The 2011 NFL Combine kicks off today in Indianapolis, so we get to put aside stories about labor strife and lockouts and actually focus on football for a whole weekend. We've got guys from SB Nation and Bleeding Green Nation on the ground in Indy this week so we'll have lots of news about all the goings on as the weekend progresses.
First, let's take a look at the QBs. ESPN's Todd McShay is reporting that only two QBs will refuse to throw at the combine, Missouri's Blaine Gabbert and Florida State's Christian Ponder. Other top QB prospects like Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Ryan Mallet & Colin Kaepernick will all throw. It is always a tricky decision for a QB to throw at the combine given the completely uncontrollable environment. They work with WRs they aren't used to, in an unfamiliar environment, throwing patterns that the coaches there tell them to. Often times QBs will skip throwing at the combine and instead look to show off their arms at their pro day where they work with their own WRs, on their field and set their own agenda.
For a guy like Gabbert, who has rocketed up draft boards since the end of the college season, it may well be that he can only lose by throwing at a combine. For a guy that seemingly only started to get mentioned as the possible top QB in the class after the college season ended, a poor performance at the combine could hurt his momentum.
Still, it doesn't say much about a guy's self confidence and competitive spirit if he elects to skip workouts for fear he might not do well... That said, skipping workouts at the combine hasn't seem to affect a guys draft stock that much. It certainly doesn't affect it as much as a poor performance at the combine would...