The NFL Combine is one of many events that the NFL seems to overhype during it’s unbearably long offseason. Watching grown men run in tights as NFL front office members complete their checklist is a bit strange, but we’ve grown used to it. What used to be a daytime event is now being broadcast during primetime hours for those that have access to NFL Network.
Players train for months so that they can put up numbers that could drastically affect their future. If you have a reputation as a slow wide receiver, running a 4.4 40-yard dash could bump you up a few rounds in the draft. Scoring a 4.70 40 as a cornerback might sentence you to undrafted status, and performing poorly in explosion drills as a running back might make teams view you as a non-starter.
Testing is undoubtedly important to the pre-draft process, but the long-lasting debate of film versus testing is discussed each year, with many favoring one over the other. The Lions got burned for trusting the tape and ignoring testing when they selected Teez Tabor in the second round. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Lions still have a major hole in the middle of the linebacker group after drafting an unpolished, but extremely athletic Jarrad Davis in the first round of the 2017 draft.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
How much do you value athletic testing when it comes to the pre-draft process?
My answer: If I had to put a percentage on it, I would say that it’s 80/20 in favor of watching film over athletic testing. Of course, it’s much more complicated than that and each position has a different flavor of importance. For instance, I’m going to care a lot more if a wide receiver runs a slow 40-yard dash than if a quarterback or running back runs slow.
Athletic testing, historical data and trends are very important and should not be ignored, but if you’re flipping a coin because you don’t know whether to trust your eyes or the numbers, then I feel like nine times out of 10 I’m trusting my eyes over the numbers. There’s no cheating the odds when it comes to the draft, however. You’re always going to have your hits and misses, but it’s important to learn from the mistakes. I guarantee you that Bob Quinn won’t be taking any slow cornerbacks in the early rounds of the draft ever again.