Where do 300 men gather to be poked, prodded, timed and tested, all while wearing spandex? Indianapolis — that's where.

But what does it really mean? Do fast 40-yard dash times, jaw-dropping broad jumps and skyscraping vertical leaps make a player exceptional? Not quite.

The 2015 NFL Scouting Combine wrapped up this week and the hype is building around certain prospects. This is nothing new as the NFL's made-for-television event comes with the same awe as some Olympic events.

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The draw of the NFL Combine is simple. It's easy to relate to. Who is the fastest? Who can jump the highest? Those questions stem from our days on the elementary school playground, and get answered annually by 300 of the nation's most elite college athletes.

But it doesn't mean everything, and quite frankly, it might not mean anything.

In 2008, Vernon Gholston attended the NFL Combine and proved to be a rare athlete. Thirty-seven reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, a 4.67 40-yard dash and a 35.5-inch vertical leap later, Gholston was cemented atop the draft. A few months later he was selected No. 6 overall by the New York Jets. Now, Gholston is looking for a second chance in the league, after amassing zero sacks in his brief career.

On Saturday, it was Georgia's Chris Conley who blew the doors off the stadium. The wide receiver ran a 4.35 40-yard dash, tied the NFL record with a 45-inch vertical leap and also had a ridiculous record-setting 11-foot-7 broad jump. However, Conley wasn't a member of an All-Conference team, and had limited production.

UCF's Rannell Hall might get knocked for having small hands — 9 inches is considered the benchmark, and Hall's measured at 8 5/8 — or for not running a blazing 40-yard dash. But does that take away from his four years of work at UCF? Does that take away from his ability to block, run routes and be a force on special teams? Does it take away from the ability that has been praised at the Reese's Senior Bowl and the film study of his career?

It shouldn't.

The NFL Combine should be used as a study guide for the test that is the NFL Draft. However, the NFL Combine is not the answer key.


Ryan Gillespie is the Editor-in-Chief at the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at @rgillespiecffor email him at

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