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Mailbag: Is too much made of the NFL combine?


I enjoy the NFL Scouting Combine and am amazed at how big it has become. But for teams around the league, is it as big a deal as the media and fans have made it out to be? I would think general managers and scouts place a much heavier emphasis on game film than 40 times. Where does the combine really stand in the whole draft process? – John Fellows/Sacramento, CA

Nick Eatman: Like anything in life, it just depends on who you ask. Some coaches, scouts and GMs swear by the combine and say it's an absolute must to attend every year. Then again, the Cowboys' head coach isn't going to the combine this year, and I'm sure he will be just as informed about the draft prospects as ever before. I think it's definitely beneficial on the medical side as the trainers and doctors get a chance to evaluate most of these players in one setting. But with the Pro Days and 30 visits, there are other options to meet with players and see them work out. I think it has it's advantages because it has gotten so big, but I also don't think it's critical. Teams can still evaluate players without going. Players can still get evaluated by teams if they don't get an invite.

Mickey: The NFL Combine is so much more than just running and jumping. First, it's an opportunity to see how well players perform under pressure of the bright lights. Then it's about the player interactions with team members during interviews. You are right, game video is the ultimate, but what takes place during the combine and pro visit interviews goes a long way into determining how a player fits a particular franchise and his football acumen. Plus, if a player is not a first-or second-day draft prospect this is an opportunity for some eyeballs to get on lesser-known guys to potentially create interest. And teams can judge character by how diligent guys are preparing for a job interview, just like any other professional field.

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