As if anyone needed more proof of the disconnect between football and the underwear Olympics known as the Scouting Combine, the Associated Press explains that Olympic medalist Ato Boldon has been teaching incoming rookies to do something that they’ll do on a football field only when something really good is happening, or when something really bad is happening.
Run in a straight line.
“I am basically turning football players into sprinters for a while,” Boldon said.
Boldon got involved three years ago, and he wasn’t impressed with what he initially saw. “My first thought: ‘Oh my God, these guys are awful,'” Boldon said. “It was 95 percent their technique. It was bad. And I said, ‘Now I understand why they want to bring me on board.’
“At the Combine last year, my guys did not look like the others,” Boldon added. “By the end of the Combine, I have the fastest guys.”
Boldon’s guys included cornerback Patrick Peterson, who covered 40 yards in 4.34 seconds.
But that’s why the results of the Scouting Combine can be so deceptive. Guys are evaluated based on how they run without pads or opponents or a ball in the air or anything else that bridges the Grand Canyon between track and field and the football field.
That’s why a guy’s time in the 40-yard dash is simply one piece of a much more complex puzzle that can’t reliably be solved unless and until we see what these guys can do when they’re lined up against the best that college football has had to offer over the last decade, or longer.