What’s Between the Ears?
While the combine is great at showcasing how athletic prospects are, there is one aspect it lacks. Being able to see how well a prospect understands the game and their football IQ is much harder to see.
Simply because someone doesn’t perform well at the combine, that doesn’t mean they will not have a good career in the NFL. The biggest showcase would be quarterback Tom Brady.
I’m not going to get into his countless accolades because I’m sure you’re just as tired of hearing them like I am. The point is, he was not great at the combine. There was one quote that stood out to me from an anonymous NFC scout according to sportingnews.com.
"“I don’t like him. Smart guy. That’s it”"
Yeah, he was very smart. Brady was so smart that he tore up defenses throughout his entire 19-years and going career. He wasn’t and still isn’t, an athletic freak but that doesn’t matter.
His football IQ is off the charts and that is what makes him great. It is that aspect of a prospect that you miss when watching the combine.
When it came time to do the throwing drills, Brady was said to perform well. Even though he threw the ball well and showed that he can drive the ball deep, the athletic drills scared off scouts.
Linebacker Telvin Smith was given a 5.80 grade, which would mark him as a backup or special team player. He was drafted in the 5th round back in 2014 and now has 100+ tackles in all five seasons in the NFL.
To say the combine means nothing is extreme. To say the combine is the holy grail is also extreme. It is important to keep in mind that you don’t get everything out of a player at the scouting combine.
As a result of that, the Dallas Cowboys should keep an eye out at the combine, but also look for football IQ. You can be a great athlete, but if you don’t know what you’re doing then you won’t succeed. Then again if you can’t do what you want to do, you can’t succeed either.