Some results from the Combine can be deceiving.
By Bill Smith
Weight lifting numbers
One of the most entertaining aspects of the Combine is the coverage of the weight lifting. All players lift 225 for as many reps as they can. You would think that you want to draft the strongest (most reps at 225) O line or D line and linebackers. Not so much.
The arm length of the player is inversely related to the number of reps. Those with shorter arms tend to complete more reps than those with long to very long arms. But history tells us that short armed O and D linemen fail at alarming rate.
My Advice: If your O or D lineman gets past 25, that is good enough if he has long enough arms.
The 40 yard dash.
One factor that I did not discuss yesterday about the 40 is the “straight line” guy. Some guys have really good straight line speed but can not change direction without losing speed. Football is not played in straight lines.
My Advice: If a player has really bad shuttle and 3 cone (which is really 5 cone) tests, then buyer beware. Track guys often fall into this category.
Passing tree drill
What is good for the receiver is not good for the passer. Many of the passes thrown by the quarterbacks participating in the passing tree drill were off target. That is a big problem. While a receiver benefits from a chance to show he can adjust to a poorly thrown ball, there were far too many balls hitting the ground.
My Advice: Give the receiver credit but beware of the passer. If you can’t hit a spot without a pass rush and with no defender covering the receiver, good luck in the regular season.
“Contact pad” drills
In recent years the Combine has added what is called a “contact” pad drill where one player holds a blocking pad and the player being evaluated moves at the snap of a ball on a stick and blows the defender back. Don’t put ANY value on this drill except where the lineman hits the bag. The lower the better.
My Advice: Fast man—low man wins. If the lineman stands up and then hits the defender, he will never work out as an O lineman. He is a waist bender not a knee bender. Those that stand up before blocking will get knocked down very quickly.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .
My email is [email protected]