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ESPN’s Mel Kiper’s second 2019 NFL Mock Draft has Los Angeles Rams taking combine absentee

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Could the Rams spend the #31 pick on a player that won’t even be at the combine?

DXL Frisco Bowl - Louisiana Tech v SMU Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Next week, the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine begins. As of today, 338 prospects will be in Indianapolis to work out, get tested, and talk to teams and media in the most important event of the pre-draft process leading to 2019 NFL Draft.

But in ESPN’s Mel Kiper’s newest mock draft (behind the ESPN+ paywall), he has the Los Angeles Rams taking a player that won’t be at the combine:

#31.) Louisiana Tech EDGE Jaylon Ferguson

Ferguson was in the news last week after his combine invite was rescinded when it was revealed he was convicted of simple battery his freshman year. That shouldn’t hurt his draft stock, and he’s expected to be able to undergo medical evaluations for teams. Ferguson (6-5, 260) had 45 sacks in his four-year career -- including 17.5 last season -- and set the FBS record for most sacks. He could add some weight and play end in Wade Phillips’ 3-4 defense.

Ferguson got into a fight at a McDonalds his freshman year resulting in the battery charge. It really wasn’t anything major as he got a $189 fine as the only result, and the altercation happened before he began his playing career. Ultimately though, it means he won’t be at the combine.

So for this mock, I’m just thinking in terms of the combine. How much does it matter that prospects make it to Indy? Kiper says his absence “shouldn’t” push him down boards, but is it unavoidable?

The Rams have just one pick in the first 93 selections in the draft: #31. Could they use it on a player that won’t even be in Indy even with the promise his tape shows?