Left Out in the Cold: Carson Steele, Khristian Boyd, and Others Not Invited to NFL Combine

Carson Steele and Khristian Boyd headline the list of NFL Draft prospects who were shockingly omitted from the 2024 NFL Combine invites list.

The full list of invitees to the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine has been released, and some surprising names are missing from the participants at the annual athletic testing event.

Being invited to the NFL Combine allows players to speak to NFL teams and compete in workouts. The event is a chance for players to prove their onfield abilities in workouts, while it is a key tool for teams who can compare prospects and gain valuable medical insights.

2024 NFL Combine Snubs | Offense

Not all 2024 NFL Draft prospects have been lucky enough to be invited. While 321 players have made the official list, several surprising names were snubbed from the annual athletic testing event.

Who warranted an invite to the 2024 NFL Combine but unfortunately won’t be in attendance in Indianapolis?

Joshua Cephus, WR, UTSA

After an impressive week at the Shrine Bowl, former UTSA wide receiver Joshua Cephus has shockingly not been invited to the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine.

The stand-out WR is one of the most productive names missing from the full list of Combine invites, as he enters the 2024 NFL Draft after the best season of his career, having reeled in 89 receptions for 1,151 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Cephus isn’t blessed with blazing speed, but he shows enough quickness to get vertical downfield and strong ball tracking to compete at the catch point and get yards after the catch.

While the former Roadrunner is only 6’2” and 189 pounds, Cephus consistently shows physicality, and his toughness is exemplified by his high-effort blocking ability.

Carson Steele, RB, UCLA

There haven’t been many running backs more productive than UCLA’s Carson Steele in recent seasons. He’s amassed 3,294 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns in three seasons — two with Ball State, one with UCLA — but he has surprisingly not received a Combine invite.

At 6’1” and 225 pounds, Steele has a large frame that gives him great contact balance and strength. The former UCLA RB is a workhorse who grinds opponents down with his tough and gritty play style. That physicality shows up in pass protection, where he should immediately be able to see the field in the NFL.

Blake Watson, RB, Memphis

Blake Watson started his college career with Old Dominion. However, due to redshirt years and the COVID pandemic, he didn’t get his shot until 2021.

Nevertheless, when Watson has been on the field the last three seasons, the Memphis RB has been nothing short of electric. The dynamic rusher has explosive twitch while displaying agility, anticipation, and vision that made him one of the most exciting players to watch on the Tigers’ offense in 2023.

Watson doesn’t have the top-end speed downfield, but he does have the explosive short-area movement to make defenders miss. A surprise omission from the NFL Combine invites, Watson could be a sleeper the NFL has overlooked.

Carter Bradley, QB, South Alabama

The son of Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, Carter Bradley does several things right. He has the archetypal quarterback frame, while his arm strength has proven to be good enough.

MORE: Top QBs in the 2024 NFL Draft

The former South Alabama quarterback’s play had been enough to bag him an initial invite to the Hula Bowl. His performances there facilitated a call-up to the Senior Bowl, so his snub from the NFL Combine list comes as a surprise.

McCallan Castles, TE, Tennessee

McCallan Castles displayed his talent at the Shrine Bowl and has been featured as a Day 3 pick in multiple 2024 NFL Mock Drafts. Therefore, his omission from the 2024 NFL Combine list is a stunner.

At 6’4” and 249 pounds, Castles’ frame is good enough to hold up at the NFL level, and his strength profile could make him an adequate in-line TE. A better blocker than a receiver, the Tennessee TE was rarely featured as a pass catcher, but when he got the ball, good things happened.

Honorable Mentions

  • Jason Bean, QB, Kansas
  • Jabari Small, RB, Tennessee
  • Je’Quan Burton, WR, FAU
  • Travis Glover, OT, Georgia State
  • Donovan Jennings, OT, USF

2024 NFL Combine Snubs | Defense

Khristian Boyd, DT, Northern Illinois

UNI defensive tackle Khristian Boyd was named PFN’s Defensive Player of the Week at the 2024 Shrine Bowl, so his exclusion from the NFL Combine is a huge shock.

Physical, powerful but athletic, Boyd put on a show in Frisco. With his disruptive presence through the interior and his abundance of skill moves, he’s expected to be a player from a lower level of competition who goes to the NFL and thrives. The NFL may have dropped the ball when leaving this mauler off the list.

Kenny Logan, S, Kansas

While considered undersized at 5’10”, Kenny Logan has long arms that give him upside playing in zone coverage at the next level.

Logan’s instincts, paired with his ball skills, make him a menace at the catch point. However, his frame limitations mean he can be overwhelmed with physicality, which may worry NFL teams.

Jowon Briggs, DT, Cincinnati

Jowon Briggs is a versatile defensive lineman with a willing motor who thrives as a run blocker. He eats gaps up when defending the run from across the line.

However, at 6’1” and 320 pounds, along with his play style, Briggs has proven to be more of a tweener, and he doesn’t have the pass-rushing production or skill set to translate instantly to the NFL.

Omar Speights, LB, LSU

An experienced linebacker, Omar Speights has also been left off the 2024 NFL Combine list. With an aggressive demeanor, he has the effort and mentality that NFL coaches love. He flashes burst and creativity chasing runners and the flexibility to maneuver traffic.

Speights’ problems, however, stem from his size. At 6’0” and 229 pounds, he doesn’t have the length or strength to be functional as a pass rusher, and he can be overwhelmed in coverage by big-bodied receivers.

Qwan’tez Stiggers, CB, Toronto Argonauts

Cornerback Qwan’tez Stiggers has had a unique journey to the 2024 NFL Draft. He played 16 games in the CFL last season, having been recruited from a 7-on-7 league in Canada.

Stiggers played impressively enough that he accepted an invite to the 2024 Shrine Bowl, leaving Frisco as one of the biggest risers from the event.

MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Big Board

His sticky coverage ability saw him excel in 1-on-1s, and many expected NFL teams to want to take a closer look at him following his excellent Shrine Bowl display.

Honorable Mentions

  • Evan Anderson, DT, FAU
  • Grayson Murphy, EDGE, UCLA
  • Luke Reimer, LB, Nebraska
  • Quinton Newsome, CB, Nebraska
  • Thomas Harper, S, Notre Dame

All the 2024 NFL Draft resources you need — the draft order, the top QBs, the Top 100 prospects, and the full 2024 Big Board — right at your fingertips at Pro Football Network!

Listen to the PFN Scouting Podcast

Listen to the PFN Scouting Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Scouting Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Scouting Podcast on our Scouting YouTube channel.

Join the Conversation!

Related Articles