Every single year people jabber about the Combine measurements, and every year I have to deal with a sea of ignorance. Look, the Combine provides variables to test and retest with the ultimate goal of finding successful NFL players. Some variables are more important than others. However, we can’t continue to have this limbo world of the Combine matters, or the Combine doesn’t. Because the variables the Combine provides matter.
It’s just the analysis of how much each variable matters varies so wildly and broadly that it makes a sea of noise to fight through. Instead of a ripple to bring clarity to your thoughts on prospects. So I’m not going to go through everything that matters at the Combine yet. Instead, I’m going to highlight the players who essentially put up red flags and explain why. Starting with the weigh-in results of the OL and RB positions.
On the offensive line, unless you view Collin Buchanan and Forrest Lamp as offensive tackles everyone passed. The thresholds for quality on the interior offensive line are less than offensive tackle when it comes to arm length. So despite Lamp’s agent cherry-picking a bunch of players to make his client look better. Just go with where your client will have the statistically higher likelihood of success based on his height and arm length. That’s at guard, I’d rather have a potential All-Pro guard than a Justin Pugh any day of the week based on Lamp’s length.
At the running back position, the biggest red flags this year come from arm length as well. The length of a running back’s arms may not seem relevant on the surface, but 93% of long-term starting backs since the 2002 NFL Draft class had at least 31” arm length. The backs who didn’t meet that threshold were Chris Johnson and C..J. Spiller thus far. And the commonality between Spiller and Johnson was a freak level combine performance. So unless the running backs I’m about to list have similar freaky combines.
I will be very skeptical about their ability to be a long-term starting NFL running back. The backs who posted less than 31-inch arm length at the Combine are as follows:
- Joe Williams
- Corey Clement
- Elijah Hood
- Samaje Perine
- Jahad Thomas
- Christian McCaffrey
- Matt Dayes
- Rushel Shell
- Stanley Williams
- Tarik Cohen
- De’Veon Smith
- Devine Redding
- De’Angelo Henderson
- Donnell Pumphrey
Every back hit a reasonable weight. A couple of suspect height players exist in Stanley Williams, Tarik Cohen and De’Angelo Henderson. Who had below 5-8 height, which unless you are Maurice Jones-Drew and run 4.3 there isn’t much success at that height. There is a lot more information to unpack as the Combine goes forward. But just keep in mind some of the statistically relevant red flags I highlighted from the OL and RB group.
And I will continue to post more as the information leaks.