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Unwind About the Combine

CJ Dudek, Sports Columnist

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This past week, Manti Te’o went to the NFL combine and was lambasted by the media with questions about the girlfriend that was as real as the lock ness monster.

The kid answered the questions well and called the hoax ‘embarrassing,’ yet other than that, he went about his business trying to prove himself for the scouts and general managers of the league.

Even after all of the memes, jokes, columns taking shots at his character, and ‘Manti Te’o Girlfriend Kiss-cam’ gags, Te’o’s talent outshines this particular scandal.

So Te’o and the other 31 guys expected to be drafted in the first round in April really don’t need the services the NFL combine provides.

It would not be any form of national travesty if the cream of the draft stock crop just up and decided not to work out at the combine. For the guys who are already going to get millions of dollars on their first contract, the combine is about as meaningful as going on a college interview when you’ve already received the acceptance letter.

Granted general managers and scouts watching guys jump, sprint, catch, lift weights, and condition does serve a purpose. The combine serves as a plateau for the unknown guys who didn’t play in a BCS Bowl game. A guy from Wichita State who may get drafted in round seven needs the attention of NFL teams more than the number one wide receiver prospect in the class.

So give the guy who needs a chance his fare shake by telling the guys who are going in the top 32 to stay home.

It’s not as if general managers and scouts are only giving a crap about the best once they walk into Indianapolis for the workouts. It is their job to watch countless hours of game film and hone in on a top player’s strengths and weaknesses. If the GM determines that this talent is worth x millions of dollars it makes more sense to spend the resources on some unknowns in order to have a deeper draft.

Perhaps the most popular example of the need for a deep draft (that you will hear way too much about come draft day) is that quarterback from Michigan that was drafted in round six in the year 2000 by the New England Patriots: you know, that Brady guy.

The Pats first pick in that draft was some guy named Adrian Klemm out of Hawaii and he was out of the league by the year 2005.

In sports, when a college kid from a big name school is good, the entire professional community already knows about it. But when the schools are smaller, kids have the potential to fall through the cracks.

In reality, the guys who are projected to be first round draft picks can afford to take the combine off and not face any major consequences. And general managers would be better off focusing their resources on the unknown guys in order to get more good players in the same draft class.

This idea may not be as crazy as the Te’o girlfriend story, but it certainly is crazy enough to work.

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