The NFL Scouting Combine, is happening now. The awesome week-long show of athleticism and character that takes place year in February in Indianapolis (Lucas Oil Stadium) gives a chance to around 330 invited college football players to show themselves in both fitness and personality tests in front of NFL coaches, staff, agents and scouting organizations.
With a lot of interest in the NFL Draft that takes place in April, the combine gives all NFL team reps the ability to get some up-close and personal impressions of individual players, all in one setting and performing the same tasks, so in actuality competing with each other in a showcase.
The Combine tests and evaluations include:
- 40-yard dash
- Bench Press
- Vertical Jump
- 20-yard shuttle
- 3-cone drill
- 60-yard shuttle
- Position-specific drills
- Physical measurements
- Injury evaluations
- Drug testing
- Cybex fitness examination
- Wonderlic cognitive testing
Last year, Ole Miss Wide Receiver DK Metcalf was burning the track, with 4.33 seconds in the 40-yard dash, but struggled with other tasks, such as the change-of-direction drills. How did he do in the NFL Draft? Went to the Seattle Seahawks as no. 64 overall.
Two years before, University of Washington Wide Receiver John Ross III broke a 40-yard dash record with a light speed 4.22 seconds. But there were concerns over his gameplay as well as injury history. How did Ross do in the Draft? He was picked by the Cincinnati Bangles as the 9th pick.
So the physical fitness is actually a big part of the NFL combine, but it’s only one part of many other ways for teams and scouts to evaluate players and try to predict their performances. Some very promising regional college stars probably disappeared somewhere into the back benches of the Draft if not doing well on the NFL Combine, whilst others became hot draft prospects that then turned to NFL stars.
So all the interviews, medicals and tests obviously mean a lot. But let’s not forget that the NFL Combine at the end of the day is all about sports, and performance on the field. So getting to a good start in the physical tests is a minimum requirement. But which physical challenges actually make the difference?