On Wednesday, the NFL released the list of the 330 players who were invited to the upcoming 2017 NFL combine and three Oregon State players, in wide receiver Victor Bolden Jr., cornerback Treston Decoud and offensive lineman Sean Harlow, made the exclusive list of potential next-level talents. An opportunity for all three of these players to perform at the NFL Combine may help to rise the trio’s less-than-stellar draft stocks, that currently project only one of the three talents (Harlow) likely to hear his name called on draft day. The NFL Combine will take place from February 28th to March 6th at Lucas Oil Stadium (the home of the Indianapolis Colts) in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The highest-rated prospect from the Beavers’ group of three invitees is offensive lineman Sean Harlow, who is listed by CBS Sports as a potential sixth-to-seventh round pick. Harlow is ranked as fourteenth-best offensive guard in the draft class, a position he will likely have to move to at the next level to continue his playing career. NFL scouts have regularly been impressed by Harlow’s strength and solid football-IQ but as the case with most linemen, they have viable concerns about the consistency of his foot speed. This past season, Harlow returned from a broken leg to start the final nine games for the Beavers, eventually being named a Second Team All-Pac-12 Selection.
Cornerback Treston Decoud is Oregon State’s next best-chance, as the playmaking defensive back is viewed by CBS Sports as the thirty-first best player at his position and a potential seventh round pick. Decoud tallied 58 tackles (46 solo) during his senior season in Corvallis, while also breaking up 10 passes and hauling in 2 interceptions. A snub from the All-Pac-12 teams, Decoud still garnered an invite to the East-West Shrine Game, where he lined up alongside former Beavers teammate Gavin Andrews. Between his performance at the East-West Shrine Game (where he was said to have impressed some NFL personnel) and his inclusion at the NFL Combine, Decoud should have more than enough chances to showcase his talent for NFL teams.
The last of the three invites for Oregon State is electric wide receiver/special teams returner Victor Bolden Jr.. Bolden Jr. caught 46 passes for 542 yards and 2 touchdowns during the 2016 season, while also tallying 28 rushes for 329 yards and 2 scores. He was also an integral piece to the success of the Beavers’ special teams, where he averaged 23.8 yard per kick return, including a 99-yard kick return for a touchdown. Bolden Jr. is currently projected by CBS Sports as the #67 overall wide receiver on the board and is expected to go undrafted. However, Bolden Jr.’s invitation to the combine, mixed with numerous NFL teams liking his special teams ability, could help the stand-out receiver to sneak into the late rounds of the NFL Draft.
From the list of 330 players overall, forty-six of them hail from the Pac-12. Five players from the conference are projected by CBS Sports’ are potential first-round draft picks, including Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas, UCLA outside linebacker Takkarist McKinley, Washington wide receiver John Ross, Washington cornerback Sidney Jones and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey.
The 2017 NFL Draft will take place from April 27th to April 29th in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and will be televised on ESPN and ESPN2, as well as on the NFL Network. The Cleveland Browns have the first overall pick in the draft, where they are projected to select Texas A&M defensive end, Myles Garrett.