The NFL's annual Scouting Combine in Indianapolis does not begin until late-February, but college players eligible for the draft will begin learning in the coming days whether or not they have been invited to the party. Penn State defensive end Shareef Miller shared his good news on Twitter Wednesday evening.
Frankly, it's a tremendous honor for any NFL hopeful to have their name called to attend the Combine. It provides the opportunity to show pro scouts everything you have to offer. While the event itself doesn't have much impact on your career, it surely impacts where teams view your worth come draft day. And that could cost you millions if you put up a dud.
Take Orlando Brown as a cautionary tale.
Brown was the starting left tackle for Oklahoma in 2017 and won the Big 12's Offensive Lineman of the Year. At a staggering 6'8" and 345 lbs., he had the makings of a true bookend for one lucky NFL team. All that was left was the Combine. Instead of cementing himself as a bonafide stud and securing a nearly $10 million payday, he turned in one of the worst combine performances of all time. As a result, he fell completely out of the first round and ended up being picked in the third at No. 83 overall. That pick secured him a $3.49 million contract with $865k in guarantees. Not too shabby, right? But to compare that to the lowest possible salary of a first rounder, as he was projected going into the combine. Lamar Jackson, the No. 32 overall pick: $9.47 million with $4.97 million in guarantees. That's at least a $4.10 million loss in guarantees, and possibly more had he gone higher in the first round. The Combine was Brown's worst nightmare and it screwed him out of millions of dollars.
Shareef Miller has a chance to improve his stock, and here's to hoping he does. At 6'5" and 260 lbs., he has the prototypical size of a defensive end and spent his entire college career as an extremely productive and reliable presence along the Penn State front-four. An unexpectedly awesome combine performance, like the kind several Nittany Lions put up in 2018, could see Miller moving up draft boards.