As the annual season of “[insert player name] had private workout with [insert team name]” reports comes to a close, one name was not inserted into the first set of brackets this year.
Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, regarding in some circles as a potential top-10 pick (the more realistic floor, we’re told, is No. 15), has declined all private workout requests. And no one has lost their minds about it.
The trend toward putting the hay in the barn with the Pro Day session has expanded quietly in recent years. Teams no longer are huffing and puffing about it as much as they once did, and the media is more focused on gathering information about who worked out for which team, not who didn’t work out at all.
Whether players choose to submit to private workouts or not, they need to understand the potential benefits and the very real risks. With each additional running, jumping, cutting, starting, stopping session, the chance exists of an injury that would scuttle a player’s draft stock.
For players at or near the top of the draft, it’s a lot easier to take a “no workout” stance. For players who hope to increase their stock, the risks may be worth it.
However they strike that balance, players need to at least be aware that they have the right to decline. And if the team that hears “thanks” followed quickly by “no thanks” doesn’t like it, that team can pass on the player who passes on the private workout, and that team then can watch one of its competitors pick the player.