It is astonishing to think that several tenths of a second in the 40 yard dash could cost a player millions of dollars. Three-inches in a player's vertical leap could be the difference between being a sixth round pick or not even being drafted at all. You would think that these subtle differences in their scores would have nothing to do with the game of football, but to every NFL coach, scout, and general manager, they do.
Even more, I enjoy envisioning who these players will be playing for on Sundays as the NFL Network's correspondents discuss team needs. Almost a full week of listening to the likes of Rich Eisen and Brian Billick talk college and NFL football in the middle of February certainly is something not to be taken for granted. Therefore, I watch.
Last year, I remember Sports Illustrated's Peter King discussing that the NFL combine isn't relied upon as heavily as it once was in large part because of a former Boston College player Mike Mamula. Mamula was so impressive at the 1995 combine that former Philadelphia Eagles' head coach Ray Rhodes traded away two first-round picks to select him at #7 overall. Ever heard of Mike Mamula before? The myth of Mamula has been widely debated as his career was not nearly as bad as many made it out to be. However, because of the draft mythology involving Mamula, NFL General Managers don't put quite as much emphasis on the numbers at the combine as they used to. Maybe a few rounds can be gained or lost this weekend, but you won't be seeing a virtual unknown rocket up to #7 overall out of nowhere again based on his workout. Nonetheless, this weekend still matters.
300+ former college athletes and six Huskers will be taking part in this weekend's combine in Indianapolis.
Nebraska's 2009 NFL Combine Invitation List (for the complete list of participants, click here.)
You can watch the combine in its entirety from Thursday, February 19th through Wednesday, February 25th on the NFL Network or on NFL.com. For the complete schedule, click here --> NFL Network Combine Coverage Schedule.
Some times of interest:
Saturday, February 21 @ 10:00 AM (CST) - Workouts: Kickers, Offensive Linemen and Tight Ends
Sunday, February 22 @ 10:00 AM (CST) - Workouts: Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, Running Backs
Monday, February 23 @ 10:00 AM (CST) - Workouts: Linebackers, Defensive Lineman