ESPN: Steak, booze and a sense of dull dread: Here's what really happens at the NFL combine

Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by Plankton, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. Plankton

    Plankton Well-Known Member

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    INDIANAPOLIS -- An NFL general manager stands in his suite at Lucas Oil Stadium watching the combine workouts. I'm not using his name; even though he's merely admitting what everyone privately acknowledges, he worries about saying it aloud because the combine is such a growth industry for the NFL. After years of coming to Indianapolis, he now understands that his presence here -- everyone's presence -- is simply to play a small part in a televised show, even if real futures are at stake. The players are running on the field down below, and they are running on the screens playing all around him, broadcast by the NFL Network. From his suite, this GM can barely read the names and numbers on their jerseys, so he watches on TV. Like most guys, he has an iPad where the stats and scores and results automatically update in his draft software. Except the results are always posted faster on the live television broadcast than in his own system. That's what cues his sense of dull dread: If I can just watch this on television, and if I don't even really care about the results anyway, then why exactly am I here?

    Day One, Part I
    Wednesday night, my first at the combine, first stop, first drink: a Guinness at the J.W. Marriott hotel bar, the front porch of the NFL combine. I nursed the beer and watched the football world stalk the room, looking for someone who might have information or want information. An agent named Kyle Strongin pulled up a chair. A long time ago, he worked at Ole Miss, which is in the town where I live, so we swapped Coach O stories and caught up on life. This year, he had three clients at the combine: Wisconsin running back Alec Ingold, South Carolina lineman Zack Bailey and Clemson cult hero receiver Hunter Renfrow.

    He liked his guys, and he pulled out his phone to show me a picture that kind of sums up the singular question hovering over the combine: What can a team tell about a player by looking at him run, lift weights and flex? Kyle's photo showed the now-viral image of Ole Miss' D.K. Metcalf standing with his shirt off, his chest swollen and rippled. D.K. sent me two crying-laughing emojis when I texted him after it first hit Twitter, when his 1.9 percent body fat melted the internet. In Kyle's photoshopped version, next to him was Renfrow, short and skinny, looking exactly like the kind of player a teammate might mistake for a manager, or maybe a waterboy -- which actually happened his freshman year at Clemson.

    Then Kyle's photo listed both their stats against Alabama.

    Renfrow put up better numbers.
  2. CalPolyTechnique

    CalPolyTechnique Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like a Tuesday for me.

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