Gold Jacket is in Indianapolis covering the 2017 Combine for ESPN. Polian has attended over three decades of combines including the first combine that was held in Tempe Arizona in 1985 .
“Defense is the strength of this year’s combine, good pass rushers that should go number one and two in the draft (Myles Garrett and Jonathan Allen) and two or three safeties should be first rounders,” said Polian who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015.
Regarding this year’s quarterbacks, Polian is most interested in evaluating them.
“The top three quarterbacks DeShone Kizer, Mitch Trubisky and Deshaun Watson either don’t have that much playing time or their are questions about them as first rounders."
Recently there have been several studies disputing the predictability of reaching the NFL based on the combine tests, but Polian disputes that as false.
"I am in the process of digging up the most current data, but five years ago regression analysis was done on the tests. For us at the Colts, the 40 yard dash is a 90% predictor of success in the NFL and the triangle, long jump and vertical jump are are the same.”
Polian also pointed out that the original combine was created so that all the team doctors could evaluate prospects at the same time and even today 2-3 players who come to the combine without a previous history record of injury are found to have major past injuries that take them off the board.
The NFL has barred former Oklahoma University running back Joe Mixon from attending the draft from his 2014 conviction and Polian disagrees with the decision.
“Prohibiting the player from not coming to the combine penalizes the club and not the players. There are better ways to impose the standard of character, notify clubs that if Mixon is their draft pick it will come with consequences like game or practice suspensions, in the same way if a player violates the drug policy.”
This year the NFL is opening up the combine to fans. There will be an NFL Experience on site that has already sold 30,000 tickets and the actual bench strength test will take place for fans to see as part of the Experience. Polian, ESPN and all other media will be broadcasting from this site as well.
There will be many Gold Jackets at the combine that are current NFL Coaches, Player Personnel and Broadcasters. Here's the list:
- Terrell Davis
- John Elway
- Marshall Faulk
- Michael Irvin
- Coach Kevin Greene
- Coach Dick LeBeau
- Dan Marino
- Coach Mike Munchak
- Ozzie Newsome
- LaDamian Tomlinson
- Kurt Warner
Baltimore Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome will be meeting with Polian later today.
“Ozzie is one of the best in the business because he knows what talent is and how talent can fit into a team’s larger mosaic. If a player might not have all the physical measurements, Ozzie sees the players other strengths the can compliment the overall team” said Polian, who himself was master of that skill as General Manager for the Bills and Colts.
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