The mission of this article is to make our in-house experts sizzle and bristle over the hot-button issues that face dynasty owners. Our experts make the entire route tree HOT as they address topics from the world of IDP, Devy, Start/Sit, Standard Scoring (Non-PPR), PPR, and everything in between. Try not to get burned by all the fiery YAC below! This is Dynasty Hot Routes!
What do you look for while watching the NFL Scouting Combine?
Joshua Johnson – It is a fun time for me to gain reassurance on some athletes that I like. I absolutely love watching DBs run the 40-yard dash. I also trust the opinions of Bucky Brooks, Charles Davis, Daniel Jeremiah, and Mike Mayock. While others criticize/envy these big-name analysts, I simply listen and learn. Their years of experience are being put on display for our benefit, so seriously, shut up and listen.
John Orr – It’s officially fantasy season prep time once we start looking at the Combine. With my passion being IDP, I am looking mostly on that side of the ball. For the most part, I am confirming the drills match what I have seen on the tape. If a “code red” happens, being something that really jumps out in a bad light, I would go back and reevaluate the player. For instance, if a pass rusher I liked ended up running a 4.7 or higher in the 20-yard shuttle I would need to take another long look at him on tape. Where was the quickness I thought I saw? That’s the quick answers on the combine for me. Players can test well and catch fire heading into the NFL draft at the combine. Like Haason Reddick last year.
Travis Rasmussen – I essentially fall right in line with John Orr’s thinking on this one. Mainly, what I’m looking for during the combine is just for players to check the boxes that I already think they should check. For example, if I think a player is fast on film, I just want him to confirm that he’s the 4.4-4.5 speed guy that I think he is. The specific numbers don’t weigh in too much for me if they’re in the range of where I think they should be as well as the range of historical player success. Basically, I’m only worried about outliers and/or surprises in the athletic measurements.
Pete Lawrence – I’m not going to keep repeating the same things here. I would like to see everything synchronize with what a player shows on film. Also, for players to take this seriously and really show up for it and excel. This is one of the big first tests, so I want to see guys knock it out of the park.
What would you change, add, or delete from the NFL Scouting Combine?
Joshua Johnson – Do we really need to know what offensive lineman will run for a 40-time? I would also like to see more weightlifting events besides just the bench press, maybe at least a deadlift. This would tell us more about both offensive and defensive linemen’s lower bodies than a 40-time would. I also realize it would be ridiculous to have an open invite, but there must be a way to get players involved. Maybe they could strictly do regional or conference-based combines, so no deserving player is left out. Also, who knows, maybe someone way off the radar impresses at a regional or conference combine and their NFL dream becomes a reality.
John Orr – I’m not sure I would change much. Perhaps a larger player pool would get invited if I had one wish.
Travis Rasmussen – Why has the NFL not figured out how to have an entirely electronically-timed 40-yard dash? They are still relying on stopwatches to “start” the 40-time measurements. The technology exists, guys. Starting the timer with a laser and ending the timer with a laser would essentially remove all human error from the drill and provide the most accurate, consistent measurement possible.
Pete Lawrence – I would like to see more players get invited. Maybe see if networks can interview more players to take viewers behind-the-scenes and get to know more about the players. Oh, and Travis is spot-on about the timing issues with the 40 Yard Dash.
What is your favorite NFL Scouting Combine event?
Joshua Johnson – I love the WR Gauntlet drill. It shows suddenness and body torque. It also highlights patience and poise under pressure. However, my jam is the 3-Cone AKA “the great equalizer” for all players. The 3-cone numbers always get my full credence. The 3-Cone lets us know about a player’s reaction time, how they will excel in short areas as well as in- and out of- breaks. No matter the position, a sub-7 second 3-Cone time gets me amped. However, it is not the end-all, be-all. Other testing scores must be in the average of a particular position. The top three times last year were by Kevin King (6.56), Taywan Taylor and Christian McCaffrey (both 6.57). All three players also ran a 4.5 40-time or better. In 2016 Devon Cajuste (Who? Exactly!) ran a 6.49 3-Cone but his 40-time was 4.62! In 2011, Oregon WR Jeff Maehl shocked the combine by dropping a 6.42 3-cone but his 4.56 40-time and 33.5-inch vertical jump combined with his nine NFL receptions in four seasons tell the whole tale. In 2017, guys like Derek Barnett (6.96), Solomon Thomas (6.95), T.J. Watt (6.79), and Desmond King (6.67) flashed and in turn helped their draft status. I am mostly impressed when DLs, and RBs finish in under 7 seconds. Conversely, if WRs and DBs don’t finish inside 7 seconds it gives me pause. Derek Rivers (6.94) Thomas and Barnett (Myles Garrett did not compete) were the only DL to hit my mark in 2017. McCaffrey, Aaron Jones (6.82) and Dare Ogunbowale (6.99) were the only RBs. I am not saying I only draft players who run a sub-7 second 3-Cone but you can bet your tail feathers I will use it as a deciding factor.
John Orr – There are two events I always pay attention to. The 20-yard shuttle for me is critical to confirm players reaction speed, and how well they can control their movements. The 3-cone drill is also very high on my list when looking at edge rushers. Do they explode, and can they bend like you believed?
Travis Rasmussen – I personally love the gauntlet drills. It is the first/best chance we get to see many of these players catch the football repeatedly. Specifically, it can be absolutely eye-opening for the running back position. The gauntlet provides an opportunity for us to see some of these RBs that did not get the chance to show their pass-catching chops at the college level. We get to see whether they are natural and fluid pass catchers or whether they’re fighting the ball the entire time. Recent history has taught us that pass-catching ability at the RB position is crucial to long-term success in today’s NFL.
Pete Lawrence – Personally, I love the 40-Yard Dash, Vertical Jump, and Broad Jump. For me, those are just really cool to watch. When looking at specific players and positions, I key in on the 20-Yard Shuttle and 3-Cone Drill like John.