Is The NFL Scouting Combine A Waste Of Time?

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Is The NFL Scouting Combine A Waste Of Time?

Every year NFL and NFL team officials meet for the NFL scouting combine, an event that has gone from being an interesting event for talent scounts and a footnote for potential draftees to a made-for-TV event that even people not affiliated with the NFL watch with great interest. However, the merits of the tasks placed in front of the players auditioning for the NFL have been questioned to the point where many are wondering whether or not the combine is nothing but a waste of time for the players.

Practicality Of NFL Scouting Combine

For the uninitiated, the NFL scouting combine is an event where prospective NFL draft picks are put through a battery of tests to measure their speed, strength, and ability to complete drills pertinent to their position. Some of these tests include weight lifting, vertical leaping, and running the 40 yard dash. These tests give NFL teams some insights as to what the players they’re considering adding to their teams are capable of on the field.

With that said, there are certainly some issues with the practicality of these tests as they pertain to the ability for scouts to properly estimate how good a player will be when the actual games start. These issues start with the fact that none of the exercises being performed are being done with pads and helmets on, making many wonder how good an indicator of performance they are for a sport where the players need to perform with their gear on.

Furthermore, the NFL scouting combine rewards players who train specifically for the highly specialized exercises in it, with players even visiting trainers just to improve their 40 yard dash times or the results of their broad jump for example. Not only does this not help players to become better football players, but this training has absolutely nothing to do with football, and would be a waste of time if NFL scouts didn’t put stock into the combine.

How To Fix NFL Scouting Combine

Fixing the NFL scouting combine is the hard part, as football is the only sport that you can’t simply pick up and play to prove your worth given the potential for injury that exists when playing with NFL quality players. So having the players simply play games of football would not be practical, but even doing most of the exercises that the combine requires now while in pads and helmets would make the whole process feel like it was more productive than it is under the current format.

Granted, the best way to fix the NFL scouting combine would be for NFL coaches and scouts to stop paying attention to it, as its specific exercises do nothing to prove whether or not the person doing them will be a good NFL player. Instead of bench presses and jumping exercises, having the players do strictly drills related to what they will be doing on the field at the next level in a minimal contact setting would be a better use of everyone’s time and a better barometer for on-field success.


By: Jason M. Sanin