Yesterday, the National Football League put on an event called the Veteran's Combine. It's purpose was laudable; give aging veterans a chance to prove that they still got "it" in front of teams. However, there are a number of things about the event itself which made it essentially worthless.
First of all, not everyone was actually a veteran. Takashi Kurihara is a wide receiver from Japan. He's never played in the NFL before. If the purpose was to showcase veterans, it seems to me they should have actually used that slot on a real veteran, like Tim Tebow or Chad Ochocinco.
Much attention has been drawn to the extremely slow 40-yard dash times. For example, here are the running backs:
For those who asked about the Veteran Combine RB times… behold! pic.twitter.com/mWFumjNPJK— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 22, 2015
Once Michael Bush heard his time, he commented that his career was over. No wonder. It's a terrible time. However, the real NFL Combine is held under pristine conditions, inside a domed stadium, and the start is hand timed. It's only the end that's electronically timed. Here, the players ran outside and with an electronic start, which consistently produces times .1-.2 seconds slower.
Just checked and @CharlesRobinson is right: electronic timing here at the vet combine. Should be considered looking at these 40 times.— Eric Adelson (@eric_adelson) March 22, 2015
NFL source says vet combine 40 times should be adjusted .1 to .2 seconds faster when comparing to college combine. So 4.85 = 4.65 to 4.75.— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) March 22, 2015
Furthermore, these guys aren't young anymore, of course nearly all their times are going to be bad in comparison to what they previously recorded. When they were coming out of college, most of them had agents who paid thousands of dollars for highly specialized training by some of the best trainers in the country so they would perform their absolute physical peak in each of the events. The whole purpose of this event is that these guys are out of a job. How can they possibly match that?
Finally, teams already have film on these guys. Everyone always says the combine is meaningless compared to actual film, and that's something that's available. Considering there was no medical portion and no interviews, this was more of a Pro Day, which are one of the more useless events in the draft calendar.
The Veteran's Combine was a good idea. Maybe they can find a way to do it better next year, but this year, it was simply depressing and meaningless.