The NFL Combine

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It’s NFL draft combine time. A three day festipalooza where future Hall of Famers are poked, prodded, weighed, measured, and asked to do things that they’ll only ever be asked to do at the NFL combine. Literally skills that only apply to the combine and not to playing a game called football.

Here are my problems with the NFL.

Work Out Warriors…

There will be two or three guys that will move up into the first round of the NFL draft based on what they do for two days while wearing shorts. It’s a fact. Mike Mamula is the most famous of these work out warriors. He totally killed at the combine and the Philadelphia Eagles decided to draft Mamula in the top 10. Hand it to Mike, he was one of the first guys to realize that these personnel idiots will draft a guy who runs fast in a straight line, jumps really high, jumps really far from a standing position, and bench presses a lot of weight. Mike practiced these events exclusively in prepping for the draft and low and behold it worked. Some guy who couldn’t play dead in a cowboy movie will run a really fast time in the 40 and will suddenly be a great football player, it happens every year. An entire cottage industry has emerged of draft prep training facilities with awesome names like Velocity, Extreme, and Dynamixx. These guys will have you in bad spandex for months getting you reading for the NFL combine and your dash for cash.

The Outfits

Real quick, do we really need to see this? Of course not. If I were at the combine and they handed me this workout gear I’d say no thanks, I have some mesh shorts and a cut off in the trunk of my car, I’ll be sporting those. By the way, I always roll with mesh shorts and a cut off just in case I’m ever asked to try out for the NFL, I can dream. Ridiculous outfits are a staple of the combine. Do they make you faster? Under armour would like you to believe they do because under armour knows there are 40 million junior high and high school kids who would wear a bleached ferret if they saw NFL players wearing them. When your 300 lbs, and I am, spandex is a no, no. Spandex capri pants should be a felony.

The Drills

At the combine there is a drill where an offensive lineman lays on his back, jumps up, and backpedals between cones. I’ve seen hundreds of football games at every level, I played the game poorly at the 3A level of Texas high school football, my dad coached the game, I’ve never seen any play where an offensive player of any variety lays flat on his back at the start of the play. The same can be said for the standing broad jump, the vertical leap, and even dare I say the 40-yard dash. Watch a game and count how many times a guys runs 40 yards…in straight line…without pads…without blocking…tackling… touching someone...or carrying something. It never happens. They might as well put a $50 bill on a unicorn’s back and have the guys chase it around Lucas Oil Stadium to try and catch it. I’d watch. It would have as much to do with football as any of the stuff that happens at the combine.

Jerry Jones is There

Saw Jerry today while I was scanning channels, he was at the combine, evaluating talent, and wearing a hoodie. Jerry hasn’t had a good draft since Jimmy Johnson was coaching his team. I was in high school then, I’m 38 now. Jerry still gets to decide who will wear the Star and play for America’s team. Am I bitter? Damn right. You’ve won one playoff game in the last 15 years. Your quarterback and arguably best player, you didn’t even draft. Thanks a lot Jerry. Enjoy watching fat guys in tights run in a straight line.

The Terminology

There is an entire lexicon associated with the draft combine. Quarterbacks don’t throw footballs; they spin them. Tight ends aren’t tall; they’re long. Defensive ends must have "good length". You’ll hear the word “flexion”. It’s great; it’s multidimensional. You can evaluate a guy’s ankle flexion, his knee flexion, and don’t get me started on hips. Hips are dare I say the most important component to a human being’s body at the draft combine. Guys have good hips, bad hips, quick hips, loose hips, tight hips, open hips, closed hips. If a player ever showed up with three hips the analysts would spontaneously combust. You will hear about kick slides, shoulder depth, a guy's motor, the wonderlic, and the cybex.

So put on your spandex, stretch out, prep your flexion and pay special attention to your hips, it’s combine time.

Posted on January 5, 2013 and filed under Sports.