March 01, 2016 - Greg Gabriel
What do NFL Clubs do following the Combine?
With the NFL Scouting Combine ending, what do clubs do with all the information they received and what do they do for the next five to six weeks? As I have stated several times in the past, all of the 335 Combine participants are expected to do well in the various drills and tests. Why? Because they have been doing nothing but training for this event for the last four to six weeks and the various performance training sites around the country. Clubs went into the Combine with a pre-conceived idea of how each athlete would perform. Some prospects performed just as expected, other did be4tter and of course others did worse. When a player does better or worse than expected, it means that a club may have to go back and recheck the grade they had on the player and watch more tape. They will want to know if the scouts who graded the player missed on his overall athletic talent. If they did miss, then watching more tape will help a club come up with the correct grade for that player. The Combine drills will also show the club if the player is an athletic fit for their offensive and defensive schemes. Some players (especially underclassmen) have not been previously measured, timed or tested. The Combine measurables will give the club a better idea of if some of these players actually the profiles the clubs have written up for each position. I can guarantee you, that there are players who they thought were fits based on estimates turn out not to be. Over the next couple of days, clubs will determine which Pro Days they need to attend in order to get more important information on the prospects they are interested in drafting. They will also determine what players they need to have a private workout with. Anytime you draft a player, you have to have as much information as possible. The various college Pro Days will begin later this week and continue through the first week of April. Because there are often several Pro Days on any given day, clubs have to determine which of those Pro Days they need to attend. Interviews at the Combine are only 15 minutes in length. A team can only scratch the surface of what they need to know in that 15 minute period. There will be players that they need to spend more time with and some of these players will be brought in to the facility for a more comprehensive interview. Clubs will also begin restructuring their draft boards. Some players will get higher grades, some lower all depending on the information received at the Combine and the various Pro Days. The other thing that will now begin is the lying season. Scouts and club executives will lie more now over the next several weeks than at any other time during the year. They will purposely say some things in public or to a reporter to throw off other teams as to what their real thinking on a player is. The other thing that comes into play as clubs prepare for the draft is the medicals. There will be without doubt some players who a club had a high talent grade on who ended up with a poor medical exam. In some cases, the results of the medical will be so bad that the team can no longer think about drafting that player. Because of that, draft boards will have to be readjusted and plans of drafting a player from a certain position will also be re-thought. The medical results can also alter how a club plans to attack free agency which starts in another week. For coaches, scouts and fans, the fun has just begun. Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe