Invitations to the NFL Scouting Combine are reserved for the most talented college players pursuing a career at the professional level. It’s a pretty exclusive group that gets the opportunity to improve its draft stock one final time.

Still, it’s pretty puzzling that Maryland linebacker Tre Watson didn’t receive an invite to this week’s combine.

Watson was one of the conference’s best all-around defenders in 2018. He registered 114 tackles (fourth in the B1G) and five interceptions (first in B1G) in his only season with the Terrapins. For most of the year, Watson was overlooked as one of the top linebackers in the league.

And it happened again in the offseason. Not only did Watson get snubbed from the NFL Combine, he wasn’t given an invitation to the Senior Bowl. But his omission from both events is just adding more fuel to his fire.

“I always have something to prove,” Watson told BTN’s Rick Pizzo. “I always feel like there’s another level to achieve. Not getting a Senior Bowl invite, only playing in the Shrine Game, and not getting a combine invite, those stick with me. I’m a competitor at the end of the day and I feel like I’m the best linebacker there is going into the draft. It’s just more to add on to my plate.”

Before his stellar senior season at Maryland, Watson spent the three previous seasons at Illinois, where he was still one of the top linebackers. In his four years in the B1G, Watson tallied 302 tackles, 13 stops for loss and six intercecptions.

Though Watson didn’t get an invitation to the NFL Combine, he said that most of the feedback he received at the Shrine Game and throughout the offseason has been positive. And he believes his versatility — the ability to play linebacker and potentially defensive back — makes him an attractive player in this year’s draft.

Given the opportunity to make a pitch to NFL GMs out there, Watson sells himself as a confident and talented player who can make a difference on the field.

“I would say ‘If you draft Tre Watson, you’re getting someone who is unlike anyone else,'” Watson told Pizzo. “My competitive drive and passion for the game are unlike anyone. My drive to get better and to contribute to a team in any capacity, no matter how big or how small, are unrivaled.

“You’re going to get someone who’s just going to compete and do everything I can to help the team be successful at the end of the day.”