As the annual Scouting Combine opens in Indianapolis, I’m compelled to share my thoughts on the process of running and jumping and doing a lot of other things not in pads.
It’s not football.
For those of you who have discovered PFT in the past year, here’s the assessment a league insider provided to us years ago: “A player runs 40 yards in a straight line during a football game only in two situations: when something really good is happening, and when something really bad is happening.”
Besides, it’s players working out without helmets or pads — and without the reality of being hit.
But don’t take our word for it. (As if you ever do.) Asked by NFL Network’s Warren Sapp during Wednesday’s Total Access for his thoughts on the process, always-candid Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett was frank (which is the same thing as candid but I didn’t want to use the word “candid” twice in the same sentence, so I’ve instead used the word “candid” three times in this parenthetical . . . at least I’m frank about it).
“You really wanna know the truth?” Dockett said. “I feel like you really can’t judge a football player . . . until you get on the field.”
Dockett, a three-time Pro Bowler who tied a Super Bowl record with three sacks, said he was told based on his measurables that he was too small to play defensive tackle and too slow to play defensive end.
“It really don’t mean anything,” Dockett said of the shorts-and-T-shirts evaluations.
Perhaps the biggest value to teams comes from the interview process, which provides an opportunity in 15-minute increments to get to know the players. In that regard, Dockett supplies sage advice.
“Be yourself,” Dockett said. “When you get to a team, your reality is going to set in. Who you are is going to set in.”
Every incoming player should take notice. If you try to persuade teams that you’re someone you’re not, they’ll expecting that guy from the interview to show up when it’s time to get to work. It’s far better to let a team see who you are and to want that guy.
And if they don’t want that guy, then that’s not the place where that guy should want to play.