Monday Musings: February 20th

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

The complete list of combine invitations are out and eyebrows were raised over some of the big-name players who will not be traveling to Indianapolis. We have another take on the Chad Kelly story as well as a look at Big 12 film in this week’s version of Monday Musings.

Let’s start on the topic of Mississippi quarterback Chad Kelly not being invited to the combine, which sent shock waves through the media.

I don’t think it’s that big of a deal because I don’t believe Kelly is a good pro prospect.

He’s a terrific college signal caller with his sandlot style of play and that’s exactly how I view Chad Kelly -- a sandlot quarterback with marginal next-level potential. Even before the news about his combine snub broke, I graded him as a sixth-round choice with little chance of making a final roster next fall.

Time to talk about the Big 12.

Baylor wide receiver KD Cannon jumped the gun and left for the draft a year too early. He’s athletic and runs well but lacks any consistency at the receiver position.  He drops too many catchable throws and does not win out as he should.

Forgetting the fact that Cannon will be a late-round pick, he’ll be behind the curve from the first day of camp.

Looking for a late-round/UDFA sleeper on the defensive line? Take a peak at Jhaustin Thomas of Iowa State.

He’s a tall, athletic prospect who measures over 6-foot-5, 285 pounds and plays fast, explosive football. Thomas comes out of a three-point stance or stands over tackle and is equally effective at both. He’s a disruptive force with a good amount of upside and a player with exciting potential.

Last week I mentioned my surprise when Elijah Lee of Kansas State did not receive a combine invitation. He’s an explosive pursuit linebacker who projects as a nickel defender.

Much the same can be said about Lee’s linebacker teammate, Charmeachealle Moore. Undersized at 6-feet, 225 pounds, Moore jumps out on film with his ability to make plays sideline to sideline and his aggressive nature.

Moore is another nickel linebacker for the next level who should stand out on special teams.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Joe Mixon was not invited to the combine as I initially mentioned back on December 19th. I still maintain that he won’t be selected at any point in the draft for obvious reasons.

That being the case, I'm hopeful Mixon is signed after the draft and deserves a chance to play on Sundays.

The tape on Mixon is astounding at times. He dominates as both a ball carrier and pass catcher for entire drives at a time. Looking at it solely from a football perspective, I would stamp a late first-round grade on Mixon.

D'Onta Foreman won’t be a running back for every team, but he will play at the next level.

The Texas junior is a powerful downhill runner with surprising small-area quickness as well as a burst. I also feel Foreman does not get the credit he deserves as a pass catcher out of the backfield.

I’m mixed on Patrick Mahomes.

I understand why people are intrigued by the Texas Tech signal caller; he’s tough as nails, plays the position with vision as well as awareness and is not afraid to challenge defenses vertically. I am concerned about his downfield accuracy as well as the fact that the Texas Tech offense does not translate well to the next level.

Like the other top quarterbacks in this draft, the potential is there for Mahomes but there’s also a large degree of downside and risk.

West Virginia cornerback Rasul Douglas was not rated by scouts entering the year, but he could end up as a third-round pick. The fact that Douglas measured 6-foot-2 and 204 pounds during Senior Bowl weigh-ins only makes him more attractive to NFL teams.

I feel he’s one of the better bump-and-run corners in the draft but will struggle in any system that asks him to play backed off the line of scrimmage.