The NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis tends to get quite a bit more attention than it really deserves – mostly because it’s February and there’s nothing else to do, but still! While working out college prospects in a t-shirt and shorts may make for good (or mediocre) TV and running a series of physical and mental tests on each player may expose some hidden concerns every once in a great while (poor Star Lotulelei), for the most part there isn’t any new information to be gleaned from these proceedings that should in any way, shape or form take precedence over analyzing the tape and stats of what these players did during actual games. Start putting too much emphasis on Combine results and you end up like the Raiders – a team full of guys who can run a 4.3 in the 40 but can’t catch or tackle. Any player whose draft stock rises by a couple rounds due to what they do in Indianapolis this week should be looked upon with great suspicion – and the exact opposite is true for those who perform poorly. Frankly, any NFL-related diversion is a welcome diversion, but the Combine shouldn’t be regarded as anything more than that.
With that said, however…there’s one prospect from a tiny school in the Midwest who has been making a lot of headlines with his performance in workouts thus far. He came in with little buzz but may leave Indianapolis as a potential top-five pick. He may even be, as one league general manager told me yesterday, “a guy who could change the face of the league forever.” With high praise like that, how can you not let go of all skepticism you may have stored up and believe blindly in the potential of a player who’s never played a down in the NFL? Let’s look at this player a little more in depth…
- Name: John Deere S690 S-Series Combine
- College: Cornholer University (Omaha, Nebraska)
- Height: 13 feet 0 in.
- Weight: 43,730 lb.
- 40-Yard Dash Time: 4.32 (threshing); 2.00 (highway)
- Bench Press: 7,439 reps
- Vertical Jump: 10 inches (achieved by going full speed over a small hill)
- Broad Jump: 0 inches
- Cone Drill: 4.87 seconds
- 20-Yard Shuttle: 3.13 seconds
- 60-Yard Shuttle: 7.01 seconds
Overwhelming size confounds linemen at the point of attack and compels opponents to run out of his way whenever he steps on the field…Mows down everything that’s set in his path, including turf and any stray birds that may have been briefly grazing on the field…Impossible to bring down after he’s built up a good head of steam…Knocks down a ton of passes at the line of scrimmage due to superior height and width…Hard worker in the film room and wants to improve his technique every single day…Ultra-competitive, desires to grind every opponent he comes across into a bloody, crumpled mess…consistently delivers the highest grain and straw quality on the market…
Lacking top-flight agility; could not run cone drill without running over the cones and obliterating each one into a thousand pieces. Portent of things to come against elite pass blocker?…Cannot get legs off the ground without some sort of secondary assist, though overwhelming height partially makes up for this issue. Would still be a liability in pass coverage against a great leaping receiver such as Calvin Johnson or Vincent Jackson, however…Has a tendency to run out of gas quickly due to consistently high effort level and take plays off to refuel. Perhaps future model can provide higher MPG?…Failed to answer a single question during time allotted for Wonderlic exam; agent claims this is due to fact that he has no mouth, hands or other means of communicating and not because of any attitude problems. Still may be best to give him simplified assignments at first before he shows he’s capable of learning the intricacies of an NFL playbook…Ultra-competitiveness can come back to bite him, as he has literally ground some former opponents into a bloody and crumpled mess…
What Scouts Are Saying:
- “Completely and utterly unblockable – if you tried to block him, you’d get killed. Literally. I used to joke about that when Reggie White was first coming out of college, but not in this case. Death is a serious issue when going up against him. As an opponent, I’d worry about that.”
- “If you’ve just got him at a threshing top speed, then you’ve got a shot – he’s fast, then, but every team’s got three or four guys who are just as fast. If he’s operating at top road speed, though, then it’s all over. I’ve never seen anyone fly around the field like that. It makes really makes you wonder – where did this kid come from? Another planet? And why is he green and twice the height of all our other players?”
- “All I’ve heard about the guy is how soft-spoken and compliant he is. Might not be the brightest kid around, but my God, does he give a consistent effort. If you tell him to do something, he does it. And he also has two cupholders in his mouth for whenever you’ve got a Diet Coke on the sidelines that you need stored close-by. His attitude and work ethic are off the charts, really.”
Would likely have been a Top 5 pick after news of his initial workouts spread; after his embarassing Wonderlic score, however, he has fallen back down to the 6th or 7th round range.