Say No To 2021 Pro Days
This offseason, in preparation for the 2021 NFL Draft, prospects across the country are participating in their own individual pro days rather than attending the NFL Scouting Combine. Teams are sending representatives to all corners of the nation, trying to figure out whether or not their favorite prospects will pan out, and while this system has allowed prospects that may have gotten lost in the shuffle at the combine to shine, the overall experience has been nothing short of disappointing.
This year's draft class is one of the deepest at the quarterback position in recent memory, and with that has come what now might be the bane of my existence. This. Damn. Throw.
This, incredibly niche throw, is something that gets passed around Twitter like it's the deciding factor in whether or not a quarterback will be successful in the league, and I'm sick of seeing it. Why is it that every single quarterback coming into the league is expected to be able to sling it like Patrick Mahomes?
Rolling out and throwing across the field and your body while being completely off balance is simply not something that every quarterback is required to do and it does not need to be the criteria by which we compare them.
I am in no way saying that each of these throws are not wildly impressive because they absolutely are, but when this is what quarterbacks are judged on, opinions and knowledge on these prospects are extremely shallow and surface level. In other words, perfect for Twitter.
Another problem that has become prevalent throughout this pro day process, is the just stupid amount of wildly fast 40-yard dash times. If these numbers were official, this would likely be the fastest draft class of all time. With now 14 players having recorded sub-4.40 40s and probably more to come with a month remaining until the draft, the validity of some of them has to be called into question.
All of these players are being hand-timed, which means these times are inherently inaccurate. Typically, when hand timing a 40-yard dash, anywhere from .12-.19 seconds is added to the total in order to account for human error. Of all of these times being recorded and published, while they technically have the "unofficial" label next to them, who will actually remember it was unofficial? From Micah Parsons running an alleged 4.39 at 6-foot-3 245 pounds to LSU having two wide receivers run 4.38's, at some point this madness has to stop.
This year's class already has more players running faster than 4.4 than the previous two drafts did overall, and there are fifteen pro days remaining. While not every one of these will necessarily produce speed demons like some of the schools we have seen so far, it would be naïve to say that we won't be seeing even more sub-4.4 40 times.
In all, this years format of pro days over the combine has allowed Twitter to take everything and run with it regardless of what actually happened. From the ridiculously niche, and just pointless, downfield throw, to the fake 40 times that draft fans refuse to acknowledge are inaccurate, overhyping prospects has gone to an entirely new level this year.
Just give us back the combine and let's finally get back to normal.