There’s a lot on the line for the players participating and their personal brand can either be enhanced or take a hit based on what happens.
Here are four ways potential NFL players’ brands can be impacted by the Combine:
Acing or flunking the Wonderlic. This classic IQ test has been used at the Combine for four decades and leaked scores – both good and bad – often grab headlines in the lead-up to the draft. Players can be branded as smart or dumb, capable or ignorant based on a 12-minute test. Of course this isn’t the be-all, end-all of a person’s intellect or their ability at the next level, but it goes a long way to shaping perception.
It’s all about the #gainz, bro. The athletes who set records in the 40 or bench press and gymrats who make massive progress from college to the Combine get our attention. Eye-popping results can bump a guy’s name up a team’s list or force the public to acknowledge his physical freakness. A big result here can leave fans and teams with an impression that one player is a hard worker or has natural talent.
Not throwing. Many QBs will throw at the Combine, others won’t. The participation, or lack thereof, always results in a story. Putting on a bad display can hurt a prospect, the upside of putting on a display is limited. However, not throwing can leave a few questions unanswered.
The interviews. Team execs ask lots of questions while evaluating which athletes to select and offer multi-million dollar contracts to. Some of them are insightful, thought-provoking queries, others are, uh, not. To the teams that ask them, however, they’re all important. It’s tough to prep for some of the off-the-wall questions that get asked, but answering them in a savvy way will help build a brand for you based on adaptability and smarts.
More than likely the Combine isn’t going to make or break a player’s brand, but there are plenty of small things that can add up over the course of this week that could have an impact.