NFL Combine Wrap-Up

Memphis DT Dontari Poe is the star of the combine.

Nash Herringtonby Nash Herrington

I believe that the NFL combine could be one of the most overrated steps in the NFL draft process.  Any player that has a bad day in Indianapolis will have a chance to improve their numbers at their school's pro day.  The only part of the combine that's worth anything is the individual position drills, and the player interviews.  But the results from those drills are open to interpretation by team scouts, the solid numbers made available to the rest of us are at most unreliable when it comes to on field performance.  That being said, even NFL scouts can overvalue a defensive tackle's 40 yard dash, even though a DT will never run more than 3 yards on an average play. 

The combine's affect on the quarterback position is probably the most minimal of any other position.  A fast 40 time or a big vertical has nothing to do with the QB.  The only thing the combine really did was confirm player's height.  Robert Griffin III measured over 6'2" which eased concerns from most teams about his height.  This didn't change the fact that he'll be the #2 pick in the draft, but it did make the #2 pick a little more valuable.  Brock Osweiler on the other hand was helped by being measured under 6'7" which is significant because QB's over that height tend to be immobile.  Russell Wilson and Kellen Moore were hurt though by being measured at or below 6'.

Wide receivers Michael Floyd and Steven Hill improved their draft stock by both being measured at over 6'4" while also running the 40 in under 4.5 seconds.  This might put Floyd as the sole #2 WR in the draft and could put Hill into the 2nd round.  Kendall Wright though measured in at 5'10 and ran a 40 over 4.6 which could drop him out of the first round.

On the defensive side of the ball, Harrison Smith put up solid enough numbers at 6'1" and 213 pounds and according to reports showed good footwork to solidify his spot as the #2 safety in the draft and a borderline first round pick.  Janoris Jenkins had a good enough combine to solidify his place as the second best CB in the draft and a mid-first rounder but still needs to address character issues.  But the star of the combine was defensive tackle Dontari Poe.  Poe weighed in at a massive 6'3" 346 pounds and ran a 4.98 40 which is faster than the average time for a DT.  He was above average for DT's in the shuttle and verticle as well, but his 44 reps on the bench press could have helped his draft stock more than anything.  Poe was thought of as a late first/early second round pick, but this combine could have moved him up to as high as the #11 pick to the Chiefs.

Over the next few months leading up to the draft colleges will have pro-days, NFL teams will have individual work outs and medical evaluations.  These steps along with how teams fill rosters through free agency and trades will shape where each prospect goes in the NFL draft.