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The NFL Combine really doesn't mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things

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While it's easily one of the more hyped events of the offseason, the combine doesn't mean much in the long run.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Combine is one of the most hyped-up events of the offseason. After all, it's the closest thing we get to football in the aftermath of the Super Bowl. Each year, hundreds of the best college athletes descend on Indianapolis for a week to showcase their physical skills and intangible in a series of challenges. Performing in front of all 32 NFL teams for a chance to increase their draft stock with a solid showing, a lot is undoubtedly at stake for the players. But while the analysts and scouts seem to make it out to be a big deal with around-the-clock coverage, the event might just be nothing more than a dog and pony show in the long run.

For starters, look at a list of all the former combine warriors. The prospects who have shattered combine records. It's a who's who of NFL nobodies. Kudos to topendsports for compiling the data.

40-yard dash

year best name notes
1995 4.58 Mike Mamula Boston College linebacker
1999 4.24 Rondel Melendez (WR), Eastern Kentucky
2000 4.32 Antwan Harris (CB), Virginia
2001 4.31 Santana Moss (WR), Miami
2002 4.31 Aaron Lockett (WR), Kansas State
2003 4.32 Kevin Garrett (CB), Southern Methodist
2004 4.33 Carlos Francis (WR), Texas Tech
2005 4.27 Stanford Routt
2006 4.30 T. Hill (CB), Clemson
2007 4.30 Yamon Figurs (WR), Kansas State. Another source has his time as 4.35, also the best of the year.
2008 4.24 Johnson, Chris
2009 4.30 Darrius Heyward-Bey
2010 4.28 Jacoby Ford
2011 4.28 D. Van Dyke
2012 4.33 Josh Robinson
2013 4.24 Marquise Goodwin
2014 4.26 Dri Archer RB (Kent State)
2015 4.28 Nelson, J.J. UAB WO

Bench Press

year best name notes
1995 37 Brenden Stai
1999 51 Justin Ernest (DT), Eastern Kentucky
2000 45 Leif Larsen (DT), Texas-El Paso
2001 37 Roberto Garza (C), Texas AM-Kingsville
2002 36 Scott Peters (C), Arizona State
2003 38 Tony Pashos (OT), Illinois
2004 42 Isaac Sopoaga (DT), Hawaii
2005 43 Scott Young (OG), BYU
2006 45 Mike Kudla (DE), Ohio State
2007 42 Tank Tyler (DT), North Carolina State
2008 37 Gholston, Vernon
37 Long, Jake
2009 39 Vasquez, Louis
2010 45 Mitch Petrus
2011 49 S. Paea
2012 44 Dontari Poe Memphis
2013 38 Margus Hunt (DE) SMU
38 Brandon Williams (DT) Missouri Southern St.
2014 42 Bodine, Russell North Carolina
2015 37 Flowers, Ereck OL

Vertical Jump

year best (inches) name notes
1999 43.5 Jay Hinton (RB), Morgan State
2000 41.5 Curtis Keaton
2001 45.0 Chris Chambers (WR), Wisconsin
2002 42.0 William Green (RB), Boston College
2003 42.5 Nate Burleson (WR), Nevada
2004 41.5 Bob Sanders
2005 46.0 Gerald Sensabaugh (FS), North Carolina
2006 42.5 R. McIntosh (LB), Miami
2007 41.5 Quincy Black
2008 39.0 Stewart, Carl
2009 45.0 Washington, Donald
2010 44.0 A.J. Jefferson
2011 42.5 V. Green
2012 43.5 Kashif Moore Connecticut
2013 43.0 Christine Michael Texas A&M
2014 42.0 Shazier, Ryan Ohio St.
2015 45.0 Conley, Chris WO

These are three of the popular events at the combine, yet by quickly perusing the lists, you won't find many successful NFL players who shined on the day of the Combine.

And it's not just me talking. Multiple studies have confirmed that the link between combine performance and future NFL success is virtually nonexistent. A study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research found "no consistent statistical relationship between combine tests and professional football performance." A 2011 paper found that "the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, 20-yard shuttle, and 3 cone drill tests have limited validity in predicting future NFL performance." Finally, the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective reports that "the measurements taken at the combine do not accurately predict future performance." The only combine test that did correlate with future NFL performance were sprint tests with running backs. According the the 2011 study published in Human Performance, collegiate success and past performance were the best indicators of how a prospect would do in the NFL.

So please, ignore all of the noise about the combine next February. While the event is a nice opportunity for scouts and teams to see players in the flesh, the real research has already been done. Draft boards are built around years of game tape, and not a few minutes in Indianapolis.