2018 Football Draft Kit: NFL Combine Analysis
2018 Football Draft Kit: NFL Combine Analysis

This article is part of our Football Draft Kit series.

We've all heard the criticisms: "You can't measure heart."; "Football is played in pads."; "Remember Tony Mandarich?". There's a long list of cliches, and an even longer list of workout warriors who never became decent professional players. Detractors of the NFL Scouting Combine will always have plenty of ammo, but that doesn't mean the event is entirely worthless when it comes to predicting NFL success.

We'll take any edge we can find for our fantasy football teams, particularly at the increasingly tricky wideout position, where new emerging stars have been few and far between since the unprecedented instant success of the 2014 draft class. Fortunately, there is some correlation between a few of the Combine measurements and eventual NFL success for wide receivers.

Baseline For Combine Values

Combine participants are measured in the following traits: height, weight, arm length, hand length, 40-yard dash, 225-pound bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle and 60-yard shuttle. The last of those drills, the long shuttle, is the redheaded stepchild of the bunch. Nobody quite understands its relevance, and most players simply choose not to participate. The bench press is one of the more well-known events, but it's proven to have minimal correlation with NFL success or draft status, even for players at strength-dependent positions along the interior line. Lower-body strength, which correlates with the vertical and broad jumps, is far more relevant for the movements associated with playing football, particularly at the skill positions.

For our purposes, we'll narrow the

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff Zimmerman
Zimmerman writes analytics-focused baseball and football articles for RotoWire. He is a three-time FSWA award winner, including the Football Writer of the Year and Best Football Print Article awards in 2016. The 2017 Tout Wars Mixed Auction champion and 2016 Tout Wars Head-to-Head champ, Zimmerman also contributes to FanGraphs.com, BaseballHQ and Baseball America.
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