The NFL Combine began Tuesday and will end next Monday. All the chatter in Eugene is about Marcus Mariota throwing the ball. So what about the players who entered the draft but weren’t invited to the combine? Two players who left Oregon and declared for the draft after the 2014-15 season are Erick Dargan and Derrick Malone, but neither was invited to the combine.
In an article on OregonLive.com, Andrew Greif discussed Dargan and Malone’s reactions to being excluded from the combine. Despite not being in Indianapolis to showcase their talents, they are still working out with trainers to prepare for a pro day in March.
Dargan told Greif,
“Adds fuel to the fire. They’re sleeping on me. I had some of the better numbers in the country and was able to perform at one of the highest platforms. I think that speaks for itself.”
Dargan had an amazing season and his stats speak triumphantly. During the combine, Dargan will work with Prolific in California so he can continue his training and preparation for his time to show the scouts how talented of a player he is.
Malone told Greif’s article,
“I don’t know why I didn’t get invited or how people get selected but it’s not really in my control. I’m OK with that. I’m just going to get the best times at my pro day. I know a whole bunch of scouts will be there and I’ll hope to put on a show.”
Each player has goals for improvement. Malone’s is to get healthier and faster. Since his final game as a Duck, he gained 10 lbs of muscle and runs a 4.7-second 40-yard dash. Greif reports that the missing piece for Dargan could be his sprint. Dargan said about his game and his 40-yard dash,
“The biggest question for me is how will I run in my 40? I think I’m making strides to the time I want to run. Other than that I think the game speaks for myself. I’m versatile and I have the ability to cover. I can play in the box and the deep ball just as good as anybody if not better. I think I’m one of the best downfield players in the country. I think I’m going to shock people. I think I’m faster than a lot of people give me credit for.”
Although Malone and Dargan are without a doubt disappointed, they are not discouraged. In fact, they seem more determined than ever. Greif reports that some NFL veterans have told Dargan that he is NFL material. Dargan shared some advice he received:
“They say when you get your opportunity you have to take advantage. Just don’t count me out.”
Top Photo by Gary Breedlove