What are we really learning about players from the combine? So you benched 225 pounds 18 times … does that mean you can tackle Adrian Peterson on fourth-and-goal late in the fourth? Your vertical jump is 42 inches … does that mean you can pull off a Jerome Simpson flip into the end zone? Because our fans would love that! The three cone drill? Really? Are we testing for the NFL or a driver’s license? And how are these tests? Most of these guys are going to pass strength tests. Now drug tests might be a different story. And of course the Wonderlic test!
Ahhh, the Wonderlic test. What can we learn from the test that we didn’t already know? Did we really need to know that Ryan Fitzpatrick finished in nine minutes and was two points shy of a perfect score? NO! The kid went to Haahvahd, sorry I watched Good Will Hunting last night. Frank Gore scored a 6 out of 50, shocking? NO! he went to “The U!” And I think if we have learned anything about University of Miami it’s that their athletes don’t need to attend classes. And why would Frank Gore need to know how many train stops passenger X would miss if he got on in Albuquerque and got off in St. Louis at a rate of 30 MPH? Ok, that’s not a question but you get the point.
Bottom line is this, so please get in real close and listen closely: THE COMBINE IS A FASHION SHOW FOR THE LEAGUE!!! It doesn’t mean anything! If it did then Mike Mamula would be in the HOF right now. Who? Exactly. Mamula benched 225 for 28 reps, ran a 4.58 40 yard dash, out vert jumped cornerbacks and rang up a 49/50 on the Wonderlic. And nobody knows who he is. How do you think Jerome Bettis did at the Combine? I bet not good. What about Teddy Bruschi? Probably the same. Colin Kaepernick? Well, maybe he did OK.
The Combine is there for one reason and one reason only: for the fans! Sure, scouts, teams and coaches use it as a way to assess some late round picks. Or maybe drop some guy down a round or two because he wasn’t as fast as everyone thought, right Manti? But after that it’s all about the fans. It’s the NFL’s way of giving us something to talk about. “Did you hear an O Lineman ran a 4.7 40?” “I’ll tell you, I’d take Desmond Trufant late in the first.” And, “Can you believe that tight end scored a 47 on the Wonderlic?” OK, nobody was saying that. But here we are talking about the Combine, why? Because that’s what the NFL is giving us. And you know what? I’LL TAKE IT!!!