The NFL combine is pretty much useless, imo.

Discuss your thoughts about anything draft related. Mocks, College and Pro. Knock yourselves out!!! RATING: PG-13
  • Imo its a tool for bad GM's. The only thing I would even go for, were I a GM, would be for the interviews. Other then that it's useless. I dont care about 40 times, or bench press or wonderlik scores. You find good football players by watching them play football and talking to their coaches. The rest is just meaningless numbers that jumbles the process. Imo.
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    JSeahawks
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  • Have never paid enough attention to it to understand if it made much of a difference. Would be pretty cool to see what players improved their stock from it and how successful they were.
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  • I think it's a bigger deal for smaller school prospects or lesser known talent, the big stars(lock 1st rounders) sit out or don't participate. I do think it's a bit of a dog and pony show though.
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  • If you read Pete Williams' book about the draft, the "cramming" done at Athlete's performance (and others)
    in order to use tricks to jump higher, long jump further, etc. makes it not much of a true athletic test.
    It makes it not a test of football playing at all.

    I'm not quite as hard on the combine as you seem to be though. I certainly can't talk to coaches and though
    I watch far more college than pro football, I still can't see everybody. Especially small schools.

    It provides an accurate measurement of a player (5'10 5/8") and , because of a lack of football this time of year,
    I find it entertaining.

    I do wish, however, that the talking heads would talk about something other than just the first round and not
    confine their player discussion to just the media favorites. I heard Luck and RG III talk last year to the point
    of nausea. They can also not interview Jerry Jones again (and again) and I will die a happy man.

    I sort of dropped the thread of your post though, it was not about what I have available but what NFL teams
    have available. Given that, you're probably right, save only the interviews and height/weight measurements.
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  • Every scout/GM I've ever heard talk about his process has said that the vast majority of their evaluation is based on tape. Rarely, you'll see someone do something freakish at the combine that will change the perception of his potential (guys like Walter Jones, Jason Smith, JPP, Dontari Poe, and Bruce Irvin are some examples). And sometimes you'll see a player kill his stock with a bad combine (Vontaze Burfict, Tom Brady, Chris Polk (allegedly interviewed poorly)). But those are the exceptions, not the rule. For the most part, a prospect's status isn't impacted much from the Combine.

    I love the combine though. It's kind of like the preseason for the draft.

    And I will also say that the combine definitely has it's uses. I'll list some examples:

    #1: Field speed is often difficult to judge on tape. Some players are "sneaky fast." I thought Bobby Wagner was solidly fast, but he wasn't explosive fast. Then he runs a low 4.4's. That's really handy for me as a blogger because I know that Pete prefers fast linebackers, but a lot of times it's hard to tell the difference between 4.4 and 4.6 on film unless the guy is really explosive. Having that list of 40 times helped me highlight Korey Toomer on the blog before he became our 5th round pick. Sure, some players are track fast and not field fast, but if a guy runs a really great time, you can always go back and double check to see if there was something you weren't seeing before. Often there is.

    #2: Basic measurables such as height, weight, arm length, and hand size. These are really important numbers to know, and schools are notorious for giving out wildly inaccurate numbers, off by as much as 2 inches of height or 20 pounds of weight. Hand size is considered fairly critical to QB success and can't be scientifically judged from film. Arm length is crucial for offensive and defensive lineman, and can be at times difficult to judge from film (I thought Ezekiel Ansah looked like he had stubby arms on video, and then he measured 34"). It's good to have all those measurements taken at one place so you know the measuring was done correctly and officially.

    #3: Speed drills help separate top prospects. Maybe you want to know who the better edge rusher is between Dion Jordan and Damontre Moore? That's hard to tell since they don't play side to side. But events like the 40 yard dash (10 yard split), 3 cone, and short shuttle help illuminate which is the more nimble player. That doesn't mean you should draft a crappy player because he's 5% better in gym shoes, but in such an extremely competitive field, something as small as a 5% advantage matters more than you might think.

    #4: It provides a centralized area to conduct massive amounts of interviews while drawing relatively minimal attention. JS interviewed Russell Wilson at the Senior Bowl- and it was reported. His interviews at the combine were much more numerous and weren't fully reported on (to my knowledge). Interviews are extremely important and good players have been taken off draft boards for giving bad ones. Teams view draft picks like business decisions, and a player interview really is in effect a job interview. The interview process is a huge reason for Seattle's success- because it helps them find those highly competitive, chip on the shoulder types (Sherman, Baldwin, Lane), and sort out the ones who are not.

    Again, the idea that the combine makes or breaks players is essentially a myth, propagated by a handful of such stories every year out of hundreds of participants. That said, it certainly has a ton of use, and I do not think PC/JS's legacy would be as great today without it. It provides very useful information for those who know how to properly use it.
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  • I think the combine is useless for fans, but fun to watch.

    The Combine is a job interview over 3 days, with tests that measure the nerves as much as anything. A shitty result in a drill might not matter as much as the response to the result.

    Also, Draftmetrics suggest that successful players do fall into certain combine performance parameters. Those vary by position, but matter a little bit, to at least set the performance floor for a prospect.

    But the parts we don't see, the medical poking and prodding and the interviews are probably the best part of the process for good teams.

    BTW, look down the list of Seattle draft picks and UDFA's from the last two drafts and measure it against the list of players from the all star games. Shrine, Senior, Texas Vs Nation. That is where Seattle looks for talent. I think it is because it easier to measure competitiveness.
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  • The #1 MOST important thing that occurs during the combine is the Medical evaluations.

    The NFL polled all the clubs and had them list the top 5 most important aspects of the combine a few years back.

    The top 2 responses were unanomous:

    #1- Medical evaluations
    #2- Interviews
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  • I think it's a little bit of a 'hipster' style opinion to argue its 'useless'. For me it's a valuable tool. You see a guy you haven't watched tape on run a 4.3 and then you go back and have a look. He might be useless on tape, or he might be Chris Johnson capable of a 2000 yard season. I'd barely heard of Johnson Pre-combine. It's also good to qualify athletic talent or cast doubts. Tavon Austin might run a 4.5 and you start to wonder if he's another Dexter McCluster. It might not be pure football and some drills are pointless, but it has a use.
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  • kearly wrote:Every scout/GM I've ever heard talk about his process has said that the vast majority of their evaluation is based on tape. Rarely, you'll see someone do something freakish at the combine that will change the perception of his potential (guys like Walter Jones, Jason Smith, JPP, Dontari Poe, and Bruce Irvin are some examples). And sometimes you'll see a player kill his stock with a bad combine (Vontaze Burfict, Tom Brady, Chris Polk (allegedly interviewed poorly)). But those are the exceptions, not the rule. For the most part, a prospect's status isn't impacted much from the Combine.

    I love the combine though. It's kind of like the preseason for the draft.

    And I will also say that the combine definitely has it's uses. I'll list some examples:

    #1: Field speed is often difficult to judge on tape. Some players are "sneaky fast." I thought Bobby Wagner was solidly fast, but he wasn't explosive fast. Then he runs a low 4.4's. That's really handy for me as a blogger because I know that Pete prefers fast linebackers, but a lot of times it's hard to tell the difference between 4.4 and 4.6 on film unless the guy is really explosive. Having that list of 40 times helped me highlight Korey Toomer on the blog before he became our 5th round pick. Sure, some players are track fast and not field fast, but if a guy runs a really great time, you can always go back and double check to see if there was something you weren't seeing before. Often there is.

    #2: Basic measurables such as height, weight, arm length, and hand size. These are really important numbers to know, and schools are notorious for giving out wildly inaccurate numbers, off by as much as 2 inches of height or 20 pounds of weight. Hand size is considered fairly critical to QB success and can't be scientifically judged from film. Arm length is crucial for offensive and defensive lineman, and can be at times difficult to judge from film (I thought Ezekiel Ansah looked like he had stubby arms on video, and then he measured 34"). It's good to have all those measurements taken at one place so you know the measuring was done correctly and officially.

    #3: Speed drills help separate top prospects. Maybe you want to know who the better edge rusher is between Dion Jordan and Damontre Moore? That's hard to tell since they don't play side to side. But events like the 40 yard dash (10 yard split), 3 cone, and short shuttle help illuminate which is the more nimble player. That doesn't mean you should draft a crappy player because he's 5% better in gym shoes, but in such an extremely competitive field, something as small as a 5% advantage matters more than you might think.

    #4: It provides a centralized area to conduct massive amounts of interviews while drawing relatively minimal attention. JS interviewed Russell Wilson at the Senior Bowl- and it was reported. His interviews at the combine were much more numerous and weren't fully reported on (to my knowledge). Interviews are extremely important and good players have been taken off draft boards for giving bad ones. Teams view draft picks like business decisions, and a player interview really is in effect a job interview. The interview process is a huge reason for Seattle's success- because it helps them find those highly competitive, chip on the shoulder types (Sherman, Baldwin, Lane), and sort out the ones who are not.

    Again, the idea that the combine makes or breaks players is essentially a myth, propagated by a handful of such stories every year out of hundreds of participants. That said, it certainly has a ton of use, and I do not think PC/JS's legacy would be as great today without it. It provides very useful information for those who know how to properly use it.


    Excellent post.
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  • They have it for a reason. If it was useless it would have been cancelled by now.
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  • Sherm would agree with you.
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  • I like the part where they make them get their picture took with their shirts off...
    So you're admitting I'm a celeb...
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  • CANHawk wrote:I like the part where they make them get their picture took with their shirts off...



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    cboom wrote:Wilson is the worst QB I have seen as a Hawks fan. And I have been around long enough to see them all.
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  • jlwaters1 wrote:The #1 MOST important thing that occurs during the combine is the Medical evaluations.

    The NFL polled all the clubs and had them list the top 5 most important aspects of the combine a few years back.

    The top 2 responses were unanomous:

    #1- Medical evaluations
    #2- Interviews


    Yes, there's a lot riding on those evaluations. The combine isn't useless though perhaps tweaking some things could make it better. I've heard a few suggestions on the networks this week. Even if some of the drills, etc. seem to be over-hyped... there's probably value in observing how coachable players are and how they go about the business of preparation, etc.
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