Periscope: Brady proves combine’s flaws

The Periscope is up, with the crosshairs on NFL combine testing, Calvin Johnson’s contract and more.

The history of the NFL Scouting Combine is decorated with enough caution flags to tell us that we should never go overboard about the latest jaw-dropping performance by one of the prospects.

A fast time in the 40-yard dash, a strong effort in the bench press or a compelling interview with the media do not guarantee greatness on the field.

Waddling through the 40 in a time that wouldn’t beat Kermit the Frog also isn’t the sole reason to cross a prospect off the list. Tom Brady never would have made it to an NFL camp based on his time in the 40.

Waving the caution flag over the way Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III performed at the combine last week is mostly a reflex motion. I think both will be future stars in the NFL — and the future will come soon for both.

Griffin had unofficial times of 4.38 and 4.41 seconds in his two attempts at the 40 on Sunday morning. His official time was 4.41.

Luck, 11 pounds heavier than Griffin at 234, had an official time of 4.67 seconds and an unofficial best of 4.59. In the vertical jump, Griffin did 39 inches to 36 for Luck. Luck was better in the standing long jump, 10-4 to an even 10 feet for Griffin.

They were great workouts — by quarterbacks who will be the first two players drafted on April 28 because they had terrific college careers and have pure quarterback skills that translate to the NFL.

Drill work is important in ranking prospects. There are benchmarks and standards at every position, but there are no absolutes.

Brady’s career with the Patriots has made him the NFL’s best quarterback of his era — and an example of a player whose pro career has exceeded his pre-draft workouts. Brady was a winning quarterback at Michigan, but his athleticism and skill level were not of NFL caliber — at the time.

Former Lions coach Steve Mariucci has talked about how Brady’s passing workouts for the scouts were substandard. At the combine in 2000, Brady was timed in 5.27 seconds for the 40.

All of those athletic defects were reasons why the Patriots were able to draft him in the sixth round, 199th overall.

But once Brady was in a pro environment, Patriots coach Bill Belichick and his staff identified the qualities that set Brady apart. Work ethic and accuracy were two of them.

None of that means that workouts aren’t important. They are. But they aren’t everything.
Trade talk

The Rams have done the right thing by already declaring their intent to trade the second overall pick.

The Colts will take Luck first overall, leaving Griffin as the prize for the No. 2 pick.

Having committed to go with Sam Bradford, the quarterback they drafted first overall in 2010, the Rams are starting the bidding process early.

Any team that wants a quarterback has to get the No. 2 pick to guarantee getting Griffin.

Historical precedent should play no role in the trade value for the second pick.

The case mentioned most often was the 2004 draft, when the Chargers drafted Eli Manning first overall, despite his stated intention of not wanting to play in San Diego.

Manning was traded almost immediately to the Giants. The compensation was two first-round picks along with third- and fifth-round picks.

Using that as a standard, does not mean the Rams shouldn’t make a deal if they can’t match the 2004 standard for Manning.

The goal isn’t to make history. It’s to make the best deal possible.
Please, no more Calvin, Brandon talk

Maybe it’s just me, but I’d rather spend a day at the mall supervising a group of teenagers on speed than listen to another lengthy discussion about Calvin Johnson’s impact on the Lions’ salary cap or Brandon Inge’s future with the Tigers and whether he gets too much media coverage.

On a scale of 1-100, I say it’s 101-percent certain — that’s off the scale — that Johnson signs a long-term contract with the Lions.

The reason is simple: Teams are in the business of winning games with great players, not saving money to sign lesser players. And Johnson is one of the three best players in the NFL, excluding quarterbacks.

As for Inge, enough’s been said.
Brains over Braun

Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun, the National League’s MVP in 2011, had a 50-game suspension for violating baseball’s rules on using performance enhancing drugs overturned by an arbitrator.

The arbitrator agreed with Braun’s assertion that rules governing the chain of custody in handling Braun’s urine sample were not followed precisely.

The collector had kept Braun’s sample at his home for 44 hours before sending it out via FedEx, as required under baseball’s protocol. In a statement Friday, Braun called himself a victim and said the process had been “fatally flawed.”

Fatally flawed? Really?

Earlier this week, David G. Fowler was extradited to Michigan from Georgia and charged with a double murder of two brothers in Livonia in 1985.

Police in Livonia caught up with Fowler when DNA from the 1975 killings was matched with Fowler’s, who was in a Georgia prison.

The murder of two men and a baseball player flunking a drug test has no correlation, except for the science of testing.

Logically, it’s hard to believe the fatal-flaw defense in an alleged 44-hour delay when 37-year-old DNA holds up.