If Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward had his way, the NFL Scouting Combine wouldn’t exist.
In its place would be multiple practice and game-like scrimmages where evaluators could really see what prospects have to offer where it counts most: in real football settings.
Speaking on his podcast “Not Just Football w/ Cam Heyward” Wednesday, Heyward stated that the NFL Scouting Combine is overrated and many of the drills that players are put through are nonsense.
“I’d rather we got away from the Combine and everybody participated in a practice-like setting and then it led to some type of game,” Heyward stated, according to video via the ESPN on NFL YouTube page. “One, I can break down tape. Two, I can see how you break down tape, ask questions, do you take it to the practice field? Do you continue to ask questions there.
“And then, how do you relate to the game? How do you interact with teammates? How do you lead guys? These are all more important things than being in spandex showing you I can jump high. It doesn’t really do it for me.”
Heyward certainly brings up a good point, though it would be incredibly hard to get top players in each draft class to wan to participate in practices and a game-like scrimmage just a few months away from a life-changing event like the NFL Draft.
The NFL already has the Senior Bowl, East-West Shrine Bowl, Hula Bowl, and more when it comes to practices, games and more where evaluators get an up close and personal look at prospects while trying to determine if they’re fits for their franchise or not. Adding another one in place of the Combine doesn’t seem like the best idea overall, but again, the Underwear Olympics that is the NFL Scouting Combine isn’t really the best thing for evaluating talent either.
In large part, the Combine is an NFL Network ratings driver, which is why it’s so heavily pushed by the league. They make a ton of money off of the Combine and see a ton of views roll through each and every season. In the end though, determining which prospect to pick based on a 15-minute interview after a long day, or how quick they run in a straight line or jump from a stand still.
While the Combine might overrated and largely pointless, in terms of on-field exercises, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon, much to Heyward’s dismay.