As the Winter Olympics conclude and the Underwear Olympics a/k/a the Scouting Combine continues, a league source has shared with us some anecdotal information regarding the correlation between the perceived performance in drills and on-field football performance.
The source says that, several years back, he had video of a running back doing a workout that included various drills — running, cutting, receiving, etc. The tape contained no markings on the field or the T-shirt that could be used to identify the player.
So the source had various scouts and personnel types review the tape and evaluate the player, without telling them that the player already was in the league.
The response was lukewarm. “He’s OK,” one guy said. “Nothing special,” said another.
Not only was the player already in the league, but he was playing at a Pro Bowl level.
The point is that scouts often are influenced by the names on the shirt, and that grades applied to players could be much different if the drills were conducted blindly.
That’s why some personnel types joke that grades given to some players are written in pencil, and that grades in a player’s files can mysteriously change at various stages of his NFL career.