Around the NFL teams are conducting 3 day workouts. The “practices” are all non-contact of course, but coaches and staff alike will tell you that holding such sessions prior to the draft can help them decide which way to go. I say…Hogwash. These 3 day workouts mean nothing, when it comes to the draft.
Lets take Bill Parcells and the Miami Dolphins for a moment, and then take a look at another team holding a 3 day class, the Atlanta Falcons. Parcells is prowling the halls watching with his evil eye, the progress of the strength and conditioning program. Do you think that if someone is slacking off, that he will immediately run up to the draft war room and highlight a player at that position? Of course not. In fact, he is not likely to give the draft any thought until he approaches the player and says something like, “If you don’t get, I will draft someone who will and you can go play somewhere else!”.
Over in Atlanta, the Falcons new HC, Mike Smith, will get his first view of the quarterbacks on the field. An important 3 days for a new HC. However, do you think that if Chris Redman has a poor showing that the Falcons are going to be even more inclined to change their draft strategy plans to get another one? What if Redman performs brilliantly, say he doesn’t have any incomplete passes, will that deter Smith from drafting a QB in round 1 or round 2 if that is their plans? No, not with this time frame prior to the draft.
See the media guys will harp on how well and how poorly a player performs in these drills and how it will impact the draft strategies of every team that is holding them. The problem is that these drills don’t show much. Mainly because they are non-contact drills and the situations are completely different. For head coaches, the decisions they make on who needs to be replaced or challenged has been ongoing for over two months. The real scrutiny came prior to the free agent market. Not 11 days before the draft.
Back in Miami, John Beck has been applauded by the staff for his workout ethics and attitude toward becoming a better QB. So much so that the Phins are likely to wait until round 2 or 3 to draft a QB. A smart move regardless of what Beck has been doing. The Phins are a very shallow QB team right now.
Still, the progress of Beck is not something that coaches have seen in a 3 day camp but a pulled consensus of what they have seen since they arrived, game tape, practice habits, all of it. So what is the real truth behind the 3 day minis prior to the draft?
Well, the simple truth of it is because they can. Hold them that is. It gets players into the facilities to train. It allows coaches to see the commitment of their players to themselves, how they have approached the off-season. Are they fat, do they need to trim down, put weight on. Then, if a player, as mentioned above, seems to not care, threaten their job with a rookie draft pick.
Truth be told, no head coach or GM is going to walk off the practice field, go into his draft war room and write down a name on the board because of how someone performed during that little camp. They are not going to take anyone off their boards either. When it comes to the draft, when it comes to being prepared, teams have had it down for a week or two already. The only thing left is mock draft after mock draft after mock draft. And when that is done, you do it again. You do it until you can be prepared for the unexpected. That doesn’t happen on the practice field.