Last weekend in Indianapolis and through Tuesday, football players will wear almost no football equipment while running some drills they practice specifically for this showcase but rarely execute in football games as a way of convincing teams they deserve to play in actual NFL football games.
But here’s the thing: Multi-million-dollar decisions will be made in part because of information gathered at the combine.
NFL teams are looking for measurables. Not just height and weight, but vertical leap and 40-yard dash speeds and running around cones.
Yes, running around cones. How embarrassing: a drill created to gauge defensive ends rushing around Bears tackles.
Drill and test all you want, but I never felt the combine activities measured who can play football. Game tape measures that. The combine drills measure who might star on “Ninja Warrior.’’
I mean, is the game played in shirts and shorts? Then why do people ooh and aah at blazing 40-yard dash times recorded while looking nothing like a football player?
Bears general manager Phil Emery says the vertical leap might be more informative for a team than the 40-yard speed. But even teams that place great emphasis on the combine know that running 40 yards in shorts and shoes isn’t football. What good is a 4.4 if the guy runs patterns like Devin Hester? Game speed is more important. Game speed in game equipment.
What do NFL combine drills have to do with actual NFL?
Chicago Tribune | Feb 25