Mar. 08, 2017
No, I do not care about the NFL scouting combine
"For the first time, the NFL will bring free, expansive, and interactive fan experiences, including access to Combine drills and press conferences, autographs with NFL Legends, and virtual reality attractions. In addition, a select group of fans will have exclusive opportunity to watch the 2017 NFL Combine live from inside Lucas Oil Stadium."
Folks, this excerpt was found at http://www.nflcombine.net/. I simply googled "NFL scouting combine" and that website is result number one. Just take a moment to read that again and digest some key phrases. "Interactive fan experiences." "Virtual reality attractions." "Exclusive opportunity." Man, what a fool I am. I should've took a couple days of leave and hit up the combine. Sounds like a blast. Yes, I'm trolling the combine. I've never watched it. I've never cared about it. I know it has a 40 yard dash. That is the one event I am sure is involved. Apparently NFL Network's Rich Eisen likes to participate in his studio attire.
One needs only two examples to invalidate the combine. Example number one is Darius Heyward-Bey. In 2009, Darius Heyward-Bey ran a 4.30 at the combine. And Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis proceeded to draft him with the seventh overall pick. 2009 didn't provide the best crop of receivers but perhaps current Raider Michael Crabtree or Jeremy Maclin would've been a better choice. But no. Al Davis had to draft Heyward-Bey based on the NFL scouting combine and a 40 yard dash. Never mind good hands. Never mind route running. Never mind the ability to make a play on the football while it's in the air. All that is required is speed. No pads required. Davis may as well have drafted Jimmie Johnson's car. You can probably guess by my tone that Heyward-Bey hasn't had the best of careers. And you would be correct. He did sniff 1,000 yards in his 3rd year but in his eight seasons hasn't even reached 3,000 career receiving yards. In his last three campaigns with the Steelers, Heyward-Bey has accumulated 30 receptions. He is primarily deployed as a gunner on punt coverage. Which equates to you taking your dog outside and playing fetch.
With that in mind we should not fret about a prospect if his 40 time is underwhelming. Like Heyward-Bey's teammate, RB Le'Veon Bell. You will not find Le'Veon Bell on punt coverage. That's because he's arguably the best running back in football. Combine aficionados still probably can't figure out how Bell has succeeded given his 40 time was a 4.60. Not all that impressive. Especially when Jadeveon Clowney ran a 4.53 as a defensive end/outside linebacker. But Bell has blossomed at the pro level. Despite serving a four-game suspension to begin 2016, the former Michigan State Spartan ranked 5th in the NFL in rushing yards and his 75 receptions were 2nd only to Arizona's David Johnson. Bell's vision and patience are his best attributes as he'll dance behind his offensive line, waiting for a running lane to develop before taking off. And he has more than enough burst to get to open space with the power to run through defenders that get in his way. Good thing Mike Tomlin and the Steelers used the smart portion of their brains in selecting Bell in the second round.
Some of the things being said about players don't even make sense. Apparently Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett can jump really high. Ahh so that's why he's regarded as the draft's top prospect. And here come the Von Miller comparisons. That's right. Von Miller gets so many sacks because he hurdles opposing offensive lineman on his way to the quarterback. What a load of nonsense. The only thing remotely interesting about the combine was that Crimson Tide linebacker Reuben Foster got sent home because he got into an argument with some medical person because the examination was going too slow for Foster. I mean I can't blame him. He was probably so anxious to perform in his brand new, brand name Under Armour outfit on one of Mel Kiper Jr's most important days of the year. I can only imagine the character concerns that NFL teams will debate on the subject of Reuben Foster, who is ranked as the 9th best prospect overall by ESPN's Todd McShay. An NFL general manager worried about Foster's character over soley this matter shouldn't be allowed to run a lemonade stand, much less an NFL franchise.
To be fair, I'm sure the NFL scouting combine is not 100% useless. But it is completely over hyped and overrated.