The NFL Draft is fast approaching with the NFL Combine taking place February 28 to March 3 in Indianapolis. The recently released list of 330 players who will be included in the workouts is extensive and includes some high profile recruits.
However, the list is not all inclusive. In an attempt to include as many of the top prospects as possible there will inevitably be individuals left out.
Following are three NFL candidates who failed to earn an invitation to the NFL Combine but could still find themselves making an impact for a professional team on Sundays this fall.
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RB – Marcus Cox, Appalachian State
Only 21 other FBS running backs have topped 5,000 yards in their career as Cox set the rushing record for App State during the 2016 season. Despite missing four games and three quarters over his senior season Cox generated over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 6.4 yards per carry.
Against SEC opponent Tennessee, Cox earned 115 yards on 24 carries and recorded a receiving touchdown. At home against ACC opponent Miami, Cox would have added over 100 yards in the first quarter but a 79-yard touchdown run was negated due to a down field holding call. Cox injured his quad on the play and would not return.
For his career Cox had 5,103 yards and 61 total touchdowns.
DE – Hunter Dimick, Utah
Utah had eight players, seventh most of any school, earn an invitation to the NFL Combine yet Dimick was left off the list. He led the nation in sacks (14) while recording a team high 19.5 tackles for his team.
The Utah defensive lineman has also been heralded for his strength. Dimick has recorded a 450-pound bench press and repped the NFL Combine test of 225-pounds an astonishing 36 times.
By comparison, Dimick’s 36 reps are more than any 2016 invitee.
G – Alex Kozan, Auburn
Auburn’s best offensive lineman, Kozan helped pave the way for teams that averaged 269 rushing yards in games he played. Despite missing all of 2014 with a back injury, Kozan registered 40 starts for the Tigers and served as team captain last season.
A thin draft class in regards to interior offensive linemen Kozan’s absence from the NFL Combine may be the biggest surprise of the list. He possesses NFL size at 6-foot, 3-inches and 310-pounds while maintaining a mobile base and adequate footwork.
Kozan was a first-team all-conference selection but Kentucky center Jon Toth was the only SEC interior linemen to receive an invitation to the NFL Combine.
A missed invite to Indianapolis does not spell the end of the line for these prospects. In fact, last year 38 players who did not attend the NFL Combine were selected in the NFL Draft. Consequently, 117 players who were evaluated during the week ended up not hearing their names called on draft day.
Additional Noticeable Absences: DE – Corey Vereen, Tennessee; WR – Chad Williams, Grambling State; T – Victor Salako, Oklahoma State