Evaluating the Combine

NFL Combine Football.JPEG-0e321As the combine finally comes to a close—including the chatter about Manti Teo’s “poor performance” and Tyrann Mathieu’s potential value—we can take a look back and put a Falcon-friendly spin on the event.

The first thing that jumped out to me was the overall speed of this year’s group of participants. We had offensive tackles running 4.8 and defensive ends looking like they could blow away Michael Turner in a foot race. With that being said, the group that most impressed me was the defensive backs. In particular, Dee Millner of Alabama absolutely blew me away. You can make the argument that the most crucial measurable for a defensive back is speed. Millner’s 4.3 40-yard dash combined with his impressive game film suggests he’s a surefire prospect—it’s too bad he won’t be sitting around at pick 30. But hey, after all, the Falcons sure do like trading up for those Alabama Crimson Tide players.

I also enjoyed watching the defensive end position. One player, specifically, who caught my attention was Bakarvious Mingo of LSU. Mingo reinforced his Freakish athleticism with a playing style that mirrors that of Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants. Many mock drafts had him going mid to late first round, but after running a 4.5 at the combine his stock has rocketed to possibly a top 10 pick.

One last is thought: the people who “hurt their draft stock” may end up benefiting the Atlanta Falcons. Let me explain. The scouting combine is merely an evaluation of physical traits, not the prospect as a football player. In fact, you can make the argument that without seeing these players suit up in pads and hit someone, you cannot judge them properly. What I am getting at is for those whose draft status plummeted based on the combine—ala Manti Te’o—the Falcons may end up having a great football player—who may not have performed well in shorts—fall into their lap. Wishful thinking, I know, but you just never know how things will unfold come April 25th.

*Congrats to Alex Smith on being given the keys to the Kansas City Chiefs offense.

*Happy birthday to Tony Gonzalez—Please come back Tony!

*Keep up the good work Atlanta Hawks let’s make some noise this year in the playoffs!

*Steven Jackson to the Falcons? I’ll take it!

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