The NFL Scouting Combine, where players are tested on their speed, strength, and agility as well as their ability to answer pointed questions in a high-pressure environment, is currently in full swing. Every year, a few hot prospects come charging into the event only to commit some sort of horrible physical or mental gaffe. If you’re ever considering becoming an NFL prospect, here are some Combine lessons that you should keep in mind.
1. Don’t Forget to Practice Running Beforehand
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Manti Te’o — you know, that guy who had a steady but totally uneventful career playing linebacker for Notre Dame — ran a really slow 40-meter dash. How could Te’o, a Heisman runner-up and consensus All-American, disappoint so fully during his workout? Well, he could spend the months before becoming embroiled in a twisted and extravagant fake-girlfriend controversy that then explodes in the most public way possible, creating an enormous distraction and preventing him from dedicating his full attention to fitness and conditioning.
This tip could alternatively be “Don’t Let Your Fake Girlfriend Make You Into a National Laughingstock.”
2. Don’t Tell Team Interviewers That You’ve Killed Someone
Particularly if you haven’t! That would be a terrible idea. Also, do not tell the team interviewers that:
1) you have rabies.
2) you grow marijuana in your car and in a basket below your kitchen window.
3) you would like to fight the interviewer.
4) you don’t actually know how to play football.
5) you will only practice under UV lights.
6) your “spiritual advisor” will need to attend every practice — and requires regular ice baths.
7) your ideal career is “model/actress.”
Also, don’t wear a tuxedo.
3. Don’t Get Hit by a Football
You’ll look silly.
4. Don’t Be a Quarterback
Last year, being a quarterback pretty much guaranteed you’d get picked in the first round and paid both Saudi money AND art money — just ask Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden. This year, the only quarterbacks even being discussed as first-rounders are Matt Barkley (shown above), Geno Smith, and Mike Glennon, and the discussions are usually of the “lol someone’s going to get stuck with these guys” variety. It remains to be seen whether this skepticism and outright disdain is actually merited, but — it’s there. Oh, it’s there.
5. Don’t Do Too Well on the Wonderlic
The Wonderlic test, which supposedly measures players’ mental aptitude — but maybe measures nothing at all because the people taking it don’t try and also it’s stupid — hasn’t happened yet this year, but it takes place at the Combine. And while you don’t want to fail it entirely (because then people will make fun of you), you also don’t want to do too well. Because if you do too well, people will make fun of you for being a NERD, particularly if you went to Harvard, like Ryan Fitzpatrick, who got a 48, one of the best scores ever. Fitzpatrick might have defied the odds and made tens of millions of dollars after working his way up from a small-time college program to become an NFL starter, but who cares? He’s a nerd. More like Ryan FitzFour-Eyes.
6. Don’t Waste Your Yearlong Suspension
So, Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu didn’t play this year, in what would have been his junior season, because he was suspended by LSU. That gave him a lot of free time to prep for the Combine, which, because of his lack of game experience, was doubly important. But based on his bench press — he only managed 225 pounds four times, which is a lot for you and me but not a lot for a football player — we can guess the Badger didn’t spend a whole lot of time on that particular task. Sure, he’s small, but let’s put it this way: The only kicker to bench at the Combine put 225 pounds up 13 times.
7. Don’t Forget to Fall Down at the End of Your 40
Shamarko Thomas fell down on his face-body at the end of his 40-meter dash. Shamarko Thomas ran the best 40 of any safety at the Combine. Coincidence? No — it’s science, dummy.
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