4 Things I Learned from the NFL Scouting Combine


by Peter Christian

Over the weekend I decided to forgo my usual routine of catching up on hours of television stored on my DVR to watch the NFL Network’s Live(ish) coverage of the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine. Much to the chagrin of my wife and kids, I am now completely NFL Draft literate. I can pronounce the names of all the major players, I can pick them out of a line up and I know what they look like in skin tight clothing (not exactly ideal knowledge). Now if I could only turn this knowledge into something that pays the bills….

First and foremost, I think that NFLN took a step backwards in their presentation (at least on TV) by cutting the amount of actual footage from the Combine itself and to make it more of a “Studio-like” analysis show. By devoting more than 15 hours over 4 days to an event where no one “wins” or there’s no climax, I’m well aware of how dorky it is to watch every minute of the Combine (or more than 3 minutes for that matter). I also imagine that anyone else that is watching is just as dorky or even dorkier than I am. So, I think it is safe to say that we dorks don’t need the over analysis of Mike Mayock (who LOVES to hear himself talk) about a majority of players we already know inside and out. I’d much rather have Rich Eisen simply telling me which athlete is on screen (if a graphic hasn’t already told me), filling time with anecdotal stories about said athlete and dropping a few quirky jokes here and there. I can make my own analysis of what a players 40 yard dash time means, or how many inches an athlete’s vertical is, the only narration I need is to prevent me from tearing my hair out due to severe boredom (or contemplating if I may have mono for hours on end).

I did however, overcome the multiple cases of mouth diarrhea by the 32 NFL Network analysts and came up with a few conclusions on my own. After watching all those guys run, jump, twist and stretch here are the most important things I learned from the first two days of the combine:

4. The 40 yard dash is pointless for Offensive Lineman
When an offensive lineman runs a good 40, experts rush to remind you of all the previous fast O linemen that were busts in the NFL. When one of the big fellas turns out one of the slowest 40 times, the analysis is almost unanimous that the guy isn’t athletic enough. When a guy runs a middle of the road time that he is expected to run, people ask how often an offensive lineman ever has to run 40 yards straight forward during a game. The Hogs can’t win!

3. The most important part of the Combine is the part they don’t show
Even if a guy doesn’t perform as many bench press reps as expected or runs a few tenths slower in the 40 or the shuttle run, the biggest factor on the prospects stock is how they interview and how they test out psychologically. If a guy wows scouts face to face and has a bad day of doing drills, he will get a pass. Vice versa, not so much. The physical performances can be made up with a good pro day at their school. The interviews are a one time pass/fail.

2. The NFL Network loves talking about Tim Tebow
Never before have I heard or seen NFL Draft analysts relish in the opportunity to talk about or with a guy that they all agree is no better than a 3rd round pick. Typically, a guy that is unanimously a 3rd round pick gets a few sentences here and there but with Tebow the NFL Network employees were beside themselves to devote entire segments and 20+ minute interview sessions to a guy who is not going to be picked until late Friday night or Saturday morning.

1. Tim Tebow thinks that God likes Tim Tebow more than you.
(note: this is not an attempt to spark a debate about religion, it is an attempt to tell Tebow to shut the Hell up)
If you’ve heard of college football in the past 4 years, you’ve heard of Tim Tebow. You’ve also likely heard many different things about Tebow’s ability and leadership but you’ve definitely heard about his faith and religious beliefs. In any given interview Tebow is likely to go on and on and on about how “blessed” he is. He was blessed to be given his talents, opportunities, the chance to change his flawed throwing motion and blah, blah, blah. Look, I believe in the same God that Tebow does and using Tebow’s logic, God loves Tebow more than the rest of the world. If Tebow’s talents, abilities and fortitude were simply due to him being blessed, that means Tebow was given special treatment by God and we (the rest of the world) were forced to be without. Sorry Tim, but the God that I believe in doesn’t play favorites. You got your giant biceps, thick neck, bad throwing motion, the awesome ability to jump AND pass and other physical attributes from genetics and your own hard work. You didn’t win some special prize from God to be who you are. By continuing to claim that you are who you are because of only God, is arrogant and flawed. Does Tebow really think that his opponents are less blessed than him because they lose? Does he really believe that every person that isn’t 6’3″ and can’t jump 38.5 inches in the air and run a 40 yard dash in 4.7 seconds is less “blessed” than he is? Come on Tim, it’s one thing to have faith, it’s ignorant and completely skewing the message of religion to flaunt your “blessings” in front of those who are without.

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  1. David K. says

    I just heard Tim Tebow tied the highest vertical jump ever for a QB… that will help him greatly when he’s… um… uh… hmmmm…

  2. Chris L. says

    Well done. Love the Tebow rant.

  3. paulmbanks says

    haha does Tebow believe the same exact God will forsake him an NFL career? will he believe he is blessed when football is done with him in 2 years?

    The jump pass will NEVER work in the NFL

    NEITHER will the QB Wildcat

  4. paulmbanks says

    Couldn’t agree with you more about the Tebow OVERCOVERAGE!

    And thank you so much for doing this…cuz watching this for more than 5 min is just brutal- unless you are serioulsy on some type of heavy mind-altering drugs.

    I do actually enjoy looking at the charts and lists of 40 yd dash, shuttle runs, 3 cone drills etc. that shit is very interesting to me…which makes me a colossal dork too

  5. Can you think of a time when a league so clearly wanted an athlete to be a star and it was painfully obvious the athlete had an uphill battle to become a super star?

    LeBron and Sid the Kid are the most recent examples of a similar hype but we just knew both players were going to be stars, if not right away, then eventually.

    We don’t know that with Tebow at all and yet he’s being treated with the same attention. I can’t think of another instance of this happening.

    How do experts live with themselves when they overhype an athlete they KNOW has major question marks?

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