NFL Combine Records: Are They Testing the Right Things?
The NFL combine is one of the most important events in football players’ careers. There are many factors that go into determining whether or not a player will make it to the next level. Some of these include height, weight, speed, agility and strength. The combine tests measure all of those things and more.
If you want to get a better idea of how well a prospect performed at the combine, then you need to know what they tested and why. If there was any question about whether or not a player had the ability to play in the NFL, then they would have been drafted before now. However, if that’s your only concern with prospects, then don’t worry too much because I’m here to tell you that some of them aren’t going to pan out.
So let’s take a look at the combine results for some of the top prospects in this year’s draft class.
Quarterback: Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M) – 4.9 seconds
Johnny Football was not even close to being able to run a 40 yard dash time at the combine. That would be impossible for him considering he weighs less than 200 pounds and doesn’t have great size for that kind of event. His short shuttle time wasn’t anything to write home about either. Manziel is going to be a great football player in the NFL. He’s not going to be a great athlete.
If he was standing on the starting line of a track, he’d get beat by some of the B-teamers running the 100-meter dash in their senior year of high school.
I would be willing to bet money that Manziel’s best score in the 3-cone drill is better than his 40 yard dash time. That’s how bad it is. Quarterbacks are not supposed to be great athletes. If they were, then nobody would ever figure out how to throw a football and all quarterbacks would be 6’5″ and be able to run the 40 yard dash in 4.4 seconds or less.
Running Back: Lache Seastrunk (Baylor) – 4.37 seconds, Kelvin Benjamen (Tennessee State) – 4.46 seconds
Lache and Benjamen are the two fastest running backs in this year’s draft class. That’s a surprise to me considering that they aren’t exactly huge running backs. Lache Seastrunk probably has better size than the average back, but he’s just shorter than average. Both of these guys turned in stellar performances at the combine and that’s a big reason why they are both expected to go in the later part of the draft.
Bold Predictions for 2014 NFL Season
Tight End: E. James (Texas Tech) – 4.78 seconds, A. Clay (Fla.) – 4.82 seconds
I know what you’re thinking. “
Why is a tight end on this list?”
There’s a good chance that the top two tight ends in this year’s draft class are going to be selected in the second or third round of the draft, which means that they have a good shot at being successful running backs or wide receivers. However, given their size and speed, they would not be able to compete with those top prospects.
E. James and A. Clay ran the slowest 40-yard dashes out of all of the skill position players in this year’s draft class. They are big and they can catch, but it looks like they are not going to be much more than red zone threats in the league because they just cannot get down field in a hurry.
Offensive Tackle: Cyrus Kouandjio (Alabama) – 5.37 seconds, Antonio “Tiny” Richardson (Tennessee) – 5.42 seconds
These are the slowest offensive lineman in this year’s draft class. I’m putting them together because they are both from top college football programs and they turned in very similar combine performances. They are going to be great run blockers in the NFL, but if you need a pass protector, you’re going to want someone else.
I could see either of these guys getting drafted in the first round because there is such a shortage of talent at this position in this draft. If you need a right tackle, one of these two might be your guy. Personally, I would prefer to have them protecting my quarterback’s left side so that he doesn’t get killed.
Left Tackle: Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M) – 5.42 seconds, Jake Matthews (Texas A&M) – 5.45 seconds
It would appear that there is a trend here with players from the same school being placed next to each other on this list. Joeckel and Mathews both turned in very slow times in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. I’m sure most of you are familiar with Joeckel and he’s pretty much a lock to be a top five draft pick. Jake Mathews is a little less heralded, but he’s still going to go early in the second round. Neither of them are what you would call “lightning fast,” but they’re both still going to be excellent tackles in the NFL.
Right Tackle: Kyle Long (Oregon) – 5.20 seconds, Jack Mewhort (Ohio State) – 5.33 seconds
Kyle Long and Jack Mewhort both played on the offensive line for strong college programs, but neither of them are “top heavy” like Joeckel or Mathews. These guys are going to go early in the second round of the draft though.
Sources & references used in this article:
Does the NFL Combine Really Matter by P Park – 2016 – stat.berkeley.edu
Making Sense of the NHL Fitness Testing Combine R… by J Jackson – strengthcoach.com
225 Bench Press Repetitions Test—What Are We Really Testing? by B Mann – elitefts.com
Fourth and Short on Equality: The Disparate Impact of the NFL’s Use of the Wonderlic Intelligence Test and the Case for a Football-Specific Test by C Hatch – Conn. L. Rev., 2008 – HeinOnline
Test-retest reliability and concurrent validity of athletic performance combine tests in 6–15-year-old male athletes by ZM Gillen, AA Miramonti, BD McKay… – The Journal of …, 2018 – journals.lww.com
Changes in the athletic profile of elite college American football players by DW Robbins, TL Goodale, FE Kuzmits… – The Journal of …, 2013 – journals.lww.com
Roughing the passer: The framing of black and white quarterbacks prior to the NFL draft by E Mercurio, VF Filak – The Howard Journal of Communications, 2010 – nca.tandfonline.com
National Football League Combine by R Jones – 2015 – digitalcommons.csp.edu