Held each year at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, the NFL Scouting Combine is a seven-day event where college football players compete in mental and physical drills in front of NFL coaches, managers, and scouts.
Invite-only and televised, the Combine is the biggest event for the NFL draft process, short of individual team workouts. We get to see the best college football athletes compete side-by-side and decide how high of a draft pedestal they should each be put on.
Think of the Combine as a multi-day, group job interview – just more intense, exciting, and career-vital.
Each athlete’s performance during the Combine can affect his draft round status, player perception, and potential salary.
In recent years the draft popularized the term “draft stock,” meaning that a player’s draft status can increase depending on qualities like strength, size, and speed – even if the player had an average/below average college career.
The career implications during the Combine can be enormous and can affect these players’ potential million-dollar salaries up to millions of dollars.
Beyond just the coaches and managers, player personnel departments and medical staff from all 32 NFL teams are on site to evaluate the draft-eligible college players.
The Combine’s evaluations and tests consist of:
- 40-yard dash
- Bench press (of 225 lb. reps)
- Vertical jump
- Broad jump
- 3-cone drill
- 20-yard shuttle
- 60-yard shuttle
- Position-specific drills
- Interviews (each team is allowed 60 interviews in 15-minute intervals)
- Physical measurements
- Injury evaluation
- Drug screen
- The Cybex test (tests the joint movement of prospects)
- The Wonderlic Test (intelligence test used to assess the aptitude of prospects for learning and problem-solving)
The Combine is the perfect excuse for fans of both college football and the NFL, as well as draft enthusiasts, to spend several days talking about football and the upcoming draft – even though the games don’t start up for another six months.
For draft junkies, the event is an off-season mecca, giving viewers the chance to revisit top prospects one last time before the draft in early May.
However, it’s not an exact science.
Just because a player can run a 4.5 40-yard dash doesn’t mean he has the ability (or drive) to play in the NFL.
Truthfully, for as much attention as the event receives, the Combine can be filled with less-than-dense insights.
While it’s fun to get excited when one of your favorite players jumps out of the gym or nails his skills drills, it’s necessary to note that film study trumps Combine workouts.
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