By Adam Hart
I watched the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine. A lot. Like, every day.
And, as much as I enjoyed it, it is a ridiculous event. Not because it's a track meet in which athletes compete in uncomfortably toight -- for us, not them -- Under Armour clothing. But because of reactions like this:
1) Nebraska DB Prince Amukamara ran a 4.37 40. That's fast:
"The biggest knock on Amukamara was his speed -- that probably shouldn't be a problem anymore."
And here I thought the knock on him was the fact he got chewed up and spit out by Justin Blackmon -- looked like Darius Butler at his worst. But he ran fast in uncomfortably toight clothing. Top 15 pick material.
2) Alabama WR Julio Jones ran a 4.39 40. Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com:
"So if, say, the St. Louis Ram picked Jones, enamored by his combine 40-yard dash orgasm ..."
3) Jones, it was later discovered, ran, jumped and answered questions on a fractured foot that'd require surgery. An NFL front office executive tells CBSSports.com Jones will fall in the draft:
"When I pointed out that the media was trumpeting Jones' remarkable workout numbers, the source said that's what makes the inevitable fallout from this injury so difficult."
Fallout. Right. Like how Michael Crabtree, who suffered a similar injury prior to the 2009 Draft and never even ran at the combine, experienced a fallout.
Crabtree was drafted 10th overall.
Sounds like "an NFL front office executive" wants to artificially see to it Jones drops into his lap.
4) Anytime anyone performed well in a track event:
"Player's name made himself some money this week."
Hah! I get it. He did well, so he'll get drafted higher. Cleverly put -- by the first guy who said it. The one-millionth time, though, it gets a bit tired. No, no. I'm sure yours wasn't the one-millionth.
5) Wes Bunting on Florida SS Ahmad Black:
"I've been saying for months that I love Black as a football player, but small and slow isn't a good combo for any prospect. And at 5-10, 184 pounds and running in the high 4.7 range, he now looks like nothing more than a late-round nickel-type defensive back."
So, because he had a slow track meet, he drops down; no longer a player who can "possibly mature into a starter down the line." Good football player bad track athlete = later, Gator. Got it.
6) This reaction, by Greg Gabriel, is not ridiculous:
"As a former scout and scouting director for the last 27 years, I get a kick out of all the hype the media gives about prospects' stock going up and down because of their performances at the combine."
Preach on, Gabriel.