Thursday, February 21, 2013

10 Things to Watch During the NFL Combine


By Joe Parello

The NFL Combine, one of my favorite events on the American sporting calendar, begins today and runs through this weekend.

If National Signing Day is the day grown men get to gush about teenagers, the NFL Combine is the day old men get to openly discuss the inner-thighs of recent college grads.

Only in America baby.

Anyways, in the same format that I brought you things to watch on National Signing Day, here are 10 things to keep an eye on during the NFL Combine.

1. The Workout Warrior

Every Combine has that one guy-usually a linebacker or safety- the rips off a sub-4.5 forty, moves swiftly through the cone drills and lifts an 18-wheeler over his head 33 times.

Of course, if you actually turned the guy's film on, you would see that he is as raw as can be, constantly caught out of position, and occasionally forgets what sport he's playing. But who cares? This guy is amazing! Naturally, the Raiders or Browns will snatch him up 50 spots too early and ruin any chance of him developing into a decent player.

2. The Star Quarterback that Won't Throw

In most years, the draft's star quarterback opts not to throw during the Combine. Instead, he will throw to his own receivers at his school's pro day. Usually, people try to make this out to be a red flag about said player; Is he afraid to compete? But really, this is just the way it's done.

Plus, we don't need to see Matt Barkley throw at the Combine to know he's going to disappoint.

3. The Guy Who Fails His Drug Test

This is another overblown annual occurrence, mostly because it usually involves something like pot, and not Deer Antler Velvet Spray. Still, it does speak to general stupidity. If high school kids working at the mall can pass drug tests every couple of months, you should be able to flush that stuff out of your system before the biggest job interview of your life.

4. The Guy That Shows Up Completely Out of Shape

Andre Smith is the best example of this, and I will allow you to again marvel at his massive man mammaries.
Wow again...

This doesn't quite speak to stupidity the way the drug test does, it more speaks to effort and a player's general "give a shit" meter. Really? You can't run a few wind sprints before the Combine?

5. The Guy Being Shopped By His Current Team

This year will be especially awesome since it's going to be Tim Tebow, and I CAN'T GET ENOUGH TEBOW!!!

But seriously, this guy has to feel the worst of anybody during the Combine. Basically, his team is in Indianapolis telling every other team in the league "Oh, I mean we didn't use him, and we don't want him… But he's a really valuable asset."

6. The Receiver Who Runs a Terrible 40 Time… But is Still Good

Anquan Boldin ran a 4.71 forty and slipped to the middle of the 2nd round. Guess what, he was still a stud early in his NFL career, just like he was a stud at Florida State.

7. The Receiver Who Runs a Great 40 Time… But Still Sucks

On the flip side, Darrius Heyward-Bey ran a 4.3 forty and continues to suck in the NFL, much like he sucked at Maryland.

8. The Guy Who Bombs the Wonderlic

The Wonderlic really doesn't matter, and is hardly applicable to football at all. Still, every year teams get scared away from a stud athlete who scores in the remedial range on this test, and usually they end up regretting it.

9. The QB That Jumps Up Everyone's Board

Quarterback is the most important position on the field, and is also one of the toughest positions to scout. Oh yeah, and having a good one is pretty much the only way to win in the modern NFL.

So, scouts will end up talking themselves into some quarterback because he "interviewed well" at the Combine. Sadly, this usually goes to a black quarterback that scouts say is "so well spoken," because, of course, that's just a crazy concept. Look for Geno Smith to be that guy this year, and that's not a knock on him, because he is a good QB. But, he's also no RGIII.

10. The "Character Issue" Guy

Usually this involves a guy with multiple arrests (Pacman Jones) or a guy that was kicked out of one school and forced to transfer to Division II (Janoris Jenkins). But, this year's incarnation of the "character issue" guy involves a religious kid from Notre Dame with a fake dead girlfriend. LOL TEO!