Why don’t we go ahead and talk about the biggest issue in the NFL draft process right now?
It is hard enough to scout, grade and rank NFL draft prospects right now with the lack of information. However, these Pro Day numbers are making things worse.
I’m not saying that the Pro Day numbers are fake, but it is really strange that these players are doing tremendously better than what they tested at previously. Sometimes players are nearly setting records with these times, so should we just accept all of this as fact?
Let’s say that these players are really running these times, do you think that they are holding themselves to the one or two runs that they would normally do in front of scouts? Why would they?
If you run a 40-yard dash 20 times and you hit 4.35 on one perfect run compared to 19 runs where you ran 4.55, what number means more? Obviously the 4.55 is more indicative of what that player is on a play by play basis.
There are some pretty egregious examples of players getting “optimal” times while others are more subtle. These two are the biggest outliers compared to what they looked like on film or compared to what data we knew about them previously.
Cam Dantzler CB, Mississippi State:
Eli Wolf TE, Georgia
Again, no one can say if they are telling the truth or not because the virus is preventing any of this from being verified by a party that doesn’t have a clear rooting interest one way or another.
Keep this in mind with players that you like and those that you don’t. While I am most worried about using these numbers to prop up players who have already exposed themselves, it is equally diminishing to the draft process if we use these numbers to argue for a player that didn’t have a great testing day at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Who knows, maybe there are some elite athletes in this class who didn’t get a fair shake or who just happened to hit their stride much easier in these most recent athletic tests. However, if I was Jon Robinson I would shut out all of this noise and trust the numbers that I was actually there for.