The NFL Combine is a media grab

Grading the NFL Combine's usefulness, practicality

The NFL Combine is a media grab

March 2, 2019

Is the NFL Combine a useful measure of an athlete’s capabilities on the gridiron, or is it simply the single most overrated grading tool in the history of sports?

Many of us remember the 2000 combine photo of quarterback Tom Brady in his underwear with love handles hanging from his waist and the abysmal 5.28 forty time he clocked that year. And, for as long as the NFL remains a dominant force in football, we’ll also remember his six Super Bowl championships and his immortal reputation as one of the greatest to ever play the game. Then, there’s Christian McCaffrey who benched 225 ten times, and Odell Beckham who benched an equally bad weight seven times, but who are now two of the most polarizing players in the league.

On the flip side, take Dennis Mathis of Hampton, Jalen Myrick of Minnesota, Jacoby Ford of Clemson and John Ross of Washington, for example. These are some of the fastest college football players to ever run the 40-yard dash but how did their NFL careers turn out?

Realistically speaking, when looking at the 40-yard timed dash and bench press drills, can a prospect be determined elite or mediocre based on those measurements? Even if we examine the in-between drills, which provide a more helpful tool for evaluation, they still lack the reality of repetition in a contact situation.

The NFL Combine is a media grab. Game film and season accolades mean a lot more than the simple skills measured at the NFL combine. Thankfully, GM’s and head coaches get it, which is why the in-person interviews and private workouts are so important. The combine, on the other hand, is a numbers game, which can only go so far when measuring and evaluating talent.

By Gene Delle Donne

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