Up until Saturday, Mike Mayock’s All Swimsuit Team along with the draft player profiler’s All Under-the-Radar Team was hot topics, dominating all the football talk leading up to the NFL combine. That, and of course, what exactly is going to happen between Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.
This past weekend and for the next two days analysts and draftniks will view and study every detail of the potential pro prospect invited to the NFL combine. The departed collegiate athletes will be assessed, re-assessed for a final floccinaucinihilipilification that drives draftniks abound to a point of mental exhaustion strictly from information overload.
Tony Romo, the Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback, was no stranger to the NFL combine. But not in the traditional sense which many associate with quarterback invitees.
In 2002, Romo was named the top player in division I AA. Yet many felt his skills left a lot to be desired from the pro game perspective. So the Eastern Illinois quarterback was invited to the 2003 NFL combine, as a combine arm only.
Much like 2011′s rookie third string Houston Texans quarterback, T.J. Yates, whom helped lead the Houston Texans into a second round playoffs this past season. Romo was only invited to the NFL combine as an extra arm to throw to the wide receivers and defensive backs during both group’s positional drills.
Bill Parcells, being persuaded by former Eastern Illinois alum Sean Payton, signed Romo as an undrafted free agent (UDFA).
The Cowboys offered Tony Romo $10,000. But Mike Shanahan, who at the time was the head coach of the Denver Broncos, offered the Eastern Illinois signal caller $20,000 to sign an UDFA contract.
Romo turned down Denver for a better shot to make the team in Dallas. By 2006, Romo was the number two QB behind Drew Bledsoe.
Already in his five plus seasons as the starter in Dallas, Romo has three 4000+ plus passing yards seasons and owns several of the Cowboys’ passing records. Yet Romo has only managed to lead Dallas to one playoff victory.
Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill impressed and made himself a substantial amount more money yesterday with his size and blazing forty-yard dash time. There is likely a chance at least one combine arm who was throwing to him will do enough to earn themselves a chance to land on some team’s roster.
Out of the three extra arms invited to this years NFL Combine, the names Chandler Harnish of Northern Illinois, Austin Davis of Southern Miss., and former Miami Hurricane quarterback Jacoby Harris are not exactly household names. (except maybe within each one’s respected regions of the country)
Which one of these guys will perform well enough to catch the one individual’s eye, with enough of the power of persuasion, needed to get a shot at their NFL dream?
Can one of these young arms influence a team enough to get a shot to be this years T.J. Yates or 2003’s Tony Romo?
If there is one of these arms who could land on a roster the safe bet, if there ever was such a thing, is on this signal caller from Northern Illinois Chandler Harnish.
While the Dallas Cowboys are yet to be in the market for a quarterback, the teams window of opportunity with Tony Romo behind center will be closing even more so over the next couple of seasons.
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