As the NFL combine approaches, a cautionary tale

Without a doubt when the NFL scouting combine kicks off tomorrow, some player that wasn't incredibly high rated a few weeks ago will run a great 40 time. Someone will jump unexpectedly high, someone will pull off a surprising amount of lifts on the bench press... Then that someone will rocket up draft boards as scouts and fans become enamored with his measureables...

Sometimes, it turns out that guy was a diamond in the rough. Other times though, he ends up as a cautionary tale as to why what a guy does in a workout maybe shouldn't mean as much as what he did on a football field.

For instance, Mike Mamula. ESPN's Pat Yasinskas has a great story about Mamula's rise as a "workout warrior." It's also an incredibly painful read for any Eagles fan.

In the 48 hours leading into the draft, another significant event unfolded. There suddenly were reports that University of Miami defensive tackle Warren Sapp, once viewed as the potential top pick, had tested positive for marijuana at the combine. When the draft started, Mamula rose as fast as Sapp fell.

The Eagles and new coach Ray Rhodes, who held the 12th pick, wanted Mamula. They offered a trade that the Bucs quickly grabbed. The teams swapped first-round picks and the Bucs landed two second-round choices in the process. They took Sapp and used the extra picks to do some more maneuvering and added the 28th overall pick in the first round.

That turned out to be linebacker Derrick Brooks. In essence, the Eagles traded Sapp and Brooks -- two potential Hall of Famers -- for Mamula.

Perhaps this is why Ray Rhodes is now an assistant defensive backs coach in Houston instead of a head coach somewhere.

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