Last week, we pointed out the pointlessness of the annual “Underwear Olympics,” which like the real Olympics does not yet include football among the events: “As we’ve heard time and again over the years, a football player needs
to be able to run 40 yards in a straight line only on one of two
occasions — when something very good has happened, and when something
very bad has happened.”
Peter King of SI.com echoes the point in his Monday Morning Quarterback column, via an explanation from an unnamed team “architect” (he should have assumed the name “Art Vandelay”) who said that his draft board for 2010 is “90 percent set.”
“You know why it’s 90 percent set now?” the source told King. “Because guys go to the Scouting
Combine and they change their grade on a player based on things that
have nothing to do with playing football. I’m convinced if you took the
stopwatches away from a lot of these guys, most of ’em would not be
able to tell you whether they liked a player or not.
“These guys go out and watch players all fall, then we all watch the
tape of all these guys, and we see what kind of football players they
are. That’s scouting. Who plays good football in pads? That’s scouting.
Now we need the combine for the medical evaluations and the personal
baggage stuff. But don’t come in after the combine and tell me you want
to change some guy and move him way up because he ran faster than you
thought he would. That’s where you get in trouble, and that’s why our
draft board is pretty well set.”
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pay attention to the Scouting Combine. After all, and as the original Art Vandelay once said regarding the “show about nothing,” it’s on TV.
But it’s important to keep it in perspective. Unless and until the Scouting Combine includes games between incoming NFL players and current NFL players, nothing that happens this week will provide keen insight into whether men who were great college players will be good pro football players.