The NFL Combine happened this past weekend, and there weren’t many items of meaningful, lasting impact that emerged from it. Nuggets and smokescreens were exchanged. Collectively bargained confidentiality was flagrantly violated by the league and its in-house media. But, was there anything that happened that any of us will remember beyond a brief scare about Jameis Winston’s shoulder and, later, lots of folks gushing about his football IQ? Maybe Marcus Mariota’s smoking Winston in the 40-yard dash, which will be used retroactively to either justify or denigrate the exercise?
The Combine is definitely not meaningless, but it’s one step in the never-ending Draft evaluation process, and it gets overhyped because it happens in the middle of the dead zone between the Super Bowl and March Madness. It’s not like this is July. College basketball and the NBA are happening, but neither has entered its stretch run yet. Thus, the Combine gets covered with outsized importance. How many people really need to be there for it?
Geez, not THAT many. When accounting for compensatory picks, there will be somewhere around 255 players drafted this year, or less than one-quarter of the media population at the Combine. Local and national journalists alike have space (whether it be in print, online, radio or television) to fill and relationships to build. However, if more than half of them just stayed home, none of us would’ve noticed any difference.