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5 Combine ‘Winners’ Who Actually Lost

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ben-braunecker-advanced-stats

As the resident wet blanket here at PlayerProfiler (you may remember me as the straight talker who trashed the site’s player comps back in August), I felt it was my duty to hit you metrics heads with some real football talk.  I spent all weekend grinding combine tape and many of the skill position players that your spreadsheets think “killed the Combine” will actually be lucky to even be drafted.

1. Josh Doctson, WR (TCU)

One of the combine’s biggest “winners” at the WR position was TCU’s Josh Doctson, who delivered a 4.50 40-yard dash time and even more impressively, logged a 41-inch vertical jump and 131-inch broad jump, giving him an “otherworldly” 135.2 (97th-percentile) Burst Score.

However, no one seems to want to discuss his concerning performance during the “gauntlet” drill.  In this fifteen second video, Josh Doctson caught, and then prematurely dropped, seven footballs.

In Goodell’s NFL, we all know a receiver needs to “maintain possession” and “become a runner” in order for it to be ruled a catch — something Doctson repeatedly fails to do during this drill.  While many want to see a polished Round 1 NFL wide receiver in Doctson, all I see is a glory boy doomed to make the same cocky mistakes as DeSean Jackson and Terrell Owens.

Pete’s Draft Grade: UDFA

2. Derrick Henry, RB (Alabama)

Everyone wants to talk about Derrick Henry’s sublime combine, which is currently responsible for breaking PlayerProfiler’s best comparable player algorithm.

“He’s a unicorn!”
– Matt Kelley, probably.

Let’s first get one out of the way.  Yes, a 4.54 forty at 6-3, 247-pounds resulting in a 116.3 (96th-percentile) Height-adjusted Speed Score (HaSS) is eye-popping.  However, it’s very concerning to me that his junk didn’t pop out of his pants mid-sprint like Mississippi State defensive lineman Chris Jones. Having your genitals fly out during your 40-yard dash shows me you really care and that you are willing to quite literally lay it all out there to run as fast as you can, regardless of public ridicule.

derrick-henry-alabama

Derrick Henry Advanced Metrics Profile

Instead, I saw a running back with a lot of tread on his tires who tucked his junk into his compression shorts like a coward.  As he ran, he looked lackadaisical and disinterested, like he truly didn’t want “it.” His stride also seemed stiff to me.  Don’t get caught up in counting stats and fancy size-adjusted speed metrics, the tape shows a story of a man who is more interested in not being embarrassed than running with heart.

Pete’s Draft Grade: UDFA

3. Ben Braunecker, TE (Harvard)

Look, I get it. On the surface, Ben Braunecker had a stellar combine:
• 20 bench press
• 35.5 vertical
• 10-1 broad jump
• 6.90 three cone drill

Ben Braunecker‘s 11.10 (94th-percentile) Agility Score on PlayerProfiler and comp to Charles Clay would seem to indicate a bright future.  However, there are major red flags on Braunecker’s college resume.  He went to Harvard to study molecular biology and “hopes to one day go to medical school and cure infectious diseases.”  Are you kidding me?  If football is not Braunecker’s sole focus, how is a franchise supposed to invest any draft capital in the one athletic Harvard graduate to ever enter the NFL?   If you think I’m overreacting, listen to what this smarty pants told the Boston Globe:

“I didn’t go to Harvard expecting to be an NFL player.  I just got good, and then decided, well, I should probably give this a shot.  It’s something I love, I’m pretty good at it, so why not?’’

Does that sound like someone committed to being the next Charles Clay?  Not to me.  As Silicon Valley says, “invest in a Harvard graduate at your own peril.”  Good luck chasing the next “biology” fad, Ben.

Pete’s Draft Grade: UDFA

4. Jeff Driskel, QB (Louisiana Tech)

You thought Cam Newton’s showboating was bad, this hot shot QB who “tore up the combine” with a 4.56 40-yard dash at 6-4, 234-pounds.  La-di-da.

While all the draftnik dilettantes drool over Jeff’s raw tools and speed, true QB evaluators like myself know to look past the sizzle.  I don’t care what the stop watch shows, I didn’t like what I saw on the tape.  I didn’t see him scanning the crowd (re: defense) during his sprints, something a QB needs to do at the next level to succeed.  I also noticed that he finished with a faster time than his old teammate at Florida, WR Demarcus Robinson.  Showing up a teammate like that who actually needs to run fast to succeed at his job is a selfish move by Driskel and tells me he’s not prepared to be a leader of men, much less a pocket passer.

If you need any further reasons to discount Driskel’s combine performance, look no further than Mike Mayock’s quote: “You know he’s athletic.  Florida used him in a lot of ways as an athlete.”  Need I remind you what happened to the last overhyped “athletic” QB to come out of Florida…

Pete’s Draft Grade: UDFA

5. Keyarris Garrett, WR (Tulsa)

If Keyarris Garrett was in the 2015 draft class he’d go undrafted.  If he was in the 2014 draft class, he wouldn’t have even received a combine invite.  Instead, it’s 2016 and we are forced to talk about Ivy League tight ends and quarterbacks who are faster than their wide receivers.

keyarris-garrett-tulsa

Keyarris Garrett Advanced Metrics Profile

PlayerProfiler is one of these guilty parties, comping Keyarris Garret to Dez Bryant and giving the metric fanboys a false sense of hope.  Sure, at 6-3 and 220-pounds, Garrett’s 4.53-forty yard dash time is sort of impressive.  But let’s follow this coked-up Mel Kiper comparison to its logical conclusion: if Keyarris Garrett is indeed the next Dez Bryant than what we are really saying is that he’s just an older, poor man’s Allen Robinson, who now sits at No. 2 on PlayerProfiler’s dynasty WR Rankings.

Go for it.  Knock yourself out with Keyarris Garrett and his Dez Bryant comparison.  I’ll go draft the next Allen Robinson.  Thanks.

Pete’s Draft Grade: UDFA

The big takeaway here is that looking at the combine results isn’t enough.  The combine tape is just as important.  Once you have watched over 10,000 hours of film, as I have, you will eventually learn how to look past the athletes who “won the Combine” to find true football players.

Peter Overzet is the Founder of the Fantasy Football Comedy Hour.