The NFL just needs to chill on its combine overemphasis. The NFL's annual underwear Olympics should play a factor in player evaluation, but it's beginning to border on obsession. As if a 40 yard dash in open space, 3-cone drill and a broad jump weren't enough to simulate game action and predict professional success, the NFL has developed another scheme in their quest to test the immeasurable.
From The NY Times:
So the players at this week’s combine are facing a new segment in their extended job interviews: an hourlong psychological assessment designed to determine and quantify the nebulous qualities that coaches have long believed make the most successful players — motivation, competitiveness, passion and mental toughness — and to divine how each player learns best. The new test, like the Wonderlic, is mandatory for the more than 300 players who attend, and it will be given for the first time Friday.
While many coaches and general managers consider the Wonderlic particularly useful in evaluating quarterbacks and offensive linemen, positions that are believed to demand the greatest intellect because of the need to decipher complex defenses, the hope is that the new test, called the Player Assessment Tool, will give teams clearer insight into a broader range of players.
It's amazing that coaches still haven't learned that gauging a player's ability to perform under pressure inside of a classroom is a pointless exercise. As a result of the NFL adding another test more surefire prospects are going to get passed on because of low test scores.
The NFL combine's current physical tests are inconsistent barometers and the 12-minute Wonderlic has value, but it’s limited to quarterbacks (see: AJ Green). It's difficult to buy into a psychological evaluation that will attempt to categorize intangible clutch ability into a percentage score. If anything, the NFL combine’s new hour long exam should be an attention span evaluator. Besides, this is a misdirected resource. Where are the mental aptitude tests for NFL coaches and management? You know, the men whose mental capabilities actually play a major role in their success or failure in situational playcalling or pre-game scheming. Something tells me Jason Garrett wouldn't be wearing the Cowboys headset if Jerry Jones had been given a chance to glance at his clock management scores.