In addition to his Senior Bowl invitation, Duke receiver Conner Vernon has received an invitation to the NFL combine. The combine, which will be held Feb. 20-26 in Indianapolis, only invites players who have a realistic chance of being drafted. Should Vernon hear his named called during April’s NFL draft, he will be the first Duke wide receiver taken since Clarkston Hines was taken by the Buffalo Bills in the ninth round of the 1990 draft.
The last player to be drafted directly from Duke was offensive tackle Ben Strojny, who was chosen in seventh round by the New York Giants in 2004. Ben Patrick, a tight end for the Arizona Cardinals, played three years at Duke before transferring to Delaware. He was drafted in the seventh round of the 2007 draft.
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said Vernon is likely a fourth or fifth round pick.
Vernon, a four-year starter, caught 283 passes for 3,749 yards and 21 touchdowns. He left Duke as the ACC career record holder for catches and receiving yardage. Laura Keeley