Earlier this week, we unveiled the Harris 100, my annual ranking of the top prospects in college football, heading into the 2016 NFL Draft in April. Players from Power 5 conference schools dominate the list, led by Ole Miss LT Laremy Tunsil, the best left tackle prospect I've studied in a while.
Plenty of players on my list grow into NFL players during their years in college. Take Carson Wentz for example. The North Dakota State quarterback led the Bison to two national championships in his two years as a starter. How did he end up at North Dakota State? Well, he was a 5'10" sophomore who couldn't even borrow a star from Rivals when he was in high school.
Check out photos of the top 100 players of this year's draft class according to Texans analyst John Harris.
But, over the next three seasons, he grew to 6'5" as a senior, but at NDSU he finally packed on some weight. When he took his last snap as a Bison, he was a NFL-ready 6'5", 231 lbs. and one of the top quarterbacks in the country. There are plenty of 5-star HS uber-stars on this list as well.
On Saturday, though, another annual tradition takes place, another combine if you will. If the mention of the word combine had you scrambling to check the dates and times of the action in Indianapolis, relax. This isn't THAT combine. This is the NFL's Regional Scouting Combine, one of many that takes place in NFL cities around the country. A few hundred underdog prospects will head for Houston today and early morning Saturday to prepare for, perhaps, the one and only audition for the NFL.
Even though the chances appear slim, there are those that shine at this event and get that unforeseen opportunity to make an NFL roster. Heading into the 2015 season, there were 47 players on NFL rosters that had participated in the regional combine over the past two years. Last year in Houston, there was former Texas A&M S Floyd Raven, McMurry WR Jeret Smith and Villanova RB Kevin Monangai. Former Auburn S Robensen Therezie started for the Falcons against the Texans last fall in Atlanta's win and he was a regional combine participant.
Although Tray Walker played his college ball in Houston at TSU, he participated in the regional combine in Miami; however, he was the rare regional combine participant to get drafted. The Baltimore Ravens selected him in the fourth round at pick 136. Of course, that was earlier than many who participated at the NFL's Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
There aren't many that make the NFL from this weekend's voyage to Houston, but a few that impress will get that chance in the future.