Another NFL Combine Is in the Books. What Did It All Mean? A Look at the ‘Risers/Fallers’ Myth

The NFL scouting combine represents a fascinating collision of diverging interests.

There are the fans watching on TV, thirsting for information about players they might be seeing or hearing about for the first time. They’re watching highlights, bench press numbers and 40 times and believe that there is a strong correlation between what is happening right now in front of them (the NFL, and their massive televised operation do nothing to dissuade them from this) and what will happen on draft day.

There are the reporters, serving the fans that believe player stock vacillates like the biotech market (I try and catch myself whenever talking about “stock,” though it slips into the cringe-worthy lexicon more than I’d like). They’re caught with one foot on either side—smart enough to know that teams use the combine more for validation and reaffirmation than to scramble the board, but also clairvoyant enough to predict that no one would read a story with the headline: “Nothing Actually Happening at Combine; Check In Next Year!”

There are the scouts, scouting directors and personnel executives, fine-tuning their boards like ship-in-a-bottle hobbyists. Most of the thing has been put together already; now it’s time to simply glue on the tiny bowsprit.

It’s not sexy, but it’s true: Incredible circumstances aside, the notion that there are risers and fallers at the combine is

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