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NFL Combine Approaches; Down Memory Lane With Joe Haden

Last year's 40-times almost hurt Joe Haden's draft stock.
Last year's 40-times almost hurt Joe Haden's draft stock.

The NFL Combine kicks off this Thursday (February 24) and will last until the following Tuesday (March 1). We'll have as much coverage and recaps as we can on the combine here on Dawgs By Nature, hopefully including any players the Browns' scouts seem to be paying particular attention to. That might help give some of you more ideas on who to do draft profiles on (speaking of which, great job to those of you who have created some; keep them coming!)

The Combine can definitely shake things up when it comes to where certain prospects are rated, and overall it is a useful event to allow all 32 teams to evaluate as many prospects as they can and get some basic measurements in. With that said, you don't always want to take certain things too seriously. For example, remember what happened to cornerback Joe Haden last year?

Cleveland had the seventh overall pick last year, and fans were often debating whether they would want safety Eric Berry or Haden. Berry ended up thriving at the combine, while Haden's 40-times, 4.57 and 4.60, were less than impressive. It sparked a mixed reaction here at Dawgs By Nature -- while I think fans understood that it would be unfair to judge Haden solely based on one day of being timed, it made us feel a little uneasy about taking him so high in the draft. In the poll from last year, one fourth of fans who did want Cleveland to take Haden No. 7 overall had changed their mind due to his 40-times.

When April rolled around, the Browns drafted Haden with Berry off the board. Looking back at the rookie season that Haden had, I don't think many people regret that pick, and Haden's 40-times from the Combine ended up being merely a footnote in an otherwise great season.