NFL Draft Combine Next on the AgendaBy James F.
NFL Draft prospects will strut their stuff on Wednesday at the NFL Draft Combine. Whether you are a big “combine” guy or not, the combine is a place that moves players up and down the draft boards. Some say the combine carries too much weight and does not measure whether a guy can play on game day. But others say the combine helps players who played at lesser colleges and gives them a chance to show the scouts what they can do.
I like the combine, but I am a big believer in judging a player on game days. NFL scouts know how to judge talent for the most part. They know who is playing top competition and who isn’t and also who plays with better talent on their side and who doesn’t.But when it comes to drafting quarterbacks, the most important position on the team, they need all the help they can get.
However, we know that what players do on game days is not a foolproof method of predicting NFL success. If it were, there would be no “draft busts”. Ryan Leaf should have been a star judging by his college days. But if NFL GMs had done more homework on him off the field and talked to him and his acquaintances more, then maybe he doesn’t get picked in the first round. So that is where the combine comes into play. Not only do you measure, weigh, time and watch these guys perform, they are given tests to measure what’s under the helmet as well. The are poked, prodded, interviewed etc to try and eliminate Ryan Leaf/Jamarcus Russell/Akili Smith type busts.
Of course, the system is still not fool proof. You still see a Russell Wilson last into the third round while Brandon Weeden and Ryan Tannehill go in the first round. There are still Blaine Gabberts who just don’t have what it takes to quarterback in the NFL.
But since the NFL has used this pre-draft combine, they have really been able to find some diamonds in the rough out there. Who ever heard of Joe Flacco? Or Colin Kaepernick? Also, remember draft days past when guys like Colt McCoy and Brady Quinn sat in the green room forever? These guys were great in college but team after team passed them up. Now we know why. So obviously, these draft combines have some merit. Pay attention to guys moving up and down the draft boards after the combines this week. There is probably a good reason for it.