The NFL Combine invite list is out, and there are four Demon Deacons on it. Junior Chris Givens, who declared for the NFL Draft after the team's loss to Mississippi State in the Music City Bowl, OL Joe Looney, S Cyhl Quarles and LB Kyle Wilber will all have the chance to improve their draft stock in Indianapolis from Feb. 22-28.
Givens was listed as high as late first round in recent mock draft projections, but is still projected as a second-third round talent. The Combine should give him chances to finally show off his skillset, something that was undervalued nationally. If he can blow away scouts, that grade could rise.
Looney is a strange inclusion, as he tore a ligament during Senior Bowl practices, but he may be working out pre-surgery, and will have teams looking at him with that understanding in mind.
Quarles has the body and the athleticism to make it at the next level, but will need some coaching. If I had to take a guess, I would say he goes fifth-sixth round, and will need to make his impact on special teams to start.
Wilber has the highest upside and the most to prove. He is a freak physically, but played in a scheme that did not maximize his talents. He didn't have gaudy numbers during his senior season, but has the potential to play right away. Scout Tom Melton had this to say about Wilber after the Shrine Game:
Kyle Wilber (Wake Forest) had a good game as he was consistently around the ball, he made a number of tackles (unfortunately I couldn’t track down a stat sheet, so at this time I don’t know how many tackles he finished with) and showed his ability to rush the passer. He’s still pretty light to try to stick at defensive end, but I think he has the potential to shift to outside linebacker at the next level.
I expect Wilber to open some eyes and jump to a possible fourth-fifth round projection, with room to climb.
As always, BSD will have all the Wake-related NFL Draft news, and we're definitely looking forward to seeing what Givens, Wilber, Quarles and Looney can do at the NFL Combine.