With the Combine officially kicking-off in Indy yesterday, I thought I’d share a few things that I think we can learn from one of Greg Gabriel’s articles on the Combine.
Make sure you check it out (link below), in case you find something valuable in it that I might’ve overlooked.
I’m a big fan of Greg’s The Director’s Report column at the National Football Post.
If I was young enough to do it, and dreamed of playing in the NFL, I’d be tuning into his blog on a regular basis.
I mean, where else can you, as a player, get to learn directly from someone who was a scout for nearly 30 years in the NFL?
Let’s be real. Scouts pretty much hold your football future in their laptops and notepads. As an aspiring NFL player, I’d be trying to learn as much as I could about how scouts think.
But maybe it’s just me.
Anyways, let’s get the show on the road.
Lesson #1: The Combine Means More for Underclassmen and Small School Players
As Gabriel eluded to, most of the players at the Combine are seniors from bigger schools.
In the spring of each year, most bigger schools give their juniors (who will be seniors in the upcoming fall) opportunities to participate in junior pro days.
Because of this, when these players arrive at the Combine, scouts already have an idea of how much the players “really” weigh, how fast they are, etc., since most of them ran and got measured at the pro day from the previous spring.
Well, most smaller schools don’t even “have” pro days, so a lot of the small school players at the Combine weren’t able to participate in a junior pro day the previous spring.
The Combine is a big deal for underclassmen, because players that are juniors at the Combine were sophomore’s when the “junior” pro days took place the previous spring, so scouts don’t have much of a read on these guys, either.
Lesson #2: You’re EXPECTED to Do Well
I’m sure you’ve read about prospect’s stock increasing after the Combine. While a solid performance can indeed boost a player’s stock, a good performance may not have as much impact as one might think.
Like Gabriel said, scouts expect for players to do well when it comes to the Combine.
Players at the Combine have been practicing and training for these drills for as long as six-to-eight weeks leading up to the Combine.
And, as Gabriel eluded to, you’d better believe scouts know it:
…players are expected to have great workouts at the combine. These kids have spent the last 6 to 8 weeks training for their workout… They have spent hours each day practicing the 40-yard dash, the 20-yard shuttle, the 3-cone drill, the vertical jump, the standing long jump and the position drills that they do for the coaches…They should be able to do them well in their sleep! It surprises no one when a player does real well. To me the red flag is when he doesn’t do well.
I have to agree with Gabriel on this one, for the most part.
The one thing I’d say is that a player’s nerves could play a part too. A kid might have the capacity to do better, but the pressure from being at the Combine could very well make a player’s performance level drop, too.
I’m just sayin’.
Lesson #3: You Won’t Find out Your Wonderlic Scores at the Combine
This isn’t something that’ll necessarily help you get to the NFL per se, but I thought it was good to know anyways.
Gabriel explained that back in the day, the Wonderlic tests were graded by a group of scouts, who then handed them over to the Combine officials.
Not anymore. Nowadays, the tests are gathered and put in sealed envelopes before they’re given to Combine officials, who then have them sent off-site for grading.
Once the tests are graded off site, they’re kept secure. The results are only sent to one person with each NFL team. The NFL League Office mandates that that one person refrain from sharing the results to others within their organization.
Gabriel brought this topic up to debunk the rumors that go on during the Combine about different player’s Wonderlic scores.
Bottom line: if you hear rumors about anyone’s Wonderlic results while the Combine is still going on, the rumors are probably not true.
Check out this feature on the Wonderlic test:
What do YOU think about Greg Gabriel’s opinion that player’s SHOULD perform well in Combine drills, after training and practicing six-to-eight weeks on them? Do you agree?
Leave a comment below!
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