For the last week, 338 college football players traveled to Indianapolis for the NFL combine. Scouts, coaches and general managers evaluate everything from checking out the players in their underwear (weigh-in and players measurements); how well the players answer questions (interviews), then the players perform drills to display their athleticism. Some say NFL players are the greatest athletes in the world. For those who agree with this, I would ask them to watch offensive linemen run the 40-yard dash and re-evaluate their opinion.
The combine hits home for us because eight LSU players were invited to participate in the job interview: Jordan Jefferson, Michael Brockers, Ron Brooks, Morris Claiborne, Brandon Taylor, Rueben Randle, Deangelo Peterson and Ryan Baker. Some did well; others struggled to show their overall talent when compared to their position peers. Below is a chart of the LSU players and their overall times and performances in the events they competed in. Besides the player results are their ranking in the event if they finished in the top-15.
|Jefferson||4.65 (3)||14 (1)||36.5 (3)||9’8 (5)||6.81 (4)||4.06 (1)||DNP||44|
|Brooks||4.37 (2)||12||38 (3)||10’ (15)||DNP||DNP||DNP||53.7|
|Peterson||4.76 (6)||18 (9)||36 (3)||10’1 (4)||7.19 (8)||DNP||DNP||47.2|
One more thing on the chart, the grade in the last Colum is according to NFL.com. The scale for the chart is as followed: 100-96- top pick, 85-95- first round pick, 70-84- second or third round pick, 50-69- fourth through seventh round pick and 20-49- free agent.
What makes the combine so unique/weird is we are evaluating position players by measurements they will rarely use in a game. Exactly when is a standing broad or vertical jump going to come into play? Who cares how fast an offensive/defensive lineman can run 40 yards. Instead, I want to know how fast they can run to yards or shed blocks. The only thing missing is testing lineman to see how well they catch the ball. Every year there are multiple interceptions or catches by linemen, this needs to be implemented immediately, not just for comedic reasons, but for evaluations.
Let me explain simply why I mock this event. Jordan Jefferson measured very well at the combine. He wowed scouts with his throwing strength and tested at the top of the charts for quarterbacks in the different measurements. He now holds the record for the 20 yards shuttle run. A record previously held by the soon to be pro-bowler Rhett Bomar. The thing is even with Jefferson putting up these strong numbers he was still graded at a 44. How low is a 44, out of all the participants at the combine, he was the lowest. Think about that, every event he competed in he finished in the top-five of all his events, yet the only call he will receive on draft day will be a call from Les Miles telling him how great Jeffer-swag is.