Treadwell risks drawing the ire of the Scouting Combine “entertain us” crowd


The made-for-TV elements of the Scouting Combine already aren’t very compelling; they’re simply the closest thing to football that we’ll see until the Hall of Fame game. But those made-for-TV elements of the Scouting Combine become even less compelling if the people scheduled to participate in the made-for-TV elements exercise their prerogative to choose not to participate.

The primary goal of the Scouting Combine always has been to bring the prospects together for an economically feasible examination of their bodies following the completion of their college football careers. The other aspects (interviews, workouts) flowed naturally from the reality that the players were all in the same place at the same time. At some point, NFL Network realized that putting the workouts on TV would be (slightly) more interesting than replaying old games or showing outdated NFL Films top-10 lists.

So NFLN needs guys to choose to participate. Often, it gets couched in terms of “competition,” an obvious-yet-sort-of-subtle effort to appeal to the basic pride and ego of the men whose best interests may be served by not working out.

This year, the first guy to risk the ire of the Scouting Combine “entertain us” crowd is Mississippi receiver Laquon Treadwell, who has chosen not to run in Indianapolis.

There will be disappointment and derision from some in the media who annually hype the importance of a guy running in a straight line without pads for 40 yards. During a football game, a guy only runs 40 yards in a straight line when something very good, or very bad, has happened. In either case, it never happens after a player’s helmet and pads spontaneously have flown off his body.

But the made-for-TV semi-spectacle is far less spectacular if the best prospects opt out of it.

Really, so what if they do? They’re all going to run at their Pro Day workouts, unless the numbers at the Combine are so good that they put the hay in the barn. But since most Pro Day workouts aren’t televised (with the exception of the periodic quarterback being half-heartedly swatted at with brooms), those who benefit from the broadcast of the Scouting Combine want players who just finished playing football mostly for free now want them to participate in a Superstars-style production entirely for free, all under the guise of a job interview.

But the work that matters is already done, and it ended when the college career concluded. The rest of it is just filling space, killing time, and generating ratings points at a time when no football is being played.

24 responses to “Treadwell risks drawing the ire of the Scouting Combine “entertain us” crowd

  1. He risks more than the ire. If he comes to an event and opts out of one of the primary reasons he is there, teams will look down on him or think something is wrong.

  2. Reasonable inferences can be drawn by his refusal to run at the combine. This article and the ones about the Wonderlic have a slant that the participants are being taken advantage of by being asked to participate. I’m not buying it. The NFL should consider a rule that says all or nothing on participating. Unless you are injured. Send all of the I’ll lift but I won’t run or throw guys home.

  3. If someone is even close to being good, they should and could prove it – anytime and anywhere.

    To me, if you don’t want to do the drills, you shouldn’t be allowed to do anything at the combine. All or nothing should be the way it is.

  4. The Combine is decent if you watch it in 20-30 minute increments.

    The executives at the NFLN honestly believe we’re waiting on pins and needles to watch Rich Eisen run the 40.

  5. For a guy already dealing with concerns about his speed, not running on the fast track at Indy is less than ideal. I think a lot of teams will not care about the 40 time, since they see his lack of speed on tape. What they will see is a guy who believes that he can gain something by spending an extra month cutting weight and working on his start after he does all the other workouts (assuming he does any of those at the Combine).

    The best players got there by being ultra-competitive, and listening to agents, lawyers, family members, etc. now can be a problem. It’s not like NFL teams will be shocked if he runs a 4.6. And likely they won’t be wowed if he runs a 4.45. All this posturing is pretty worthless.

    I would love to see the NFL go to a Combine +2 structure, and cut out the Pro Day circuit. They can make the Combine a mid-March event. Once you attend the Combine, you can apply for special exemption to attend 1 of 2 additional events, which include medical rechecks, re-testing, and anything else they want to change about their Combine results.

    They can still keep the Regional Combines, which I think are having solid results. But the multitude of different Pro Day events are a little nuts.

  6. I mean, listen, we’re talking about practice, not a game, not a game, not a game, we talking about practice. Not a game. Not, not … Not the game that I go out there and die for and play every game like it’s my last. Not the game, but we’re talking about practice, man. I mean, how silly is that? -AI

  7. I have been a pro football fan my entire life and I’ve never once watched a scouting combine, nor wanted to. I feel like I’ve missed absolutely nothing and that it’s a huge waste of resources for teams who take it seriously.

  8. The bad teams worry about things like this which is maybe why he is choosing not to run hoping he slips to a better team.

    The Browns should draft him, but considering they passed on Julio Jones, Sammy Watkins, Beckham, Landry and Kelvin Benjamin, im not sure the Browns are smart enough to draft him

  9. Who gives a crap if one WR says he doesn’t plan to run the 40? I would rather watch him run the drills to see his mobility and hands anyway. Seriously, almost every year one of the top QB’s says that they are not going to throw and it doesn’t really seem to hurt their stock at all. Jerry Rice didn’t run a great 40 and that didn’t seem to hurt him at all.

  10. He’s probably a 4.6 guy… high 4.5s on his best day. He’s a beast in jump ball / back shoulder situations but struggles to separate and is likely to get caught from behind pretty often at the next level.

    Bottom line is it’s not a good draft year if you’re looking for WR. There are no Amari Coopers to be had. You’ve got big and slow (Treadwell), fast and small (the guy from Baylor) and various others of those types but no one who really jumps out as a franchise #1 type with a dominant size/speed combo.

  11. The NFLN is making money showing professional athletes perform on TV. The athletes should get paid for performing.

    There’s no pretense that these athletes are amateurs. If someone is making money off of them, they should get a cut.

  12. Treadwell makes a reasonable point. His 40 time from the combine would remain with him forever, and if he hasn’t been training on sprinter stance and coming out of the blocks, then it could hurt him. It is silly that it would, because 40 times have very little to do with on field speed, but everyone still quote Chris Johnson and Calvin Johnson’s 40 times from the combine like that’s what they still run.

    Better to wait until the pro day and put up the best number you can with focused training. It shouldn’t determine anything, but let’s be honest, it does.

  13. as a ram fan with the team picking #15 he should be on the teams radar!! however the cone drills etc should be of more importance, the strength and conditioning part is what i will look to see as he has been mocked a few times to my team. if he knows he is not blazing fast why take a chance on a hammy pull ?? catch the ball show some strength and above all show off your ability to cut on a dime and to get in and out of breaks. one last thing i will watch for is the pass catchers ability to get and keep both feet down on the sideline something the college kids have not had to do up until now. just wonder how many wideouts really struggle with that aspect of the game? not how fast they run the 40

  14. I’d want my WR to run 40 yards if he was my guy. Would bother me a bit that he wimped out of an easy run.

  15. Would be interesting to see how much he could improve from the combine until his pro day.

    Otherwise I think teams always view the fastest time as the one that “counts”. They aren’t looking for consistent 40 times, just potential.

  16. if he does the other drills and then runs a 40 on his pro day that should be plenty especially since it has been widely thought that route running , not speed is what treadwell uses to get open now if he does not run the 40 at his pro day then as a ram fan i would be concerned. lets see how he does in the cone drills and pass catching drills

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