The NFL Draft Combine is an Overhyped Waste of Time
Honest question: Do any of you actually sit in front of a TV and watch the NFL Draft Combine? Seriously, if you actually watch it, my other question is "Why?"
The event has now grown to the point of it being ludicrously stupid. And to hear most NFL Executives talk about it---it's largely a waste of time.
Read this description from former NFL Exec Jeff Diamond in the Sporting News, it backs up the argument...
Over the years, breathless reports from the NFL Network and ESPN and others have described crazy drill performances from a variety of well coached athletes vying for attention and a job.
It took almost 20-years for NFL Teams to figure out performing well in drills on a field in front of a handful of people in Indianapolis did not always translate into NFL success.
Really you can trace the events explosion in popularity to 1995 when former Boston College DE Mike Mamula trained specifically for speed, explosion and strength and went off the charts. He became the star of that years combine which translated to a half-dozen unspectacular and nondescript seasons in the league.
His workout led agents to figure out if a player could run a 4.3, 40-yard dash or bench press 225 pounds more than 20-times, the better the athletes draft position would be.
Think about it.
Over the past two decades, there have been guys like Wide Receivers John Ross or Stephen Hill who really did run 4.3 40's, neither have done much other than run fast in the NFL. In Hill's case, he did almost nothing before getting cut and hasn't been seen or heard from since.
Executive's call the Combine the "Underwear Olympics" and arguably it's a highly accurate description. Players get measured and weighed to see their actual height and weight, they get detailed physicals and medical testing to see if there are issues their respective schools might have missed.
And strangely, those measurements often determine draft position.
Then there are the drills. The 40, shuttle runs, vertical leaps. There are passing drills for the Quarterbacks, throwing to the Receivers with no pressure or coverage. There are blocking drills for the lineman and the defensive backs back pedal, crossover and do phantom coverage drills.
Which if you think about it, those drills really don't tell you a thing other than the player is good at drills.
Just because a Quarterback stands 6-5, can run a 4.5 40-yard dash and throw a football 60 yards without pressure, doesn't necessarily translate into instant NFL stardom.
But they look good on TV, look good in the vastness of the stadium.
If you really want to find out if someone can play football at an elite level, look at their College Tape. These days most every game at every level is on video and can be found. It will give you an idea of what a kid can do in game situations.
Heck, anything done at the Combine can change 180-degrees if you can't duplicate the performance at your school Pro Day. That's where scouts and executives will get their best reads on a player.
Think about it, if you read the article I mentioned earlier, Diamond says the biggest takeaway from the Combine is the Interview time, the time spent one-on-one with the player without others around.
It's the ability to get a feel for what a kid is like, understand the personality and where they come from is a better measuring stick than anything you'll see on the Indianapolis turf during the first weekend in March.
No, it won't stop the 8,000 Draft Experts from making huge changes to their "Mock" Draft lists.
We'll get to read about Mel Kiper's Draft Projections, version 4.7 or version 7.5 of some other random so-called "Expert".
The NFL Draft has become one hell of a big business as have the events leading up to it. The Combine serves as a huge promotional opportunity and way for the league to keep their name in the headlines during the Spring when Baseball and Basketball traditionally dominate the News Cycles.
That I understand because really, at the end of the day it is all about year around promotion---isn't it??