The 2011 NFL Scouting Combine begins tomorrow in Indianapolis. This event is to the boy world what beauty pageants are to the babe world. More or less, with less being very much the favorite.
Except for a few Pro Days, the Combine is the final event in the Scouting Season. For the scouted upon, this is the last chance to get some stock, raise one’s stock, or lose some stock. This event could easily be called the NFL Stock Market. Jim Harbaugh, Trent Baalke, and the entire 49er coaching staff will be in attendance, getting an up close and personal look at this year’s crop of talent.Some people who like to be snide refer to this event as the Meat Market. The Beefcake Bowl. These terms imply that these draft prospects are similar to blonds. Nothing upstairs, serious good stuff in the middle, and … we won’t get into the rest of the torso areas. After all, who cares about feet? Other than Rex Ryan and his wife.
Mike Singletary fans will see their hero attending this event. He will be sitting at the top of the stadium getting the big picture. From God’s viewpoint. You can’t really learn anything about these players from up in the nosebleed seats, but Mike is not there to learn; he’s there to pose. This technique of omnipotence worked like a charm a year ago, but then the 2010 season came along and 49er fans experienced your basic Wizard of Oz moment when Toto topples the throne room screen and discovers that the Wizard is just an old guy who’s lost.
The event that most triggers falling or rising stock will be the 40 yard dash. This is where WRs, DBs, and RBs get separated by hundreds of a second. A 4.34 time will get you a ticket to the top of your draft round and a 4.99 will sink you to the bottom. Why a forty yard dash, instead of a hundred yard dash? Acceleration. You gotta have it in the NFL. Instant speed versus closing speed.
Some people may scoff at the difference between a 4.34 and a 4.44. One tenth of a second. Get real. But it is real. The next time you see a WR a yard ahead of a CB on a pass route, you can snap your fingers and go, “There’s that one tenth of a second.” The vital yard of separation.
QBs will draw a lot of oohs and aahs, but their stock has already been pretty much set in stone by their play during the previous collegiate season and the bowl games. Everyone else will be measured and tested.
All the players will get shrunk, too. As in psychiatric profiling. You’d think these kids were applying for a job with the CIA with all this in depth probing, but it’s much more serious than that.
All in all, it’s a deadly serious week for scouts, coaches, and players, but a super fun week for depraved individuals known as Draftniks. The all time champion nerd draftnik that this scribbler has witnessed was a fellow on the Insider a few years back named BigDiggyD. This tortured individual was actually a pretty fun guy, but his attempts to put his spreadsheet, with his own personal rating system for each and every player in the draft, into the little comment box was a definite occasion of brutal eye strain. The unfriendly zoo-like nature of the Insider drove BigDiggy away after two years, but we salute him here. Somewhere in Texas, this guy is wetting his drawers today, and will be glued to the Combine all five days.
As will many of you, I might add.