Every year, hope springs eternal at the NFL Draft, as fans imagine better days ahead after drafting a soon-to-be superstar in the NFL Draft. However, despite the months (years?) of in-depth analysis (which seems to justify the employment of more and more “experts” on ESPN), how can you be sure that your pick will excel rather than flop? Is Georgia’s Matt Stafford the answer or a mistake?
According to a recent study, relying too heavily on the NFL combines is a recipe for disaster.
Frank Kuzmits and Arthur Adams, professors at the University of Louisville, evaluated more than 300 quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers drafted over six seasons from 1999-2004…These three skill positions were chosen as they have distinct performance statistics that can be tracked…No significant link was found between combine performance and NFL success, except between 40-yard dash times and running backs. Interestingly, even the Wonderlic aptitude test did not predict NFL achievement, even though a skill position like quarterback requires a decent amount of cognitive talent…This research showed that good or bad performance in the combine is not related to good or bad performance on the field.
However, the researchers did cite other studies which showed two traits to be related to future success:
Kuzmits and Adams cite other studies that show a player’s level of self-confidence and anxiety management to be strong clues to their future accomplishments.
Rather than concentrate on physical tests like the vertical jump or shuttle runs, basketball players should focus on developing their self-confidence and anxiety management skills. This is not to say that physical skills or characteristics are unimportant: instead, at any level, especially as one moves to higher and higher levels, the physical characteristics balance out and mental skills often separate the most successful players from their peers.