The Scouting Combine – Where to Evaluate?

What Browns’ Scouts Should be Looking for in Indianapolis

The week of the NFL Scouting Combine is close to wrapping up, and all professional franchises are in attendance to get a better look at athletes who could improve their rosters. For the first time this offseason, all eligible participants will be in attendance – not just graduating seniors. Not every aspect of the week should be weighed equally – this refers to lesser importance on the bench press and some measurements. What are the four areas the decision makers for the Browns should focus their attention on during this scouting process? Let’s discuss:

Psychological Testing and Interviews

One would wonder if the Browns did their due diligence last year with both Johnny Manziel and Justin Gilbert in this area of the Scouting Combine. Granted, some athletes can feign passion and knowledge before signing a huge contract – but hopefully the scouting department should be able to decipher guys who want to be football players from those who simply want to collect paychecks. 

On-Field Workouts (Timing and Stations) 

This is probably the least of the four areas that teams should look at when scouting players. It’s an advantage for a guy to have a blazing speed in the 40-yard dash or the three-cone drill, but that does not necessarily translate into success on the field. I would hope scouts focus more on athletes who perform poorly (provided they are completely healthy) here. Are these guys not putting total effort into this weekend? Or are they just not as elite as some of their counterparts?

On-Field Workouts (Skill Drills)

I would predict this to be a giant focal point for all NFL franchises. The prospects will not be wearing pads during this week, but he should still be effective in drills that replicate what he will be trying to accomplish on Sundays next fall. Avoidance of sloppy performance is vital; receivers should not be dropping easy tosses, quarterbacks must not miss wide-open targets, and offensive linemen ought to maintain proper footwork.

Pre-Exam Analysis (Medical)

Again, avoidance of the negative is a key in this area of the week in Indianapolis. Whether it’s a minor issue or a long-term ailment, a player who is not healthy will be dissected highly (and negatively). A few guys recently (like Da’Quan Bowers and Marcus Lattimore) had their stock lowered considerably due to questions of health. The Browns cannot afford to take a guy who might not be able to play at a high level before his first game starts.

Conclusion: This week is another huge one for the orange and brown, if they want to make headway within their division next fall. I am confident Ray Farmer can have another solid draft, but he must hit on his first round picks. Doing so starts here at Indianapolis – where no stone must be unturned.

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