Linebacker Bruce Taylor, wide receivers Marcus Davis and Corey Fuller and offensive tackles Nick Becton and Vinston Painter accepted invitations to participate in the week-long showcase for potential NFL draft picks in Indianapolis from Feb. 20-26.
Combine invitations are usually only given to players who have a chance to be drafted. According to NFLDraftScout.com , Taylor, who came back from a Lisfranc injury in 2011 to make 76 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks his senior year, is the No. 10 inside linebacker prospect in the class.
Davis finished with 953 receiving yards, nine shy of Andre Davis‘ single-season record at Virginia Tech. He also had five touchdowns. Fuller, who took on a bigger role when D.J. Coles went out with a season-ending knee injury, put up a surprising 815 yards and a team-high six receiving touchdowns, playing his way into consideration at the next level.
They’re ranked as the No. 25 and 28 receivers, respectively, in the draft field by NFLDraftScout.com.
Becton and Painter were constants on the left and right sides of Virginia Tech’s injury-ravaged offensive line, quietly putting together solid seasons. NFLDraftScout.com lists them as the No. 24 and 51 tackles in the class.
Davis is projected as a sixth-rounder by the website, which has Taylor and Fuller as 6th or 7th rounders. Becton’s listed as a possible 7th round pick/free agent and Painter isn’t listed with any projection, although all of that could change with a solid showing in the combine, where NFL general managers, coaches and scouts scour talent prior to the draft.
Three more Hokies underclassmen — quarterback Logan Thomas, defensive end James Gayle and cornerback Antone Exum — could get invites if they decide to forgo their senior season and submit their name in the draft. They have until Jan. 15 to do so.
Four Hokies were invited to last year’s combine — running back David Wilson, cornerback Jayron Hosley and wide receivers Danny Coale and Jarrett Boykin. The first three were drafted and Boykin latched on with the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent, making the team’s roster.
An official list for the 2013 combine should be released later this month or in early February.