Several more players show up on New England's radar as the team takes a closer look at potential…
Top 10 Combine Snubs
Eric Galko, Special to Scout.com
Scout: We asked Eric to rank the top prospects who should be in Indy for the Combine. We were looking for small school players (Optimum's specialty), but left it open to include all schools.
Here are his Top 10:
1. Brandon Brooks, OG, Miami (OH)
A physically impressive guard prospect, his shear ability to bend and play with leverage despite his 330+ pound size is rare and alone makes him a worthwhile draft prospect. He was beat at times on film from quick -handed interior rushers (especially blitzing linebackers) that he faced at times in the MAC. However, his impressive play, flexibility, and balance for his size at the Shrine Game impressed all scouts in attendance, and is in the mix for a Top 5 guard prospect in this draft.
2. Thomas Mayo, WR, California PA
Another Shrine invite impresser who didn't get the coveted Combine invite, Mayo has been one of the most productive and intriguing small school receiver prospects in the country. After transferring from Concord to California PA for his senior season, he capped off his career by developing his route diversity, showing the ability to attempt in a new offense, and faced some improved competition, albeit at the Division II level. He uses his length well, positions his body inline very well, and has great ball skills when he isn't asked to adjust his route down the field. He's a Top 30 wide receiver in this draft class fairly easily in my mind, and should be a Top 5 rounder come draft day.
3. Adrian Hamilton, DE, Prairie View A&M
The most productive defensive linemen in college football this season (even though it was at the FCS level), Hamilton has gotten little to no attention this year from national media, but he's more than just a small school productive, undersized rusher. He outstandingly quick off the snap, has decisive rush moves both inside and out, and has the coordination and change of direction to likely stand up at the next level. He'll likely be a 3-4 edge rusher at the next level, but he can likely fit in a 4-3 as well as a situational linebacker as well as an undersized rusher.
4. Aston Whiteside, DE, Abilene Christian
An explosive rusher who's a more natural fit for the 3-4 outside linebacker spot then Hamilton, Aston Whiteside is more complete because of his developed in-space rush moves and smoothness as a rusher. He has some experience in coverage and Optimum Scouting's Alex Brown reported live from the Players All-Star Classic that he looked "confident and comfortable in coverage", a big plus for potential edge rusher in a 3-4 scheme. For being a respected pre-season prospect by NFL scouts, he's a surprising non-invite for sure, and is a near-lock to be drafted.
5. Donnie Fletcher, CB, Boston College
A primarily zone cornerback with solid length for a cornerback who plays with solid physicality at the line of scrimmage and down the field. While he doesn't have outstanding fluidity, turn and run ability, nor anticipation skills to be a man corner consistently against quicker inside route runners, he still has starting zone cornerback ability and is certainly a solid draft pick in that scheme.
The Next Five That Should Have Gotten In: (not all small schools)
6. Kevin Koger, TE, Michigan
7. Dale Moss, WR, South Dakota State
8. Alex Tanney, QB, Monmouth (IL)
9. Ronnie Cameron, DT, Old Dominion
10. Keith Tandy, CB, West Virginia
Eric Galko is a contributing NFL scout for Patriots Insider at Scout.com.
Eric Galko is the Owner, Director of Scouting of Optimum Scouting and lead editor for OptimumScouting.com. He has been scouting college football for eight years, and for pro teams and other sports professionals for the last four years. Eric is also a member of the FWAA.
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