Don't Fall in Love With Players at the Combine

As prospects sprint through the 40-yard dash, put up reps on the bench press, and leap for the rafters in the vertical jump, it’s easy, even natural, to imagine how they could fit in with the Packers.

If those numbers are really good, it’s easy to project that player piling up multiple Pro Bowls, awards, and Super Bowl rings. If those measurables are truly unbelievable, you might as well pencil in your favorite workout warrior for a spot in Canton.

Don’t do it. It will only make you sad.

One of the NFL’s own Twitter handles gave us a great example of why to avoid falling in love with a player based just on Combine numbers. NFL Research saddled Jabrill Peppers with this unfortunate comparison:

Peppers, who has never played an NFL snap, carried the ball 45 times in college, and didn’t even work out with the offensive players at the Combine, has now been dubbed “Baby Beast Mode,” essentially equating him with one of the great running backs of the last generation based solely on… four numbers.

Comparisons set expectations the wrong way

The comparison is absurd at face value, but it breaks down even further when you realize that Peppers shares quite a few physical attributes with other players who tested at the Combine. Spoiler alert: they’re not as good as Marshawn Lynch.

The most direct comparison to Peppers is former Virginia running back Wali Lundy. Notice that NFL Research didn’t rush to compare Peppers to this former 6th round pick, despite the fact that their numbers line up quite closely:

Lundy managed to translate that Peppers-like physical ability into an NFL career that lasted one whole season, which I’m sure is exactly what Jabrill Peppers is hoping for. If only Marshawn Lynch could aspire to such heights.

Wait until the names are called on draft day

It’s very understandable why fans would get excited over players’ performances at the Combine. It’s easy to do! I was mesmerized watching John Ross blaze a 4.22 time in the 40-yard dash, and I’ll readily admit that I did picture what having that kind of speed would do for the Packers’ offense.

But that way lies madness. The chances that the Packers will actually pick Ross are low, and by dreaming about him reeling in bombs from Aaron Rodgers, I’m only setting myself up for disappointment.

Don’t fall into that trap. Enjoy the players running and jumping and going through their workouts, sure, but let your dreams end there.

Wait for draft day before picking players to fall in love with, because at least then we’ll know which team they’re playing for.