Every February, The NFL Combine allows those who have entered their names in to the upcoming draft a chance to impress team scouts. Events such as the 40-yard dash, bench press and vertical jump have given insight to the fan on a player's "measurables."
While that can determine the athleticism of football players, without pads on, scouts know this is not the be all, end all to measuring a player's ability on the football field. There is no way to measure a Peyton Manning's intelligence, or Ray Lewis' tenacity, without seeing it between the lines.
What has been considered quality drafting as of the past few years, the Cincinnati Bengals know there's more to building your team than whistles and stopwatches.
"What makes me sick is that you've got a kid that plays in college for three or four seasons, goes to the combine, and runs a slow three-cone drill and suddenly there are whispers about him. That's ridiculous. Look at the tape. Look at what he did on the field for four years."
Players on the other hand, know that the Combine can be the difference in larger and smaller rookie contracts. As a sixth-round pick out of Stanford, Ryan Whalen showed promise as a slot receiver as Jordan Shipley sat out the majority of the year with a torn ACL and MCL. For Whalen, the Combine was a way to impress scouts.
I basically just grabbed anyone from a team and introduced myself and started talking. Sometimes that would lead to, 'Here's our receivers coach. Talk to him.' You're just trying to leave the impression that you're a good guy, you understand football and it's important to you.
For Bengals fans, they should realize the Combine doesn't hold the merit of watching games on tapes. When seeing a player selected this upcoming draft, don't refer to the Combine and base your feelings of a certain player on a few times and a couple inches.