Right as Ryan: Killing the hype

Ryan Chae, Sports Editor

Just a month ago, I found out that there was another Olympics beside the summer and winter events. Even more surprising, it occurs annually and at the same location, but it goes by another name: the NFL Scouting Combine. Just kidding; the Combine has no connection to the Olympics, but the way the media treats it, you would think it was just as important.

With the NFL Draft just a day away, war rooms in the league are using the Combine to scout the next player who may be their next franchise cornerstone. As a fan, the draft always excites me, as I wonder what prospect could change our team. However, the combine has become a cancer to the draft, turning my anticipation for the draft into a cry for mercy.

The coverage of the combine has become ridiculous as companies such as Adidas have over glorified the 40-yard dash, even offering an island to anyone who broke Chris Johnson’s record time of 4.24.  If the combine is going to idolize one stat, then every other record should have the same coverage.

The combine has been transformed from a simple way to measure the athleticism of players into a media circus and a method to kill the careers of players before they even begin. Before, it would simply provide numbers on height, speed and strength, but now every little statistical measurement is being milked to create a story.

Recently, I was notified by Team Stream  that Christian McCaffrey, the 5’11 running back from Stanford, could “only” do ten reps of 225 pounds at the bench press drill. When I looked on a few more sports outlets, there were multiple stories describing how McCaffrey’s stock was falling, disregarding the monster numbers he had at Stanford.  

But that’s what the combine does to prospects-it hurts them. When a player runs a tenth of a decimal off compared to another, they suddenly plummet through the annoying number of mock drafts.

And speaking of mock drafts, the combine has given birth to excessive hoards of these leeches. Everyday, there seems to be a new mock draft whether it’s from Bleacher Report, ESPN or NFL.com. While these are enjoyable and provide a fun sneak preview at what some teams need, after a certain point they become the most annoying things in the world. If you release a mock draft after the start of free agency, end of the postseason, or after the combine, that’s great! But when one is released every time a prospect has an interview, it  becomes bothersome to the point where you silence all sports apps.

What irks me even more are Pro Days at various colleges, specifically superpower schools like Ohio State and Alabama. If there’s already going to be a combine for every single prospect, why is there the need for an extra day? All they really do is allow college teams to show off their “superiority” and “magnificence” to the rest of the world.

Honestly, I support the combine. I think that it is a great and fair way to track prospects looking to make their way into the NFL. However, when you cover and advertise it as one of the biggest days of the entire year, the luster and joy for the NFL Draft slowly die away, one mock draft at a time.