If you’re a true football fan; i.e., the kind of football geek (like yours truly) who will watch virtually anything “The Shield” offers up and attaches its name to, then you are no doubt aware that the NFL scouting combine is taking place this week.
You know the scouting combine. That uber-exciting week of running, jumping, test-taking, and interviewing that helps tide you over until the draft.
My personal favorite part of the whole thing, by the way, is the “underwear Olympics” portion. World-class athletes lining up in boxer briefs awaiting their turn to be weighed, followed by head-to-toe measuring, poking, and prodding. Basically a doctor’s checkup, with dozens of media members sitting around taking notes as the doctor examines the patient. We’ve all been there, right?
The question that seems to come up every year at this event is whether some team will become unreasonably enamored with a player based almost entirely on how he performs during the combine drills. Because nothing says “I’m a can’t-miss budding star” like a guy who runs the 40 in 4.2 seconds. You know, you can teach a guy to catch the ball, but that speed, well, you can’t coach that, right? And how can you not spend an early draft pick on a guy who can bench 225 pounds 86 times? That’s a no-brainer!
There are some legitimate issues that are addressed at the combine every year. By far the most important and predictive tests done in Indy are the medical evaluations. More important to each team than all of the other tests and drills combined, these exhaustive checkups can uncover little-known past injury issues or predict possible problems down the road for a prospect. Incoming players have had their entire careers ruined before they started based on information gleaned from the medical checks.
But, hey, enough about boring old medical stuff. Let’s talk more about the on-the-field drills.
Oh, shoot, that will have to wait. Gotta run. Another position group is heading for the scales.