Every year, the NFL Scouting Combine takes over the NFL draft world. And with it comes tons of critics saying the combine is overrated—it doesn't tell us anything about these players.
Are these critics right? Is the combine overrated? Does it have no meaning?
Well, I wouldn't say it has no meaning, but it can certainly be overhyped. What exactly makes the combine so overrated, though?
A variety of things, really.
Here are five of them.
How often does a non-wide receiver run 40 yards straight downfield? How often does a player use only his upper body in the power game?
Not very often.
Sure, these workouts have other applications, but players will rarely be using these specific skills on the field.
This is the root of the argument against the combine. In the end, player evaluation is about what happens on the field, not on the track.
The combine tends to distract from that.
For years, Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders drafted track stars. The team's record shows how successful that method was.
The Raiders are undoubtedly one of the NFL's fastest teams, but no one would say they are one of the NFL's best teams.
Drafting for athleticism is a foolish mistake, and it's one not many teams will be repeating after Oakland's terrible experience with it.
In 2008, Vernon Gholston put together one of the best NFL Scouting Combine performances ever. The 266-pounder ran a 4.65 40-yard dash time, benched 225 pounds 37 times and jumped 35.5" in the vertical leap.
Gholston never recorded a single sack in the NFL.
Obviously, Gholston is a physical specimen. But this freakish athletic ability never translated to the field, and he is one of the biggest busts in NFL history.
In 2010, Brandon Spikes ran a 5.05 40-yard dash at Florida's pro day—an awful time for a linebacker.
The New England Patriots drafted Spikes in the second round.
Bill Belichick and the Patriots have never cared about combine performances. And it's worked pretty well for them, if you haven't noticed.
New England evaluates players based on how they play.
That's they way it should work.
Anyone who has watched Jason Pierre-Paul play knows he's a freak. At the NFL Scouting Combine, though, Pierre-Paul was just average.
In his second NFL season, JPP racked up 16.5 sacks and 86 tackles. In fact, Pierre-Paul was arguably the most dominant defensive end in football.
So, if Pierre-Paul is such a freak, why didn't it show at the combine?
I honestly have no idea.