The NFL Combine officially starts today. Every year at this time, all the best college athletes descend on Lucas Oil Stadium to showcase their pure athletic ability and skillset. But the real question is, why do we care? Does the NFL Combine really tell us anything we don’t already know? Why isn’t game footage and pro days enough?
To me, the Combine is mostly a waste of time. Why do I care how fast someone runs a straight line 40 or how high they can jump? Those metrics are great for track and field, but tell me nothing about football.
Once the pads go on, it’s a whole new ball game. The same goes for the passing drills. Is it really relevant that these quarterbacks can hit wide open receivers with no defense or pressure?
Most D1 (and even good D2 and D3 quarterbacks) are able to throw these passes. Sure, it shows arm strength, but didn’t we see enough of that during the season? If anything, these quarterbacks can actually look worse than they are. Throwing to foreign receivers can make their timing look off. So is the combine good for anything?
There are a few bright spots to the Combine. The biggest one is that it gives players a chance to show what kind of shape their in. There are plenty of players every year who are said to not be in shape. These players are such good athletes that they don’t really need to be in tip top shape to be dominate college players. However, they need to be at the top of their game in order to succeed at the NFL level. The combine shows teams that certain players are dedicated and willing to put in the work. On the flip side, it shows teams what players aren’t dedicated and let themselves get out of shape between the end of their season and the Combine. The Combine also gives teams a chance to sit down and talk to players on a more personal level. Although there are wacky stories every year about questions prospects are asked, most of the time spent with the players is beneficial to the team, and lets them know what kind of character a player has.
Even though the Combine seems like it’s mostly a waste of time to me, I still see the merit. Not only is it useful for the reasons mentioned above, it also keeps fan interested in the NFL during the offseason and introduces people to players they may have never heard of. The Combine runs from 2/26-3/4 this year.
-Stephen Brown III (@sbtrey23)