USATodaySports/Rebilas

Will Dahl's on-field combine results matter?

JOE DAHL on Friday will compete in a variety of drills alongside offensive line prospects at the NFL combine. But will the numbers coming out of those sessions matter to the NFL?

They certainly do to fans and media. The 40 times, bench reps, cone drills, etc. are what fans and the NFL Network focus in on with laser-like intensity.

But from the NY Times to Sporting News to Bill Belichick and beyond this week, a different story has emerged. The true value unearthed at the combine is said to be located elsewhere than on the field.

A growing chorus says the most important part of the combine for Dahl is taking place now, far away from the TV cameras, in the face-to-face meetings and interviews with NFL teams.

The medical evaluations and precise measurements and weights on prospects are also key in NFL teams deciding where they will draft a prospect.

Fans and media love the numbers and times. And they are still a tool that can help confirm or raise questions about what coaches and scouts see in game tape. But the drills aren’t held in the same regard by NFL teams as they once were.

Indeed, the NFL and its partners are considering a complete revamping of the combine events.  The reasoning is straight forward: if an NFL hopeful spends a couple months working non-stop to shave a few fractions of a second off his 40 time, does that really translate to football speed, or even football itself?

Dahl may perform admirably in the events on Friday. Or he may not.  Either way, it will make news. Just not apparently to the NFL.

NOTABLE NOTES:
--Dahl is Mel Kiper’s No. 8 offensive guard prospect in the draft, possibly going in the third or fourth round. Rob Rang pegs Dahl as the No. 12 offensive guard prospect in the draft and projects him as a Round 6 selection.

--ESPN rates Dahl below average in two of the four categories in its “football traits” analysis: height/weight/speed and durability.  Dahl is rated above average by ESPN in the production category, and garners an exceptional grade when it comes to intangibles.


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