Now that both the college football season and the NFL season are over, the attention of the football world will turn to April’s NFL draft. But before we find out who gets to play where, the best prospects in the collegiate game will head to Indianapolis for the 2018 NFL combine.
The number of players a school sends to this annual showcase is generally an excellent indicator of the level of talent each school has available for the draft. Obviously most players come from big conferences and big time schools, such as Alabama, Ohio State, and Miami. However, going through the list of players invited, you see that SDSU will send four players to this years combine. This is a great indication of how good coach Rocky Long is at player development.
The Aztecs that will be in Indy are: RB Rashaad Penny, FB Nick Bowden, DB Kameron Kelly, and TE David Wells.
To me, the only surprise in this list is Bowden-not because he isn’t a good player, but because of the fact that the fullback position has become somewhat of an afterthought for most NFL offensive systems. Out of this foursome, most scouts are obviously interested in watching Penny go through the drills and how he compares against the elite players at his position.
Where these Aztecs will be drafted is still up in the air.
I’ve seen mock drafts that have Rashaad Penny being selected as high as the middle of the first round and as late as the fourth round. The same goes for Kameron Kelly. It’s no secret that the NFL is a copycat league, and given the success of big DB’s such as Richard Sherman and now Jalen Ramsey, every franchise is looking for a big body in the secondary that can be versatile enough to cover wide receivers and tight ends. That is why Kelly will probably be a late second-round selection. It will be interesting to see how he performs under the bright lights in Indianapolis and with NFL teams scrutinizing his every move on the field.
As for tight end, David Wells has a great shot of really helping his draft stock with a solid showing. As I stated earlier, the NFL is always looking to copy what successful teams do. Given how most winning teams always have great red zone efficiency, it’s no secret that teams love a big tight end to help in the last 20 yards of the field. Aztecs fans know that when the team was in the red zone, QB Christian Chapman looked for his tight end to make a play, and more often than not, Wells delivered.
Regardless of what happens in Indy later this month, there’s no doubt that this is a huge step in the right direction for Aztecs football.
It gives them recognition, and also proves to potential recruits that if they come to La Mesa and work hard, the sky is the limit in their football career.