Another Combine in the books

Another NFL Scouting Combine has come and gone. Now we have two solid months in which to critique every number that’s been recorded, compare every Pro Day result yet to come, and criticize those who were unjustifiably invited or wrongfully snubbed by the ever-exclusive Combine invite.

The Combine really is a strange animal. It’s 6 days of jumps, shuttles, dashes, drills, and questions. I LOVE this quote from ESPN’s Jeff MacGregor: “…who knows how many NFL coaches over the years, caught in a tight spot in the Big Game, up against it in the closing moments of the fourth quarter of a Super Bowl, have squinted down their bench and thought, “Lotta good men here with guts or toughness or character. But damn it, I wish I knew which one of these guys had the best standing broad jump.” (Thinking Outside the Box on the NFL Combine)

None of Masterplan’s 2009 Draft Class received a Combine invite. None of Masterplan’s 2008 Draft Class received a Combine invite. Two of our clients were drafted in 2008 (Carr and Studebaker)…so regardless of what we are supposed to believe about players not invited to the Combine, it would seem that while invites are a decent predictor of the first couple rounds, scouting has evolved into such a long, thorough, character-driven process aided by the easy flow of information via the internet that beyond that, it’s anyone’s game. Literally. Finding a “diamond in the rough” has become an art form in the NFL – just ask the Chiefs who had Division II DB Brandon Carr starting against the opponent’s top receiver all year, and added Division III Andy Studebaker to the fold for their final 6 games. Not too shabby for some small-school prospects.

So I, for one, am glad the Combine’s over, so we can start focusing on the rest of the players who are quite likely to play for your favorite team for years to come.