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How much stock to you put into the Combine?

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by PATSNUTme, Feb 9, 2009.

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  1. PATSNUTme

    PATSNUTme Paranoid Homer Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #75 Jersey

    Over the years, I have paid less and less attention to the Combine performances of the players.

    It seems that now there is so much scouting going on and so much prep going into the Combine by players that it doesn't seem to mean as much as it used to.

    Agree? Disagree?
     
  2. Richter

    Richter In the Starting Line-Up

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    I dunno, I put a lot of stock into a few parts of it, and not much in others. The interview process weeds out headcases a lot of the time, so I listen to reports there. I pay attention to triangle numbers for certain positions, because they're a good indicator of whether a guy has sufficient physical tools to excel or not, usually a lack of size relative to their speed. Most of all, I look for things that are way out of whack, like a huge guy that can't do many reps of 225. Rather than being blown away because some guy ran a 4.35 instead of a 4.4, I'll be curious if a guy runs a 4.3 but totally flubs his three cone or 20 shuttle. Also the flexibility tests are good to keep an eye on, since the only time you hear anything about them is when someone has a joint that doesn't range properly, which is the sign of a serious, limiting injury in the past. It's just a meat market, so you have to treat it that way. Some things are going to slip through the cracks, and past performance isn't taken into account in evaluations.
     
  3. farn

    farn 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Spot on. I think BB puts way more value on game tape and then he weeds out the weirdos by interviewing them. Truth is : I think the Pats weirdo factor is quite low compared to many other franchises.
     
  4. TheKraftyOne

    TheKraftyOne Practice Squad Player

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    A lot of that stuff can create a workout warrior that can't really play. See Gholston. Great measurables but one game tape is enough to show he doesn't make adjustments well in space or have any pass rushing moves other than straight. Couldn't be on a better team IMO.
     
  5. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The measurables are useful for cutting through the college disinformation on a player's height, weight, and 40 time. The greatest value the combine offers is the drills - those few glimpses we get whenever they cut away from Rich Eison. We can see the DBs in their backpedal and turns, we often get our first look at DEs projected to play OLB doing LB drills, the gauntlet drill for receivers, the cut drills for RBs, the mirror drill for OL, all are useful for judging a player's athleticism and for the DE to OLB conversion it's a good time to see how fluid they are on their feet.
     
  6. Richter

    Richter In the Starting Line-Up

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    Again (and this is a consolidation of my earlier post), the biggest problem I think is with using the combine to figure out if freak athletes can play, rather than figuring out if the producers in college can't. The combine just isn't going to tell you if a guy can play on the NFL, but if you know what to look for, it can definitely tell you who can't play on Sundays. Gholston was a guy in that first category, where people looked at his combine numbers and said "how can this guy not succeed?", when his time at OSU showed pretty clearly that he was a big risk, especially if he was going to be asked to play on his feet.
     
  7. PATSNUTme

    PATSNUTme Paranoid Homer Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think the interviews have become the most important. But we don't really know what goes on unless it's leaked by someone.
     
  8. Richter

    Richter In the Starting Line-Up

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    Thankfully, like steroids in baseball and marijuana in basketball, player evaluation stuff always seems to leak out in the NFL.
     
  9. TealSox

    TealSox Guest

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    For me, the Combine gives me legitimate 40 times, high jump, height, weight, etc. Right now, there are so many numbers out there that, you don't know where to start in assessing a player. On top of that, I think the GMs and Scouts get a ton out of it and, while we don't see it reported as directly, it is reflected in the mock drafts done after the Combine.

    Now Pro Days are a different story... unless you are looking for a sleeper and want to know what team is looking at what players at which schools.
     
  10. Mark Morse

    Mark Morse PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #15 Jersey

    Your analysis is dead on. The combine is just another piece of information. Add the players performance on the field during their carer and the interviews you have the basics. Background checks are also an important part too!
     
  11. FreeTedWilliams

    FreeTedWilliams pfadmins PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #75 Jersey

    I think that the combine also shows how well they can take to instruction/teaching. I think that the wonderlic has its merits too.

    The true 40 time is big, also the vertical jump (for some positions) but it also makes people fall in love with such workout wonders as Gholston, you know the guy who sits third from the last on the Jets bench!!!

    I think the best way is to watch the game tapes, see who impresses you and then use the combine to weed them out even further.
     
  12. PATSNUTme

    PATSNUTme Paranoid Homer Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Thhe times are only important if they vary from the times that were represented by the colleges. The players also have the workouts to improve or show the times are consistent.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2009
  13. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    NFL Draft Scout has come out with a list of Risers and Faller post All-Star games and pre-Combine - I've condensed their remarks.

    02/10/09
    Risers:

    1. Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee - good Senior Bowl week
    2. Jarron Gilbert, DE, San Jose State - good East-West Shrine game week
    3. Darcel McBath, FS, Texas Tech - good East-West Shrine game week
    4. Kory Sheets, RB, Purdue - good Senior Bowl week
    5. Jovan Belcher, OLB, Maine - versatile
    6. *James Casey, TE, Rice - athleticism
    7. *Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State - lack of QB competition
    8. Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU - rare 3-4 body
    9. Clay Matthews, OLB, Southern Cal - high upside
    10. *Aaron Maybin, OLB, Penn State - late season surge

    Fallers

    1. Alex Boone, OT, Ohio State - Alcohol
    2. *Maurice Evans, DE, Penn State - Drugs
    3. Brian Cushing, OLB, Southern Cal - No upside
    4. Mike Mickens, CB, Cincinnati - injury backlash
    5. Terrance Taylor, DT, Michigan - immobile
    6. *Nate Davis, QB, Ball State - Poor All-Star game and late season slump
    7. Brooks Foster, WR, North Carolina - inconsistent
    8. Matt Shaughnessy, DE, Wisconsin - athleticism
    9. Clint Sintim, OLB, Virginia - no negatives, other athletes moved ahead of him
    10. *Sean Smith, CB, Utah - lack of mental discipline and playing quickness
     
  14. HEY BRO! WHAT UP?

    HEY BRO! WHAT UP? Banned

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    I don't put any stock into anymore. I use it for entertainment purposes only.
     
  15. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Besides the official heights and weights, the best part for me is the 10 yard and 20 yard splits. I really don't care how fast someone is through 40 yards in a straight line, but if I'm evaluating Alphonso Smith or Clint Sintim, I want to know how long it takes them to get to top gear. Some highly-touted running backs put up a 4.45 40, but impress during the second half. I could care less how fast they go in the open field, I want to know if they can get through the hole before it closes or beat the linebacker or safety to the corner.

    I also pay attention to the short shuttle and a little bit to the reps for linemen and DBs, but linemen counterintuitively....long-armed tackles tend to struggle a bit on the bench, so if I see an OT put up 35 reps, he's probably tyrannosaurus-armed, which is no good.

    And, as Box pointed out, the actual position drills are worth watching. Not only did I develop a crush on Antonio Cromartie after drills, but also Chad Jackson. So it's not foolproof by any means, although I maintain it was attitude and work ethic than sunk Jackson here, not any lack of talent.
     
  16. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Pro Bowl Player

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    Don't forget that teams get to do their medical checks on the prospects during the combine. So they really get to evaluate the risk factor of taking a guy. We don't hear as much about this as fans, but it surely affects a prospects draft stock and has done so in the past.

    Obviously I like to see all the drills and the official measurements so we know how big a guy really is. College reports are notorious about exaggerating size. The agility and speed drills are also nice to look at.

    I know that guys specifically practice for the combine drills now, but I think that's a GOOD thing. Nothing says unmotivated more than someone who shows up at the combine out of shape or unprepared.

    The combine is a JOB INTERVIEW. It combines physical aspects as well as the mental aspects of actual interviews. I think that at least 2/3 or more of a prospect's grades are probably based on game film but since fans generally don't have access to game film except for a few highlight reels on youtube, we tend to weigh the results of the combine and the highlights a little bit more.

    By going over scouting reports we are going on 2nd hand information, even though they are observations by pros, we generally didn't get that first hand look at the prospect. The combine gives FANS the ability to get that first hand footage of how the prospect moves and looks. I think that's why it gets a lot more weight by fans than it probably gets overall by GMs.
     
  17. WhiZa

    WhiZa Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    That's pretty much how I feel. Any current numbers these players have on them are usually off. At least the combine is arbitrary and open to everyone.

    My main parameters for players are height, weight, and 40. If I am comparing two players that are close I may throw in the shuttle or jump drills. I also like to see the wonderlic tests as it puts numbers on a player intelligence instead of trying to weed through opinions of all the interviews a player goes through.
     
  18. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree with both of those. Yes, players are coached so much toward the specific drills that you have to take it with a grain of salt. But at least it's a single, reliable number registered by neutral observers in a uniform setting. Plus depending on position, the standard height/weight/40 may not be key variables, and the combine gives you a fuller set of numbers.

    Another way of looking at it is that the combine can give fans a little glimpse into things that scouts already knew through their own back channels, which helps us draft geeks sort out our mocks and projections.
     
  19. Metaphors

    Metaphors In the Starting Line-Up

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    Also agree on accurate measurements. For positions like QB, an inch or two in height can make a big difference. Hearing the 6'2" Warner describe how he couldn't see Harrison over his lineman in the SB reinforces that.

    Also think it is an opportunity to see players technique in situations that may not be on film. RB running patterns and catching the ball, QB operating under center, DE dropping into coverage, CB playing press, etc. If their mechanics are a mess due to not practicing a skill in college, then you may have to spend their rookie year playing catch-up...which would likely drop their draft value.
     
  20. jeffbiologist

    jeffbiologist Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Not sure about any of it. Superstars like TB, Barry, Emmitt all were bypassed by everyone. My Binkie last year was Wesley Woodyard and all he did was lead the SEC in tackles, have the 2nd fastest time in the 40 for a LB, and have everyone buzzing about him at the senior bowl.....yet he went undrafted!! Of course as a FA he made the team, but the most important thing a player can have simply cant be measured or even discovered in an interview. And it simply makes me think that with the proper coaching most any of these players are completely interchangable.
     
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