I'm squarely in the camp of NFL Draft Combine skeptics. I think that putting up reps on a weight bench or running a 40-yard dash without pads, while nice as evidence of athletic talent in a vacuum, are fairly poor predictors of NFL success.
Bruce Campbell and Trindon Holliday are just the latest test cases.
Campbell is an offensive lineman from Maryland, and the latest athletic Terrapin (Vernon Davis, Darrius Heyward-Bey) more notable for skills than stats. He ran the 40-yard dash in what was originally reported as 4.77 or 4.78 seconds in -- later revised to a 4.85 -- that generated plenty of buzz from hype hound and media member alike.
But it also got a healthy dose of skepticism from corners less prone to exaggerate. Football Outsiders' Bill Barnwell threw cold water all over the Campbell hype, noting that the time puts him in the company of Allen Barbre, Lydon Murtha, and Khalif Barnes, in addition to line stalwarts Joe Thomas and Eric Winston. The point: a fast 40 isn't a guarantee of success or failure, especially for a lineman who only runs 40 yards when entering or exiting a field.
Trindon Holliday has a better chance of being a success based on his 40 time. The LSU product blazed what was originally labeled 4.22, then revised to a 4.34. That's the sort of speed that makes offensive coordinators drool, especially with the NFL's current fastest man-slash-best offensive weapon, Tennessee's Chris Johnson, being known mostly for his speed. But Johnson has a fluidity on the field (see the video after the jump) that Holliday doesn't demonstrate consistently, and a much bigger frame; there will be concerns of a hard tackle sidelining Holliday for a season, despite his solid build.
For Campbell and Holliday, gaudy Combine numbers may propel them to a higher draft position and more zeroes in a contract. But that will hopefully be because NFL teams factor them into a more holistic evaluation.Did I maybe just want to use the best amateur YouTube video I've seen for a football player? Maybe.
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.