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The NFL Combine- One man says it's a joke

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by chevss454, Feb 24, 2010.

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  1. chevss454

    chevss454 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    This is a very well-written and amusing article from a former NFL LB who logically presents a great case why the Combine should be completely ignored when scouting a football player.

    It Is What It Is The NFL combine: The joke that’s no longer funny

    To claim that no bias creeps in when you see a “WOW!” combine performance means you’re either crazy or lying. Or maybe both if you’ve drafted Darrius Heyward-Bey into an average of $7.65 million annually based largely on an OK college career and the temptation of “measurables.” I mean this kid no ill will, but as a thieving point of reference, his annual salary averages are about four times that of Wes Welker, the league leader in receptions in ‘09 at the same position.

    40-yard dash:

    • Vital for knowing how a WR might perform when running go-routes without being covered, provided they still don’t throw him the ball.
    • Extremely valuable for predicting performance for a kickoff coverage member if he’s unblocked and allowed to run in an unfettered straight line due to the ball being kicked out of the end zone for a touchback.
    • Other than these two examples … this test is useless track-porn.

    Of the 10 best workout guys I played with over the course of my career, nine are most likely guys you’ve never heard of. That’s no coincidence. If on the first day of offseason workouts the most impressive weight room guys on the team are also your new draft picks, the collective “uh-ohs” should shake the franchise. Those most responsible for the new arrivals would be wise to start scouring their network of contacts for future work to begin approximately two years from that day.
     
  2. Tunescribe

    Tunescribe PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    He makes a compelling argument, but also goes a bit over the top. I suspect the most valuable aspects of team participation in the combine are the interviews and medical evaluations. It's simply a matter of convenience getting everyone together in one place. I agree that some of the drills/exercises seem nonsensical, the bench press being dumbest of all.
     
  3. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'd happily just watch position drills, but the NFLTA crowd prefers to take their close-ups then.
     
  4. tanked_as_usual

    tanked_as_usual Banned

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    the problem is that the combine used to be used as a reason NOT to draft players

    now it is depended upon much too much on why you should draft a player
     
  5. chevss454

    chevss454 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Tank, you absolutely nailed it!

    Very amusing article.
     
  6. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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  7. chevss454

    chevss454 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Great read, Box. His comments regarding the combine begin about 1/3 the way down and are very enlightening.

    “The Combine is a test the NFL lets you cheat on, because you know all the questions before you take it. And yet few people take advantage of that.”

    "Did Mamula and Boyle open the flood gates for speed camp shenanigans and athletic fakery to render the Combine completely useless? Or did they just create the high profile opportunity for the public to deem it so?

    ‘The tape doesn’t lie.’

    Yes it does. The tape lies all the time. It’s as if the people have completely forgotten the likes of Todd Marinovich, Brian Bosworth and Tony Mandarich, draft busts from an era before effective Combine training. Speed camps haven’t made the draft process inherently less accurate. They’ve just given personnel people a new excuse for why they got it wrong, as well as football fans and writers a new opportunity to sound smart.

    At the core of NFL prospecting is an evaluation of how well a player’s skills translate to the next level, where the players are bigger, stronger and faster. If you had perfect information about all of the players on your tape, perhaps you could do without some sort of objective measurement of a player’s skills. Unfortunately, that is just not the case."

    "The most important parts of the Combine are events you’ll probably hear very little about, those being the interviews and the medical checks. Even when you do hear about the interviews, it’s good to remember that disinformation season is in full swing. This time last year, Vontae Davis was a big time character risk and Sean Smith was dumb as a box of rocks. I kid you not, I heard both from sources connected to teams. It turns out Sean Smith is a really bright kid and Vontae Davis’ vices include pestering great players for tips on how to be great, working out and watching film."
     
  8. Snake Eyes

    Snake Eyes Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I wouldn't say the combine events are useless but they usually don't measure the right things.

    A 40 time can be useful when evaluating a DB and to a lesser extent a linebacker, and a WR depending on the routes you want him to run. Those guys might very well have to run 40 yards in a straight line.

    The problem is that people get obsessed with 40 times, I don't care about the 40 time on a QB or lineman, that's not what they do during the game. While running a quick 40 is nice for a RB I'd be far more interested in their ability to change directions, THAT is going to be vital during a game. That's why guys like Welker and Edelman are awesome, they can stop on a dime and re-accelerate again very quickly. In fact, for a lineman the initial acceleration is EXTREMELY important but were talking inches here, not yards.

    Also, why just the 40? Why not also measure his 5, 10, 15, 20, and 30? For most positions I'd be more interested in his 5 or 10 as opposed to the 40. Dick Butkus was reputed to have an absolutely pathetic 40 time but everyone said he was the fastest guy in the team 10 yards in any direction. It wouldn't take anything extra to measure those other times, simply put an electronic sensor on the guy's shirt and send him off.

    According to Marshall Faulk the actual acceleration stops before the athlete hits 10 yards, the rest of the way it's just about minimizing the deceleration.

    The bench press is completely stupid and pointless, I'd rather give the guy 2 pilates balls for each hand and have him do pushups. For a lineman one is going to need to exert strength on multiple different vectors as well as still being able to apply strength in between those vectors. Also, they're only going to need to do it for a few seconds, get a stopwatch and measure how long the linemen actually go at it during a play. Short bursts of high intensity, throughout a game is what's needed, not bench press nonsense, which measure mostly endurance for those guys, not explosive strength.

    So, measurables can be useful in evaluating a player but they need to be the right measurables and that data needs to be interpreted in the right way.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2010
  9. TriplecHamp

    TriplecHamp Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    For every Mamula or Gholston, there is a CJ or Adrian Peterson. The combine is useful when evaluated the right way.
     
  10. Snake Eyes

    Snake Eyes Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Did you need the combine to know AP or CJ were great players? For top rated players one should probably look more to why they might be a bust, and vice versa for the lower ranked guys.
     
  11. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Each player's 10 and 20 yard split is measured during the 40. It's rare to find them posted, but patchick and others here scour the interweb looking for this information - standby. :rocker:
     
  12. captain stone

    captain stone Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    I couldn't care less what some Doofins fans think. I hope that Davis & Smith both fail miserably.
     
  13. TriplecHamp

    TriplecHamp Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Nope but AP was coming back from injury and CJ played at ECU so both had a little something to prove going in and they certainly helped their stock. The combine shouldn't be used to make or break a prospect but it should be used to help a team with positional rankings, big boards, etc. Say a guy like Tim Tebow who is changing his throwin motion and footwork threw at the combine and was accurate and quick with his release. Should that not put him into the late first round rankings? He isn't throwing at the combine BTW. We're going to have to wait until Floridas pro day for that.
     
  14. Snake Eyes

    Snake Eyes Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    If Tebow all of a sudden had a Dan Marino release you're damn right his stock should go way up, though the physical aspect is still only part of the equation, I'd still want to know if he reverts to his old throwing motion in pressure situations, how he deals with defensive pressure, his ability to read defenses, footwork, etc.

    It might actually be good that Tebow isn't throwing at the combine, why show off your product if it isn't done yet? Also, sometimes one needs to take a step or two back to take several steps forward, so Tebow's motion might look worse in the very near future.

    That being said, I think I could fix his throwing motion, I also think he'd be a great pickup for the Patriots, we just need more damn picks.
     
  15. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I believe an earlier edition of the blog had some less then complimentary analysis of Mr. Smith. :p
     
  16. PatsCanDoIt

    PatsCanDoIt Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    The combine tests are useful for evaluating football players. If a player is already determined to be good at the game from watching him play, then the measurements are useful in understanding how athletic the player is. There football skills and there is athletic ability. The NFL players need both in order to succeed. Players that struggle in an area athletically or in their skills get picked on game after game. Unfortunatley some coaches have a high opinion of their ability to coach up freakish athletes. The combine is a piece of the puzzle that tells us where a player might struggle athletically. For instance straight line speed isn't very useful on the field, so the 40 time minus the 20 yard shuttle provides an indicator of quickness and agility versus straight line speed. If the difference is larger, say a half second, then that player is considered quick. If the times are very close, then the player may be fast but not quick. An example is Shawn Crable. He ran a 4.6 in the 40 but a slow time of 4.54 in the short shuttle. I don't believe he is quick enough to play linebacker in the NFL. The huddle report has a few articles about the combine style tests. The one about explosiveness is interesting.
     
  17. captain stone

    captain stone Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Good post. The Combine is indeed a piece of the puzzle; not the biggest piece, but not an insignificant piece, either. It was ignorant of the guy in the link to disparage it as he did. I hope he isn't expecting some team to offer him an evaluator's position any time soon.
     
  18. PATSNUTme

    PATSNUTme Paranoid Homer Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The most meaningful drill is the 20 yard shuttle. This duplicates what players do on the football field during real games.

    I'm not going to say that all the other drills are worthless but the are not very meaningful in finding out what a player can do on the field.
     
  19. patsinthesnow

    patsinthesnow PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Didn't TB have a terrble combine? I remember a video showing him run a 5.2 and him weighing in looking pudgy with not alot of muscle.
     
  20. nashvillepatsfan

    nashvillepatsfan In the Starting Line-Up

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    I especially liked this part;

    Nice article, good find
     
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