PHOENIX — NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith wants to get rid of the NFL scouting combine, he said Wednesday during the players association’s annual Super Bowl news conference.
Smith shared his desire to abolish the combine and instead establish regional pro days, potentially put on by the NFLPA. The response came after he was asked about NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent comparing the combine to a “slave auction” during league meetings in December.
“Think about it … the NCAA and the NFL structure a combine during what should be every football player’s what? Last semester in college,” Smith said. “Who decided that it was a good idea to take your son and have him exclusively try out for the NFL’s exclusive way of getting into the league — for the most part, unless you’re a free-agent player? You have to be invited to the combine.
“As soon as you show up, you have to waive all of your medical rights and you not only have to sit there and endure embarrassing questions. And I think that’s horrible, and I don’t wanna pooh pooh any of that, but would you want your son to spend hours inside an MRI [machine] and then be evaluated by 32 separate team doctors who are, by the way, are only doing it for one reason? What’s the reason? To decrease your draft value.”
Smith was staunch in his support of prospects not needing to surrender their medical rights as part of the combine process.
“It’s gotta start with players and their agents understanding that the combine today has nothing to do with how fast you run, how high you jump, and how much you can lift,” Smith said.
Smith said the NFL doesn’t need a combine to evaluate the physical traits of a prospect.
“We’ve been tracking all of these players since they were in what? Grade school,” Smith said. “If I asked you right now to pull up a high school video of the top draft picks, how long would it take you to do it?”
A response of “30 seconds” was shouted.
“Right. So, we’re now in an era where we know exactly how fast these guys can run, how much they can lift, how far they can jump, do all of those things. Why do we insist on them showing up in Indianapolis? It’s not for anything physical, right? It’s for the teams to be able to engage in intrusive employment actions that don’t exist anywhere else.”