The 2013 NFL Scouting Combine begins this week in Indianapolis. It represents a stirring to life from the NFL football coma that we all lapse into after the end of our particular team’s season. An event that takes place on various days in January for all but two teams, our 49ers being one of the two exceptions. Our season ended a mere two weeks ago, on February 3rd, and not very pleasantly. Making the annual coma more welcome than usual and almost a necessity.
Technically, the 2013 NFL season doesn’t formally begin until March 12th, and this Combine is more an end to the 2012 College football season. Some 350+ chiseled specimens of musculaturity will take their NFL S.A.T. test in a quest to become SOMEBODY. Most of them will only attain a short-lived stay in SOMEBODYVILLE, before slipping quietly back into the American mainstream, known only by their parents, siblings, boyhood chums, neighborhood folks, and local police stations.
The NFL will be introducing a new intelligence/personality test this year which league honchos insist will be more informative and useful than the old Wonderlic Test. The Wonderlic will still be used, no doubt for continuity’s sake, but the new test is culled from corporate America screening processes and will supposedly give GMs a better gauge on whether a player can or cannot flourish at this SOMEBODY level of life.
The Wonderlic handed out scores, which had entertainment value for fans, if not GMs. If a player got a score below ten, you could be fairly certain this fellow was certifiably dumb and/or grossly uneducated. This factoid shouldn’t be humorous, but on a dull day it could be hilarious.
The new score probably won’t have any grades, but it could provoke some behind the scenes chair heaving or GM concussions, which has strong potential to be hilarious, also. We’ll be looking for coaches with black eyes this week. If those coaches are smiling through the shiner, you’ll know they’ve discovered a bona fide defensive line talent. If this test had been around when the 49ers interviewed Chris Culliver, he may have kept his yap shut during Super Bowl pre-week and perhaps we’d all be talking about a sixth Lombardi now.
Teams can officially apply Franchise Tags today, which will take ten or fifteen talents off the free agency list. The 49ers have two candidates for the tag — Dashon Goldson and Delanie Walker. Most reports indicate the team will sign Goldson to some sort of long term deal and use the tag, if necessary, on Walker.
The Combine is also like a league wide coaches convention. Assistants who work for teams that are likely to fire their Head Coach after next season will be handing out Forget-Me-Not flowers throughout the week, attempting to secure future employment.
It’s against the Tampering rules to discuss trades this week, but everybody will be discussing trades, anyway. The 49ers will find out to whom and for how much they can trade Alex Smith. Everyone in the league knows they will have to release Smith by April 1st at the latest, which depresses his trade value. Teams also know the 49ers don’t want Smith to become a free agent and sign with the Cardinals. This makes Smith available at a bargain, trade value wise, but it also creates the possibility of more than one team getting into the auction, which would increase his value.
The two teams most often mentioned as Smith friendly are Cleveland and Kansas City. Smith knows the offensive systems employed by both Norv Turner, the Cleveland OC, and the WCO system run by Andy Reid in Kansas City. Each team has a good defense, a strong running game, and no QB. Getting Smith could immediately vault either team into playoff contention next year.
All good stuff for the offseason grinder, but it will all be hidden from view. Which means this week, for fans, is mostly another yawner.