Some of you might be busy watching paint dry or grass grow, but for those of us that are more actively inclined, the 2012 NFL Combine heats up to 33 degrees this weekend, becoming a scintillating TV event.
On Thursday, the Group 1, 2, & 3 contestants arrived in Indianapolis and, after an intense two days of medical exams, psychological testing, Union meetings, and media yapping, these hardy fellows will take the field Saturday to perform Timing, Stations, and Skill drills. This group consists of Place Kickers, Special Teamers, Offensive Linemen, and Tight Ends.
Friday, another Group of hopefuls arrive (Quarterbcks, Wide Receivers, and Running Backs). These fellows will strut their stuff on Sunday.
The next group to disemplane in Indy are the Defensive Linemen and Linebackers. They perform on Monday.
And the final group to arrive are the Defensive Backs, who will finish off the Combine on Tuesday.
Jim Harbaugh, Trent Baalke, and their 49er staff will be eyeballing and interviewing just about all of the arriving NFL hopefuls, NJ49er will be muttering Harrumph! as the TRUE weights and heights are entered into the books, and the rest of us will be waiting for the 40 yard dash times of the WRs and DBs and maybe the RBs.
While this is going on, evil foul-smelling player agents will be greasing through the assembled GMs, tampering willy-nilly with their potential free agents, attempting to secure exorbitant contracts that will make all of us (and a few owners) sick to our stomachs.
Guys can look pretty good this time of year. The ones who do will begin rising up the draft boards of the Professional Draft Gurus. Until such time that these gurus have gotten some feedback from actual NFL Insiders and begin to Readjust their Risers, which makes them Falling Down the draft board. This Updraft/Downdraft weather pattern will continue until the final week of April, when the actual draft occurs and the Gurus all pretend They Knew All Along that so-and-so would be drafted at such-and-such to Insert Team. The rest of us will scratch our heads and go, “Who?”
There are other matters that affect the Draft Boards other than the Gurus getting clued in. Drug tests and criminal records will surface, making some hopefuls become Risks that can be drafted at lower positions than their skill would indicate. Another factor will be the potential free agent players that get re-signed in the next two and a half weeks, deleting their position as a Draft Day Need.
And the last factor affecting the draft is Free Agency itself, which begins on March 13th. Now this is where football starts getting really fun again. It is the period of the NFL year that most closely resembles Fantasy Football.
We all know how this works, but it’s still great fun. Or at least better than nothing at all. Slightly better. Very, very slightly. Infinitesimally slightly. Nano slightly. It’s better. Trust me.