We truly are starting to see a new era of pre-draft football in the NFL. On a day in which we saw every quarterback in the first group of passers except for Notre Dame’s Sam Hartman opt out of running the 40-yard dash, we continue to report on prospects who are seeing the NFL’s scouting combine as less and less of a priority.
According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, star Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. will not be participating in any of the testing at the combine. It doesn’t stop there, though, as Harrison has made the decision to not even train for those types of drills in the runup to the draft. Harrison will continue to work on pure football drills, allowing his tape to do the talking.
Players like Harrison have the luxury of this approach. For the last two years, Harrison has widely been considered the top wide receiver prospect in this year’s crop. He only solidified that status with a second straight stellar season with the Buckeyes. He has a fairly good idea of where he’s going to fall in the draft, so he doesn’t feel the need to display his full set of abilities in an attempt to up his draft stock. Instead, he will focus on team interviews and preparing for the more practical aspects of NFL readiness. Breer also informs us that Harrison will head to the league without an agent, joining another recent trend.
The combine and pro days remain a crucial part of the pre-draft process for many of the mid- to late-round prospects, but for top players, workouts like these are beginning to become more and more superfluous.
Here are a few other draft rumors as the combine continues:
- On the topic of non-participants, LSU Heisman-winning quarterback Jayden Daniels and his wide receiver Malik Nabers have both opted out of their workouts in Indianapolis, choosing to work out at their pro day, instead. Today we found out that both players are also skipping the measurements portion of the combine, as well, per ESPN’s Field Yates. The two Tigers will submit to measurements at their pro day before workouts.
- One name that’s been climbing draft boards of late is Texas defensive tackle Byron Murphy. Murphy’s versatility across the line has scouts excited and makes him a fit for pretty much every squad. Reflecting this, Murphy reportedly had 25 official interviews set up at the combine, according to Tony Pauline of Sportskeeda. Pauline also reports that the Raiders, Colts, Seahawks, and Vikings have all scheduled to bring him in for an official-30 visit. The list of suitors for the Longhorn defender likely won’t stop there.
- Another top Texas prospect, running back Jonathon Brooks continues to make his way back from ACL surgery that ended his final season in Austin. The top rusher on both ESPN’s Mel Kiper’s and Dane Brugler of The Athletic’s boards, Brooks is reportedly “healing well and as expected,” per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. While he obviously won’t be participating in any pre-draft workouts, he’s expected to be cleared for training camp.
- Iowa cornerback Cooper DeJean‘s leg injury continues to hold him out of football activities in the leadup to the draft. After already learning that he wouldn’t be available to workout at the combine, Greg Auman of FOX Sports informs us that DeJean will also not participate in physical activities at Iowa’s pro day. DeJean claims to be fully cleared from the fracture in his lower leg and that he will work out at some point before the draft, but it looks like scouts will have to make personal trips out to Iowa City in order to workout DeJean.
- Finally, one more top draft prospect made the decision not to workout at the combine this year. Georgia tight end Brock Bowers, the top prospect at his position per both Kiper and Brugler and a likely top-10 pick, will not work out in Indianapolis. Scouts interested in seeing this Bulldog in action will have to make their way out to Georgia’s pro day.