The NFL Draft Scouting combine takes place every February at Lucas Oil Stadium located in Indianapolis, Indiana. During the combine, invited college football players perform a variety of both mental and physical testing in front of scouts, head coaches, and general managers. The primary purpose of the combine is to allow each team to evaluate potential draft picks in a standardized setting, and it has become a big media event over the years. During the event, a player can significantly improve or harm his draft stock based on their measured size, speed, and strength to complement their actual playing record in college. The combine is also referred to as the National Invitational Camp (NIC).
When is the 2017 NFL Draft Combine?
The 2017 NFL Draft Combine will take place between February 28th – March 6th, 2017.
What are the Physical Testing Requirements at the NFL Scouting Combine?
The physical testing requirements at the combine include taking physical measurements, the 40 yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, 20 yard shuttle, three cone drill, and 60 yard shuttle.
It is not unusual for a pro prospect to “shrink” when officially measured at the combine. Every prospect has a variety of measurements taken to include weight, height, arm length, and hand length. For positions where body fat is of interest (running backs and linemen specifically), body fat percentage is also measured to provide to the NFL teams.
The bench press is one of the time-tested measures of a player’s strength. Each athlete is tasked to bench 225 pounds as many times as they can. Wide receivers and quarterbacks do not have to take the test. The combine record for repetitions is 51, set by Justin Ernest in the 1999 NFL Draft Combine. Since 1998, only 18 prospects have managed to exceed 40 reps in the bench press
The broad jump is conducted from a standing position where the player leaps with both feet as far as he can go. It is a test of their explosion, power, and lower body strength. Scouts look hard at this test for linebackers, linemen, and running backs.
40 yard dash
The 40 yard dash has found to be a proven measure of both speed and power with prospects. The player starts from a three-point stance and runs 40 yards. Official splits are taken at the 10 and 20 yard distances to measure the acceleration of the athlete. For linemen, the 10 yard split is one of the best measures of their potential since they do not often run further in a game.
The vertical jump test requires the player to jump off of both feet as high as he can go as a measure of power and explosion. Scouts look hard at the numbers for this test for DB’s (defensive backs) and wide receivers.
The 20 yard shuttle run is a test of the player’s overall agility, ability to change direction, and explosion with a strong emphasis on technique. The drill is also referred to as the 5-10-5 Shuttle where the player goes 5 yards laterally, 10 in the opposite direction, and then back to the starting line for the drill. It is looked at for all skill positions.
The three cone drill tests the player’s ability to run around three cones that are placed in the shape of the letter “L” approximately five yards apart.
The 60 yard shuttle is a ladder shuttle consisting of progressing distances. Similar to a basketball suicide (but tailored to football) the player runs out five yards and back, then out 10 and back, and then 15 and back. It is considered to be the anaerobic test for the combine.
What Skill Testing Requirements are at the NFL Combine?
At the combine players will go through position specific drills. These are based on their specific position that they expect to be drafted to play in the NFL.
What Medical Testing is Done at the NFL Combine?
Athletes undergo a variety of medical testing at the combine. First is an injury evaluation to determine their current injuries and validate their injury history. The players also undergo drug screening where the league checks for both illegal drugs as well as PEDs (performance enhancing drugs). Finally, the Cybex Test is also administered to each athlete which tests their joint movements and flexibility.
What Psychological Testing is Done at the NFL Combine?
The NFL administers the Wonderlic intelligence test to the athletes attending the Combine. The NFL also added an additional 60 minute test in 2013, which combined are designed to measure the athlete’s non-physical capabilities, strengths, decision making, core intellect, and ability to respond to pressure. Each team is also permitted to conduct 60, 15 minute interviews of the players that they are interested in potentially drafting in the next NFL draft.