This time of the year marks the time where every prospective college football player looks to change the life of himself and his family by following their dreams at a lucrative pro football career in the NFL. Years and years of hard work, long days and nights of studying for class (for some, lets not kid ourselves) and countless hours in the weight room and practice field become their resume to present to every team in the league with the hopes of being picked by a franchise via the draft or free agency. Some will make it and some won’t, but they will all give it their best and try to show why they are the best option at their respective positions.
As an avid Miami Dolphins fan, I play close attention to the scouting combine as I like to try and see who my team may select to help us out and hopefully return to the playoffs. This year is filled with awesome prospects, especially on defense where Miami could use some work. There’s Robert Nkemdiche out of Ole Miss who is supposedly the best defensive lineman in the draft, Joey Bosa out of Ohio State, Jalen Ramsey by way of Florida State, and Jaylon Smith from Notre Dame who didn't participate as he's recovering from some torn ligaments in his knee that he sustained in the Fiesta Bowl this past year going up against Ohio State.
All would be welcome additions to any team I would think, but as I sat there watching every one go through drills and listen to the commentators at Lucas Oil Arena (the home of the combine since I can remember) I couldn't help but to think how much it seems like a herd of cattle being analyzed before an auction.
Nevertheless, if given the opportunity I would have gone threw the same thing, and as a matter of fact I did at the end of my high school career before playing in college. It really sat with me and blew me away as I listened to these commentators speculate how good a player would or wouldn't be once they were drafted in the NFL. These commentators and coaches alike, put so much emphasis on the measurable numbers that It didn't feel like any of them paid attention to the three or four years of game tape that is at their disposal for each player. Now I'm sure they do, but it just didn't come across as such and it really got me thinking about how often these draft day analysts were right or wrong when it came to who would have a successful NFL career.
No matter how fast a guy can run, how high he can jump, or how strong he is, nothing beats heart, instincts, and determination. How many guys turned out amazing NFL careers despite not looking the part and how many turned out to be total busts despite these same analysts looking at their measurable numbers and swearing that some of these athletes were can’t miss prospects and game changers? After every long drawn out analysis of each player that I watched, I kept asking the question, “Is he a football player, and does he have heart?” Because in the end, all that matters is whether or not a guy will fight for the one next to him when the chips are down, if he will he sacrifice for the team, and will he take care of his responsibilities on and off the field? That’s a question that a forty yard dash time and bench press numbers can’t answer.
Scooby Wright III from Arizona wasn't a big time recruit and wasn't bragged about come draft time as a can’t miss prospect, but neither was Zack Thomas when he came out of Texas Tech and became one the greatest linebackers in Dolphins history and toughest players in NFL history. Curtis Martin was never seen as an amazing running back coming out of Pittsburgh but became a Hall of Fame caliber running back once drafted to the New England Patriots and playing for the New York Jets. So as I end this post, Dolphins, I implore you to please, please look for a football player.
Draft a kid who has heart will you? After all the forty yard dash times, bench press numbers, and shuttle run times, make sure you bring in someone that can finally get us back to the playoffs! And to all those guys out there vying for a job in the NFL, good luck, I hope all your dreams come true, and don't blow it fellas. You are getting the opportunity of a lifetime, and one that everyone isn't fortunate to get. So don't let the numbers define you one way or another.