The NFL combine otherwise known as the “underwear Olympics” is the next stage in the NFL off-season. The combine takes place February 23-29th in Indianapolis, Indiana. Bill Belichick like many coaches, believe that the combine drills are completely absurd. Bill disagrees with the prospects’ training methods during this portion of the year. Prospects focus their off-season training on the combine. He was quoted in an interview to NESN:
We’re training our players to play football, not to go through a bunch of those February drills.”
The criticism of the combine surrounds how draftees focus on winning the combine. They hire special trainers to help hone their technique in the specific combine drills such as the 40 yard dash and three cone drills.
It is understandable, from the perspective of the players. Some of these guys are counting on standing out at the combine so that scouts go back and watch their tape.
Remember last year when Byron Jones posted this ridiculous broad jump? He was a player that missed seven games of his final season at Connecticut. He was a relative unknown prior to the combine. After his performance in the underwear Olympics he created a buzz and forced scouts to go watch more film on him.
Mike Mayock even said as this video concluded that “you gotta go do some work on him, because he’s gifted genetically”. Jones’ buzz helped him get drafted 27th overall by the Cowboys.
With so many prospects in the NFL Draft, not every player is watched as thoroughly as others. The college All Star games such as the East/West Shrine game, Senior Bowl and the even the NFL Combine are ways to catch the eyes of scouts. You can’t blame the players for focusing their efforts to do their best at the combine.
But Bill has a point, with so much time and energy expounded on training for the combine drills many players neglect training for the actual season. Pair that with the fact that college players do not play the marathon of a season like the NFL, rookies end up physically unprepared. Most rookies will hit a wall in their inaugural season in the NFL.
The NFL combine is an interesting event nonetheless. Here is the NFL Combine invitee list and groupings. Here are a some invited players that I will be watching closely:
As a Bills fan, who are you keeping an eye on?
Here are some prospect breakdowns: