Four players from Vanderbilt's second-straight 9-4 team will get the chance to prove themselves in front of NFL scouts at this year's Combine. A fifth - former VU wideout Chris Boyd - will have the opportunity to show that a year away from his team hasn't affected his ability to be an impact athlete.
All-SEC performers Jordan Matthews, Kenny Ladler, Andre Hal, and Wesley Johnson all earned invitations to the 2014 NFL Combine, which will take place on February 19 in Indianapolis. Boyd, who had 774 receiving yards and five touchdowns as a junior, got the call as well despite missing the entire 2013 college football season. The 6'4" receiver was dismissed from the program for his role in covering up an alleged sexual assault that involved four other since-dismissed Commodores.
Here's a breakdown of those players, along with some projections of where they may land based on where preliminary mock drafts have them being selected.
|Player||Position||Height||Weight||Projected Draft Spot|
|Jordan Matthews||WR||6'3"||206||late 1st, early 2nd round|
|Andre Hal||CB||6'0"||186||2nd-4th round|
|Kenny Ladler||S||6'1"||205||3rd-5th round|
|Wesley Johnson||OL||6'5"||295||5th-7th round|
|Chris Boyd||WR||6'4"||205||5th-7th round|
Boyd's inclusion isn't surprising. The receiver was primed for a big year next to Matthews thanks to his combination of size, speed, and strong hands. He has all the tools to be a successful player at the next level. However, the fact that the NFL snubbed the guy who replaced him is more of a head scratcher. Jonathan Krause was one of Vanderbilt's most important players in 2013 thanks to his ability to grow into his role as the team's #2 wideout. Krause had similar numbers (42 catches, 714 yards, three TDs) as Boyd had in his final season (50-774-5) despite missing two games due to injury. Krause was also a special teams standout who gave the Commodores a trustworthy weapon on punt returns.
Krause is especially deserving of an opportunity to show scouts that his emergence as a true SEC wideout was no fluke. It's disappointing that a player who embodied every bit of growth the Commodores made under James Franklin isn't getting much respect from the big leagues. However, Krause, along with Carey Spear, Javon Marshall, Walker May, Chase Garnham, Jared Morse, Steven Clarke, Karl Butler, and Wesley Tate, will still have the chance to turn heads when they take the field for Vanderbilt's pro day this spring.