For the Housto9n Texans and ever other NFL team, the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine has come and gone. What have we really learned about the college players who hope to be playing professional football come September?
For the casual fan, the combine is often-times viewed as little more than a chance for a select number of top college players to wear some snazzy workout gear while performing feats called the three-cone drill and the 20-yard shuttle run.
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The 32 NFL teams who are trying to decide who is worthy of a spot on their draft board might offer a different opinion. I emphasize the word “might” because the weight of the importance of athletes’ performance at the combine as it translates to playing professional football has been, and will probably continue to be, argued since its inception in 1982.
That being said, there were a few standouts from the combine that might make it onto the Houston Texans draft radar.
With Texans’ cornerback Kareem Jackson hitting free agency, it is certainly in the realm of possibility that the Texans will could be thinking about picking up some depth in the secondary. Trae Waynes of Michigan State has been a fixture at the top of several prognosticators draft boards.
He did nothing to change that opinion at the combine by posting 4.31 in the 40-yard dash, which is widely regarded as the premiere event of the combine. Waynes has been described as a physical corner who doesn’t shy away from contact and could conceivably be a good fit for the Texans.
Should Houston be looking to improve their offensive line, Ali Marpet might be worth consideration. Granted, Marpet comes from Division II Hobart, but he carried over an impressive Senior Bowl performance by posting the best 40-yard time of the participating offensive linemen with a 4.98 in Indianapolis.
The Texans could be inclined to add a rookie wide receiver to learn from veteran Andrew Johnson and DeAndrew Hopkins. If that is the case, West Virginia’s Kevin White’s 4.35 time in the 40-yard dash certainly kept him entrenched as one of the top wideout choices that will be available for the draft.
Of course, the combine did little to help out the Texans with their biggest off-season dilemma, which is that of who will be the signal-caller when the 2015 season kicks off. Word coming out of Houston is that a competition between the quarterbacks on the roster will likely decide the starting quarterback.
With the slim pickings in the free agent market and the unlikely scenario that the Texans could trade up enough spots to land Jameis Winston of Florida State or Marcus Mariota of Oregon that strategy is the logical option at this juncture.
As for the scouting combine, it definitely serves the purpose of getting a group of the best college players together at the same time for comparisons and interviews. It is also a way to measure an athlete’s dedication to physical fitness. On the flip side, to an outside observer, it would seem that watching film of a player’s game performance with their team is a better indicator of on-the-field potential than the combine’s week-long round of individual tests.