The NFL combine isn’t entirely about how you perform. It’s also about how you measure up. Drew Brees actually put up decent rushing numbers in college — 521 rushing yards and five touchdowns his final year at Purdue. He was no slouch when it came to his athleticism, but his height and strength were massive question marks heading into the 2001 Draft.
Brees drew several criticisms for being undersized. At just a smidge under 6 feet, Brees drew skepticism from analysts who believed he wouldn’t be able to see over the offensive line. Coupled with his underwhelming arm strength, and it’s a wonder that Brees was drafted as early as he was (32nd overall). Looking back now though, I’m sure every team would change their pick in a heartbeat for an opportunity to have Brees suit up for them. — JH
Anquan Boldin, 2003
Despite incredible numbers at Florida State, Boldin slid drastically down NFL draft boards after posting a 4.7 40-yard dash, the slowest among receivers at the 2003 combine. Now, judging someone based solely on their 40 time is never a wise strategy, but Boldin only furthered his poor combine by finishing with similarly slow times in the three-cone drill and shuttle.
Drafted 54th overall by the Arizona Cardinals, Boldin went on to have one of the best rookie seasons of all time. He won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens, participated in another with the Arizona Cardinals and was all in all one of the most consistent receivers of the 2000’s and early 2010’s. Boldin never relied on his speed to create separation. If only scouts could’ve seen that at the combine. — JH
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