In today’s NFL, perhaps too much stock is put into player’s measurements, including the 40-yard dash, the short shuttle, the vertical jump, and the Wonderlic test. These drills can help showcase the athletic prowess of a player, but in some cases, they put false hope into scouts and organizations, because the player on the football field does not translate from the performance they displayed at the NFL combine. Former Broncos VP of corporate communications and PR director Jim Saccomano joined Gil Whiteley and Mark Jackson of Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7, and discussed the importance of the eye test, along with spinning. few yarns about former players in the Broncos organization.

“After all the testing, what’s the eye test tell you?”

Saccomano then described a player who had all the same measurables at the combine as Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith, but turned out to be nowhere near the player Smith was. Saccomano also illustrated the other end of the spectrum with former Broncos safety Tyrone Braxton, who was undersized at 5-11 and weighed 185 pounds and didn’t have the measurements of some other safeties, but played strong safety and free safety very effectively for a number of years — and won two Super Bowls with the club.

“It’s never the player’s fault where he is taken,” Saccomano said, before describing former running backs Gerald Willhite and Sammy Winder. They both did positive things on offense, but Willhite was seen as more of a disappointment than Winder because he was drafted in the first round and Winder was taken in the fifth. In reality, Willhite was a “fine” player and it wasn’t his fault he was taken in the first round, as described by Saccomano, who added if Willhite was taken in the third round, he would have likely been viewed as a much better player.

No team is ever perfect at evaluating players at the combine, and Saccomano explained that while the combine has value, “The eye test is a big one and you’ve got to take players and you can’t not participate in the process — you just have to look at it that sometimes you are going to be wrong, and you have to move on.” Teams fall for the workout warriors all the time. In 1995, Mike Mamula’s incredible performance at the combine — including running a 4.49 40-yard dash — turned himself from a mid-round selection into a top-10 pick. Mamula ended up having a decent career, but not quite the career the Philadelphia Eagles hoped for when they took him with the seventh overall pick.

Saccomano indicated that scouts and coaches can immediately identify something with a player that others might not notice. He described a scout that once saw former Broncos tackle Dave Studdard on the practice field for just a couple minutes — without knowing who he was — and because of his large rear-end and the way he could move his feet, he was absolutely certain Studdard was going to be a good player in the NFL. That scout was right; Studdard started 133 games for the Broncos over his 10-year career, including two Super Bowls.

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Catch Anything’s Possible with Gil Whiteley and Mark Jackson every weekday from 11a-1p on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 or stream live any time for the best local coverage of Colorado sports from Denver’s biggest sports talk lineup. Download the all-new free Mile High Sports Radio mobile app for Apple or Android.