2011 NFL Draft Still Two Months Away, But NFL Combine Provides Entertainment for Fans
It's only February 4th, which means that we still have Valentine's Day, Presidents Day, Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, St. Patrick's Day, April Fools' Day, Easter and any other holiday you guys might celebrate before the NFL Draft.
But hey, this is a sports website, so we're not worried about all those other days. At least not right now.
All we care about is what will happen when our favorite NFL teams choose that coveted prospect we've been watching all season.
Before that happens, though, we have to see how they'll perform in a wide variety of skills tests that will be critiqued by scouts, analysts and media members across the country.
Of course, I'm talking about the NFL Combine, which may not provide the excitement of an NFL Sunday but is still entertaining nonetheless.
Why? Well, here are 10 reasons why you should be jumping for joy about the combine.
You already know it's going to happen.
There will be some wide receiver or defensive back prospect with a fourth-round grade from most scouts who has an incredibly impressive 40-yard dash time.
Maybe it's a receiver with no hands or a cornerback who can't cover, but one guy will run a 4.31 40-yard dash and Al Davis will throw a party in celebration.
Not just good ole' Al but some other owners and GMs, too.
They'll subsequently move that guy into the first round of their draft boards, and he'll be taken 70 or 80 picks higher than he should have.
Think Tedd Ginn Jr., and you'll know what I'm talking about.
Alright, so we don't actually get to see the interviews players participate in as part of the combine, but we have a general sense of what goes on in them.
From assessing a player's love and knowledge of the game to analyzing his character, a lot goes happens in that interview.
And after that happens, we usually get a breakdown from the talking heads over at ESPN—Mel Kiper and Todd McShay—of what happened in the interview.
Sometimes it's pretty clear that a number of these prospects cheated their way through college, or sixth grade for that matter, and other times it's painfully obvious that a guy just doesn't give a crap about football.
Either way, it's incredible to hear about a first-round linebacker prospect's inability to read a simple screen play.
Because as sad as it is to say this: We love to see failure.
The vertical jump may consist of nothing more than guys jumping up and slapping a bunch of boards, but it's one I actually enjoy watching.
Why? Because plenty of these dudes have some crazy hops.
Back in 2005, North Carolina's Gerald Sensabaugh actually recorded a vertical leap of 48 inches.
To put that into perspective, the NBA average is believed to be in the high 20s.
So, maybe some of these prospects at the NFL Combine, like Sensabaugh, should try their hand at basketball.
I propose that NFL officials make the vertical jump more exciting by measuring the verticals during a dunk contest.
Come on, who wouldn't want to see that?
Word came out earlier today that several top player agents are considering holding their clients out of the NFL Combine because of the uncertainty surrounding a new collective bargaining agreement.
Essentially, agents of some of the best college football players of 2010 may convince these players to sit out of the combine unless a new CBA is reached.
If that does happen—which would be an idiotic move for the players—this year's combine will essentially be a combination of The Replacements and an NFL combine.
In fact, let's call it "The Combine Replacements."
Because if the top players aren't participating in the combine, it'll be the mid-to-later round guys who get the chance to shine.
And if you don't wanna see the little guys get an opportunity to be at center stage, then you're just cold-hearted.
You know it, I know it, and even the guy drinking beer out of a brown paper bag at the corner store knows it—some well-known prospect is going to fail a drug test at the NFL combine.
Whether it's Luis Castillo, Jonathan Dwyer or Percy Harvin, we've seen it happen numerous times before.
And we all like to know who's been rolling up doobies or injecting themselves with Winstrol over the past couple of years.
Don't lie to me and say you don't enjoy finding out who's been smoking some purple.
Every year, one part of the NFL Combine is the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test, which gives NFL prospects 12 minutes to answer 50 multiple choice questions.
It really has nothing to do with football, but it's results are often a huge topic of debate in the sports world.
The scores have ranged from the damn-that's-ridiculous (Pat McInally with a perfect 50) to the hilarious-but-kinda-scary (Vince Young with a reported six!).
In fact, here are some notable Wonderlic test scores (with 21 being considered "average"):
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kevin Curtis and Benjamin Watson: 48
Dan Marino and Vince Young (second try): 16
Kordell Stewart: 12
Jeff George: 10
I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see who drops the bar even lower this year.
The day someone gets lower than a six, though, is when I stop watching football.
I can't see a guy get a 5/50, then make millions, while I'm struggling to survive. That just breaks my spirit.
Unless you're a WWE fan and have had the privilege of seeing this guy wrestle or you like sumo wrestling and watch it regularly, then there's no better time to get your fat guy fix than the NFL combine.
That mound of round you're looking at is Terrence "Mount Cody" from last year's combine, and he's sort of become the poster child for guys who should wear T-shirts at the weigh-in.
But alas, that isn't allowed.
These guys strip down to nothing but this-is-cutting-off-my-blood-supply spandex pants only to have random NFL officials place their hands ever so gently on the players' shoulders.
Tell me where else you can see this kind of TV programming.
Unless you're a Nevada fan or you really have no life, then you've probably never heard of Wolfpack defensive end Dontay Moch.
I guess that means I don't have a life, huh?
Anyway, the 6'1", 245-pound Moch reportedly has run a 4.19 40-yard dash.
That's not a joke. A 245-pound defensive end is rumored to have run under a 4.2 40!
I can't even begin to fathom what that would look like, but I know that I definitely want to see that.
And now, so do you.
In 1990, Eastern Kentucky defensive tackle Justin Ernest set an NFL Combine record by bench-pressing 225 pounds a whopping 51 times.
Let be repeat that: He benched 225 pounds 51 consecutive times.
Huh?! What?! Really?! That's absolutely insane.
I actually worked LSU's 2010 Pro Day, and the most I saw a player do was 22 repetitions.
So double that and add seven, and that's what Ernest did. Yeah, it's ridiculous.
Not saying that'll happen again in 2011, but there's always that possibility.
And you know you don't wanna miss that, because everyone will think you're a loser if you do.
Obvious sexual potency jokes aside, is there any five-second span that is analyzed and critiqued more than the 40-yard dash?
I mean, you have all these nerds with clipboards stressing over .2-second differences in 40-yard dash times.
Scout 1: "Oh, that running back only ran a 4.52 40? He just fell two rounds."
Scout 2: "Wow, that 6'6", 260-pound tight end ran a 4.77? Man, he's not getting drafted."
Really, dude, you're going to base a guy's entire draft stock on a 40-yard dash?
Please, tell me when this guy's getting timed for sprinting 40 straight yards in an NFL game.
Oh, he's not? OK, thanks.
Glad to see you guys examining something that takes less than five minutes like it's an astrophysics problem.
Maybe we should get Stephen Hawking out there with a stopwatch in his hand.