Combine more media circus than critical evaluative tool

Posted by Matt Florjancic on February 24, 2012 – 1:13 am

By: Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

INDIANAPOLIS — Here are some thoughts from the Combine:

>>The Combine has become a huge media-circus event. It is covered as thoroughly as any championship game by hundreds of reporters from around the country. All of the national football media are here, and they treat every aspect of this event as if it is crucially important. The fact is, it isn’t. The information gathered by teams about draft prospects is useful, but it is hardly the be-all, end-all portion of the evaluation process. All 32 NFL teams already have done the bulk of their scouting work by now, and they use the medical checks, player interviews, and workouts as additional support for what they already know. They usually don’t come away with dramatically new information.

>>Former NFL executive Bill Polian, who joined me Thursday on “Cleveland Browns, Driven by Liberty Ford,” said poor Combine workout performances by players are mostly irrelevant. And this is coming from one of the greatest talent evaluators the game has ever seen. “If they said tomorrow, you can no longer have workouts but have the height, weight, medical information, everybody in the National Football League would say fine,” Polian said. “The most important thing we do is get the medical information.”

>>For the record, Polian said he does not see former Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III falling to the fourth pick of the draft, saying “there are too many people that will covet him” and one would likely trade to move within the first three picks to land him.

>>Polian, the former president and vice chairman of the Colts, drew one of the largest crowds of reporters, most of whom wanted his thoughts about the future of his former quarterback, Peyton Manning, who is recovering from multiple neck surgeries. “I believe, if Peyton Manning can (physically) play, he will,” Polian said. “What the resolution of his situation with the Colts will be, I haven’t the vaguest idea.”

>>For the record, the Browns have the sixth row in the prime seating for the 40-yard dash in Lucas Oil Stadium. They drew that positioning from a hat, the system Combine organizers have long used to determine where representatives of the NFL’s 32 teams sit. For the record, the sixth row is a good spot – not to close, but not, as Browns senior national scout Pat Roberts pointed out, “in the nose bleed” section.

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford” on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at

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