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 Production at Scouting Combine no real forecast of on-field 
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Post Production at Scouting Combine no real forecast of on-field
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Most of the top NFL prospects are scattered about at private training centers or college campuses as they prepare for the annual cattle call known as the Scouting Combine. The preparation process has become big business and a huge part of any agent's sales pitch to college stars looking for an advisor. There is one major problem, however, with all of the hoopla and commerce surrounding the next big event on the NFL calendar: the physical testing that takes place and the numbers that are generated become less and less relevant each year.

The trend in the NFL these days is to focus on a prospect's production in college and marry that with his football intelligence and passion for the sport. Call it the Patriot Way, given that New England was clearly one of the teams on the front end of devaluing the data generated by putting football players through an assortment of drills that have nothing to do with football. The next time an offensive lineman does a vertical jump during an actual game will be the first. The same goes for a defensive player doing the broad jump. I realize those tests are designed to test natural explosion, but can't a good scout watch the game film and figure out what a player's functional explosion really is? Isn't that all that matters anyway?

Even guys who are only one year removed from the Combine realize its irrelevance.

"None of them," responded Atlanta Falcons middle linebacker Curtis Lofton when asked which drill at the Combine has the most impact on performance. "Football players are paid to play football. Any emphasis on numbers is crazy. All you need to do is look at a guy on film and you can tell whether or not he can play."

The problem is that not all talent evaluators trust their film evaluations, so they lean on the data at their disposal like a crutch. Even the inherently insecure scouts need to realize that the numbers are, at best, skewed, and at worst, rendered insignificant due to the amount of prep work that goes into producing them.

"It is not a true test anymore," according to longtime NFL executive and current host on Sirius NFL Radio Pat Kirwan. "Guys are so prepped out that there is no way of knowing how much of what they do is natural as opposed to the practice and time they have put into the specific drill."

In other words, just because a player shows great change of direction in the infamous shuttle drill, don't expect that same type of movement on the field. It is one thing to change direction when you know what direction you are going in and you have practiced it a hundred times. It is altogether different when you don't know when or in which direction your body will need to go, like the live action on a football field.

There is a laundry list of players who get drafted higher than their college production dictates based upon their physical prowess. The New York Jets selected physical wunderkind Vernon Gholston with the sixth overall pick last year based more upon his freakish combination of size and speed than his inconsistent production at Ohio State. The Patriots, on the other hand, took Tennessee linebacker Jerod Mayo with the 10th pick. He was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Gholston was a non-factor.

Mayo's maturity in getting his diploma at Tennessee in three years leads to the part of the Combine that holds the most water: the interview. Teams strive to do anything they can to dig deep into a player's soul during interviews that can last only 15 minutes. How much does the guy really love the sport? Is he playing because he is immensely talented or because he has a burning passion to compete and dominate? Is he going to be the type of player who gets into the facility by seven in the morning so he can watch film before meetings begin or is he going to be the guy who leaves as soon as practice ends on Friday without any thought of getting another workout in?

Perhaps a sign of the shift in importance, prospects are now trained in how to answer the interview questions they are likely to receive. This can help or hurt depending upon how the prospect delivers his canned answer. Right now Combine invitees all over the country are cramming physically and mentally for the bright lights of evaluation they will be under when they make it to Indianapolis. Think of it as the SAT's for college football players.

Even the guys who haven't gone through the process yet seem to realize its insignificance in the big picture.

"I am ready to get back to football," said Cal center Alex Mack, who used a strong performance in the Senior Bowl to cement his place as the top center available in the 2009 NFL Draft.

If my interview with Mack earlier this week on Sirius NFL Radio were an example of how he will perform when interviewed at the Combine, he'll pass with flying colors. He is working out on campus with his college strength coach rather than at a fancy training center because he believes in sticking with what got him to this point. He responded to a question of what he likes about football by saying he enjoyed "smashing the hell out of the noseguard on double teams in the running game". He handled questions about protection adjustments and his practice mindset with equal aplomb. Heck, he even said that he would rather knock a defender down to the ground with a pancake block than go out on a date with one of Cal's co-eds.

One needs to look no further than Miami Dolphins running back Patrick Cobbs to figure out what types of players make and contribute to NFL teams. Cobbs was a pleasant surprise on special teams and out of the backfield for the Dolphins last season, catching two touchdown passes, including an 80-yarder against the Houston Texans. Cobbs led the nation in both rushing and scoring as a senior at North Texas yet was not even invited to the Combine due to his measurables. He had to run for scouts on his own.

"The first time I ran the 40 for NFL people they said I ran a 4.8. The scouts really didn't even want to give me a shot after that," said Cobbs.

Cobbs only received one opportunity in pro football, a weekend workout with no contract to speak of and only a promise of a quick look. The team was the production-obsessed Patriots. Cobbs made the most of the opportunity and is now going into his fourth year as an NFL running back.

"It looks good to have great numbers on paper," said Cobbs, "but at the end of the day you still have to play football."



Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/w ... z0dSbySrsF
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Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:46 pm
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Post Re: Production at Scouting Combine no real forecast of on-field
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NFL Scouting Combine Not a Good Predictor of Draft Pick Success by Dan Peterson
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Correspondent Written on May 24, 2009 Every April, general managers and head coaches fear that their NFL Draft selection of "can't miss" college players may end up being added to the long list of past multi-million dollar draft mistakes.

So, for last month's NFL Draft, they hope they found the right matrix of information that will reveal those players with true NFL potential. One set of criteria that seems to get more media attention every year is the scouting combine, a collection of physical and mental tests given to about 300 invited prospects.

However, university researchers have now shown the tests are not good predictors of success in the NFL.

According to ESPN, of the top 10 player selections in the last five drafts (50 players total), eight have been released or traded at least once and five are completely out of the league.

Teams are becoming less willing to gamble millions of dollars on a player who has not played a single snap in the league.

The combine event, held in Indianapolis each February, was meant to provide some common denominators to compare players. Physical tests such as the 40-yard dash, shuttle and agility runs, bench press, and the vertical jump are combined with the Wonderlic Personnel Test (WPT), a 50-question general intelligence test, to paint a profile of a player beyond his on-field resume.

Of course, teams should evaluate the whole package of game film, interviews and position-specific drills, but the combine data seems to be growing in influence. A player's stock seems to rise and fall with their performance at Indianapolis.

In fact, a 2003 Arizona State University study showed that performance at the combine was directly related to draft order, which might indicate that teams rely on these tests more than they admit.

Specific combine tests also seem to make a difference in getting drafted.

Last year, University of North Carolina researchers found that there were significant performance differences between drafted and non-drafted skill players in the 40-yard dash, the shuttle runs, and the vertical jump, while drafted linemen performed better in the 40-yard dash and bench press.

But in a new study, Frank Kuzmits and Arthur Adams, professors at the University of Louisville, evaluated more than 300 quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers drafted over six seasons from 1999-2004.

They compared the players' combine performance on seven physical tests and the WPT with measures of success in the NFL. These three skill positions were chosen as they have distinct performance statistics that can be tracked (as opposed to linemen or defensive players.)

Each position used the success metrics of draft order, salaries for years one through three and games played for years one through three. In addition, QB rating, yards per carry, and yards per reception were measured for quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers, respectively.

No significant link was found between combine performance and NFL success, except between 40-yard dash times and running backs. Interestingly, even the Wonderlic aptitude test did not predict NFL achievement, even though a skill position like quarterback requires a decent amount of cognitive talent.

That's not to say other psychological tests would be worthless. Kuzmits and Adams cite other studies that show a player's level of self-confidence and anxiety management to be strong clues to their future accomplishments.

Of course, not all draft picks are surrounded by great teammates and some don't even get out on the field during those first few seasons. But this research showed that good or bad performance in the combine is not related to good or bad performance on the field.

So, the researchers question the value of these combine tests as a draft decision support tool.

They do see a similarity between NFL teams choosing players and companies choosing employees.

"Contemporary human resource techniques could be applied to any hiring decision, including the NFL hiring process," Kuzmits told LiveScience.

"Basically, teams could develop a regression equation with various success predictors weighted (college success, combine tests and interviews, awards, psychological profile, etc.). It could be done but in the end 'art' would probably trump 'science.'"


http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1830 ... ck-success


Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:47 pm
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Post Re: Production at Scouting Combine no real forecast of on-field
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Do NFL Scouting Combine numbers matter?



Troy Williamson (Harry How/Getty) By John Holler
VikingUpdate.com
Posted Feb 19, 2009



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With the NFL Scouting Combine underway today in Indianapolis, we take a look at how much the numbers really matter. For some positions, certain drills have been a recent precursor to NFL success. For others, not so much.

The annual NFL Combine gets underway in full force today in Indianapolis and, from the fans’ perspective, getting information on 40 times, bench presses and vertical jumps will be a signal as to which athletes are the top players to be selected beyond those who opt out of running, lifting and jumping at the event.

But is Combine success a true barometer of talent? That depends on the position. Viking Update has looked back at the last five years of the Combine and found some interesting conclusions as to how being the tops in class at the Combine relates to being a star in the NFL. We looked at the standard variables used in evaluations – bench press, 40 time, vertical jump, broad jump, 20-yard shuttle, 60-yard shuttle and three-cone drill. These are the positional results:

QUARTERBACK – Being the strongest QB can only help a player’s case. In 2006, Jay Cutler had the most reps of 225 pounds (23) and in 2007, Brady Quinn led the list (24). Being agile might be overrated, since the last five leaders in the three-cone drill, designed to evaluate change of direction skills, have been won by Joe Flacco, Drew Stanton, Brett Basanez, Dustin Long and Luke McCown. Of those, only Flacco has seen any significant playing time. Over that same span, the dominant player in the Combine variables hasn’t gone on to NFL success. Each of the last five years, one player has finished tops in three or more of these variables. Going back from last year, they are Josh Johnson, Jared Zabransky, Brad Smith, Matt Jones and Luke McCown. Of those players, the only one who has made any impact is Jones and that was as a wide receiver. Don’t read much into the Combine numbers for this position.

RUNNING BACK – Last year, the top finishers in the respective disciplines read like a who’s who of post-draft heavy hitters. Jonathan Stewart led the way in both bench press and vertical jump, Chris Johnson had the fastest 40 time, Matt Forte was tops in the 60-yard shuttle, Rashard Mendenhall was best in the 20-yard shuttle and Ray Rice had the best time in the three-cone drill. All but Mendenhall made a significant contribution. Bench press has meant little. Prior to Stewart leading the way in 2007, the previous four leaders in that category were Alonzo Coleman, Quinton Ganther, T.A. McClendon and Tatum Bell. Of those players, only Bell became a part-time starter. Vertical jump may the variable to watch, since the last four years have seen leaders like Stewart, Joseph Addai and Marion Barber III – all 1,000-yard rushers.

WIDE RECEIVER – One would think speed would be the top priority here, but that could be very, very wrong. Over the last five years, the fastest 40 times at the Combine have been produced by Dexter Jackson, Yamon Figurs, Chad Jackson, Troy Williamson and Carlos Francis. They say you can’t teach speed, but you also can’t teach speedsters how to catch. None of those players has panned out to be a solid pro receiver. Over the last five years, the only players to lead one of Magnificent 7 categories that became an NFL starter were Anthony Gonzalez (2007), Reggie Brown (2005) and D.J. Hackett (2004) and none of them have become big-time go-to receivers. If you see a name atop this list, you may be more likely to avoid them than draft them.

TIGHT END – This position has been noted by one player dominating many of the statistical categories – with mixed results. In 2008, Dustin Keller topped out in four categories. In 2007, Derek Shouman led in three. In 2006, Vernon Davis led in four categories. In 2005, Ben Watson topped out four categories. With the exception of Shouman, the other three have all been productive NFL tight ends when healthy. All three finished first in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump. In the one “off” year that Shouman dominated, Greg Olsen of the Bears ran the fastest 40 time. For this position, it would appear being the best at the Combine carries significant weight.

OFFENSIVE TACKLE – One would think brute strength would be the key, but it hasn’t proved to be. Over the last five years, the tackles with the most reps of 225 pounds have been Jake Long, Brandon Frye, Joe Toledo, Adam Kieft and Stacy Andrews. At best, that works out to a 2-for-5 average as far as exceptional players go. Perhaps the best barometer is vertical jump. In that same span, the leaders in that category were Jake Long (tied for the top spot in 2008), Joe Thomas, Winston Justice, Alex Barron and Jake Scott. All five of them have seen significant playing time, which could lend an observer to pay more attention to that stat than the seemingly more obvious bench press numbers.

GUARD – The track record is pretty decent for the top spots, but, like the Academy Awards, it seems one player has dominated the numbers every year. In 2008, Brandon Albert led or tied for the lead in four of the six primary categories (almost no offensive and defensive linemen do the 60-yard shuttle run anymore). In 2007, Andy Alleman led in four of six, Davin Joseph led in three of six in 2006, Evan Mathis led four of six in 2005, and Justin Smiley led in three of six in 2004. While posting big numbers is no guarantee of success, it does appear as though one player will emerge as the dominant force at the Combine.

CENTER – This position can be deceiving, because the leader in numbers isn’t always the best pro center. Mike Pollack dominated last year, placing first at his position in four of six categories. In 2007, Samson Satele led in three categories, but Ryan Kalil became the first starter. Chris Chester dominated in 2006, but Nick Mangold was taken in the first round. In 2005, Drew Hodgdon and Rob Hunt each led in two categories, but Richie Icognito got more playing time. The best numbers here don’t necessarily translate to being an effective NFL center.

DEFENSIVE END – Wonder why defensive end is always such a boom-or-bust draft position? The numbers can throw you off. Vernon Gholston led in three of the six categories and barely saw the field for the Jets, while guys like Chris Long and Cliff Avril saw much more playing time. Brian Robison of the Vikings was the only player to lead in two categories (vertical jump and broad jump), and he stayed on the board until the fourth round. Manny Lawson led in three categories in 2006, but Mark Anderson and Kamerion Wimbley made a bigger impact early on. In 2005, David Pollack led in three categories, but injuries have ended his career. In 2004, Gabe Nyenhuis led in three statistical categories, but Travis Laboy was much more effective – not to mention Jared Allen, who was viewed as a Day 2 prospect at best after benching 225 pounds just 13 times.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE – Like defensive end, the tackle numbers vary greatly from one player to the next and one year to the next. Jason Jones led in four of six categories last year, but Sedrick Ellis was the cream of the crop. In 2007, Turk McBride led in three categories, but hasn’t been heard from much. The same was true in 2005 and 2004, when Tim Bulman and Tank Johnson each led in three categories. Of all the years, the one year in which there wasn’t a clear-cut Combine winner was 2006. The leader that year was Brodrick Bunkley, who has developed into an excellent pro. Again, perhaps not too much should be made about wowing the scouts in Indy.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER – Leading too many categories here has been a kiss of death. Last year, Stanford Keglar led in four categories and most fans don’t even know who drafted him. In 2007, Quincy Black led in three of seven categories and is more a trivia answer than a Pro Bowl prospect. The last time anyone led in more than one category and has been a success was in 2005 – when DeMarcus Ware and Derrick Johnson each led in two categories apiece.

INSIDE LINEBACKER – Big-time linebackers may want to avoid finishing too high in the Combine numbers. In recent years, it has been a kiss of death. Over the last five years, the most prolific Combine performances have been put in by Ben Moffitt, Justin Durant, Spencer Hovner, Liam Ezekial and Caleb Miller. Those guys could be just as easily identified as the CEOs of the major tobacco companies, not the top middle linebacker prospects.

CORNERBACK – No position has had less dominance than this position. In the last five years, only one player has led more than two of the seven statistical categories in any given Combine. That was Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who topped out in five of seven categories. If any of this year’s class can post that sort of dominance, teams may want to jump on him.

SAFETY – Who says speed isn’t important? Perhaps nowhere than at safety has that been a more pointed ingredient to success. Josh Barrett led the class last year in the 40-yard dash, but has some big shoes to fill. In the previous four years, the fastest time among safeties has come from LaRon Landry, Daniel Bullocks, Gerald Sensabaugh and Bob Sanders. Keep on eye on who wins that this year. He could be a star.

What do the numbers show us? For all the importance the Combine has to teams meeting players and letting their medical people poke around them, being the hot hand out of Indianapolis is far from a guarantee of stardom.



http://min.scout.com/2/840524.html


Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:04 pm
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Post Re: Production at Scouting Combine no real forecast of on-field
2010 NFL Draft prospects shine during East-West Shrine practice

Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/f ... z0dSsNnw0X
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ORLANDO -- After moving around in recent years, the annual East-West Shrine Game has finally found a long-term home in Orlando. As a result, NFL scouts, coaches and general managers descended upon the Sunshine State for the first of two important college all-star games down south. (The Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., is next week.)

The level of talent on the Shrine roster was better than years past and several players improved their draft stock during a week of practice. Here's a baker's dozen of the best prospects from the week.

Pat Paschall/RB/North Dakota State: Paschall was the top small-school prospect on the field during the week and one of the best ball carriers. He's a smooth back with a gliding style, but also displays plenty of toughness when running inside. More than anything else Paschall proved all week he belonged on the field with players from bigger schools.

Freddie Barnes/WR/Bowling Green: Barnes caught everything thrown his way each day at practice. He impressed scouts with the ability to consistently separate from defensive backs and find the openings in the coverage. Barnes proved to scouts that his record-breaking numbers in college had more to do with his skills rather than the offensive system at Bowling Green.

Dennis Pitta/TE/BYU: Pitta showed why he's considered one of the best pass catching tight ends in April's draft. He displayed reliable hands while making some acrobatic receptions. Pitta is not known for his blocking yet did better than expected when asked to display his skill.

John Estes/C/Hawaii: Estes could well be the big winner of Shrine week. He played with terrific fundamentals and strength from the first day of practice. Estes had no problem handling bigger opponents on the line and was flawless blocking on the move. Estes, who has not yet received an invitation to February's combine, elevated his draft stock at least one round.

Rodger Saffold/T/Indiana: Saffold was another impressive lineman who really improved his draft stock. He blocked with great fundamentals, showed solid footwork in pass protection and was much stronger than people thought. He was impenetrable all week and solidified himself as a top 100 selection.

Kevin Haslam/T/Rutgers: Haslam was one of the biggest surprises of the week. He looked athletic, powerful and handled just about everyone he went up against. Haslam looks the part in his pads and will only get bigger and stronger. He could find himself in the middle rounds of the draft based on his performances during Shrine week.

Brandon Carter/G/Texas Tech: Carter was a monster from day one and manhandled anyone he went up against. His power was obvious, but Carter also blocked with good fundamentals, which surprised some. He worked hard and was nasty from start to finish.

Jeffrey Fitzgerald/DE/Kansas State: Fitzgerald, who surprisingly has not yet received an invitation to next month's combine, was applauded by coaches throughout the week. He made a lot of athletic plays on the field and exploited a number of offensive tackles each day. Fitzgerald could easily land in the draft's top 100 selections.

Earl Mitchell/DT/Arizona: Mitchell had three solid days of practice and definitely elevated his draft stock. He's explosive, quick and built low to the ground, which he uses to his advantage. Mitchell also displayed power and pushed a number of larger opponents off the line, to the delight of scouts in attendance.

Nate Collins/DT/Virginia: Collins was one of the hardest workers of the week and played with a great motor every day. He's another solid athlete who displayed a lot of talent.

Torell Troup/DT/Central Florida: Troop had a home field advantage playing in Central Florida's backyard and he took advantage of it. He showed outstanding quickness and explosion every day, easily beating opponents off the snap then quickly changing direction to chase the action.

Jason Beauchamp/OLB/UNLV: Beauchamp looked strong and athletic and impressed with his ability to make plays all over the field. He was forceful against the run yet also fluid moving sideline-to-sideline in pass coverage. Beauchamp definitely built some momentum for himself during the week.

Alterraun Verner/CB/UCLA: Verner was the best looking defensive back of the week and looked very natural on the field. He regularly shut down opponents every day and displayed top ball skills. His 40 time at the combine will be critical, but many scouts already grade Verner as a top-60 selection based on his play this week.

Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.c...l#ixzz0dSrdTGCM
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Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:53 pm
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Post Re: Production at Scouting Combine no real forecast of on-field
That really depends on possision. A WR that runs 4.2 will always go higher than a 5.0 guy.


Sat Jan 23, 2010 6:15 pm
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Post Re: Production at Scouting Combine no real forecast of on-field
Ski_Money wrote:
That really depends on possision. A WR that runs 4.2 will always go higher than a 5.0 guy.


Position. And if a WR is running a 5.0 40 time, he isn't going to get drafted, nor make an NFL team.

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Sat Jan 23, 2010 6:22 pm
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Post Re: Production at Scouting Combine no real forecast of on-field
*&#@(&$&_#*@&$ SPELLING *#(&*(#@&$#*@^ A F*(#&$*#ING #(*@&*(% NG #*@U$)#&@%&# GAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Sat Jan 23, 2010 6:28 pm
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Post Re: Production at Scouting Combine no real forecast of on-field
Ski_Money wrote:
*&#@(&$&_#*@&$ SPELLING *#(&*(#@&$#*@^ A F*(#&$*#ING #(*@&*(% NG #*@U$)#&@%&# GAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Legal disclaimer, I know how to spell when I'm not drinking... not often.


lol

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Sat Jan 23, 2010 7:21 pm
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Post Re: Production at Scouting Combine no real forecast of on-field
Since Chris Clemons was the fastest Safety last year bodes well for him. Now if we can just start him at FS and move Wilson to SS.


Mon Jan 25, 2010 3:03 pm
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