- 04/23/2012, 12:46AM ET
Mrlns Fn said 04/23, 12:46 AM
This might be more of a rant than a TD, but I'm **** tired of NFL teams placing premium value on the Combine's workout warriors.
NCAA players can dominate their entire careers but a slower-than-expected 40 time on an unreliable stop watch can doom guys originally destined for the first round into the lower depths of the draft's latter days.
Conversely, scrubs who never accomplished jack on the field over the course of their careers can become top-ten picks over night, as long as their wingspan is impressive, or their 40 time turned a few heads, or they ran the shuttle really fast, or... you get the idea.
The NFL is a multi billion dollar industry (I think) and smart drafting cam make or break a franchise. Yet once the combine/pro days roll around, these "talent evaluators" fall in love with meaningless metrics like bench press reps and high jump figures.
I say the scouts/GMs should focus on more important stuff like whether or not these athletes are actually, you know... good players.
Dontari Poe, a DT from Memphis, accumulated five sacks in his three year career. Yet he's a top ten pick? Because he's big???
Insanity, I tell you.
(Un) said 04/23, 09:09 PM
There is no proven formula to drafting football players. With that in mind, the Combine helps teams do two things:
1. Weed out star college players who won't be able to translate their collegiate success into the professional level. (There are plenty of those guys, I'll get to that later)
2. Get an early jump on finding the diamonds in the rough.
For example, in the 2010 NFL Draft Philadelphia traded up to the #13 spot overall. There were two highly coveted defensive ends on the boards: Brandon Graham and Jason Pierre-Paul.
Graham was a Michigan standout who record 29.5 sacks during his four-year career in the Big Ten; the knock on Graham was that he had short arms and less than ideal height - sounds laughable, right? While Pierre-Paul tallied a mediocre 6.5 career sacks in the Big East, but he was a Combine freak and hey, he could do backflips...
Philadelphia shared your opinion and selected the guy with the better college resume. The NY Giants selected Pierre-Paul two slots later, because of his Combine performance.
I don't need to tell you how that one turned out.
Mrlns Fn said 04/23, 10:49 PM
Absolutely agree with your first statement; there isn't a proven way to identify which college players are going to have NFL success.
That said, it becomes all the more imperative for teams to use their resources as wisely as possible. The draft can have a HUGE impact on a teams' future, so obviously the smart thing to do is to identify which evaluation methods are superior in terms of predicting future success.
Which brings me back to my original point - NFL teams should NOT place a major premium on college athletes who couldn't even dominate their lesser counterparts in the NCAA simply because they performed well at the combine.
If a given player performed like a second or third round pick over the course of three years in college, NFL teams are foolish to grade that prospect with a top ten pick simply because his 40 time was slightly better than his peers', or because he squeezed out an additional 4 or 5 reps on the bench press.
Case in point; Dontari Poe. All of a sudden this guy is a potential top ten pick because NFL people love his size.
Forget his lack of production while at Memphis; forget that the Tigers were terrible against the run... he's big!
(Un) said 04/24, 08:37 PM
The problem is college production is not indicative of NFL success.
Don't believe me? Just look at a list of Heisman trophy winners. All of which dominated their lesser counterparts in the NCAA; many of which couldn't hold a starting job in the NFL. Jason White won the Heisman in 2003 and he wasn't even drafted, nor should he have been. That's because there's a lot more to drafting players than college production.
If you want an NFL Combine example, look at all-time FBS rushing leader Ron Dayne. He ran a disappointing 4.65 time in the 40-yard dash. It should be no surprise that his slow foot speed hindered his NFL career.
How about Ted Hendricks / Chuck Bednarik finalist Aaron Maybin? Buffalo wasted a #11 overall draft pick on him because of his college production. They should have paid more attention to his Combine results, including a sluggish 4.88 run in the 40-yard dash.
Meanwhile Saints All-Pro tight-end Jimmy Graham only caught 17 receptions in college. But he wowed scouts at the 2010 Combine with his freakish athletic ability.
You can rip teams for overvaluing Combine results. But overvaluing college production is equally naive.
Mrlns Fn said 04/24, 11:15 PM
Well... both of us could take a specific player or two to try to prove our points because as you said, the Draft is an inexact science.
But that's my whole point... none of the criteria available should be used to drastically change the evaluation of any player. That's the problem with Combine info; teams use it to rocket mid-round players into the top ten, and that's what I have a problem with.
Instead of using common sense and combining a players 3 or 4 year career with Combine info, teams are willing to completely re-evaluate players almost exclusively off Combine results, which is dumb... ... again, Combine results and any other draft criteria are faulty.
That's my whole point. NFL teams should realize that track stars don't always make awesome wideouts. (Raiders fans know what I'm talking about)
Bench press reps don't always equate to dominance in the trenches. (Mike Mamula knows what I'm talking about)
Strong-armed QBs don't always succeed. (JaMarcus Russell, anybody?)
The point is teams should be balanced when analyzing prospects. Game film, combine results, they're good things, when used in moderation.
Balance, not over-reaction.
(Un) said 04/25, 07:20 AM
You go from ripping teams for falling "in love with meaningless metrics" to claiming teams should draft with a balance of game film and combine results? You're softening your stance.
It's no secret that many of the biggest playmakers in the NFL are bigger, faster and stronger than their peers. So it should come as no surprise that teams covet athletic freaks.
You also have to consider that teams don't just draft players for today. They draft players for the future. Therefore it's important to project a player's potential. For example, Brandon Graham was considered "NFL-ready" but a big knock on Graham was that he had already maxed out his potential - he's not expected to get any better.
Athletic freaks have a much higher upside - making multiple teams interested in them - and by definition, they are rare to come by.
Or in other words... athletic freaks are in low supply, but being that multiple teams want them, they're also in high demand. It's textbook economics. Teams have to pay a premium, meaning a higher draft pick, if they want one. Because if you don't, someone else will.
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