Throughout the weeks leading up to the NFL Combine, The Football Educator has stressed the importance of taking everything in context and understanding the relevance of a player’s performance at Indy. In the evaluation process it sometimes seems the most important aspect is what is being evaluated at the moment. That is if the coaches and scouts are at the Senior Bowl, then heightened focus and coverage overemphasizes the Senior Bowl. If the coaches and scouts are at the NFL Combine, then every event is critical at that given time. When the coaches and scouts head to Pro Days, those workouts will somehow supersede the NFL Combine.
All are important and yet none are necessarily more or most important, unless they happen to be the one event being covered. With that notion it’s imperative to understand the relevance of the testing at the NFL Combine and where it actually fits in the big picture.
Yesterday I spoke about the fantastic performance in the 40 yard dash by Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III. To be able to rip off a 4.41 for the quarterback position is both exciting and rare. Immediately the pundits began moving RGIII to the #2 pick in the draft.
But the 40 yard dash has shown the least significant correlation of any of the physical attribute tests as they relate to ANY position. That is the 40 is mathematically not a predictor of success for the QB in the National Football League. So as great as it is to see this athletic feat, it can’t stand alone to predicate that RGIII will be a star in the NFL.
The prudent NFL GM will take the entire picture of player performance at the NFL Combine and not let emotion sway his decision based on a single test or drill. Yesterday we saw 22 players on offense whose overall results point towards potential success at the next level.
I was a bit surprised by the defensive talent pool and the lack of standout performances in general. Using the Landers study of Combine Relevance, no defensive end even met the optimum number of EPA’s (exceeded peer average) of past NFL starters. As on the offensive side, the defense had a number of players opt out of participating in all the attribute tests. To me, that always sent its own message to a club and its staff.
Here are the players from the defensive rookie class that reached a relevant NFL Combine performance based on their results across the board.