The scouting combine is underway in Indianapolis, as more than 300 draft-eligible prospects will be analyzed by all 32 NFL teams. But if history is any indication, not every player that will ultimately play in the league will be there.
Wes Welker is a classic example.
In 2004, Welker wasn't invited to the combine.
This morning, I perused the archives of the Dallas Morning News to recap how things unfolded with Welker as he was coming out of Texas Tech. Here is part of what prophetic Dallas Morning News writer Rick Gosselin penned about Welker on Feb. 22, 2004:
The NFL scouting combine is the annual showcase of college football's best talent.
The NFL invites the top 300-plus draft-eligible players to Indianapolis for a weekend of tests and interviews. At least that's what the NFL would have us believe.
But if the best players from college football are indeed gathered under one roof at the RCA Dome this weekend, where's Wes Welker? There weren't 25 seniors more productive than Welker in 2003 and there weren't a dozen who enjoyed better college careers. ...
With NFL special-teams play at a premium in a salary-cap world and playmakers always at a premium at any position, Welker certainly deserved an invitation to Indianapolis this weekend. But none was forthcoming.
"I was surprised," said Welker by telephone. "But things don't always go the way you plan. I'm not mad at anyone. I'm not bitter. You live with it and move on."