Virginia Tech’s worst season in 20 years doesn’t appear to have had an effect on the NFL prospects for some of its top seniors. Five draft-eligible Hokies indicated on Twitter this week that they have been invited to participate in the NFL scouting combine next month.
Linebacker Bruce Taylor, wide receivers Marcus Davis and Corey Fuller, and tackles Vinston Painter and Nick Becton have all accepted early invitations to be a part of the NFL’s annual week-long showcase for potential draft picks in Indianapolis.
The NFL only invites players who have a chance to be drafted, which is a good sign for these five Hokies.
Despite earning some negative attention because of his blocking, Davis was just nine yards shy of breaking Virginia Tech’s school record for single-season receiving yards this season, ending the year with 51 catches for 953 yards. Fuller, meanwhile, emerged from his brothers’ shadows this season and his speed has increasingly intrigued NFL scouts. He had 43 catches for 815 yards.
According to CBSports.com, Davis and Fuller are the No. 25 and No. 28 wide receiver prospects in this year’s field and could be sixth- or seventh-round selections.
Taylor, an inside linebacker, finished with 76 tackles and a team-high 5.5 sacks after returning from a Lisfranc injury to his foot that limited him to eight games as a junior. He is projected as a late-round draft pick.
Becton and Painter were the only two offensive linemen to start every game for Virginia Tech this season. Both have the physical attributes that should entice NFL front office personnel – Becton, a left tackle, is listed at 6 feet 6 and 317 pounds; Painter, a right tackle, is 6-6 and 309 pounds. Becton is the more highly rated of two, projected as a sixth-round draft choice by CBSports.com after grading out at better than 80 percent in every game this season.
Quarterback Logan Thomas, cornerback Antone Exum and defensive end James Gayle could also receive invitations to the combine should they decide to forgo their senior seasons and declare for the draft before Jan. 15. All three sat down with Coach Frank Beamer on Wednesday after receiving paperwork from the NFL draft advisory board, but none have made final decisions regarding their future.