Next month, the best college football players in the country will descend upon Indianapolis in the hopes of impressing the army of scouts and front office officials who will assemble in the city for the NFL Combine.
That annual showcase has been a staple of the NFL calendar since 1987 and has given teams a chance to get up close and personal with prospective draft picks while getting a better read on their physical and mental capabilities with the litany of workouts, tests, and interviews it revolves around.
However, it’s safe to say not everyone is a fan.
Last year, NFLPA executive vice president Troy Vincent ruffled more than a few feathers when he compared the combine to a “slave auction” while targeting the in-depth medical examinations players are forced to undergo as well as some of the notoriously strange interrogations they’re routinely subjected to.
Vincent isn’t alone in his disdain for the combine, as it has now found itself in the crosshairs of Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith.
According to ESPN, Smith made his feelings known when he spoke at the news conference the NFLPA held in Arizona ahead of the Super Bowl on Wednesday where he implied the medical aspect of the combine was inherently designed to take players down a peg as opposed to boosting their draft status, saying:
“As soon as you show up, you have to waive all of your medical rights and you not only have to sit there and endure embarrassing questions.
And I think that’s horrible—and I don’t wanna pooh-pooh any of that—but would you want your son to spend hours inside of an MRI [machine] and then be evaluated by 32 separate team doctors who are, by the way, are only doing it for one reason?
What’s the reason? To decrease your draft value.”
He also suggested the physical workouts were largely unnecessary in a day and age where teams have access to an incredible amount of film stretching back to prospects’ high school playing days. He also floated an alternative in the form of “regional pro days” he said the NFLPA would be more than happy to host.
Could this be the beginning of the end of the combine? We’ll just have to wait and see.