Chad Kelly had his invitation to the NFL Combine unceremoniously rescinded two weeks ago in a move that had more to do with public relations than discipline. But that doesn’t mean Ole Miss won’t have representatives in Indianapolis this week. Tight end Evan Engram and wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo report on Wednesday, followed by defensive linemen Fadol Brown and D.J. Jones on Thursday.
Engram’s projected as high as the second round, but none of the other three former Rebels are a lock to be selected in the draft, meaning this week’s jamboree of interviews, health inspections and workouts could be critical in their pursuit of a pro football career.
Let’s start by running through the schedule for the week, then discuss each of the Rebel prospects.
Wednesday, March 1
Quincey Adeboyejo, Evan Engram report to Indy
Thursday, March 2
Fadol Brown, D.J. Jones report to Indy
Friday, March 3
Quincey Adeboyejo, Evan Engram do interviews and bench press
Saturday, March 4
Quincey Adeboyejo, Evan Engram go through on-field drills
Fadol Brown, D.J. Jones do interviews and bench press
Sunday, March 5
Fadol Brown, D.J. Jones go through on-field drills
TE Evan Engram
CBS Sports projected round: 2
CBS Sports TE rank: 3
Engram, who was a three-star recruit out of Hillgrove High in Georgia, is one of the best to ever put on a Rebel uniform. He’s Ole Miss’ all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns in a season and career by a tight end. He finished his outstanding career with 162 catches for 2,320 yards and 15 touchdowns. He won the Ozzie Newsome award, the Pop Warner College Football award, and the C-Spire Conerly Trophy, and was First Team All-SEC and was named a First-Team All-American by USA Today and Sporting News.
Scouts like his athleticism and quickness as well as his ability to catch the ball at all three levels, but are concerned about his blocking, lack of size, and his issues with drops. Evaluators peg him as a second or third round talent, with his ability to stress defenses appealing to teams who use a matchup-based passing attack.
DT D.J. Jones
CBS Sports projected round: 7
CBS Sports DT rank: 24
Jones came to Ole Miss as a four-star recruit and the No. 3 overall junior college player in 2015 out of East Mississippi CC. In his two seasons in Oxford, Jones totaled 70 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, six sacks, one forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and one glorious interception.
That production might not jump out at you, but his strength and athleticism make him a solid late-round prospect. Jones, who can reportedly bench press more than 400 pounds and squat more than 700 pounds, was named the 14th-strongest player in college football by NFL.com after the 2015 season. Scouts like his strength/speed combination, although they’re concerned about his lack of length. If a coach is able to coax more consistency out of Jones, he has a chance to be a solid regular.
DE Fadol Brown
CBS Sports projected round: undrafted
CBS Sports DE rank: 33
Brown transferred to Ole Miss after playing his freshman season at Florida International, eventually carving out a role as the starting strong-side defensive end. After struggling through injuries for much of his senior season, Brown emerged down the stretch of 2016 as one of the Rebels’ few defensive playmakers. Over the course of his three-year career, he notched 51 tackles (16 of them for a loss) and four sacks.
At 6’4, 268 pounds, Brown has the frame for a defensive end in the NFL. Scouts like his upper-body strength and ability to shed blockers, but have concerns about his ability to rush the quarterback and his lingering issues with a stress fracture in his foot. From his NFL.com draft profile:
While his size and length will immediately appeal to some defenses, his inability to generate a consistent pass rush will turn others off. Provided his medicals check out, Brown's physical traits could get him a late look on Day 3, but his ceiling may be as a backup defensive end for either a 4-3 or 3-4 front.
WR Quincy Adeboyejo
CBS Sports projected round: undrafted
CBS Sports WR rank: 45
Adeboyejo, who was a three-star recruit out of the Dallas area, came to Oxford in 2013 and saw the field early and often. A prototypical deep threat with plus speed, he averaged 13.6 yards per catch and scored 11 touchdowns over the course of his career.
Among those touchdowns was one that will go down in Rebel lore.
After a breakout junior season in which he caught 38 passes for 604 yards and finished fifth in the SEC with seven touchdowns, he took a step backward as a senior, catching 35 passes for 456 yards and just one touchdown. Adeboeyjo became a bit lost in the shuffle as the Rebel stockpiled receiver depth, but the Combine could be his opportunity to set himself apart.
While scouts like his speed and 6’3 frame, some worry about his hands, his inability to escape jams at the line, and his ball tracking skills. Here’s the bottom line, from his NFL.com draft profile:
With a frame that should be able to add more muscle, Adeboyejo could be considered a Day 3 height-weight-speed flyer based on his ability to attack down the field. He is raw and is currently lacking the skill level needed to compete for NFL playing time, but has intriguing potential as a field stretcher or big vertical slot receiver.