Titans' Prospects to Watch at the Combine

By MIKE HERNDON, columnist

The NFL Combine’s roots trace back to 1982, when team owners recognized an opportunity to collect top talent in a centralized location to gather medical information and organized the National Invitational Camp (NIC). Today’s combine has – like almost everything the league does during the offseason – turned into a made-for-TV event featuring the drills and events we all recognized today over the past 20 years.

Nov 24, 2023; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks wide receiver Troy Franklin (11) breaks away from Oregon State Beavers defensive back Ryan Cooper Jr. (1) for a touchdown reception during the first half at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Oregon receiver Troy Franklin/ © Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The core of the combine remains the medical evaluations, but those don’t attract nearly the attention that the rest of the events do for obvious reasons. Reactions to combine test results range from those who completely dismiss the “underwear Olympics” to those who obsess over tenths and hundredths of seconds as differentiators between the next star and the next stooge.

The reality is that combine results – and athletic testing in general – carry far more weight for some positions than others and not all drills are of equal importance across the board. If an edge rusher turns in a horrible combine, that should be a major red flag for their potential to become a top-of-the-line sack artist at the NFL level, regardless of his college production. However, history says that poor athletic testing is less likely to be a disqualifier for inside linebackers or interior offensive linemen.

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