Tuesday, February 19, 2013
It's the most important job interview many of these young men ever participate in.
The NFL combine is set to kick off and will provide plenty of intrigue a news.
How important is the combine?
Last year, for example, 85 percent of the 253 players selected in the draft participated in the scouting combine. That 85 percent number has been pretty constant over the past few years.
That doesn't mean a combine invite is a ticket to the NFL. There were 328 players invited last season. But only 65 percent of those players were selected in the draft.
Teams have learned their lesson over the years. Nobody wants to draft the next Mike Mamula, a player who has become synonymous with being a combine stud and Sunday dud.
Most teams use the combine to reinforce things - both bad and good - that they already knew about a player.
If you had a third-round grade on a player, you're not going to necessarily downgrade him to a seventh-round or undraftable grade simply because he didn't run or jump as high as you expected.
In fact, the most important part of the combine is actually the player interviews.
For the most part, NFL coaches haven't had any interaction with these players. To this point, it's only been the scouts - and that contact is on a limited basis.
The scouts visit schools throughout the late summer and fall, but only get to watch practices or film. They may or may not get an opportunity to sit down with a player and talk for five minutes.
Teams will get that chance at the combine.