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Elite Players Not Working Out At Combine Doesn't Change Draft Path

Prospects who skip workouts are still going to end up in first round

It grabs a headline when the news comes out that a Jayden Daniels or Marvin Harrison Jr. won't do the on-field work at the Scouting combine. But it feels like at this point, it should be more of a transactional piece of information than any kind of breaking news.

I've been coming to the Combine long enough that when a guy was skipping on-field work -- almost always quarterbacks -- it was debated as a potential red flag. But the reality was it hardly ever impacted the draft status of the guys who chose that path, and like college players who chose to skip their non-playoff bowl games to protect their health for the draft, sitting out Indy has become if not normal, at least understood.

Quarterbacks Daniels, Harrison, Caleb Williams and LSU receiver Malik Nabers are among the players taking a pass on the on-field work.

"For each player it's different," ESPN draft analyst Matt Miller said. "If you are Caleb Williams or Marvin Harrison Jr., you have the leverage to say, 'Does anyone want me training for a 40-yard dash right now?' Or should I probably be putting my efforts elsewhere, learning playbooks or getting ready for the NFL season. For other guys it's been a longer season. College football takes a lot longer. Having that time to really rest, recover and then train like a track athlete for the combine is very different than they've been doing their whole life."

Players still come to Indy for the most important parts -- the medical tests and meeting with teams. There are players who don't work out because injuries prevent it, such as Iowa cornerback Cooper DeJean, who suffered a late-season leg injury and is still getting right.

Cardinals coach Jonathan Gannon was asked about Harrison skipping and noted if you look at the wide receiver's game video, "he's competitive." That isn't about to change without a three-cone drill.

"it's their decision," Gannon said. "We use a lot of tools to evaluate and you'll use all the tools at your disposal

"Everyone is in a little bit different category and they get advice. It's their decision to listen to who they want to listen to and that's OK."

Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.
Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.

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