Why the Combine still Matters

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What is all the hype with the combine? Who cares what time someone ran, or how many bench presses someone has. Why hype up the combine?
As fans, we want to see players flying around making plays and touchdowns. We do not care if they can run around bags or throw on air.

Even In High School, I can remember the players that excelled in tee shirts and shorts. The guys who would have people buzzing about their athleticism due to plays made without pads. Once the pads came on, they were a completely different football player despite their athleticism. The people with 100 spare ratings were the same ones tapping out once they got hit in pads.

The combine is the same principle. Every draft there is a player who wows scouts and has a team reach for him based on the athleticism. Said player may not have success on the field just because they ran or jumped well at the combine (ask any Raider fan). Then teams are left with a draft bust and angry fan base.

Why bother with the combine at all, if the tests do not mean success in the NFL?

No these drills are not the end all be all determinate of a prospects potential career in the NFL. Prospects prepare for months at high end facilities geared towards the type of combine testing that goes on in Indianapolis. That is part of the reason why prospects fair so well.

So why bother? Prospects have already put together hours of game tape that show what they can do on the field. Why not focus for bettering the infield product rather than combine numbers.

The answer is simple. The combine itself is an overwhelming experience for the players. They are put into a four day gauntlet of position drills, measurable tests, academic tests, interviews, and medical exams.

As an employer, NFL teams want to see how their potential investments fair in a high stress environment

Pro-days already offer the same combine drills, testing, exams, and interviews that the combine offers. The difference is The combine makes players step out of their comfort zone. Prospects are not dressing in their locker rooms, working with their coaches, or playing with their teammates. You want to see how a prospect reacts to leaving their comfortable college stage and entering the media spectacle that is the NFL combine

From a competition standpoint, it does not get better than the The NFL Combine

How often do you get. 300 of the best football players in one arena? Almost never. I remember being in my own High School combines, I wanted to see how I faired against the best around. I wanted to see if the best were as advertised.

The same should be said about the NFL. Teams want the player who wants to be the best. To be the best, you have to showcase that within your peers. Combine is the chance for NFL prospects like Clowney and Watkins to show why they are the consensus best players of their position. I give more power to them for wanting to showcase their abilities in pos. drills and athletic tests. Just being around that many good players with NFL eyes on you can be nerve-racking, but It is preparation for the type of competition in the Dog eat Dog NFL.

The game is still based around athleticism.
Every team is always looking for the next best thing. They want the big receiver, the running QB, the tweener safety, the big corner, and the lighting explosive pass rusher. The combine is for teams to see every players athleticism on display. Some say these drills are outdated having been the same since the first combine. Well players have been rehearsing these drills for years, there is a reason for that. These drills and tests have stayed around because they are the best judgement of a players athleticism translated to the game of football.

The Interview process is the most underrated part of the Combine.

The combine in itself is a large job interview. While scouts have familiarized themselves with players all year, The combine is an opportunity for Players to get acquainted with Teams coaching staffs. This is a really underrated part of the process because a prospect needs to be put into a position to succeed.

Like any other job, a player has to fit the organizational culture. Coaches have to be able to see themselves coaching said prospect, and they have to feel said player will fit in their locker room. Otherwise it is hard for a prospect to develop, with no mutual feelings of comfort between the player and organization. Not to mention today’s heavily media driven society means fans and media are more connected to players than ever. Teams are investing a lot of stake into these draft players and interviews are key to making sure a prospect is mature enough to handle the jump from amateur to professional.

The combine is the bridge between being a collegiate athlete and becoming a professional Football player.

It is not just a test of athleticism, personality, health, or football IQ. The NFL Scouting Combine is a small test to see if a player has what it takes to survive the multiple aspects of being an NFL football player. NFL teams want to see if prospects can handle the distractions and put an impressive product on the field.

In closing, The NFL Combine is not going anywhere. There is no magical way to predict how a player will transition to life as an NFL player. No matter how many tests there are, outliers will always disprove the system with successes and failures. Being successful in the NFL is a daily feat and no test can accurately access how a player will translate in the professional field. Either way, The Combine and the spectacle it has become, serves as the start to the spectacle that is NFL life, where eyes are watching you no matter.

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About Pete D. Camarillo

B.A. in Journalism from CSUN and Raiders fan since birth. Work featured on Fansided, Sports Out West, various other online publications and in print. Former Sundial Sports Editor and LA Clippers intern. Follow me on Twitter: @petecertified.

Posted on February 22, 2014, in Commentary, Oakland Raiders and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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