March 3rd, 2017 at 7:56 AM ^

Does Harbaugh do any kind of combine stuff at the satellite camps to identify diamonds on the rough?

If the NFL can use combines to identify hidden talent beyond just what they see on film, why can't Michigan?


Blue in Paradise

March 3rd, 2017 at 9:04 AM ^

This is the type of BS that dropped Tom Brady to the 6th round - because he sucked at the underwear olympics. These tests are totally useless indicators of playing abilities. I'll take watching tape over feats of strength any day.

But I do get the point that he knew this was part of the testing and should have been able to get his score up.

Blue in Paradise

March 4th, 2017 at 11:59 AM ^

Let's see how they did in game action. If they were never put in a situation to block during college, that is probably a red flag.

Also, one on one drills would be more telling.

If you really want to look at weight lifting, then I would squats are a better indicator than bench press.

In either case, at my peak around 5 years ago I was benching over 300 lbs and could do 225 lbs at least 15 times. I can guarantee you that I would have been totally useless blicking an NFL pass rusher.

Watching From Afar

March 3rd, 2017 at 10:14 AM ^

QBs, especially ones like Brady, don't test off the charts at the combine. Manning was a goofy, uncoordinated white guy running around at the combine too, he just had a more prestigious college career and bloodline. It's not like he was benching 225 30 times while Brady was going for 7. QBs depend less on physical talents that are measured by bench press, vertical leap, and shuttle times, than they do on intelligence. Mechanics are also way more important, which is why a monster like Tebow who throws like a girl was terrible in the NFL unlike Brady who runs like a girl but can throw.

Bench press might not be a great indicator of a RB's ceiling, but McCaffrey tested way below the majority of the field and RB/WR are judged on their measurables, not on the mechanics of their running form.

Mr. Yost

March 3rd, 2017 at 11:35 AM ^

They're not useless indicators. They're just relied on WAY too heavily.

They may also confirm (or deny) something that you see on film and want to verify.

For example, what if De'Veon Smith ran a 4.5? I think most of us would agree that's a lot faster than we expected. And so if you're a GM on the fence about whether or not he has decent enough speed to play in the league...that 4.5 tells you "yes." It doesn't make him a good football player - the tape tells you that. 

On the flip side, what if he runs a 4.85? Well if you watch the film, you don't see too much breakaway speed. That may raise a red flag for you that he was tougher and stronger than those he went up against in college, but the NFL is a grown man's game.

You don't draft him solely on the 40, but if you have some questions...the combine can most certainly help. You just can't assume because someone under performed or over performed that he is good at football.

Brady under performed at the combine, but any idiot with 2 eyes could tell you he was a good QB. Deshaun Watson is a solid QB who turns the ball over too much - running a 4.37 isn't going to take away all those INTs. Only coaching and development solves that problem.

Blue in Paradise

March 3rd, 2017 at 12:09 PM ^

And you could argue 32 since the Patriots passed on Brady 5 times. Point is that there are a lot of early pick busts in part because of, as you say, over reliance on combine testing.

There is a big difference between raw speed and playing speed and Most NFL types just can't figure out how to differentiate.


March 3rd, 2017 at 1:03 PM ^

I do believe Bill Walsh is why everyone puts so much stock in measurables. He had these prototype lists for every postition and he had a lot of success. So now, the prototype is focuse on from the Walsh era and not how well he coached those players.


March 3rd, 2017 at 12:43 PM ^

I also think these tests are less relevant for a qb than a position like a rb. Who cares if a qb can bench 225 20 times? As long as he has good throwing power which translates to being able to throw it far and fast then strength doesn't matter. On the other hand, a strong upper body can be beneficial for a RB who is constantly hitting/ getting hit by other guys and in constant battles where strength would help. 


March 3rd, 2017 at 9:25 AM ^

I doubt upper body strength matters to a guy trying to protect a $20M QB from a 6'5" DE coming in at a 4.6 40. Nor does it matter when carrying the ball in the 4th Q having already lugged the rock 15 times and taken a car crash's worth of abuse.

I have no real opinion of McCaffrey other than to acknowledge his great career at Stanford, but Cumong Man!!


March 3rd, 2017 at 9:43 AM ^

Well, we'll find out who ends up being the best NFL back won't we? I am in the camp that there is a minimum strength necessary but once that is met, adding bulk-type strength beyond that doesn't help one be a better running back or football player in general. Perine isn't more likely to be a better NFL running back because he got 30 reps as opposed to the 22 the other two had. It doesn't quite work that way.


March 3rd, 2017 at 10:19 AM ^

being equal it can't hurt to have more upper body strength espeically if we are talking about a three down back.  If I'm comparing all of the top RB's and all of their other stats are very comparable, I'd probably lean more towards the guy that has more upper body strength...just seems like it would make a difference as the season progressed.