NFL Offseason: 2/24 – 2/28 and The Combine

NFL Offseason: 2/24 – 2/28 and The Combine

Ahh, the NFL Combine. Where all 32 teams converge in Indianapolis to break tampering rules, top college prospects don’t participate in drills and we get to see people bench press for some reason. Joe Burrow is considering retirement now because they measured his hands at 9″. Baby hands over here threw 60 TDs in one season but he has 9″ hands. I wouldn’t be shocked if he fell to somewhere around the 6th round. Oh, that’s all sarcasm by the way.

If you are a person who really thinks the 40 yard dash times matters, let me go back through the past “fastest folks”:

  • 4.22 (fastest ever), John Ross. Is he any good? i don’t know yet. He’s with the Bengals so that doesn’t help. He is fast and he can get separation at times. He is locked in for 2 or 3 big plays a game, but I don’t think he is a solid #1 guy. He also is injury prone, which a lot of these smaller, faster guys have that problem.
  • 4.24, Chris Johnson and Rondel Menendez – Okay, yeah Chris was pretty good. Who is Rondel though? A 7th round draft pick by the Falcons who didn’t do a thing in his career worth mentioning.
  • 4.26, Jerome Mathis and Dri Archer – Jerome’s speed got him a pro bowl selection in his rookie season as a kick returner, but injuries (like John Ross) slowed him, now he is a nobody. Dri was drafted in the THIRD ROUND as a KR/WR and his longest return was 38 yards… in his career. Never panned out.
  • 4.27, Henry Ruggs III – I just want to put Ruggs here because I am dying to know how he turns out. Some people are calling him a top 10 pick. A very early first round talent with his speed and hands. He does have good hands and his route running is good, but can he get off of press coverage against big, physical NFL corners? Ruggs is a smaller guy. He did not face a lot of press coverage in college. I have questions, but someone will draft him early. They will get a good WR, I am not sure if he will be a #1 and be worth a top 10 draft pick.

I am not going to bash the entire combine though! Sure, bench pressing is stupid, especially when you ask punters and kickers to do it. Cool, you can jump high when you are standing still and get to warm up/prep for the jump. When is that going to come into play during a game? Passing drills with no one in coverage? Oh yeah, elite stuff we get to see there. The top prospects do not even participate anymore because their draft stock can’t improve. We only see the unknowns and people that can (maybe) improve their stock, which is one thing I do love.

There are 2 things I love about the combine. The first is what I just said. The players that are projected 6th and 7th rounders can come in, show off, interview well, and then work your way up to the 4th or 5th round. Make a bit more cash on that rookie contract. Look at DK Metcalf (everyone’s favorite combine story). With all of his injuries at Ole Miss, he was projected to go late in the draft. He was “too good to be true” and everyone was scared of him. He shows up and “dominates” the combine and the Seahawks take the gamble on him in the second round. Now everyone is shocked he made it to the second round.

The second thing is teams, agents and players get to break the tampering rule. You cannot even place a phone call to, let’s say, Tom Brady or his agent to discuss free agency without getting fined. Now, you bring every single person in the NFL world to one city and the league expects them to not talk? HA! It’s really funny actually. 70% of the news that comes out of the combine is free agency “reports” because people are talking to agents when they shouldn’t be. The other 30% is “this guy ran really fast”.

To put a bullet in the head of the combine stuff, it’s an event where NFL fans can watch their favorite prospect lift things, run routes, throw balls and run fast to give them hope he will be drafted to their favorite team. The actual data that comes out of it is limited. I think the interviews are more important than the workouts. Maybe Pete Carroll will take his shirt off again.

Free Agency:

It was a very quite week in actual free agent moves. That is to be expected with the current CBA negotiations and the combine going on. Let’s hit them real quick:

  • Fooled you. The CBA (discussed in detail in last weeks blog) should be voted on by the players soon. Some of the veteran players have spoke out on social media about being against the CBA, like Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers. This deal does not really benefit them. It benefits the rookies and the practice squad players. They will make higher minimum salaries, there will be more practice squad and active roster spots, meaning more jobs. The actual money being distributed is smaller than the vets want to see, but I don’t know how they will get more. The shocking part for me is this might pass as a 10 year deal. That’s a long time to be locked into a deal. Things change over 10 years and not being able to negotiate a new deal taking those changes into consideration is going to hurt the players and the league in general.
  • Alright, now free agents. TOM BRADY! Just shut up. No one knows where he is going. Jeff Darlington says “The Patriots have not even talked with Tom yet! He’s not going back to New England!” Well, the Patriots are waiting for the CBA to be completed. They will talk. I guarantee that. So just leave it alone and let it play out. If you have real facts to report, not feelings, then I will listen.
  • Chris Jones has been tagged by the Kansas City Chiefs. That makes sense to me because they need to keep that D-Line intact for only one or two more years to win more Super Bowls. After they pay Mahomes, it’s over. So, by tagging him now and not giving him an expensive, long term deal they secure a key piece on their pass rush squad while keeping money open for Tyreek, Kelce, Mahomes and others down the road.
  • The Panthers announced they will be hanging onto Cam Newton… for now. They said he will be a part of their future plans, but I don’t really buy it. CMC said they are in the rebuild mode. If you are in rebuild mode, you get rid of the old parts, sell them for capital, and use that capital to get new pieces. I would be pretty surprised if Cam was not traded for picks during or before the draft. I think (again) the CBA negotiations are holding some of these talks up. Only time will tell!
  • JaMarcus Webb follows On and Off the Field on Instagram, so that’s cool! Welcome to the family my guy!

Boy, oh, boy. I hope you enjoyed this small post and my ranting didn’t seem completely crazy. I hope you go follow us on social media (links on the homepage) and you subscribe to the show on your favorite platform (links on listen tab). If you enjoyed this blog or anything else about the show, leave us some feedback! Use the contact us form on the homepage to send us an email with feedback or requests! As always, All Hail the Jock Strap King!


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