There's been almost as much talk this week about the players who weren't invited to the NFL scouting combine than the more than 300 prospects who will be at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The NFL's decision to not extend combine invites to Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon and quarterback Chad Kelly, two players who have had significant off-the-field issues, has been criticized by several team officials around the league.
However, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he agrees with the "premise" and respects the message the league is sending.
"Our job as a coach, or a scouting staff, is to turn over every stone, to find out everything we can about every single guy, regardless of whether they're here at the combine or not, for whatever reason," Harbaugh said Wednesday during a morning news conference at the Indiana convention center. "We respect the NFL's priorities and what they're trying to accomplish, and the statement that's being made with that policy. And also our job is to turn over every stone on every player, and we'll do that on all of those guys."
Mixon, who some draft evaluators consider a first-round talent, punched a female student in 2014, an action that was caught on tape. Kelly, a potential early to mid-round pick, was arrested after he got into a physical altercation with two bouncers at a Buffalo nightclub in 2014, and reportedly threatened to return to the fray with a gun. He eventually pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.
Teams do thorough interviews of draft prospects at the combine and also evaluate how players hold up to questions from reporters. Some coaches or executives around the league believe that in not inviting players with significant off-the-field questions, it prevents teams from evaluating them as thoroughly as they'd like.
Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn called it "really disappointing" that Mixon won't be in Indianapolis this week. Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht was a little more diplomatic during his Wednesday news conference, but said it would have been ideal for Mixon and Kelly to be available for interviews this week.
"We're going to have to use resources now, but that's how they want to do it and I'm not going to argue with it," Licht said. "That's the process. But we have a good vetting process that I'm very comfortable with in our organization, with my staff and we'll vet every single player."
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti has said on several occasions after the Ray Rice fallout that the team would not add a player with domestic violence in his background. That will leave Mixon off the team's draft board come April.