The Wall Street Journal ran a very interesting article in the Saturday paper dealing with short-term testing. "Short-term testing" is the word used to describe relatively quick testing sessions meant to cover material from a much greater span of time, like the SATs, FCATs, BAR exam, etc. Essentially the question the article asks is: "How effective are short-term tests at predicting future success?" In fact, they are not very good at all.
Why is this relevant to an NFL team blog? Because the Combine is a prime example of short-term testing.
There are teams who pick somewhat based on combine numbers, but in reality Combine numbers are not even close to adequate measures of potential NFL players. In fact, according to a recent study by economists at the University of Louisville, there's no "consistent statistical relationship" between the results of players at the Combine and subsequent NFL performance. So what more does one need to know about the players? What can be read from between the lines?
Focus, heart, and football instincts are integral to discerning a player's potential success. Does a player rise to the challenge of a greater opponent or falter? Are they the biggest, fastest, baddest man on the field? Can they play such a physical game with their mind and not their body? Those are the questions that need to be seen on game tape and in practice. The Combine cannot provide that kind of information. Fans like to judge players, often based on statistics and Combine numbers. According to the Wall Street Journal, stats often lie when it comes to measuring NFL talent.