Every year tons of fans put way too much stock into players at the NFL Scouting Combine running in shorts and feel that it is determinate of a player’s draft stock. In reality, the combine should take a back seat to the game film and the players’ production on the field. However, the combine does provide players the opportunity to help themselves by showing themselves to be slightly more athletic than was originally thought.
A player that is considered too slow can help themselves by running faster than everyone expected. Conversely, a player considered athletic can hurt themselves by performing poorly. So now that the last day of the combine is over we can look at who the players were that helped themselves and who hurt themselves in Indianapolis.
Ponder didn’t put up the same measurables as the athetically gifted Locker, Kaepernick and Newton did, but he did rather well for himself. His 4.65 40 time was right behind Locker and Newton who tied with a 4.59. He displayed tremendous agility by outperforming all the quarterbacks and finishing first in the 20 yard shuttle with a 4.09. Where he really helped himself, though, was throwing drills in which he showed that his arm was completely healthy again. He was very accurate and was able to put some good zip on the ball.
Fannin did decent in all drills and showed some strong skills, but he essentially launched his draft stock in the 40 yard dash alone. His lack of speed was one of the principal reasons why he was considered a late-round prospect, but he turned heads with a 4.38 40 time. That run alone may have boosted his draft stock a round or two.
It’s not too often that a player considered a solid first rounder can improve their stock at the combine. But when said player runs a 40 yard dash a full tenth of a second faster than the already fast time that was expected from them it can happen. And it helps even more when that player does it on a broken foot. Yes, Julio Jones ran a 4.39 on a broken foot.
How can a player stand out at the combine? Well, for one, they can break a combine record. Stephen Paea’s 49 bench press reps were four more than the old combine record of 45. A good amount for a player that will have to rely on strength and power to be a run-stuffing tackle in the NFL.
His measurables were as good as expected, but he was rather poor in throwing drills. He was inaccurate, overthrowing a lot of receivers. Perhaps where he was worse was off the field. He referred to himself in the third person while addressing the media and following throwing drills, insinuated that the lack of speed from smaller school receivers threw off his timing. His worst comment was when he called himself an “icon” and entertainer as well as a football player. Some found his behavior charming, but the idea that he thinks himself as better than everyone isn’t hard to imagine.
Another quarterback that didn’t do very well off the field. While Mallett’s throwing drills were much better than Newton’s, his media session would not be described by anyone as charming. He was extremely defensive and refused to address any questions about circling drug rumors. When the questions persisted, he stormed off and ended the media session early. Maturity and character were questions prior to the media session and he did nothing to combat them.
Ayers was thought by some as a potential candidate for the Jaguars in the first round of the draft this year. He was thought as an athletic, sideline-to-sideline linebacker that could use his speed to provide coverage and pass rushing skills. The “athletic” Ayers was expected to run a 40 time in the 4.5-4.6 range, but instead ran two dashes slower than 4.80. Hardly the speed of a linebacker that was supposed to be one of the more athletic linebackers.