The 2014 NFL Combine wrapped up on Tuesday after 335 participants made their way through a gauntlet of interviews, medical examinations, psychological testing, drills and workouts. The Combine impacts draft potential, although each team values it differently. The 49ers emphasize film significantly more than Combine performance, but I have to think they won't ignore a particularly awful appearance at the Combine.
While 355 players take part in the Combine, we will not see all 355 get drafted. Even if only Combine participants were drafted, 101 from this class would not have been drafted last year. They might all end up as undrafted free agents, but even then they face challenges. While the Combine tries to invite the best of the best, some players are left out in the cold. It is usually small-school kids, but even some big school kids can miss out on a Combine invite.
The folks at 49ers.com put together a breakdown of the current roster members that were not invited to the NFL Combine their draft year. One of them was drafted, but the rest had to battle through undrafted free agency to make the roster. The list includes:
1. CB Tramaine Brock
2. DT Tony Jerod-Eddie
3. TE Garrett Celek
4. FB Will Tukuafu
5. TE Derek Carrier
6. LB Dan Skuta
7. OG Ryan Seymour (7th round draft pick, Seahawks)
8. CB Darryl Morris
9. LB Michael Wilhoite
10. S Bubba Ventrone
That list includes one starter (Brock), and some significant reserves. Of that group, Carrier and Seymour would seem furthest down the roster bubble. The apparent promotion of Daniel Kilgore to starting center (pending free agency and the draft) would open up a potential active spot for Seymour, but he faces some stiff competition with Adam Snyder, Joe Looney and Al Netter.
The NFL Draft is always an exciting time at the site, but undrafted free agency is when things can get particularly wild. Rumors are flying every which way on Twitter, and every player IS OUR FUTURE! The 49ers roster is pretty stacked, but there is always room for a go-getter. And even if they can't get on the 53-man roster, the practice squad provides opportunities for growth. Those are some of the truly fascinating storylines in the offseason workout program and training camp.