2012 NFL Combine Open Thread

Feb 23, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith speaks at a press conference during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Hey, it's the combine! The NFL has a page for it and everything.

Who can run a completely uncontested 40 yard dash the fastest? Can anybody bench press more than Paea?

Why does Lovie look so confused? These are the questions that Indy week provides. Let's look at some Combine business below.

I'll be upfront--I'm not a big fan of the combine. I don't actively hate on it, I just don't really care. Open gym techniques are nice, and can give very good indications of the physical abilities of a player, but I prefer to see them on tape in game situations. I think it's a much better barometer of what you're going to get.

Because the Combine, generally speaking, requires roughly this much attention from fans, let's look at a list of some of the tests from Wikipedia.

All that being said, let's take a (admittedly slightly cynical) look at some of these tests.

40-yard dash -- This is the one everyone always gets their pants in a bunch about. "Oh my gosh, he ran a 4.3." "Oh no, he's done, he only ran a 4.8"

The 40-yard dash comes from back in the day. They figured the average punt went about 40 yards, and took roughly 4.5 seconds to get there. So if a guy took off from the line of scrimmage on a punt, he'd get to the ball around the same time.

Well in 2011, the punt average was actually just shy of 45 yards, meaning guys need to be quicker than ever.

Now, I think this tests tells you a lot more if you combine it with something like the 3-cone drill. Then, you're not only look at speed, but agility. Take Hester, for example. Not only is he fast, but he's shifty as hell. (That is, when he's not running backwards or directly at a sideline)

Bench Press - The Bears can brag--Paea, their guy, benched 225 more than anyone has in the Combine's history. It's a neat show of strength, but not knowing how to use that strength means you're just a really strong guy warming a bench.

Vertical jump - This one is actually pretty neat--crazy vertical jumps are always fun to watch. Especially if you're doing it out of a DAMN POOL.

So that's awesome, or whatever.

Broad Jump - The standing long jump, I guess, shows strength or something. I can't help but think of all of the times that exact situation comes up in football.

Shuttle runs - I'm sorry, the only thing I can think of here is the President's physical fitness exams we did in public school.

Cybex test - This one's for flexibility. And is totally legit.

Wonderlic - Oh, the wonderlic. You fantastic predictor of virtually nothing. Ryan Fitzpatrick scored a 48. He's not super great. Dan Marino scored a 16, and he's probably the best quarterback never to win a championship. Hell, Vince Young once accidentally scored a 6. He got to retest--and then got a 16.

Maybe there is something to it...

Regardless, the Combine is here, and it's fun to get an idea of guys that teams want to talk to. It will help us build to draft conversation, because the draft is not far away now. Enjoy some chats about guys you want to see, numbers you want to hear, and how coaches are undervaluing the guy from your favorite D-2 school just because he also wanted to get an education.

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