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Titans GM on Combine Performance vs. College Production


INDIANAPOLIS – Running back Chris Henry was a workout warrior at the 2007 NFL Combine.

He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds, and he did 26 reps on the bench press. He also had a 32 inch vertical leap. The Titans fell in love with Henry, despite the fact he had very modest numbers during his playing career at Arizona, and drafted him in the second round.

Henry turned into a bust in the NFL. He ran for just 122 yards in his brief NFL career, and was shown the door by Tennessee in 2009 after another running back – Chris Johnson -- emerged.

Plenty of other NFL teams have taken the bait on players who performed well either here at the combine, or in workouts.

The Jaguars picked former Arkansas quarterback Matt Jones 21st overall in 2005 after a great workout at the combine. The Vikings jumped on former South Carolina receiver Troy Williamson with the seventh overall pick in 2005 after a blistering time of 4.32 in the 40.

The list goes on and on.

This week, Titans Online asked Titans general manager Jon Robinson how much stock he puts into what happens at the combine and workouts compared to film and college production. He said it should only be used as a part of the process.

"The on the-field evaluation, it really measured data,'' Robinson said. "You think he runs this fast but you can actually see how he runs. You may have a question about his ball skills because maybe he didn't have a lot of balls thrown at him if he is a corner. Or if you have a question about a receiver's hands, maybe there's a particular drop that sticks out in a game… When you can see that drills after drill after drill here -- even if they are not playing football -- you can see their movement and what is going to be asked of those guys on Sunday.

"But I would say the most important thing, though, is that's a part of the process. The medical and interview process, those are the two probably biggest things that we come away from here. Knowing whether a player is from a health standpoint, if you're going to make that kind of investment in a player whether it's a first round pick or a sixth round pick, if you are going to make a commitment to a player you want to make sure he is healthy and able to come in and do what we're going to ask him to do. looks back at some of the workouts by current Titans players at the NFL Scouting Combine. (AP Photos)

"And then the interview process. Does his personality and his goals, does it gel with what we are about as a football team?"

Titans coach Mike Mularkey said events like the Senior Bowl and the combine give him an opportunity to see some things that don't show up on the stat sheet, like how they interact with other players.

"It confirms some things,'' Mularkey said. "Sometimes a guy, you look at a time on him and he doesn't look that fast, or he actually looks faster.  This will kind of confirm some of those things. Can a guy catch? Can he do this or that? This will kind of confirm some of that."


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