Point-Counterpoint: Is the NFL Combine Necessary?

By Elan-Paolo DeCarlo, Staff Writer

Bryan Lambert, Campus Correspondent

Daily Campus sports writers Elan-Paolo DeCarlo and Bryan Lambert debated this week’s topic for Point-Counterpoint. Is the NFL Combine necessary for teams leading into the NFL Draft or is it just another way for the league to make money?

Lambert: The NFL Combine is a cash cow for the NFL but ultimately it means very little. The Combine consists of several drills that don’t always translate well to the football field. A four-second 40 doesn’t translate as well when you have a defensive back jamming you at the line. It’s rare for a prospect to significantly boost his draft stock but that doesn’t stop a lot of prospects from only training for one specific drill to try get a team to bite on them. That unknown Division II linebacker you drafted with an 8-foot broad jump is not going to be the same player come training camp. Some drills such as agility and (for quarterbacks) throwing are a great measuring stick; but it is still nothing you couldn’t have learned by watching film or going to their pro day.

DeCarlo: Yes, the Combine often seems like an excuse to talk about football, but there remains a practical need. Teams need the opportunity to see how these prospects measure up against each other. The pure numbers of the 40 yard dash, broad jump, throwing sessions and other activities give coaches, general managers and scouts the chance to see the pure physical talent of the players in a no pressure atmosphere. On the mental end, the Combine is a team’s first real chance to put a face to the name. The interview sessions between teams and prospects are invaluable in the level of insight gained.

Lambert: The Combine is a no pressure atmosphere and that’s part of the problem. Beside Byron Jones, (likely to go undrafted) breaking the broad jump record, the most meaningful thing we learned is that Rich Eisen still cant run a proper 40-yard dash. Scouts admit themselves that they don’t put much stock in the Combine. Scouts rarely learn anything they don’t already know. Yeah, that offensive lineman is slow but strong. Sure, that receiver can catch but we already know that because we have access to hours of film on him in actual game (with pressure) situations. Teams can talk to players at the combine but that’s only one of many times they’ll have contact. The only reason the Combine still exists is that it draws ratings. In this day and age, with the amount of access we have to players, it is completely unnecessary.

DeCarlo: Are you complaining about the opportunity to watch “football?” Like it or not, this is a football country, and any bit of programming is going to rate well on television.

Lambert: I like football but I’m less of a fan of watching track and field sponsored by Under Armor.

DeCarlo: A big part of the Combine’s value lays in entertainment. How funny is it to go back and watch Tom Brady’s 40-yard dash? It’s always a good YouTube binge to watch the NFL stars of today slaughter the combine. Your example of Byron Jones is awesome. He’s a cult hero now, and not just at UConn. He was trending nationwide yesterday. At the end of the day, the Combine is here to stay.

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