"Guys in painted on underwear were seen running around downtown Indianapolis... Film at 11 o'clock, followed by re-runs of The Facts of Life..."
While a skewed plot line, the title for the '80s TV show ironically applies to the NFL Combine. It's not so much about innocence lost, as it is how college players are thrown into the NFL world. They rehearse "three cone" dance moves for months leading up to the their recitals in Indianapolis, and learn how to take a stance for the 40 yard dash they'll never use again in their NFL careers...
Am I the only one who chuckles a bit when a 300 lbs plus lineman scrunches down into a sprinter's stance? You can almost hear these guys groaning and blowing out air as they force themselves to crouch down. Then again, you'd think they'd get a "belly spring" effect as they leap forward?
Each year at the NFL Combine, at least one player seems to get hit with hard medical news. Notre Dame standout - and possible top 5 pick - Jaylon Smith's medical news hit his draft stock hard on Friday. His recovery from a Fiesta Bowl ACL/MCL tear has really just started, but it looks like there's complications that could keep him sidelined throughout the 2016 NFL season. Nerve damage detected during his medical evaluations may even put his career in jeopardy. His $5 million potential injury insurance policy may lessen the financial blow, but it's still sad news for those who watched this talented young man in college. Let's all hope it's just a life glitch he can drive through...
The "off the field" trouble reveals - I shamefully admit - are kind of compelling. Schadenfreude drenched, real fans of the game have to be split between shaking their heads, and trying to forgive youthful indiscretions that don't involve harming others. Yet, I'm troubled by Robert Nkemdiche's media interview. When he was asked if his Ole Miss teammate - and possible 1st overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft - Laremy Tunsil was with him when he took his drunken dive out a hotel window last year, he quickly answered: "Uh, Laremy was there with me..." (Watch at the 5:10 minute mark for his answer)
I appreciate honesty, but there's a difference between offering up something he could easily have said wasn't the issue at hand, and owned the event as his miscue alone. Later cited for marijuana possession in connection with the incident, he left doubts as whose herb it really was as he sank into throwing Tunsil under an "implied Bus"... Anyone else getting an "Aldon Smith vibe" from Nkemdiche?
Saturday is "Quarterback Day" at the NFL Combine. For the first time in years, all the top prospects at the position will throw. It seems like Carson Wentz has the media buzzing, and small school doubters whispering "overrated". Former Delaware quarterback Joe Flacco turned out alright, but Wentz will need to put on an airshow to leap past naysayers. His team interviews will be crucial too. I love ESPN's: Jon Gruden's Quarterback Camp segments before the NFL Draft, and hopefully Wentz will take part...
The best observation of Day 1 of the NFL Combine goes to NFL.com's Bucky Brooks. On the NFL Now segment "Winners and Loser Day 1", Bucky's description of LSU's Vadal Alexander being "heavy legged" rang very true. He went further, saying about Alexander's 40 time: "I could hear him going down the track, thump, thump, thump..." I guess there are levels to "heavy" body parts in the NFL. I've heard "heavy footed" before, but when the whole leg is mentioned...? Eeek! Vadal, in your interviews, just say:"Fee, fi, fo, fum..." and maybe scouts will nod knowingly... Quatrain, Quadriceps... It's all the same, right?
Enjoy you weekend! Give me a follow on Twitter - @thenovelroad - and the Interwebs will let you know whenever I decide to babble incoherently again... Brandon Bate follows me, but he's making me pay him...