The NFL Combine. What an absolute circle jerk.

South Carolina defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney jumps out of the start during the 40-yard-dash Monday, February 24, 2014, morning during the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. [Via MerlinFTP Drop]

A weekend of putting prospective players through “position specific” drills and physical performance testing. Players train for weeks specifically for the combine tests basically making them decathletes of football. You can be from any other sport and score highly in the combine drills. Does that mean you should be drafted to the Patriots?

Football is the only sport to my knowledge that has everything so backwards. Where you are ranked on your physical capabilities rather than how you play and how well you understand the game. They believe if you have the physical characteristics, you can be taught the necessary skills.

This week people have been making fun of a draft prospect for struggling to bench press 225lbs for 10 reps. Who really gives a shit what we can bench. The real question is, can he play? Can he identify changes in play and make the right decisions? Does he understand the nuances of his position? Is he someone that will add to the team culture or detract from it? Physical capabilities can be enhanced in a short period of time especially in a fully professional setup. Football or any sport smarts however take years to develop and is not something that can be taught in a couple of years regardless of the coaching.

Tom Brady during the 2000 NFL Combine

 A perfect example of a player that lacked in physical capabilities was Tom Brady. Here are a couple of his poor stats from his combine.
40 Yard Dash: 5.28sec (no QB ran over 4.9sec)
Vertical Leap: 24.5 inches

According to this business insider article, teams were put off by Brady’s lack of athleticism and subsequently was picked up as a 6th round draft pick.

I’m not saying that you should perform no strength and conditioning work. But if a large majority of your training time is dedicated to being bigger, stronger etc then maybe you need to rethink what will really make you a better player not just a better athlete.