It is that time of year again. The time of year when potential NFL prospects will sell their soul if it means shaving off tenths of a second on their 40 yard dash.
The NFL Combine opened this weekend in Indianapolis, Indiana. So far, the big news of the weekend has been the injured left foot of wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Usually, an injury during Combine week can be devastating to a player's NFL stock. However, I would suspect that this will have little to no effect on Crabtree's draft position. The injury is said to be not serious (stress fracture) and Crabtree is an elite WR in a draft class that really lacks depth at the receiver position.
Most people would argue that the NFL Combine and 40 yard dash numbers are extremely overrated. And, I don't completely disagree. The 40 yard dash is very overrated, as track speed doesn't necessarily always correlate into football speed. But, looking over recent years, you can't deny that the Combine has been a helpful tool in discovering talent.
You don't have to look any farther then last year's Combine for examples. I doubt Chris Johnson (East Carolina) would have been nearly as high of a draft pick had he not shocked everyone with a 4.24 40 yard dash. After the Combine, Johnson shot up the draft boards and was a first round pick. He also had a very productive rookie season for the Titans. I doubt Johnson would have gotten these same opportunities if it wasn't for the Combine, and he was drafted just based off of what he did at East Carolina.
The same can be said for Joe Flacco. Flacco went from division I-AA Delaware to leading the Baltimore Ravens to the AFC Championship.
Of course for every Joe Flacco or Chris Johnson there is a Combine bust who doesn't pan out. So, I ask you....is the Combine over or underrated?