Measurables. Measurables. Measurables. It's all about measurables. Or at least that is what the NFL draft hype machine wants you to believe this week while the NFL combine is broadcasting. They would have prospects live and die by a spreadsheet. Game film be damned! He was 2 tenths of a second slower in the 40 yard dash then we thought he would be! His wingspan is 2 inches shorter than ideal! He is just to tall for his position! SELL SELL SELL!!!!
Well, all this talk about measurables, and what numbers mean to future NFL success inspired me yesterday to put myself through the combine yesterday at the gym. I tested myself in the 40 yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, and bench press to see how I would compare against current and past NFL prospects. I also put myself to the tape measure and scale to get my height, weight, wingspan, and leg length.
Let me go ahead and get this out of the way early... I AM NOT, AND WILL NEVER BE, A PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE. I have received no professional training in any way. You can see me looking svelte in my official Maake Kemoeatu practice jersey to the left. Yes, that was the jersey that Maake wore to practice while he was here, and while it was pretty snug on him, it is also pretty snug on me. While I have worked out 3-4 times a week for the past 2 years, I also flat out love food. A lifetime of southern cooking and Lexington barbecue have left me in my current condition, so to say I am "not in playing condition" would be putting it kindly.
That is what this article is all about. How does your average, out of shape, couch monkey football fan stack up against the prospects he so readily judges? How much do numbers really mean? Get ready to see the hilarious truth....
AFTER THE JUMP...
Prospect Name: Erik S.
School: Appalachian State
Weight: 347 lbs.
Arm length: 38"
Leg length: 32"
Scouting Analysis: Erik possesses ideal size for a lineman at the next level. His shorter legs will provide a lower center of gravity, and longer arms will allow him to keep linemen on either side of the ball at bay.
Injury Status: Currently Healthy. One year removed from broken left fibula. Will not participate in shuttle drills as a result.
Projected NFL Positions: OT, OG, DT
40 yard dash
Testing: With the gracious help of an idle Rush employee and a stopwatch, we recorded my 40 time. Due to not having a field with yardage markings, we had to test on an approximate distance inside the gym. I ran the length of the basketball court which is 90 feet, plus what we measured out to be approximately 30 feet. The problem is, there is not ample slow down room at the end, meaning I had to pull up earlier than the finish line. To compensate for this, I have taken off a half second on the time.
Goal: Being realistic, the agility stuff will be my weakest area. Although I do workout, I am overweight and don't train very hard to make myself faster. Therefore, my goal was to beat Terrance Cody's 40 time of 5.71, which I think is a stretch.
Actual Time: 6.8 seconds, with the half second deduction 6.3 seconds.
Analysis: I am slow. It takes a lot to get my body going, and a lack of any agility training makes it difficult to obtain a decent top speed. Unfortunately, this puts me at worse than Rich Eisen's 40 time in a suit (he ran a 6.18).
Combine Rank: Dead Last
Testing: Stand at the end of a tape measure, jump as far as I can and see where my heels land without losing balance.
Goal: Realistically, my lower body strength is pretty good. However, I have not practiced for this test at all, so my technique will probably render a worse result than what I am possibly capable of. Terrance Cody recorded a 90" Broad jump, which I hope I can match or beat.
Actual Jump: 1st att... Foul, did not keep balance on landing. 2nd att... Foul, fell forward trying to keep balance on landing. 3rd att... 82"
Analysis: I was pretty pleased with this showing. Once I stopped tripping over myself and got the hang of the technique, I was able to net a decent jump by my standards... but by combine standards...
Combine Rank: Dead Last
Testing: Without one of those vertical jump testers, this will be an approximation using an observer and a standard 10 foot basketball hoop. In the pros, they measure your height to the tip of your fingers standing up. In my case, we figured out where my arm was at the top of my head, then measured from that point to the top of my fingers, and added it to my base height of 76". Above the top of my head, my arm was an additional 19" for a total of 95" (7'11")
Goal: White men can't jump. Out of shape and overweight white men really can't jump. I know I can't touch the rim going in, we'll see what the observer says. This years worst combine vertical was 22" by Quentin Saulsberry out of Mississippi State.
Actual Jump: I took a few cracks at it, and got to about the same point every time. I was able to touch the net at about the point here the weaving becomes larger holes from smaller ones. which is about 4 inches below the rim, as a rough estimate. Subtract 4 inches from 10 feet (120") and you get 116". 116 - 95 = 21" vertical
Analysis: Soooooo close to getting on the board. Just 1 inch shy of a tie with the worst combine performer, a black guy no less! Ah... i thought I was finally going to get up there.
Combine Rank: Dead Last.... barely.
Testing: No guess work here. I grabbed a spotter and he kept count of how many reps I can do with 225 lbs on the bar. To warm up my arms, I did 10 push ups a couple minutes prior. I maintained proper bench technique, bringing the weight down until my arms were at a 90 degree angle then raising it back up. I can't stand to watch people bounce the bar off their chest. It damages your joints and robs you of a good workout.
Goal: Finally, an area where I know I can compete. While I have never tested myself in this manner, I know I have a max bench as of a month ago of 425 lbs. On top of that, when training, I always do a "burnout set" after I finish my regular repetitions where I put 225 on there and do as many reps as possible. I usually get 15 or so with tired arms. This test will be on fresh arms, so I hoped for 22.
Actual Bench: 28 reps!
Analysis: I did better then I ever could have imagined! It was not difficult until about 20 reps, at which point it became a struggle. By 24 reps my arms felt like Jello. At 26 it felt like the weight was just floating up. Between 28 and 29 my arms gave out completely and my spotter pulled the weight back up. I expected to do well in this test, as strength training is usually the focus of my gym time. In other words, if you put in the work, you can expect to see dividends.
Combine Rank: Tied 39th place overall out of 323 prospects.
Final Scouting Report
While Erik possesses the ideal build of an NFL caliber lineman, he simply does not possess the lateral speed to play OT or even OG. His best NFL position would be a block eating NT, where he can put his hand in the dirt and use his above average power to disrupt running lanes, and open up plays for the linebackers. He projects likely as a 2-down lineman that would likely need to come out for a breather on 3rd downs. In short... why is this guy here? He has no shot at being drafted, and probably shouldn't clear his schedule after the draft to wait by the phone.
Final Grade: UDFA