I have spent a lazy day watching the NFL combine and I am amazed at how enamored most of the announcers are by the numbers generated. I watched the lineman drills because of the obvious issues the Colts have with their offensive and defensive lines.
Below is a list of the top 9 players in the bench-press over the past few years. I looked to see if they were still playing and how many games they played in as professionals. I used the most up-to-date info I could find but will admit I didn't spend a huge amount of time researching. I think the generalities are obvious. I have not done the same for the other drills but my guess is they would reflect the same thing - combine drills are not good predictors of NFL success.
Stephen Paea: (2011) - 49 reps – Chicago – played in 39 games
Mitch Petrus: (2010) – 45 reps – not in league - played in 27 games
Mike Kudla: (2006) – 45 reps – not in league – played in 0 games
Leif Larsen: (2000) – 45 reps – not in league – played in 16 games
Jeff Owens: 2010): - 44 reps – not in league – played in 1 game
Brodrick Bunkley:(2006) – 44 reps – New Orleans – played in 119 games
Scott Young:(2005) – 43 reps – not in league – played in 14 games
Tank Tyler:(2007) - 42 reps – not in league – played in 43 games
Isaac Sopoaga:(2004) – 42 reps – New England – played in 131 games
I couldn't find anything to verify it but I heard Warren Sapp on TV claim that he benched 225 lbs. 17 times at the NFL combine. He said he racked it and quit. When asked about it he asked how many weight-benches do you see on the field? If you look at the current players who have the most reps you would have to say that this test is not a key to estimating professional success. I am not sure what type of strength drill or test would be a truer indicator of NFL success? Maybe something that test power rather than strength – not sure what that would be.
Also I wonder – we have all heard the term workout warrior and I am wondering if maybe that could be a negative label. If a player spends all of his time in the weight room working on strength such as bench presses – maybe they should be spending time on quickness drills or agility – or maybe depending on their position tackling or blocking drills/techniques. I know LaRon Landry looks like a real beast but after a few missed tackles and a few receivers running free I thought maybe rather than allow him his own workout this off season the Colts should require him to come in and work on technique and maybe game film – having the biggest guns doesn't do all that much for a won/loss record.
Once again there are a few weeks until the FA signings start and I am hoping the Colts get a few of their own guys signed before they get the offers from other teams. I am hoping they can address a few positions with "true difference makers." Then we have a draft that will be interesting because of Grigson's draft history and the lack of opportunity he will have in dazzling fans with his evaluative skills. We will have some time to second guess and complain and then the season will start in with rookie camps and we know that we are just a few players away from the Super Bowl.
I have used this before – but it takes a lot more to build a monster than LUCK. Let us hope the team signs/drafts the right guys so the monster will truly dominate this next year. Go Colts