The League

Joel Thorman
Chiefs Blogger

Joel Thorman

Co-editor of Arrowhead Pride, a Kansas City Chiefs website.

Value beyond numbers


The NFL scouting combine has been catching some flack in recent years because a lot of folks are saying it's essentially useless. For the most part, I tend to agree with that.

I mean, who really cares whether someone can run a 4.4 or a 4.5? Does 29 reps on the bench press mean you're a better player than the guy that does 33?

Many of the physical drills are indeed worth very little. Teams have been studying these players anywhere from one to four years so they've got a pretty good grasp of what they can do on the field.

There are a couple of areas at the combine, however, that provide NFL general managers and scouts
with plenty to chew on.

Perhaps most important, this is a time when all 32 teams, many of the best future NFL players and a handful of agents get together. It's the only time of year where all these people are together in one city. Though the NFL won't admit it -- because it's tampering -- this is where many a free agent deal has been completed.

GMs talk to agents of players currently in the NFL about to hit the open market and agents representing high end draft picks. Simply put, much of the business going on at the combine has very little to do with the players running 40s and jumping in the air.

One more aspect of the NFL combine that is very helpful to NFL GMs is the interview process. Teams can select a certain number of prospects to interview -- 15 minutes at a time -- and get to know them as a person. In today's NFL, it's important for players to not only fit in the right scheme, but the right locker room. There have been stories of teams taking highly ranked players off their draft boards because of a poor interview.

So the most important aspects of the combine -- elements that make it a useful tool -- actually happen away from the field in Indianapolis.

By Joel Thorman  |  February 25, 2010; 12:03 AM ET  | Category:  Draft , NFL , Scouting Combine Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Is the combine worth watching? | Next: A piece of the puzzle

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