The good news is, I have work which will happen credential or not. The bad news is that I might have a lot of time to spend in hotel rooms.
However, I will probably have some coverage from Indianapolis to match up what CHTV will already have (both Aaron Nagler and, I believe, Brian Carriveau will be there.)
The Combine is both critical and meaningless. On the one hand, it allows teams to see a lot of players, some of whom they have had less exposure to. It gives them time to interview the players, and see them performing next to players at the same position. All of the drills have a purpose and a reason for being, though their importance can be blown out of proportion (I'm looking at you 40 yard dash).
None of them, however, should ever supplant tape and film. Sometimes, teams will seemingly get caught up in performances at the Combine an forget that. More accurately, media and fans will get caught up in it, though sometimes teams will do the same.
The Combine, like so many things about the NFL draft tends to get blown out of proportion to its meaning. I've often wondered if draft analysts adjust their rankings too frequently to begin with in order to have something to write.After all, if tape is king, as so many claim, how much can you change your assessment of a player once you've seen it and studied it? Perhaps for the less known and lower rated prospects, sure. But it even happens with more well known prospects.
And not just one or two spots, but sometimes several rounds.
Certainly this seems to happen a lot post-Combine.
Which is a nice segue into our next topic. Not long ago I promised to give you a look into how I break down players. This will be a general overview, as each position requires a different way of examination.
A lot of this is also over at my personal site, AndrewGarda.com, so if you've read it there, you know a lot of what I'm about to say.
When it comes to analysis, my process is pretty straightforward. I watch as many games during the fall as I can (considering the NFL coverage I have to do, it's limited), making general notes on each major player as I go.
After the season is over, I go back and watch the players again more closely. For the highest level prospects I watch no less than three games closely. I usually pick on very good game, one game where the prospect struggled (easier to do with quarterbacks than, say, offensive tackles) and one game in between. If at all possible, I watch games where players are going up against top talent. Ranked teams, top defenses, top offenses.
When an analyst mentions prospect not playing against quality opponents, then it's becomes an issue. It's harder to predict how a player's game translates to the NFL level when he's playing against poor quality opposition.
For each position I am tracking different factors and, depending on position, charting various aspects of the position (for example, pass location for quarterbacks, effectiveness of running back to which side of the line, whether a corner is in man or zone and how successful he is).
I then take all my notes and compile them into some cohesive thoughts about what a player can do now, as well as what he might be able to do at the pro level.
My plan is to write up as many individual players as possible at AndrewGarda.com but I'm just me, so I might not have time to transfer all my notes for all the positions. I'll link or post them here as well, starting with quarterbacks and wide receivers as that is what I'm in charge of for the CHTV draft guide.
After that, it'll be a smattering of different positions, and as I said, I don't expect to get through writing up close to all of them.I'll have watched everyone but it takes a long time to write it up in a neat, cohesive and presentable package.
But we have an extra two weeks so, who knows?
As I go over various players, I'll post here how I looked over a specific position to again give you more insight into how I do what I do.
Next week, I'll have some Combine notes and probably some other rankings.