We’re just over 2 weeks removed from one of the best and most exciting Superbowl matches in recent memory, but it’s already time to start thinking about the NFL Draft. But even before that, it’s the NFL Combine in 2 days time so we thought we’d take the time to give you a brief run down of what it is. So here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about the annual NFL Combine!
What is the NFL Combine?
Every year the National Football League invites around 300 players who are eligible for the upcoming draft to spend 4 days interviewing with and showcasing their skills on the field for each of the 32 teams. By our last count, 322 players have been invited by the League to take part.
Can anyone take part?
No. Only the players that are formally invited by the League are eligible to take part in the Combine.
When is the Scouting Combine?
The Combine has technically already started. Players will be arriving in groups to take part in boring admin stuff like registration, X-Rays, medical examinations, interviews and so on. The first group of players arrived on Tuesday 17th February, but won’t get down to the big skill showcase until Friday 20th. There are 11 groups in total arriving in 4 waves and so in order to schedule them all in to 4 days each at the Combine, it runs for a 7 day period between Tuesday 17th through Monday 23rd February.
Where is it held?
All events at the Combine are held at the Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts.
How do these ‘waves’ work?
As mentioned above, the first group have already arrived. Each successive group after this arrive a day later (Group 2 arrive today, Group 3 on Thursday, Group 4 on Friday). This means that each group can take part in the Combine activities one day apart. Here is the schedule for this year’s Combine:
As you can see, the primary days for the media to attend will be Wednesday through Saturday, while fans will likely be most interested to tune in for coverage of the on-field drills Friday through Monday.
Which members of my team’s front office will be attending?
In all likelihood, every head coach and general manager will be in attendance this week. Many will be speaking to the media as well; for example, Packers GM Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy are both holding press conferences on Thursday – Thompson at 3pm and McCarthy at 10pm GMT.
How can I watch it?
I’ve had a look around and the only place I can find on TV is the NFL Network, so if you have that, you can watch coverage of the Combine daily from 2pm. Or alternatively, simply go to www.NFL.com.
What workouts will the players be doing?
There are a series of general workouts for each player, in addition to position-specific drills. The general drills are these:
- Bench press (number of times player can bench 225 pounds)
- 40-yard dash
- Vertical jump
- Broad jump
- 3-cone drill
- 20-yard shuttle drill
- 60-yard shuttle drill
What is the importance of each drill?
Obviously all the drills are important, but we like to be a bit more specific than that.
40-yard dash: Measures straight line speed over a distance. Not very important for non-skill position players, but coming from the 40-yard dash is the “10-yard split.” That is the time it takes to travel the first 10 yards of the event and gives a measurement as to the player’s explosion and first step. Very important for defensive and offensive linemen. Dontari Poe had a 10-yard split of 1.7 at 330 pounds, which is decent for a linebacker. Bruce Irvin at 235 pounds had a 10-yard split of 1.57, which is also a good number for a linebacker. Both help push those players into the middle of the first round.
Bench press: Fairly simple, it measures upper body strength. Moreso it shows if you have stayed in good condition over the offseason. Poor numbers here possibly indicate not working hard enough.
Vertical and Broad jump: Another measurement of explosion and lower body strength. Also important for wide receivers and defensive backs to show off their leaping ability.
3-cone drill: Essentially a change of direction drill. Most important for skill position players. Shows off lateral agility and ability to accelerate out of a turn. One of the drills that translates best on the field. A good score in the 3 cone is often a marker for a high draft pick.
20/60-yard shuttles: Shows the ability to come to a complete stop and accelerate. Obviously important for any position and a good score here is indicative of explosion and body control. As you can see, explosion is a big factor here and one that the NFL is keen to see.
Position-specific drills: Each position has specific drills that test for many different attributes. Change of direction and hip swing for defensive backs, hands skills for wide receivers during the “gauntlet,” kick slide drills for the offensive linemen, power for the defensive linemen in hitting bag drills and accuracy for quarterbacks in throwing drills.
There you have it, the complete guide to the 2015 NFL Combine from Severn Sport! We can’t wait for the Draft in a few weeks time, send us your thoughts on which positions you think your team needs improving! You can do this on Twitter (@SevernSport) or on Facebook (just search for ‘Severn Sport’).
Kelsey De Maria
Keep an eye on the website this week for new blogs, features and more, including a BRAND NEW episode of the SevernSport puncast!