319 NFL draft prospects were invited to the National Scouting Combine, which is scheduled for next week.
The list consisted of players that were automatically pinned to get one, some surprises, and quite a few that weren’t invited, leaving some scratching their heads.
Even though there are plenty of prospects that didn’t get the nod, it doesn’t mean that they won’t be getting drafted come April, or go on to have great NFL careers.
Los Angeles’ scouting department and front office have all been doing their homework since the start of August, so they are very familiar with all the talent out there.
With that being said, here are five Combine snubs who should be on the Bolts’ radar.
The Chargers don’t have a lot of valuable depth behind Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack and Thompson is a guy worth targeting on Day 3 to fulfill that. Thompson ran a 4.56 40, recorded an 11’3″ broad jump with a 40-inch vertical last offseason, and the freakish athleticism is evident on the field. Thompson wins with first-step explosiveness, speed, bend, and his 82.5-inch wingspan. He finished with 25.5 tackles for loss and 18.5 sacks in three seasons. Had he been invited to the Combine, he would have blown up the testing, and it would’ve helped his draft stock significantly.
With Drue Tranquill and Troy Reeder set to hit the free agency market, the Chargers need to add depth at the linebacker position, and Thomas would be a welcome addition. Thomas is on the smaller side at 5-foot-11 and 227 pounds but plays bigger than the measurements. He is a rangy athlete and field general who always plays with his hair on fire, with sure tackling skills and blitzing ability. Thomas, the team captain of the Wolfpack defense, amassed 292 tackles, 46 tackles for loss, 19 sacks, and four interceptions in four seasons.
The Chargers need offensive line depth this offseason, and the group could benefit from Mafi. Just three years ago, Mafi was playing nose tackle for the Bruins. After making the position change to guard, Mafi still imposed his will, as he consistently pancaked defenders and held rushers at bay. The former rugby player is a bully with great feet and a strong anchor. Mafi finished with an 88.3 run-blocking grade in his only full season as a starter in 2022. Even though he won’t be at the Combine, Mafi could be a steal on Day 3 of the draft.
The Chargers could be losing Morgan Fox in free agency, which means that the defensive tackle group would need another pass-rush presence from the interior. Brooks lined up as an edge defender in college and still became one of the most dominant players in the Group of Five, racking up 46 tackles for loss and 27.5 sacks in five seasons. Brooks shifted to his natural position inside at the Senior Bowl, where he was unblockable, winning with his size, quickness off the snap and a good repertoire of initial pass-rush moves.
Mapu’s name was not on the map, but then he looked like one of the best players at the NFLPA Bowl, which got him a late invite to the Senior Bowl. In Mobile, he carried that momentum to put together a solid week. Mapu wore many hats in Sacramento State’s defense, playing nickel safety, linebacker and single-high safety. With a combination of size, versatility and athleticism, Mapu is a physical run defender and solid in pass coverage against tight ends and slot receivers. With his ability to play all over the field, Mapu would be a great fit in Brandon Staley’s defense. Mapu finished his collegiate career with 22 passed defended, 13 tackles for loss and seven interceptions.