HERE’S LOOKING AT YOU, KID
Imagine if you went into a job interview and were told to take your clothes off. It happens, though pretty much only in two industries: pornography and sports.
Such is the scenario many young men will face this weekend as the football world descends upon Indianapolis for the annual NFL Scouting Combine. These draft-eligible former collegians will be poked, prodded, measured, and generally treated like cattle – really, really valuable cattle who can run a 40-yard dash in less than four and a half seconds.
It’s basically a farmer’s market of men who can run, throw, block, tackle and catch.
The Redskins will surely be trying to find some Grade-A selections who can help resurrect them from the basement of the NFC East. With a new coach in town, a new front office structure and no first round draft pick, this will be one of the more important–and interesting–combines in recent memory for the team.
They simply cannot afford to miss when they make their selections in April’s draft. The combine is an important step in the process of separating the wheat from the chaff.
2014 = BUMPER CROP?
Good news: there should be plenty of high end talent left when the Skins are on the board after the first round has come and gone. NFL draft guru Mike Mayock declared in a recent media conference call that “This is the deepest and best draft class I’ve seen in probably ten years That’s been reinforced by most of the general managers and scouts I’ve talked to throughout the league.”
What that means for the Redskins is that the talent level gets pushed back, and there will likely be some first-round talent available when they pick 2nd in round two. This weekend is their best chance to see future Redskins up close and personal, to find out what makes them tick.
Will it help? Well, here’s what we do know – certain stuff that happens every year at this annual festival of measurables:.
- Someone will score so low on the Wonderlic test that they will become a national punchline before being drafted by the Cowboys.
- The fortunes of a dozen or so men will pointlessly rise and fall based on their ability to run 40 yards in tights and bench press 225 lbs.
- Redskins fans will develop a man-crush on some safety projected to go in the 5th round.
- In an effort to salvage his lousy performance, some desperate player will declare that “they can’t measure heart” and talk about “football speed” and “taking good angles” in an interview on the NFL Network.
- Rich Eisen will run the 40-yard dash in a suit and people will find this hilarious.
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So to the question of whether the combine really matters, the answer is…sure, absolutely. It provides information that GMs can use to make more informed decisions. But it’s only one small piece of a very complicated puzzle.
MORE ART THAN SCIENCE
Because the truth is, you really CAN’T measure heart. And that question on the Wonderlic test about the magazine printer who needs to use two different typeface sizes on a 5,000 word article over 7 pages? That won’t tell you much about a guy’s ability to knock the living crap out of someone.
Two other things that could happen during the combine:
1) Teams will see an undersized linebacker with marginal speed from a small school and pass him over, only to watch him play 16 HOF-quality seasons in the league.
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2) Someone whose official combine pic looks like this…
…will drop to the 6th round, help his team win Super Bowls, and date supermodels.
Let’s hope it’s the Redskins. They could use a little good fortune.