The NFL recently wrapped up its NFL Combine Testing. The NFL Scouting Combine is a week-long showcase where college football players perform physical and mental tests in front of coaches, general managers, and scouts.
Standout defensive end from Ohio State Chase Young chose not to participate in this year’s Combine, claiming he isn’t looking to be a Combine athlete but a football player. For someone of his status, sitting out of the Combine isn’t a big deal because he’s pretty much the consensus No. 1 prospect in the draft. His game tape tells enough that he’s ready for the NFL.
For other players, however, how important is the Combine? A lot goes into it: from testing to measurables to interviews — the whole nine yards. But too much weight is put on what happens at the Combine. When the 40-yard dash was first introduced, it was used to see if players were fast enough to get down the field to be able to cover a punt and prevent a big return. Now we have quarterbacks and offensive linemen running the 40-yard dash, as if they’ll ever be a gunner on punt coverage.
Don’t get me wrong; data acquired from the NFL Combine is important and should factor into teams’ decision making come draft day, but it shouldn’t be weighed on so heavily. John Ross has the record for the fastest 40-yard dash time but is far from the best wide receiver in the game, and players like Tom Brady and Drew Brees had below-average Combine scores and have been dominant in the NFL. At the end of the day, the best test on if they can play is how they show up on gameday.