Posted by Will Brinson
The NFL combine is critical for teams to evaluate potential draftees, but it's not the whole shebang, either. Pro days at individual schools and, perhaps MOST importantly, individual workouts with candidates give teams a good idea of whether a player represents a sound investment.
The last two could be in serious jeopardy, though, according to what's leaking out of NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith's meeting with a group of agents at the combine, where the one thing Smith apparently didn't discuss was the mediation that went down in D.C. recently.
He only told, according to our own Mike Freeman, the group of agents there was "some" progress while prepping them for lockout contingencies.
That's good news only in that if a ton of mediation-related information started leaking out right after his talks with agents -- and it would if he talked about it -- the owners might not take too kindly to him violating the media blackout.
The owners might not be too thrilled with some of the reports about what kind of access they'll have to rookies, either.
Adam Caplan of FOX Sports reports that, according to agent sources present during Smith's presentation, teams won't be able to talk to agents about rookies at pro days during a lockout.
Even worse is the news that Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post reported -- the individual meetings with teams might disappear entirely.
"[I'm] being told teams will not be able to do individual pre draft workouts," a source told Wilson. "The union considers that communication in regards to financial situations for the players.
"[I] don't see that happening."
Contradicting all of that, though, is NFLPA spokesman George Atallah.
"We'd be hard pressed to stand in the way of a player doing something he needs to do," Atallah said Friday.
But that's the Catch-22 -- the players need to talk with teams to make more money (and, inherently, so do the agents) and teams need to talk to players in order to figure out who they want to draft. Unfortunately, the labor cloud keeps looming and we have to keep wondering when the next public dust-up will occur.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.