5 Draft-Shaking Facts Unearthed at the 2014 NFL Combine
College football, for all its glory — bringing classmates together, encouraging intercollegiate interaction, raising tons of money for a corrupt National Collegiate Athletic Association that still refuses to pay players so they won’t have to cover injuries over workers’ compensation — has some glaring holes in its level of competition. This is inevitable, since there are roughly 65 bajillion college football teams. That’s a lot more than the 32 teams that make up the National Football League. And from that primordial culling ground rises the NFL Draft Combine, where college athletes will compete with each other’s measurements (40-yard dash time, throwing accuracy, etc.) to try and prove that they’re worth paying vast sums of money.
It’s where the wheat is pulled from the chaff. Every year, some fun things that happen at the combine, like Chris Johnson’s absurd 40 time (4.24 seconds; fast) or when Ryan Leaf bailed on a meeting with the Colts, causing them to pick Peyton Manning instead. The futures of franchises begin to take shape here, like when RGIII blew the doors off the combine and almost ended up being taken by Indianapolis. And teams other than the Colts are influenced, too, with Darrius Heyward-Bey being picked way, way higher than he should have been by the Oakland Raiders after running a 4.30.
The draft combine is so important that when details about Ray Rice’s arrest surfaced, the Ravens were unable to comment since many of the team’s top executives were immersed in the combine. What follows are five facts that have come out about the draft class of 2014. Some of them may shock you.