The NFL Scouting Combine is underway in Indianapolis and Bob Gretz is there with exactly what you should expect from the four days of workouts. He also caught up with Scott Pioli, who talked about the importance of the combine in the draft process.
“I’m not a big measurable person,” said Chiefs GM Scott Pioli. “I know they have a place and they have a value within the overall process. It’s just a piece of the puzzle. I am much more interested in tape and watching a player actually play football than how high they can vertical jump.
“We’re not drafting players or signing players to get them in shorts and tennis shoes and run around on Arrowhead’s field and show us how high they can vertical jump.”
Three of the four days include the same segment: team interviews. That tells you plenty about the importance of these sessions, although Pioli downplays the effect of the interviews.
“As soon as the season ends for some of these players they get with agents, they get with trainers and they are literally trained how to interview,” Pioli said. “It’s become quite a cat-and-mouse game between the clubs and the agents.
“A lot of the stuff is canned now and they know what questions are going to be asked, even the negative questions if they have some negatives stuff in their background; they’re prepared for those.”
All that just forces the teams to become more creative in finding out what makes these players tick. They must continue to find new ways to ask the same questions or new avenues the get past the preparation.
Last year there was a hilarious story (can’t seem to locate a link) about one group of players that were represented by the same agent all giving identical answers about their love of charity work during their interviews. While I’m sure there is plenty of interest among the players when it comes to helping out in the community, do they really think teams believe charity work is their preferred activity away from the field?
I’ll admit that I love watching the combine and then combing through the various stats. But I also know that just because a player runs a good/bad 40 that their draft stock shouldn’t be completely altered, something that the Oakland Raiders still have not been able to grasp.
To me the more important information are the official measurements because while you can take a bad step or two and kill your 40 times, no player is going to sprout three inches between now and the beginning of the season.