Prove It or Lose It: NFL Combine Offensive Playmakers
Some NFL futures will be decided in Indy this week.
Some NFL futures can be decided in Indy this week.
At the combine, the medical exams and interviews are the focus for most prospects on teams’ boards. When it comes to proving the ability to retain information, execute an offense or deal with adversity, teams lean heavily on this process to supplement what they see on film.
However, that is not to say that prospects don't have to prove their physical abilities on the field. Demonstrating speed, short-area quickness, and explosion are critical to confirming what teams have seen on film. Most prospects will be able to prove what the film study already shows. The notable exception is Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who has reportedly decided not to run a 40 in Indy.
Some will be able to prove more than was on the film and get themselves a better chance at being drafted in a position to succeed. Those who can't prove it stand to lose their draft position and raise even more questions.
Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker is an older prospect coming off of an injury but in the meetings, psych and intelligence testing, he can prove he belongs in the top five quarterbacks of the class. If not for the injury, Hooker could well have had the highest floor in this class. His production speaks for itself, and he threw fewer total interceptions in his career than Will Levis did in 2021 (widely regarded as his best season).
Conversely, Will Levis will likely leave Indianapolis with some hype for his underrated athleticism and his natural arm strength.