The NFL Combine is this week, and Iowa football player Nick Easley is nowhere to be seen despite catching more than 100 passes in his two-year career.
This isn’t exactly an unusual circumstance for Iowa football player Nick Easley who is once again being overlooked as he prepares for what is hopefully a shot at the NFL. With the NFL Combine taking place this week, only four Iowa football players will be in attendance, and they are all four of the Hawk’s early entrants. You won’t find senior offensive lineman Keegan Render or Ross Reynolds anywhere in Indianapolis, and you certainly won’t find Outback Bowl MVP, Nick Easley, either.
For whatever reason, this guy just continues to be doubted at every single level. Coming out of high school, he chose to go play junior college football at Iowa Western after receiving one offer at a D2 school for punting. Coming out of Iowa Western after being an All-American, Easley received zero power-five scholarship offers so he decided to walk on with the Iowa football team. Two years later after starting every single game at wide receiver for the Hawks and tallying 103 receptions (good for 20th all-time in Hawkeyes history), Easley is again being overlooked. This time by the NFL.
While an invite to the NFL Combine isn’t everything, it certainly doesn’t hurt. It’s a guaranteed opportunity in front of every single team to compete against other top wide receivers around the country. It’s just fantastic exposure especially for a guy who continues to fly under the radar like Nick Easley.
Fortunately, though, Easley does have one opportunity to show NFL scouts what he can do. As it stands today, according to NFL.com, the Iowa football program’s pro day will be March 25th, and with so much talent between the Hawkeye’s four early entrants, there will be plenty of scouts in attendance meaning. This will be Nick Easley’s chance to show what he can do, and based on historical numbers, he’s going to be the talk of the town after March 25th much like former Iowa football player Riley McCarron was after running a blazing sub 4.4 40-yard dash time.
Reportedly, Easley had some blazing fast times of his own during Iowa’s off-season training program leading into his senior season. As I mentioned in an article for Predominantly Orange, Easley ran a program-record 3.77 pro agility, had a 39.5-inch vertical jump (which would have been second best among wide receivers at last year’s combine, and ran a 1.46 second 10-yard split. Those are incredible times, and if he is able to put together a 40-yard dash below 4.5 seconds, we could see Easley begin to rise up draft boards.
Outside of athleticism, his tape is pretty outstanding (here is a cutup of every single Easley catch) considering the Iowa football offense doesn’t exactly showcase wide receivers. He’s a smart, hard-working player, who is diligent about his craft. Moreover, he’s not one to drop a ball.
According to PFF, he had the second lowest drop rate in all of the Big Ten this season.
The Draft Network’s Jon Ledyard even wrote a little bit about Easley after he continued to stand out to Ledyard when he was trying to scout Noah Fant and TJ Hockenson. That’s how impressive his game is.
Although not being invited to the NFL Combine is a minor setback, personally, I think that it will just be another piece of motivation for the senior wide receiver from Newton, Iowa.
Do you know another guy that wasn’t invited to the combine who went on to have a pretty decent career? Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman. Funny enough, that’s also what my lazy pro comparison would be for Easley. Edelman is incredibly quick, has sure hands, and serves as a slot receiver in New England’s offense much like Nick Easley will when he heads to the NFL.
I don’t know about you, but I am certainly excited to see what this young man can do in just a few weeks at Iowa’s Pro Day, and I am incredibly excited to watch him continue to prove talent evaluators wrong at the next level.