College football athletes taking one more exam before NFL Draft
The NFL Combine kicks off tomorrow
By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Hunter De Siver
As this article is being typed, hundreds of future NFL players are talking to the media, taking ortho exams and meeting with the NFLPA.
At 3 p.m. Thursday, these same athletes will begin a four-day test known as the NFL Combine. Certain positions will take the test each day.
This exam isn’t on paper, but on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium. The goal of each section on the exam is to show a certain skill.
The 40-yard dash, broad jump and bench press are just a few of the drills done at the combine.
Since 1982, thousands of future NFL legends have taken these exams and some have done better than the rest. However, that doesn’t mean that they are a better player.
The best example in the history of sports when it comes to the combine is Tom Brady. Brady came out of the University of Michigan as one of the best quarterbacks in college football that year, but nothing about him stood out to NFL scouts.
During his Combine, he didn’t have the strongest arm, he ran a terrible 40-yard dash and displayed very little athleticism. This would result in him being the 199th player (and the seventh quarterback) selected in the 2000 NFL draft.
The other six quarterbacks either barely played in the NFL or were just flat-out busts. As for Tom Brady, the seven-time Super Bowl champion has become the greatest player to ever play the game.
Excellent performances at the combine haven’t always translated to the NFL. The most recent example is wide receiver John Ross III. Ross broke the record for the 40-yard dash with a time of 4.22, a record that hadn’t been broken in nearly a decade.
Since Ross was drafted ninth overall in the 2017 draft, he has been riddled with injuries and has missed dozens of games. In the games he has played, he hasn’t been much of a factor for being one of the fastest humans on the planet.
Over the years, their have, of course, been players that went off at the combine and also became NFL legends. Deion Sanders, Bo Jackson and Calvin Johnson all fall into that category.
Dozens of these 21-year-old athletes will probably not sleep tonight. In their heads they’re thinking about all of the possible outcomes on each drill. Then they’re also debating if the combine itself is even worth attempting the risk of improving their draft stock.
Several Alabama players will be having these feelings tonight as well.
Slade Bolden, Brian Robinson Jr., Christian Harris, Christopher Allen, LaBryan Ray, Phidarian Mathis, Jalyn Armour-Davis and Josh Jobe will be participating in the combine.
Wide receivers John Metchie III and Jameson Williams won’t be participating in the combine due to injuries they sustained towards the end of last season.
Future top-three pick offensive tackle Evan Neal won’t be participating. Neal was the consensus No. 1 overall pick projection, but NC State’s offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu has made a lot of headlines lately.
Nearly 40-year ESPN NFL Draft Analyst Mel Kiper Jr. was the main person who put Ekwonu ahead of Neal in his latest mock draft released yesterday.
Neal isn’t participating because he wants to wait until scouts see him at Alabama’s pro day on March 30. Ekwonu will participate in the NFL Combine.
Only a teaspoon-full of the hundreds participating in the NFL Combine will become Pro Bowl caliber. It could even be a player not participating.
The NFL Combine starts March 3, and ends March 6. The first pick of the NFL draft will be selected on Apr. 28. If Neal is selected first, he’d be the first Alabama player selected in that slot since Joe Namath in 1965.