Not everybody will get an invite to the NFL Draft Combine. Just ask 99 percent of the players in the FCS.
While more than 300 prospects were invited to the combine, only 19 were from the FCS ranks. Many of the individuals invited did well, many other FCS prospects sat at home preparing for their on-campus Pro Days — their big shot at impressing scouts.
Now, several may have impressed their way into the 7-round draft.
Below, we spotlight five FCS products who weren't invited to the combine but have impressed so far in their Pro Days. These showcases will continue through the end of March, and we will update accordingly.
NOTE: Other notable "non-invitees" to the combine were Jackson State's Javancy Jones (March 23 Pro Day), Missouri State's Dylan Cole (March 22), Southern Utah's Josh Thornton (March 29) and North Dakota State's Zack Johnson (March 29) — just to name a few. We'll update this list as others go through their Pro Days.
BRANDON BARNES, TE — ALABAMA STATE
2016 STATS: 5 catches, 85 yards, 17 yards per catch, 1 TD
CAREER STATS: 24 catches, 436 yards, 6 TDs
THE SKINNY: Barnes really lit things up at his Pro Day on March 10, as did Alabama State teammate Jylan Ware. Barnes impressed onlookers with his size (6-5/255), his solid 4.69 time in the 40-yard dash and his pass catching ability. He's a guy who has the ability and tools to block well, while also gobbling up a first down catch when needed. Look for Barnes to be one of those day three draft guys. People who haven't paid attention to him might want to start now.
XAVIER COLEMAN, DB — PORTLAND STATE
2016 STATS: 29 tackles, 2 INTs
CAREER STATS: 152 tackles, 9 INTs, 41 passes defensed
THE SKINNY: The all-american dazzled on March 15 at the Portland State Pro Day, one of the true non-combine studs from the FCS level. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound corner back timed in at 4.46 in his top 40-yard dash time and posted a 40-inch vertical. He proved his athleticism in the 3-cone drill, the broad jump and the short and long shuttle runs, and showed good strength for a player his size with 17 reps on the 225-pound lift. Coleman was already on the radar screen prior to his Pro Day, now he's plastered all over it.
CHAD NEWELL, RB — MONTANA STATE
2016 STATS: 657 yards rushing, 8 TDs
CAREER STATS: More than 2,000 yards rushing in career
THE SKINNY: Newell punches holes as well as anybody, and he looks like the perfect fullback at the NFL level. He's 6-foot-2, 215 pounds and has mid 4.7 speed. He has very good quickness, as evidenced by his top-flight time in the short shuttle and three-cone drills. This is a guy who could come in and contribute on special teams at first and carve out a roster niche for himself. He's a gritty former walk-on — a true signature player for the FCS level.
ROBERT TONYAN, WR/TE — INDIANA STATE
2016 STATS: 56 catches, 699 yards, 10 TDs
CAREER STATS: 150 catches, 2,047 yards, 20 TDs
THE SKINNY: At 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, Tonyan proved to be an outstanding pass target in college. Now he projects as a tight end more than a receiver and he showed tremendous athleticism at ISU's showcase on March 14. Tonyan was already on the NFL's radar screen, but his 4.58 time in the 40-yard dash, his 35-inch vertical and his other specs certainly turned some heads. Keep an eye on Tonyan going forward.
CHAD WILLIAMS, WR — GRAMBLING
2016 STATS: 96 receptions, 1,420 yards, 12 TDs
CAREER STATS: 216 receptions, 3,144 yards, 29 TDs
THE SKINNY: Perhaps nobody in the FCS has improved his stock in a Pro Day more than this guy. Williams already proved he belonged as an "NFL Prospect" with his post-season bowl experience at the Senior Bowl, then was snubbed by the combine. He proved he belonged by running a 4.37 second time in the 40-yard dash — faster than all but two of the combine participants at receiver. Then he capped it off with 21 reps of 225 pounds. He has speed, he's incredibly strong and he stands 6-foot-1, 205 pounds. Pencil him in.