Five Combine Snubs Who Could Be Drafted: Offense

Purdue Boilermakers quarterback David Blough (11) runs the ball for a touchdown against the Auburn Tigers.Photo: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Ric Serritella

History tells us that on average, there will be approximately 30 players who were not selected to the NFL Scouting Combine that will hear their name called in the NFL Draft each year. Here’s a look at five candidates on offense.

QB David Blough, Purdue

Had an outstanding take charge attitude, demonstrating fantastic leadership characteristics, calling out pre-snap reads and making sure teammates are lined up in proper spots. His command of the two-minute drill during practice week of the East-West Shrine Game was impressive. He followed up a series of strong practices with an efficient performance in the game, connecting on a pair of touchdown passes. It was a perfect example of who Blough is in a nutshell; a game manager who can make all the throws but has arm and size limits. Possesses a hard, clean cadence, shows good pocket awareness, steps up to avoid the rush and can pick up a first down with his feet. Blough has earned the respect of his teammates with his toughness, despite struggling an assortment of injuries. He suffered from right elbow tendinitis during the fall of 2018. He would finish his Boilermakers career with 9,734 passing yards, 69 touchdowns and 43 interceptions, in 37 career starts. He managed to throw 21 interceptions as a sophomore (including five in one game. A big time recruit out of high school, he has had his fair share of moments and should receive a look in training camp as a practice squad candidate. Has served five mission trips to South Africa with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

RB Ty Johnson, Maryland

An explosive runner, Johnson shows excellent vision and can hit the hole between the tackles but he also possesses the plus acceleration needed to cut it to the outside. Johnson is a tough smaller, change of pace back with some upper body strength, which allows him to break arm tackles and gain additional yards after contact. He is physical and invites contact at times but he has a rare third gear which makes him an extremely tough runner to defend against. He possesses great acceleration and patience, quick burst and change of direction ability. He is also a return specialist who has averaged over 26 yards per return for his career, including a 100-yard return in 2017. There were questions surrounding Johnson’s maturity when he was an underclassman. Former head coach DJ Durkin said that his mental approach changed entering his junior campaign, as he took a more professional attitude in practice. Had shown to have proven hands coming out of the backfield during the week of East-West Shrine Game practices but wasn’t nearly utilized enough in that aspect during his Terrapins career. A multi-purpose prospect who can also be a receiving threat and return weapon, Johnson is one of the best running back prospects no one is talking about leading up to the draft. He projects as a change of pace back at the next level with the ability to factor in on special teams but his dynamic speed gives him the chance to be more.

WR Penny Hart, Georgia State

A shifty slot option that plays bigger than his diminutive size. Hart is explosive with terrific straight line speed, plus acceleration and outstanding ball skills. His change of direction skills are elite with his ability to stop, start and leave defenders in the dust. He does a tremendous job of getting into a cornerback and forcing errors in coverage. He is so fast in and out of his breaks that defensive backs have to guess right or get beat. Hart really gets after it in the running game as a blocker with tremendous effort and surprising effectiveness from a guy his size. There’s so much “want to” in his game to make up for his lack of height and size but the fact of the matter is that he is pigeon holed as a slot receiver that won’t be able to survive on the perimeter. He can struggle in 50-50 ball scenarios, contested catch situations and in traffic. Hart showed up for the Senior Bowl ready to perform and he put on a show in Mobile with a strong week of practices coupled with a solid game. This guy is going to develop into a key cog in a team’s passing game because of his ability to cut on a dime, change directions and explode in space which makes him a draftable receiver in the mold of a Jamison Crowder who plays slot for the Washington Redskins.

WR Damion Jeanpiere, Nicholls State

Damion Jeanpiere Jr. has outstanding ball skills and excellent body control adjusting at the catch point. He is a highly competitive strong runner after the catch with a killer spin move. Jeanpiere Jr is a natural at high pointing passes and transitioning into a runner. The guy just has an “it” type of factor, he is tough to tackle and he can’t be caught if he gets a step. His game is very Steve Smith-esque with his entertaining style of play. His 4.25 forty-yard dash and 6.41 short shuttle at pro day were eye-raising! Don’t be surprised if Jeanpiere hears his name called on Day 3.

WR Emmanuel Butler, Northern Arizona

Butler was granted a medical redshirt after a right shoulder injury ended his 2017 campaign two games into the year. The long strider returned with a vengeance in 2018, proving to be a big target with a wide catch radius and very strong, dependable hands. He proved to be one of the top prospects in attendance at the NFLPA Game with back-to-back strong practice performances at practices. He can play above the rim, showcasing the ability to come down with contested balls but also the body control to box out defenders in order to make the catch. Butler is a natural hands catcher with great concentration and plucks the ball away from his body. His size and hands are two of his best assets, to go along with exceptional body control. The team captain has been a student of the game, learning all the receiver positions, while lining up at the X, Y and Z spots for the Lumberjacks. Butler will come in with injury red flags with his shoulder issue and the fact that he only played in eight games as a redshirt senior will be a concern. The bottom line is that he is oozing with talent and if he can stay healthy, he has a chance to develop into a go to receiver for a team in a year or two.

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