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Old 02-23-2010   #1
HoustonFrog
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Default Putting Stock in the Combine

I wanted to post this because for years I've argued that the Combine is way too much hype and that I don't understand why teams don't look at the film at guys who have a motor and who can produce instead of the stock measurables at the combine. We have talked about it here yearly and it still floors me what allegedly smart GMs get enamored with.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/201...ons/index.html

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The Scouting Combine is coming ... but I wish you wouldn't get very excited about it.

In my calls around the league in the last few days, I spoke to one club architect who shall remain nameless at his request. He told me his team had changed its way of doing business in the scouting realm this year, and his team's draft board is "90 percent set.''

Quoth this architect: "You know why it's 90 percent set now? Because guys go to the Scouting Combine and they change their grade on a player based on things that have nothing to do with playing football. I'm convinced if you took the stopwatches away from a lot of these guys, most of 'em would not be able to tell you whether they liked a player or not.

"These guys go out and watch players all fall, then we all watch the tape of all these guys, and we see what kind of football players they are. That's scouting. Who plays good football in pads? That's scouting. Now we need the combine for the medical evaluations and the personal baggage stuff. But don't come in after the combine and tell me you want to change some guy and move him way up because he ran faster than you thought he would. That's where you get in trouble, and that's why our draft board is pretty well set.''

If I told you who this speaker was, you'd all say, "Whoa, we have to listen to this guy. We respect him.'' Just take my word for it. He's legit.

I enjoy the combine. It gives me the chance to meet a lot of players I'll be covering in the future and to see people in the NFL and get team-by-team updates. It's valuable. But it's way overrated in terms of deciding who should get picked where in the draft, and it always will be.
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Old 02-23-2010   #2
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Default Re: Putting Stock in the Combine

The combine used to be a very useful tool.

Nowadays, you already know pretty much everything you're gonna know about a prospect before he even gets there. The interviews are probably the most important part of the combine now.
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Old 02-23-2010   #3
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Default Re: Putting Stock in the Combine

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Originally Posted by bah007 View Post
The combine used to be a very useful tool.

Nowadays, you already know pretty much everything you're gonna know about a prospect before he even gets there. The interviews are probably the most important part of the combine now.
I agree. I think the GMs get to be around the players and see what the player's goals, etc are and it kind of gives them an idea about how passionate they might be compared to the next guy. I think the interviews can help when there may be a question about this on tape. But overall, I agree with that GM that the film has already told most teams alot.
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Last edited by HoustonFrog; 02-23-2010 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 02-23-2010   #4
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Default Re: Putting Stock in the Combine

In defense of the Combine; I love watching some of these guys compete against each other. It lets the small and big school players meet on an equal field. It also gives the GM's a chance to look for 'prospects'. Some of those guys who have freakish athletics, but don't show up well on tape for some reason.
I would wager that a lot of the late round picks are guys who clubs have kept an eye on, but show up well at the combine.

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Old 02-23-2010   #5
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Default Re: Putting Stock in the Combine

I think the player interviews, agility drills, benchpress, and vertical jump can be very important for most players but the 40 yd. sprint is way overrated. I also think that all drills should be done in helmet, full pads, and cleats, not track outfits.
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Old 02-23-2010   #6
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Default Re: Putting Stock in the Combine

What I like about the combine is that it levels the field. Everybody benches the same weight. Everybody gets measured by the same yardstick. Everybody runs on the same track. Everybody steps on the same scale. Everybody takes the same tests.

No more crappy height, weight, speed nonsence published by a school or agent with an agenda.
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Old 02-23-2010   #7
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Default Re: Putting Stock in the Combine

Sadly it sounds like he could be talking about Bill Polian.

The combine is still a useful tool though. Yes 40 times are overrated, but the Titans sure did get a hell of a player by buying what their stopwatch was reading.

I think where teams get in trouble is when they draft a guy solely on the amazing #s that said player might put up at the combine (workout warriors) and completely ignore their lack of elite college production. However when a highly productive college player can also put up eye popping measurables, well then you might have a really special player on your hands. The combine is also how teams discover small school steals, so it's also useful there.
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Old 02-23-2010   #8
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Default Re: Putting Stock in the Combine

I love the article, evaluate players on their ability to play the game, what a concept.

The medical and interviews are the only reason to go.

For us non professional scouts/fans, the combine is important because we do not have coaches tape on every playing the draft. The scouts have already talked to the coaches and the players, now it's time for the coaches and GM to talk to them.

A scout should already know who is football fast. BTW the scouts thought Marcus Allen was slow. Terrell Davis was slow, and did not think Jerry Rice had enough speed. What do they know. Talking heads just like me and you.
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Old 02-23-2010   #9
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Default Re: Putting Stock in the Combine

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Originally Posted by texdawg View Post
What I like about the combine is that it levels the field. Everybody benches the same weight. Everybody gets measured by the same yardstick. Everybody runs on the same track. Everybody steps on the same scale. Everybody takes the same tests.
True. But, no one plays football. If the combine was for a track league, it would be a good measuring stick. However, it's the National Football League Scouting Combine. And the "Football" part is pretty much missing.
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It also gives the GM's a chance to look for 'prospects'. Some of those guys who have freakish athletics, but don't show up well on tape for some reason.
That's what should raise a flag. Why is this guy underachieving? And if I draft him, will he underachieve for my team?

But, I think you touched on the biggest reason as to why the combine is abused as an evaluation tool. The men in the decision makers' chairs don't get to watch enough college prospects during the season. The combine is a place where thy can eyeball the players for the 1st time. And they are reticent to rely totally on the scouting grades of the actual games. Not to mention that NFL coaches carry a lot of hubris into Lucas Oil Stadium. "Maybe their college coach couldn't get this guy to produce, but I surely can."

Still, you have to be a pretty good college football player just to garner a combine invite. And after all of the scouting reports, some of these prospects carry very close, if not identical, grades. At this point in the evaluation process, teams are looking for any type of distinction in order to make a decision. If that's the case, maybe a 40 yard dash is better than flipping a coin?
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Old 02-23-2010   #10
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Default Re: Putting Stock in the Combine

different strokes for different folks, this is an opportunity for the NFL coach & his staff to see first hand prospects the scouting department has already reviewed, remember these guys are busy preparing their own house/team for the season, making roster cuts & such then preparing each week for game etc. etc. they simply don't have the time.

if y'all had the opportunity to sample the groceries before buying wouldn't you do some of your own sampling, plus gives feedback back & forth to find the ideal fits. Measureables, times, drills just are for confirmation.
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Old 02-24-2010   #11
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Default Re: Putting Stock in the Combine

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Originally Posted by bah007 View Post
The combine used to be a very useful tool.

Nowadays, you already know pretty much everything you're gonna know about a prospect before he even gets there. The interviews are probably the most important part of the combine now.
Agreed. The Combine probably means more to the fans these days than the teams. IIRC, some teams just show up for the weigh in, physicals and interviews and then leave.

To me, it's a tiny break in a long off-season. I'd like to see more of the bench press shown though.
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Old 02-24-2010   #12
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Default Re: Putting Stock in the Combine

The results from the shuttle-drills are something many teams take serious interests in when evaluating the quickness & agility of Draft prospects.
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Old 02-24-2010   #13
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Default Re: Putting Stock in the Combine

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The results from the shuttle-drills are something many teams take serious interests in when evaluating the quickness & agility of Draft prospects.
It'd mean more if they did it in full pads.
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Old 02-24-2010   #14
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Default Re: Putting Stock in the Combine

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Agreed. The Combine probably means more to the fans these days than the teams. IIRC, some teams just show up for the weigh in, physicals and interviews and then leave.

To me, it's a tiny break in a long off-season. I'd like to see more of the bench press shown though.
I also think that one problem with the combine measurables is that you get GMs who want to be the "smartest man in the room." Yeah they have looked at tape and they have seen alot of guys. Yeah they can see a small school guy. But I think some of this leads to these "flyers" being taken way too high because some GM thinks he is incredible crafty. Darrius Heyward-Bey comes to mind.

Again, as the original article says, I'd rather take the kid from Tennessee that produced against top competition and who worked hard vs the kid from Middle Tennessee State that showed up at the combine, benched 225 5 more times and who ran a 4.3.
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Old 02-24-2010   #15
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Default Re: Putting Stock in the Combine

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I also think that one problem with the combine measurables is that you get GMs who want to be the "smartest man in the room." Yeah they have looked at tape and they have seen alot of guys. Yeah they can see a small school guy. But I think some of this leads to these "flyers" being taken way too high because some GM thinks he is incredible crafty. Darrius Heyward-Bey comes to mind.
LOL! Yeah, but Weird Al should always be an exception to any rule.

There's always a handfull of players that might actually increase their draft stock at the Combine, but IMO, the film doesn't lie. Watching a bunch of dudes run around in shorts can lie.

Just piggy-backin on your post, HF.
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Old 02-24-2010   #16
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Default Re: Putting Stock in the Combine

Anyone know why they don't wear full pads? Have they ever?
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Old 02-24-2010   #17
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Default Re: Putting Stock in the Combine

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I also think that one problem with the combine measurables is that you get GMs who want to be the "smartest man in the room." .
Casserly got a GM job again?
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Old 02-24-2010   #18
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Default Re: Putting Stock in the Combine

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Originally Posted by Carr Bombed View Post
Sadly it sounds like he could be talking about Bill Polian.

The combine is still a useful tool though. Yes 40 times are overrated, but the Titans sure did get a hell of a player by buying what their stopwatch was reading.

I think where teams get in trouble is when they draft a guy solely on the amazing #s that said player might put up at the combine (workout warriors) and completely ignore their lack of elite college production. However when a highly productive college player can also put up eye popping measurables, well then you might have a really special player on your hands. The combine is also how teams discover small school steals, so it's also useful there.
But the year before that it got them Chris "Texans Practice Squad" Henry.
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Old 02-25-2010   #19
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Default Re: Putting Stock in the Combine

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True. But, no one plays football. If the combine was for a track league, it would be a good measuring stick. However, it's the National Football League Scouting Combine. And the "Football" part is pretty much missing.
I agree and disagree with this point.

I agree that there should be more tests with actual football equipment on, though I understand why they don't.

Now, I disagree about pretty much the same subject. My opinion of the combine is that scouts pretty much know how a player is, but use the combine to break ties between possible players they are having based on their measurables (all duh, I know). But what I mean is, say for example there are two receivers with identical physical traits. Both receivers, in the eyes of the scouts and GM, whoever is scouting; are top notch football players that play at the same level. They both love the game and want to work as hard as they can to be the best. Pretty much, they are completely even in all variables they can pick up from watching live or on tape. Now, it comes to their pick in the draft and they want to pick one, and both are there. Where do they make the decision? Do you take the guy who ran the 4.34, put up 225 18 times, and had a 42 inch vert, or do you take the guy who ran a 4.42, put up 15 times, and jumped 38 inches? Then, of course, there are also the interviews which are the most important part of the Combine (other than the Wunderlic which we all know is spot on for the best players....) in my view.

I'm just trying to point out why I think the Combine is such an important event for NFL front offices in regards to the Draft. Not too mention it gives us all something to talk about and watch for a week when normally (Winter Olympic year excepted) not much else in the sports world is going on.
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Old 02-26-2010   #20
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Default Re: Putting Stock in the Combine

Ya know every year we have one of these articles telling us that the combine is meaning less. But when you get a linebacker in the three cone drills, you no longer have to guess whether or not he's a 3-4, 4-3 , or a nickle linebacker. You know automatically by watching the drill. Does the guy have enough knee and hip flex to drop his dobber and cut the length of the track around the cone and gain time. You don't have to guess...you can see it. How did I know Manaluga wasn't going to be worth warm spit in the open field last year....and Cushing, English and Mathews were. I watched them run the fricken' drill. That wasn't on game tape....that was only at the combine.

Same with the o-lineman drill where they start the guys inverted to the LOS and flat on their backs ( the shadow drill ?). Why do they start them out that way ? Because every scout & GM in the building wants to see how athletically they pop up and begin the drill. If they look stiff and obtuse.....they ain't ZBS guys. They are power o guys. Doesn't mean they aren't good . Means they are most likely to succeed where athletic movement....i.e. combo blocking and setting up second level blocks isn't required.

Anyone tells you the combine is nothing tells me he doesn't know what they are trying to accomplish in the drill. He doesn't know how and what to watch .
In other words in my opinion ever time I see one of these articles, I assume they are ether too stupid or too lazy to learn.
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