Thursday, February 24, 2011

NFL Combine Starts... Right Now!

The NFL Combine. Where This Happens.

Calling all nerds! That's right, it's that time again - time for the event where some dreams are made, others are shattered, and Tim Tebow can increase his earnings by millions simply because he "looks like a football player" in spandex. No, I'm not talking about RuPaul's Drag Race, although, to be fair, Tebow would probably fare pretty well in that contest, too. I'm talking about the NFL Combine, the birthplace of paper tigers everywhere.

For the uninitiated, or for those who simply have more productive things to do with your last weekend in February - and "eating" and "remembering to breathe" definitely count here - the NFL Combine is the last chance for draft eligible players to audition for a spot in the NFL draft. And if you thought the Senior Bowl was worthless, just you wait until Jake Locker moves back into the number one spot because he can run fast! You know why Jamarcus Russell has blown more money on cough sizzurp than you will ever make in your entire lifetime? Because of the NFL combine. Let's just say it's not an "exact science," but at the same time is the most important inexact science in the world for the 350 or so participants. Tom Brady was invited, and if he didn't go until the sixth round, it's pretty obvious someone placed a little too much emphasis on a vertical leap.

So what does the Combine entail? Well, it's made up of six drills:

  • The 40 yard dash. You know who holds the fastest 40 time at the combine? It's a tie between Chris Johnson and... Rondel Melendez . Again, NOT necessarily a good predictor of NFL success.
  • Bench Press. Players bench press 225 pounds as many times as they can. I'm crossing sporting lines here, but Kevin Durant could only do something like 4 in his pre-draft workouts. Again, not a good indicator.
  • Vertical Jump. Whatevs. Look at me! I can jump high! Guess it's good if you're a receiver.
  • Broad Jump. I was on my elementary school's fifth grade Olympics team and came in 4th place in the broad jump. Who wants to sex Sir Wesley?
  • 3 Cone Drill. Tests agility. Linemen are not very good at this.
  • Shuttle Run. The description uses "explosion" multiple times. That's all I've got.
But you know what? Despite all of that cynicism, I always follow the workouts a little too close, and this year with five Frogs competing, I've more or less cleared my weekend, save the three hours on Saturday that I'll be at Lupton. I've always found the Combine fascinating, not just because it's amazing how there are literally tens of thousands of college aged students who have come through Indianapolis that are overwhelmingly more talented at being in shape than I will ever be, but just because of how a good workout can set up a mediocre talent for life. Cam Newton held a short, private work out a couple of weeks ago in Los Angeles for scouts where he put on an Under Armour shirt and threw uncontested passes for an hour. Sounds trivial, right? I mean, surely watching game tape and taking into account his GLARING character issues, college offensive scheme, not to mention the fact that he's only played division one football for one season, is more important than a workout entirely coordinated to his liking, no? Nope - after the work out, the Todd McShay's of the world RAVED about his abilities, escalated him into their mock top tens and proclaimed that, pending a good Combine weekend, he could go as high as #3 to Buffalo, and possibly even #1 overall. If you hate Newton and all he stands for, I do not suggest you follow the Combine.

Speaking of character issues, that's another thing the Combine focuses on, allowing teams to set up interviews with prospects to grill them about the promiscuous lifetstyles their mothers exhibited. Cam Newton is going to get asked about his dad. Ryan Mallett is going to get asked why he's addicted to gettin' faaaaaaaaaded, brah. And Andy Dalton is going to be asked why he has red hair and went to a non-BCS school because those two things clearly hurt his draft stock. This is easily the most naive part of the Combine because a trained dolphin could answer these questions correctly. What is Cam going to say? "Uh, yeah, my dad is a criminal and exploited his position as a man of the God for his own financial ends?" And unless Mallett decides he wants to torpedo his career a-la Ricky Williams, I'm pretty sure he's going to deny, deny and then deny some more, and then immediately walk out the door and burn a blunt because once you get paid who gives a shit about a little weed? Again, all you're going to hear after this weekend is how Cam Newton is such a well behaved, changed young man with a good head on his shoulders... and then he and Albert Haynesworth are going to literally sit on Daniel Snyder's lawn and burn bundles of 100s in front of him while sexing his wife. This will happen.

Anyway, I realize I'm making this sound interesting for all the wrong reasons so I'll wrap it up. You should be interested in the Combine for five reasons, and five reasons only: Andy Dalton, Marcus Cannon, Jimmy Young, Jeremy Kerley and Wayne Daniels, because they're all performing this weekend. And assuming most of you do not care to waste your weekend googling and/or watching the NFL network coverage of the event, I'll be here to fill in the gaps for you, much as I attempted to do with the Senior Bowl. Except on Monday because I have jury duty. And since the event ends on Sunday, you're probably going to miss a lot of vital information due to this timing.

On second thought you're probably on your own.


jergovic said...
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InGaryWeTrust said...

Actually, Kevin Durant couldn't bench press 185 lbs (NBA measure) ONE time. Clearly, not a predictor of NFL success, but that's embarrassing.