Detroit Lions: Debunking NFL Scouting Combine myths
Myth #1: “Underwear Olympics”
Every year some football analysts will say that this whole production is: silly, uncalled for, not representative of real football, etc.
A common way to disparage the event is to call it something like the, “underwear Olympics.” As if we don’t know that players don’t play in shorts and licensed Under Armour gear, facing air. It is composed of individual drills aimed at seeing what each person can do.
Since there are few times when you can see an athlete all by themselves, it has value. They aren’t surrounded by coaches, teammates, or others who might insulate a player from their own thoughts and reactions. Like any job interview, one-on-one time with an athlete allows you to evaluate the person without distraction. NFL Executives can listen to the player and get a feel of whether or not they will fit into the team culture of their franchise.
“Running in shorts doesn’t tell about how a player is in a game”, I agree with this assessment in general. However, seeing a prospect run without pads can help you to see exactly how he moves, and how much of an athlete he really is.
The Combine is not intended to replicate a game situation. It is real pressure to perform, though. There are consequences for not performing well, either physically, or mentally.
Why it matters
A recent example of how this event affected a player is Reuben Foster, a linebacker who the Lions had to have considered. Foster was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in round one. His escapades were of note because he was asked to leave the 2017 Combine.
During a wait to be medically tested at a facility, he blew up at a worker there. Not only that, he tested positive for a masking agent , commonly used to cover illegal drug activity. It is considered a positive test for drugs. So, while his tape was stellar, his behavior during testing and the interview process was a red flag for many teams.
Who knows exactly how much money he lost dropping from being the top linebacker available to the end of the round? Some draft experts initially thought he was a top ten selection.
Just over the last few weeks Foster has come back under the microscope for getting arrested multiple times for suspected domestic violence and drug possession. His status for next season is unknown.
Dodged a bullet, there…whew!