The 2023 NFL Combine kicks off today at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and to celebrate, we’re taking a trip down memory lane.
The NFL Combine is an interesting time for a few reasons. Of course, you have the players on the field giving it their all to improve their draft stock. Meanwhile, other players are fighting just to prove their worthy of being drafted.
Then, you have the analysis that comes after the NFL Combine. Scouts and media members make judgements and players comparisons that are sometimes spot on, and other times laughably inaccurate.
Today, we’re going to reflect on how Dallas Cowboys stars performed at the NFL Combine, and we’ll see if the analysts got it right.
Dak’s most notable measurable was his massive 10.88-inch hand size, which was in the 99th percentile of QBs in 2016. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.79 seconds and his vertical leap came in at 32.5 inches.
NFL.com predicted Dak would be an average backup, saying his build is similar to Donovan McNabb, but he didn’t have the Philadelphia Eagles QBs ability and polish.
Player comp: Brett Hundley
Verdict: Not even close.
NFL.com wasn’t alone in overlooking Prescott, though. He wasn’t drafted until the fourth round, but next season will be his seventh as the Cowboys starter. It’s safe to say he exceeded all expectations.
Pollard did well in most categories, but didn’t excel in any specific areas. His best showings were his 4.52 40-yard dash and his 125 inch broad jump. Where he really struggled was the bench press – TP’s 13 reps landed him in the 12th percentile.
He was considered a below average prospect. NFL.com said he wasn’t a natural runner, and his route running needed some work (Pollard was a WR for three seasons in college).
Player comp: Andre Roberts
Verdict: Another miss by the analysts, but we’re willing to cut some slack.
TP played both RB and WR in college, and it wasn’t until his senior year that he started getting a majority of his work in the backfield. Maybe more of the blame for Pollard’s inaccurate grades should go to his coaches at Memphis for not realizing his strengths.
The Notre Dame alum crushed it in the bench press. His 29 reps were in the 85th percentile. He also received praise for his 25 Wonderlic test score (an average score is 20).
Martin was pegged as an elite prospect that projected to be a good starter within two seasons. NFL.com called him one of the cleanest players in the entire draft.
Player comp: Josh Sitton
Verdict: Nailed it.
Martin has been a force in the NFL since day one. He’s been named to an All-Pro team and Pro Bowl in all but one of his nine seasons. Good work, analysts.
D-Law’s 11-inch paws were in the 97th percentile of DE’s. His vertical was 34.5 inches and his wingspan was a whopping 81 inches.
NFL.com called Lawrence a good prospect with potential to start year one. Analysts predicted his length and athleticism would help harass QBs on Sundays.
Player comp: Justin Houston
Verdict: Right again.
Lawrence’s first year was a bit shaky – he made no starts and only appeared in seven games, recording 0 sacks on the season. But he came on strong in year two with eight sacks and has been a dominant player ever since.
We’re going old school with this one. Ware had an impressive NFL Combine showing. Since 2003, only two LBs have weighed over 250 pounds, run a sub-4.65 40-yard dash and ran the three cone drill in less than seven seconds. Those players are Ware and Leighton Vander Esch.
The former Boise State Bronco was a highly-touted prospect with an elite skill set. He was big and strong at 6’3, 251-pounds, but also quick off the edge. A truly rare talent.
Player comp: Unfortunately, player comps weren’t as popular when Ware was drafted in 2005. But with 20/20 hindsight, a Mack Truck would’ve been accurate.
The analysts got this one right, and so did the Cowboys by selecting Ware 11th overall. He’s the Cowboys all-time sacks leader and will soon be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.