The Stanford football program will still have two representatives in this year’s NFL Combine despite what was a lackluster season for the team.
The Stanford football team didn’t have much to cheer about in 2019. After finishing with eight or more wins for 10 consecutive seasons, the Cardinal took a major step back last year finishing with a woeful 4-8 record.
Injuries decimated what was an already thin roster to begin with and the team’s inexperience eventually caught up to them. But just because Stanford underachieved in 2019 doesn’t mean that they didn’t have a few notable standouts on the roster.
In years past, Stanford has typically been well-represented in the NFL Draft. Last season, five Cardinal players heard their names called on draft day with four more the year before.
In fact, you’d have to go back all the way to 2009 to find the last year that no Stanford player was selected in the draft. This year, the hope is that at least one player will be called upon by the NFL with a decent chance that two will be drafted.
And those two hopefuls will have their chance to improve their draft stock at this year’s NFL Combine. Two Stanford players were invited to Indianapolis this season, that being tight end Colby Parkinson and edge rusher Casey Toohill.
Parkinson is undoubtedly the bigger name of the two and the junior was in the conversation to be top tight end in the country before putting together a somewhat disappointing 2019 season that was impeded by inconsistent quarterback play.
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Nonetheless, Parkinson is expected to be drafted come April and his showing at the Combine could go a long way to determining just how early he goes.
Toohill, on the other hand, isn’t exactly a surprise invite, but it wouldn’t have been shocking if he didn’t make it either. The fifth-year senior is a classic Stanford player with a high-motor and limited athleticism but he put up solid numbers in his final collegiate season.
Starting all 12 games, Toohill managed a career-high eight sacks and 57 tackles establishing himself as a possible Day 3 draft choice. With a better-than-expected showing at the Combine, don’t be surprised if teams take notice of the unheralded edge rusher.
In reality, perhaps Stanford’s two best and most NFL-ready prospects won’t even be attending the Combine this year. Both cornerback Paulson Adebo and offensive tackle Walker Little decided to return to college to continue their Stanford careers instead of turning pro early.
Little’s decision wasn’t a surprise given that he missed essentially all of last season with a knee injury.
However, Adebo’s decision to return for his senior season was unexpected as the talented defensive back entered the year as a likely first-rounder and still was considered a fringe first-round talent at the conclusion of the year.
Nonetheless, both he and Little will look to improve their draft stocks in 2020 and we’ll likely be seeing both of them in Indianapolis around this time next year.
The Stanford football program isn’t going to be as represented in the NFL Draft as they typically are, but look for Parkinson and Toohill to do everything they can to elevate their draft stock in Indianapolis.