Nov 12, 2016; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Joe Mixon (25) is seen on the field before action against the Baylor Bears prior to the game at Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.  Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

330 NFL hopefuls were invited to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. for the 2017 NFL Combine, which is held through March 6. During their time there, the young prospects will be run through the wringer, fielding questions from professional scouts and putting their athletic skills on display for the football world to see.

For some, the NFL Combine will provide a springboard to the NFL Draft. For others, it very well may harm their projected value. And for even fewer promising rookies, the opportunity to prove their worth won’t even come about.

But just because this event is hyped, don’t forget that there are plenty of athletes who won’t be there, or will be limited while there. Whether it’s because of injury, off-field issues or they simply weren’t invited, a number of good players are not participating in the NFL Combine. Some who will be there will be missing some action.

Here’s a look at 10 of the best players who will be missing the action in Indianapolis.

10. Erik Magnuson (offensive lineman, Michigan)

Unlike most players on this list who won’t participate in the NFL Combine due to injury or who were omitted due to character concerns, Michigan offensive lineman Erik Magnuson simply wasn’t invited.

A first team All-Big Ten Conference honoree in 2016, Magnuson appeared in 45 career games for Michigan, starting 36 of those, including 23 straight at right tackle. And while most experts would agree that there’s not a single standout tackle in the draft, there’s a belief that Magnuson could be an NFL starter for years to come.

The 6-foot-6, 304-pound Magnuson also offers the potential for versatility, having played inside at the guard position as well. And while good numbers at the NFL Combine certainly would have helped his draft stock, he’ll instead have to fall back on his game film and any Pro Days he attends.

At the end of the day, Magnuson will take a hit due to his non-invite to the combine, but should still be considered a solid mid-round option with a lot of upside.

9. Chad Williams (wide receiver, Grambling State)

Chad Williams helped himself tremendously during the Senior Bowl, proving without a shadow of a doubt he was on par with FBS-level talent. Unfortunately, several off-the-field concerns, including a May 2016 arrest for marijuana and possession of a firearm, will keep him from improving his draft stock further in Indianapolis.

Having dominated at lower levels in college, Williams was (and still is) working hard to prove to NFL scouts he’s worthy of a mid-round selection. In fact, the 6-foot-1, 204-pound wideout has spent quite a bit of time working with former St. Louis Rams superstar Torry Holt to completely round out his game ahead of April’s draft.

With a projected 40 time of sub-4.55 and other impressive intangibles, Williams could have really helped himself at the combine, but will now have to rely on his game film and Pro Day performances to catapult himself up the draft boards.

It would have been beneficial for scouts and fans to see him work in Indianapolis, but that’s just not how the cookie crumbled.

8. Hunter Dimick (defensive end, Utah)

Like Erik Magnuson, Dimick is one of two players on this list who, despite lacking any real off-field baggage, simply weren’t extended an invite to attend the NFL Combine. And in Dimick’s case, that’s especially surprising.

The 6-foot-3, 269-pound Dimick ranked third in the country and first in the Pac-12 with 14.5 sacks last season. He’ll enter the NFL with a resume that also sports 28.5 career sacks and an impressive 42.5 tackles for a loss.

Unfortunately for Dimick, who was a first-year starter in 2016, injuries had held him back previously. He played in only seven games in 2015, and as a result, doesn’t have a long string of consistent play or game film. But with a high motor and proven production in a starting role, he should have enough to interest scouts.

Currently projected to be a mid-round pick, Dimick certainly could have helped himself at the NFL Combine, but will instead have to rely on other means to improve his draft stock.

7. Chad Kelly (quarterback, Ole Miss)

Chad Kelly was slated to participate in the NFL Combine, and then he wasn’t. Unlike some other players who had not been invited, Kelly was initially asked to attend and then had his invite rescinded.

Ultimately, the NFL decided not to invite Kelly based on character concerns and some past incidents, which include a disorderly conduct charge stemming from Kelly’s involvement in a fight with two bouncers in Buffalo and the accusation that he threatened to shoot them with an AK47. He also allegedly got into a back-and-forth with officers upon his arrest.

Although the court paperwork is now sealed, the NFL didn’t like what it discovered during their own investigation. As such, Kelly was removed from the NFL Combine and will no longer have the opportunity to prove his worth in front of NFL scouts. At least not until Pro Days roll around.

Knowing his stock may be damaged as a result of the league’s decision, the talented but inconsistent Kelly may show up at the combine anyway, providing himself an opportunity to speak with NFL scouts and explain the situation. But either way, he won’t be participating in drills and won’t have the opportunity to prove to onlookers that he’s over his injuries (ACL, meniscus) and worthy of a hefty investment.

6. Jarrad Davis (linebacker, Florida)

Jarrad Davis is an exceptionally talented linebacker. In fact, he has so much potential that members of Pro Football Focus already believe he could establish himself as an all-time great in the NFL.

Unfortunately for Davis, despite many contradictory reports, he will not participate in the NFL Combine as he works to overcome an ankle injury suffered last season, causing him to miss four games, including Florida’s final three.

Projected to be a first-round pick, the 6-foot-2, 227-pound Davis is as physical as they come. He loves contact and never shies away from it, which is a trait of most successful linebackers. He’s also got a high football IQ that will serve him well against the NFL’s complex defenses, but lacks the big-time stats you’d like to see from someone with his pedigree (20 tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks in 38 games).

Ultimately, someone is likely to take Davis based solely on his game film, but he certainly could have helped himself had he been able to perform at the NFL Combine. By missing it, it opens up the door for other linebackers such as Alabama’s Reuben Foster, who many already consider the premiere linebacker entering the draft, and Vanderbilt’s Zach Cunningham.

5. Joe Mixon (running back, Oklahoma)

330 college players were invited to the 2017 NFL Combine, but Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon was not one of them — and for good reason. Mixon, of course, was caught on video in 2014 brutally assaulting fellow Oklahoma student Amelia Molitor.

But Mixon’s non-invite is sort of a double-edged sword for the NFL. There’s sound reason why he was banned, but in the same breath, the expectation is that he’ll still be drafted and playing in the league a year from now. So ultimately, the only thing the NFL is doing is preventing scouts from discussing Mixon’s transgression in a face-to-face setting.

With a black eye still impacting the NFL due to Ray Rice’s violent assault of his fiancee and Adrian Peterson’s excessive discipline of his son, it’s no real surprise they’d want to distance themselves from further controversy. But Mixon is a talented player at a position that remains a premium despite its devalued draft stock.

How much will Mixon missing the combine hurt his NFL Draft value? That remains to be seen because the talented 6-foot-1, 227-pound running back will still take the field at Oklahoma’s Pro Day. Some are saying he could end up undrafted.

4. Jake Butt (tight end, Michigan)

Technically, Jake Butt is attending the NFL Combine, but two months removed from surgery to repair a torn ACL — his second ACL tear in the same knee over a three-year span — he will not be participating in any on-field drills or evaluations.

Despite the fact that he’ll be on crutches, Butt, who was one of 14 Michigan players invited to the combine, still sees potential value in showing up, being measured and conducting interviews with team scouts. And that’s a smart move for a proven talent, although he truly would have benefited further by being able to participate.

Initially projected as a second-round talent, Butt has seen his stock drop drastically in the face of his latest injury. In fact, some now have the 6-foot-6, 249-pound Butt projected to go as late as the fifth round — a dramatic fall for an otherwise extremely talented player.

But therein lies the genius in Butt’s decision to attend. It will give scouts a firsthand look at his injury, and an opportunity to talk openly with him and get a feel for his desire to succeed at the next level. And while he won’t be able to improve his draft stock on the field, he’s at least giving himself an opportunity to move up a few spots.

3. Malik Hooker (safety, Ohio State)

Malik Hooker is an athletic freak of nature, which has warranted his nickname “Malik the Freak.” Unfortunately for Hooker, he will not have the opportunity to showcase said athleticism at the NFL Combine due to offseason core muscle and hip labrum surgeries.

A gifted athlete, Hooker may suffer from his inability to participate at the combine. Despite his obvious skills, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound safety is still relatively raw in some aspects of his game and could have used some good metrics to help his cause.

With a projected recovery timetable of 4-6 months, whatever team drafts Hooker won’t be able to see what they truly have on a live field until at least June, and possibly not until August.

Either way, Hooker should still be a top-10 or top-15 pick — something that would have easily been guaranteed had he been able to participate in the combine.

2. Ryan Ramczyk (offensive tackle, Wisconsin)

The NFL Combine could have helped propel Wisconsin offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk up several draft boards, but instead, he’ll be sidelined following surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip. As a result, other players like Alabama’s Cam Robinson and USC’s Zach Banner could potentially leap-frog Ramczyk heading into the Pro Day schedule.

Despite his injury, the 6-foot-6, 313-pound Ramczyk is still projected to be a first-round pick come the 2017 NFL Draft, and rightfully so.

Ramczyk has caught the eye of scouts with his tremendous 2016 game film, which has consistently shown impressive technique for a college player, good hands, good angles and solid footwork. Ultimately, he not only projects as a first-round pick, but an immediate starter at tackle in the NFL.

“When you turn on the film of Ramczyk he’s very technically sound. He has the traits there as far as physical traits, and then when you marry that with how technically sound he is in almost every aspect it just jumps off the screen,” Duke Manyweather said during an appearance on Breaking the Plane podcast in mid-February.

At the end of the day, Ramczyk’s value will hinge on his recovery and medical records.

1. Corey Davis (wide receiver, Western Michigan)

Corey Davis is not only the best wide receiver prospect entering the NFL Draft, but he is also arguably one of the best players who will be available come April. Unfortunately, he won’t have the opportunity to prove that in Indianapolis as he’s expected to miss many drills due to an ankle injury suffered during training. However, Davis is at the combine and was measured on Thursday.

At 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, Davis already has the size necessary to compete with some of the NFL’s more physical cornerbacks, and should provide a nice downfield target for whatever team ultimately calls his name. He’s also widely considered one of the most polished receivers available, having put up big numbers in college and rounded out his route-running early. Davis’ projected 4.4 40-yard speed certainly doesn’t hurt his case, either.

But missing combine drills will. Davis not being on the field for action opens the door for players like Clemson’s Mike Williams and Washington’s John Ross, who will look to capitalize during his absence.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.


Jimmy Butler to undergo surgery, could return in 4-6 weeks

Jaguars keep Blake Bortles with multi-year extension

Jonathan Martin being held in mental health facility

Was South Korean snowboarder wrongly awarded giant slalom win?

Mark Emmert suggests college basketball needs big changes


Dez Bryant has advice for young players: Don't play hurt

Oh no, Geno Smith is now a flat Earth truther

Parsons, Gasol got stuck in Miami elevator at 4 AM

Ballmer: Chemistry issues led to the trade of Blake Griffin

Brewers describe Shohei Ohtani’s fastball as firm but flat

Medical issue holding up J.D. Martinez's Red Sox contract

Mr. T gives pep talk to US curling team ahead of gold-medal match

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cuban forced to face culture of misogyny in Mavs front office

The 'Let’s play QB roulette' quiz

NHL Weekender: Playoff races heat up as trade deadline looms

14 NBA X-factors who will tip the scales in the postseason

MLB breakout candidates for the 2018 season

No one wants to jump with Dennis Smith Jr.

NFL players who could be traded before draft

Negro Leaguers every baseball fan should know

Top MLB Cy Young candidates heading into 2018

The greatest barrier-breaking African-American moments in MLB history

Faltering Blackhawks face tough decisions at deadline

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cuban forced to face culture of misogyny in Mavs front office

MLB breakout candidates for the 2018 season

The 'Let’s play QB roulette' quiz

NHL Weekender: Playoff races heat up as trade deadline looms

No one wants to jump with Dennis Smith Jr.

The 'Kawhi so serious?' quiz

Top MLB Cy Young candidates heading into 2018

25 best MLB players under 25

The 'Red Sox finally get their guy' quiz

MLB's top 10 first basemen for 2018

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker