He's ranked in the top ten at quarterback by most scouting services, and though this year's QB class won't set the historical pace, you'd think a senior season with 2,800 passing yards and 27 touchdowns would be enough for Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton to get a combine invitation, especially since the five quarterbacks ranked below him on NFLDraftScout.com's list are all going to Indianapolis.
It's the most recent setback in a college career that has seen Crompton go through a lot, including five different offenses during his time as a Vol. In 2008, he was benched after four games because he completed about half his passes behind a line blown out by injuries and average receiver talent to throw to.
In his senior season, he started out rough, but came around after early sub-par starts against UCLA and Florida. In his final 10 games, he completed 179 passes in 311 attempts for 2,381 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions. And he didn't do it against patsies -- he was 21-of-36 for 265 yards and a touchdown against Alabama, 20-of-37 for 176 yards and two TDs against Ole Miss, and 15-of-26 for 235 yards, a touchdown and a pick against Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. And he did all that when learning a new pro-style offense put together by Lane "What, Me Worry?" Kiffin.
There aren't any severe scouting dings against Crompton except for the kind of maddening inconsistency common to quarterbacks who are bounced through system after system (hello, Jason Campbell(notes)). He's got the size (6-foot-3, 222), the arm, the mobility, and the experience to, at the least, be a real steal in the mid-to-late rounds. So how is it that he doesn't get a combine invite when guys like Armanti Edwards of Appalachian State and Tim Hiller of Western Michigan, who are projected as low-round picks or undrafted free agents, will be making the trip next week?
We're not saying that Crompton is up there with Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen, but is he really that far behind? Only those who select for the combine seem to think so. NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Rob Rang told me that "Crompton is this year's biggest snub. The only rationale I can give for his not being invited to the Combine is that the scouts with the greatest influence went through Tennessee early in the year or are basing their opinion on his performance in the past. His massive improvement in the second half of the season when combined with his ideal measureables make him a legitimate draftable commodity."
Crompton may be the most nebulous talent in this quarterback class outside of Tim Tebow, but he'll have to wait until March 17, when Tennessee holds their pro day, to show more for the NFL teams who liked what they saw in the Texas vs. the Nation All-Star game.