 1/2 sacks).
Some players will be unable to participate in the workout because of existing injuries, but others will need to be checked out because of issues throughout their college careers:
Trey Adams, LT, Washington: Lot of starts (42), but also a lot of injuries. Sustained torn right ACL in 2017 (seven games) and was limited to four games in ’18 because of back surgery.
Markus Bailey, LB, Purdue: Tore ACL in third game of true freshman season (2015) and had knee surgery after two games of ’19. He passed on chance to apply for sixth year of eligibility.
Zack Baun, OLB, Wisconsin: Played all 27 games the last two years (139 tackles), but was redshirted in 2015 and missed all of 2017 with left foot injuries.
Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia: Opted to return to the Wahoos as a senior after leading FBS in 22 pass break-ups, but had ankle surgery in ’19 (six games).
Netane Muti, G/OT, Fresno State: Fourth-year junior played two games in 2018 (Achilles) and three in ’19 (foot).
James Smith-Williams, DE, N.C. State: In five years for Wolfpack, played four, eight, 12, 12 and seven games, sustaining season-ending injuries in 2015-16 and missing nearly half of ’19 with a foot issue.
We might as well call this the “LSU Section.” Players who had to overcome injury, were redshirted or were stuck behind future NFL players had one season or production:
K’Lavon Chaisson, DE/OLB, LSU: Declared for draft as a third-year sophomore (17 starts and 92 tackles). Tore ACL in 2018 opener against Miami.
Davon Hamilton, DT, Ohio State: Started only three games in first three years for Buckeyes before turning more playing time into six sacks in 2019.
Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame: Caught 17 passes in first two seasons, but had 43 for 515 yards and six touchdowns as a third-year junior.
Thaddeus Moss, TE, LSU: The son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss, Thaddeus played three games for North Carolina State in 2016, redshirted in ’17, sustained foot injury in ’18, but had 47 catches for the national champs.
Patrick Queen, ILB, LSU: Only six and 40 tackles in first two years for Tigers, but had 85 stops (third-best on the team) in 2019.
Freddie Swain, WR, Florida: Caught only 30 passes in first three years for the Gators, but had 38 receptions for 517 yards and seven touchdowns as senior.
Experience Isn’t Issue
On the opposite spectrum of the one-year wonders are those who played for four years or were instant starters:
Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State: A three-year starter who played 53 games and had five interceptions. Missed only one game in 2019 after sustaining a broken wrist.
Ezra Cleveland, LT, Boise State: Redshirted in 2016 before taking over at left tackle for 40 consecutive starts.
Marlon Davidson, DE, Auburn: In 2016, was first true freshman defensive lineman to start Auburn opener in 31 years. Went on to start all 51 games of his Tigers career (7 1/2 sacks as a senior).
K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State: Had at least 56 catches in each of the last three seasons and finished with Ohio State record 201 receptions.
Michael Pinckney, ILB, Miami: Alongside Shaq Quarterman, was four-year starter for Hurricanes. In 49 games, posted 267 tackles and 14 1/2 sacks.
Evan Weaver, LB, California: In final three years, had totals of 55, 159 and 182 tackles.
The pickings are slim concerning Denver-area natives. Here is a list of local and regional participants:
Tony Brown, WR, Colorado: Played two years at Texas Tech before reuniting with Darren Chiaverini at CU and had seasons of 32 and 56 catches.
Dalton Keene, TE, Virginia Tech: Littleton native and Chatfield High alum started 38 of 39 games for the Hokies and had 59 catches for 748 yards and eight touchdowns.
Steven Montez, QB, Colorado: A three-year starter for Buffs who had 54 touchdowns in final 36 games.
Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado: A good pre-draft process could land him in the first round. Had 86 catches for 1,011 yards as sophomore and 56 catches for 764 yards as junior.
Davion Taylor, OLB, Colorado: Two years in junior college helped him land at CU, where he had 144 tackles in 24 games.
Logan Wilson, LB, Wyoming: Native of Casper, Wyo. had eye-popping production, totaling 421 tackles and 10 interceptions in 52 career games.