INDIANAPOLIS, IN. – The 2019 NFL Scouting combine officially begins on Wednesday. This is a week-long interview for prospects entering the 2019 NFL Draft. Players will be evaluated by their height, weight, ability to handle multiple interviews by teams and of course their athleticism.
The latter is what draws the headlines at the combine. If a player runs a 4.3 in the 40-yard dash or puts up 30 reps on the 225 bench press, often times that can shoot them up a team’s draft board.
All 32 teams have their own unique formula for evaluating players. In speaking with a couple of players who recently went through this process they feel the athletic testing portion of the combine is overrated.
Former Ed White and Georgia receiver Javon Wims ran a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash at last year’s combine. That’s a solid number for a receiver at his listed height of 6’4” and 215 pounds. Wims was selected by the Chicago Bears in the 7th round of the 2018 draft. He feels his game tape and his performance in the on-field drills portion of the combine are what got him on the Bears radar.
“In my personal opinion I think the combine is overrated, but it’s a way to see how fast a guy is,” said Wims. “To me the 40-yard dash speed and Sunday speed don’t translate at all. It’s different when a guy is chasing you.”
Denver Broncos defensive end DeMarcus Walker is also spending a portion of his offseason working out at Boost Sports Performance in Jacksonville. The former Seminole and Sandalwood star echoes Wims thoughts on the NFL Combine.
“Me personally I don’t think it [the combine] has much to do with what happens on Sunday’s,” said Walker. “It shows off your athletic skills. It’s a chance for scouts to see how well you can move. I think as long as you can make plays on the field that’s what matters.”
Wims and Walker aren’t the first players to share this opinion on the importance of the NFL Combine. There’s a reason this event is often referred to as the “Underwear Olympics.” Every year some player gets drafted higher than expected after a great showing at the combine. On the flip side there will certainly be a couple of players that are moved down draft boards following a sub-par showing at the combine.
Not all great athletes make great football players. And not all great football players are exceptional athletes. Over the next week NFL teams will try to find players that have a healthy balance of the two.