The Combines are Here

The Combines are here! The Combines are here! I feel like Paul Revere when he rode through the streets of New England, screaming about the redcoats. This is that time of year where kids vying to be professional football players make or breaks their careers.

This is not another article on the players or the scouts, this is not an article on 40 times or on Reps on the bench, this is an article for the Charger Fans and how these combines give us hope to the future. The Combines give us a chance to see who might fall to who and us we have no chance of getting.

The Chargers have the 15th pick in the draft and experts have us picking anyone from a DT like Dewayne Robinson to an OT like John Stinchcomb to a DB like Marcus Trufant, Me personally I have my picks which will be coming in another article. I really believe the Chargers need to go defense.

The combines have hurt the standings of many players in the NFL. The best Defensive lineman in the NFL Warren Sapp, dropped at the combines, potential first round picks have lost their positions in the draft just by not showing up at the Combines or doing poorly. Other Players lost their positions because other players outplayed them at the combines. Toniu Fonoti and Drew Brees were both touted as first rounders, but both dropped into the Second round.

The Combines can also help the position of a player, LaDainian Tomlinson was not even touted as a Top 10 pick, but he helped his cause at the combines and became the number 5 player taken by the Chargers and we all know what a blessing he has been to this team that needed a running back with talent, same goes for Fonoti and Brees, both of whom have contributed mightily to this team.

You also have players that not only did not go to the combines, nor were they drafted that have made impacts like Jason Ball and Eric Parker. Josh Norman went to the combines and still was not drafted, and is probably one of the best pickups the Chargers made. He is going to be one of the best by the time his career is done, he had an up and down season last year, but after one season under his belt I look for him to supplant Alexander by the 2004 season as the starter. Ball will be battling Cory Raymer for the starting Center position and Parker, with a good off-season, can take over the #2 receiver spot.

As a Charger fan I look to the combines to tell me what to expect from a player, if Bethard would have listened to people at the Combines we never would of went through The Ryan Leaf fiasco, but I don't think we will have that problem with John Butler. He is a very good judge of talent and knows what he is looking for, I personally look for Marcus Trufant to be the next Charger, and hopefully we will be able to get him signed without a problem. Of course there is a big difference in the kind of Money you pay a #5 prospect then what you pay a #15. The one good thing about it is that Butler is also going to be able to see whom he wants in the later rounds also.

You have to love the Combines for players from schools like San Diego State, both Kassim Osgood and JR. Tolver have a chance to shine this week and show what they can do, and have a great chance of moving themselves up the board since a lot of highly touted underclassmen did not come out this year. Akbar Gbaja-Biamilla is not at the combines but can improve his stock at San Diego States pro day March 11th.

There will also be a few players who had hurt themselves earlier that can move back up in the draft Like Vince Manuwai who had a terrible showing in the Senior Bowl but has been impressive so far at the combines.

As a Charger Fan I love the Combines, it lets me know the draft is coming, I look forward to seeing what the Magic Man (John Butler) comes up with, one thing you can say about the man is he has an eye for talent and knows how to pick players just look back at the Chargers last 2 drafts to see that. I love this time of the year! Talent will rise and fall, speed will amaze and strength will overcome and sleepers will sneak up the draft, Just like Paul Revere I ride my white horse screaming across websites of America "The Combines are here, The Combines are here."

Tom Criswell (aka Boltaholic) can be reached at: or via the following link: Tom Criswell

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