NFL Combine Thoughts

The NFL Combine is often referred to as “The Underwear Olympics”, and rightfully so, as a bunch of twenty-somethings go through a wide assortment of athletic testing in nothing but spandex. There is often much speculation as to which players altered their draft stock based on their performance in Indianapolis, but how much does a single day of athletic evaluation really matter? I am of the belief that the evaluators are going to see what they want to see and therefore, confirmation bias is at play. If a player who a scout thinks highly of does well, they’ll say I told you so, and if a player the scout doesn’t think as highly of has a lousy performance, they’ll feel justified in their stance. What’s funny though, is that when a player who a scout or analyst had rated highly performs poorly, they write it off as “He just had a bad day” or something to that effect. The same goes for when a player performs well that wasn’t rated as favorably – “He just tested well.” Nothing that happens on the field really changes any evaluators opinion, and I don’t blame them for that. Why would a player’s time in the 20-yard shuttle – a drill that they specifically and systematically train for - drastically change one’s opinion when there is loads of film available of him, you know, playing football? With that said, you can watch a player on tape all that you want, but until you meet him and sit down and speak with him, you really don’t know what type of person he is. The only substantive evaluation that teams should consider from their time around the prospects is what type of people they are and whether or not they will mesh in their locker room.