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Getting past the Combine: It’s the tape that matters

The NFL Combine can do wonders for a prospect, or it can hurt them. However, it isn’t the be all end all that makes or breaks a prospect. Now a days, prospects are training for the NFL Combine for weeks. They’ll train to improve their vertical jump, their 40 yard dash and so on. It’s watered down. Prospects are now even put through mock interviews so they’re ready when a team comes calling. In a teams point of a view, the combine will do three things for them when looking at a prospect.

1) The Combine will allow them to medically check out a player 

This will allow them to look at a player who might have had some injuries in the past. How are they recovering? Do they have some issues your doctors won’t sign off on?

2) The Combine will allow you to interview a player

The team will get a good chance to talk to a player face to face. How do they respond to some of the off-the-field questions they’ve had in the past? Can they intelligent speak X’s and O’s with you? Why do they fit well, and why should you draft them?

3) It can confirm what you already know, or it will make you go back to the tape.

If a player you know and expect to be fast runs a good forty, then your confirming what you already know. If a player you don’t think by looking at his tape is fast runs a blazing forty, then something is up. Why is he running an unexpected time? Is he faster then you’ve thought, or is this numbered not accurate? If a player you think is fast runs a slow time, then you need to go back to the tape and find out why. Maybe the player has football speed, but doesn’t run a fast forty. All these factors lead you back to looking at the game tape.

I’ll never forget what a scout once told me: At the end of the day, you’ll always end up looking at the players game tape. In the end, it’s all that matters. The NFL Combine and a player’s pro day will allow you to get a better look. But you can’t get a better look at a player then watching his game tape. You’ll always end up going back to it.

In the end, when you look at players like  DE/OLB Vernon Gohlston, WR Darius Heyward-Bey and S Taylor Mays, you would have seen blazing numbers at the NFL Combine. But if you went back to the game tape, all those players were drafted above where their game tape should have valued them. The draft is not a perfect science, but the best thing a team can do is value the players game tape more then anything.


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3 Responses to “Getting past the Combine: It’s the tape that matters”

  1. Big Daddy says:

    I agree 100%!!!!!!

    That is the key, you look at tape and think you know what you are looking at. Then you see their performance as athletes and go back to the tape everything looks a bit different. You see things you didn’t before because it all comes into perspective.

  2. Jason C. says:

    I agree with everything except that Taylor Mays actually was drafted below where he was projected after the combine, so he actually settled into where he probably was going to get picked before his impressive combine.

  3. JW says:

    Jason C: I disagree. If one had looked at Mays tape like some did, they would have told you Mays was not going to be an effective FS in the NFL. His hips weren’t fluid enough and got turned around to much. He would likely have to be a hybrid LB type. That’s why he fell. I spoke to one scout who had Mays as a 5th rounder!

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