Not All That Shines Is Gold At The NFL Combine

nfl combine

Well Steeler Nation, It’s that time of year again .Time for the NFL combine . A place where the stock of NFL prospects can either skyrocket or plummet. Players are tested mentally and physically in every possible way,paraded in front of all 32 teams and their most important talent evaluators. Everyone from coaches, scouts,general managers and owners are involved.

Players are timed in everything from the 40 yard dash to the 60 yard shuttle. There also is the broad jump , vertical jump and bench press. The players are measured from head to toe, wing span ,height , weight and even hand size. They are questioned about anything and everything possible, from their personal life to their football knowledge. There’s also The Wonderlic test that’s supposed to gauge a players intelligence. Medical exams and drug test are also taken . No stone is left unturned. Some players shine bright during the combine ,while others fade and drop like a lead balloon.
But this is the time to remember, not all that shines is gold. Many a team has been fooled by these workout warriors. Players who run great 40 times and pass every test during the combine only to turn out to be fools gold on NFL Sundays.

Just look up Washington State QB Ryan Leaf taken in the 1st round, second pick overall by the Chargers ,only to become one of the biggest NFL draft bust of all time. Or offensive tackle Tony Mandarich who came out of Michigan State and aced all the test. He was touted by Sports Illustrated as the best offensive line prospect ever. The Packers drafted him with the 2nd pick overall in the first round in the 1989 draft only to cut him by1991. The list of draft busts are long. Just take a look at any 1st round draft class and you will find many more misses then hits.

Although players may not shine at the combine don’t underestimate them. Some players may just need a little polish .Other players may not perform well in workouts but excel on the football field. 40 times can be overrated. . Hall of Fame and NFL All time leading receiver Jerry Rice ran a disappointing 4.7 at the combine.

One thing you can’t measure is a players heart, his want to. Who can play through the pain and injuries? What player makes those around him better? Who has that clutch gene? Who can focus well under the pressure of the big game? Who pays attention to the smallest of details ? Who has true football smarts? Look at Steelers All Time receiving leader Hines Ward an NFL great and future Hall of famer , he was not even drafted till the 3rd round 93rd player over all.

Hall of Fame QB Joe Montana was a third round pick and the 82nd player chosen . Steeler great and Hall of fame defensive back Mel Blount was a 3rd round pick 53rdplayer chosen.

The NFL is full of Pro Bowl players that some how were overlooked at the NFL combine . Steelers DE Brett Keisel was a 7th round pick . New England QB Tom Brady went in the 6thround. Seattle Seahawk CB Richard Sherman was a fifth round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft and ran a 4.53 40 at the 2011 NFL Combine. He is now considered one of the best shut down cornerbacks in the NFL.

 Some players were totally ignored by the draft process all together. Steelers linebacker James Harrison was an undrafted free agent along with Houston RB Arian Foster just to name a couple.

The bottom line is can you play NFL football on Sundays. So remember not all that shines is gold at the NFL combine and those who don’t shine at the combine may still be gold on Sundays.
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