The NFL Combine as a televised event is still a relatively new thing. Factor in the fact that it’s shown live exclusively on the NFL Network which has only recently within the past three years become a option on most cable packages and you can see why to the casual fan some of what goes on there is confusing.
The most misunderstood concept is the reasoning behind why some Quarterbacks don’t throw. I’ve seen more than one guy go ‘oh see I wouldn’t want that kid. He has an attitude problem. He thinks he’s better than other people. That’s what they call character issues…right?’
WRONG. Here is the deal. If you are projected to be a top 5 pick, you’ve earned that status because you have a nice catalog of game tape on hand that can display what you can do on the field.
Now, please remember that the NFL markets the NFL Combine almost as if it’s one stop shopping. Therefore, a lot of casual fans do not understand that it’s only one cog in the machine.
What’s next for all intensive purposes is what is called a “pro day” that takes place at the college that has supported these young men over the past few years.
All interested parties will fly out to each prospect’s pro day to get a better perspective on what this kid can do. A pro day has sunk the stock of kids that emerged at the combine and has lifted the value of kids that did not live up to their pre determined hype at the combine.
A great example of the latter is how well eventual Houston Texas LB Brian Cushing did at his pro day in comparison to his performance at the combine.
A pro day more or less runs through the same drills that you see at the combine. For a QB though, a pro day is a much better situation to throw in.
Imagine this, at the combine you get paired with receivers that you just met. You are hoping and praying that you can not only get your timing down with down on contact but that they stay consistent with their route running.
If that kid runs a sloppy route or does not accelerate properly, now here come questions on how you can work with new receivers. Why would you risk your future on what another guy can do?
By waiting to throw at your pro day, you are throwing to guys that you know. You are throwing on a field that you are comfortable with.
Some kids have never touched a dome surface in their life. The combine is not a good place to try and learn how to adjust to that. Yes, there is a BIG difference between throwing outside and inside a controlled environment.
If you are a projected top 5 pick you only have everything to lose by throwing at the combine. If you are a kid that is projected to go even late in the first round or below, you must throw. Because you only have everything to gain if you can string together a great combine with a stand-out pro day.
Hopefully, for some you can understand why Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are going to do be selective with what drills that are going to do this weekend.
Truthfully, the primary reasons that they are there is to go through the non-televised interviews with all 32 teams in the league.
Let’s leave the character issues for the kids that genuinely mess up and not the ones that have fought hard to get in this position and they are standing at the verge of getting what they earned.