Steelers need to take NFL Combine with a grain of salt

Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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As the NFL combine approaches, the Steelers need to take it with a ‘grain of salt’

Yet another NFL combine will soon be upon us.  For football fans and Steelers fans, in particular, the combine represents the unofficial start to a new NFL season. It’s a time when hundreds of NFL prospects will display their abilities during a veritable cornucopia of drills presumably designed to mimic how they might play in the NFL.

I, however, have a different view of the combine, thus my stating that the Steelers need to take the combine with a ‘grain of salt’.  So, what does that mean exactly?  The term ‘grain of salt’ means to view something with skepticism.  Honestly, I think that perfectly describes how I believe the Steelers should view the combine.

The list of prospects who excelled at the combine and made an impact in the NFL is probably as long as the list of prospects who excelled the combine and made no impact in the NFL.  The combine, to me, represents an opportunity for team executives to conduct business, to re-connect with friends from other organizations and to watch what is essentially a ‘watered-down’ minicamp, less the pads of course.

I am not suggesting that the Steelers would not be able to find a ‘gem’ in the draft based on a prospect’s combine performance, but I think it would behoove not only us but all teams to rely more on a prospect’s game tape and less on a prospect’s 40-yard dash time, considering the latter is performed with no pads.  How can you accurately measure ‘football’ speed if you’re running in a straight line without pads?

Let’s take a look at some of the positions the Steelers may be targeting while attending the combine.