Every year, over 300 college football players with dreams of playing in the National Football League head to Indianapolis to compete at NFL Combine. These players will have an opportunity, through physical and mental tests, to impress representatives from the NFL’s 32 teams. The NFL Combine, which takes place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, kicks off on Monday, February 24 and will run through Sunday, March 1. Workouts will be broadcast live on the NFL Network as follows:
- Thursday, February 27 at 4 PM EST (Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, Tight Ends)
- Friday, February 28 at 4 PM ET (Running Backs and Offensive Linemen)
- Saturday, February 29 at 4 PM EST (Defensive Linemen and Linebackers)
- Sunday, March 1 at 2 PM EST (Defensive Backs)
Drills taking place on the field
Players will perform drills specific to the position they play, as well as general field workouts to show athleticism and strength. Below we will go over which exercises benefit particular position groups. Descriptions are attributed to NFL.com.
40-yard dash: The 40-yard dash is the marquee event at the NFL Combine. It’s kind of like the 100-meters at the Olympics: It’s all about speed, explosion and watching skilled athletes run great times. These athletes are timed at 10, 20 and 40-yard intervals. What the scouts are looking for is an explosion from a static start.
Bench press: The bench press is a test of strength — 225 pounds, as many reps as the athlete can get. What the NFL scouts are also looking for is endurance. Anybody can do a max one time, but what the bench press tells the pro scouts is how often the athlete frequented his college weight room for the last 3-5 years.
Vertical jump: The vertical jump is all about lower-body explosion and power. The athlete stands flat-footed and they measure his reach. It is important to accurately measure the reach, because the differential between the reach and the flag the athlete touches is his vertical jump measurement.
Broad jump: The broad jump is like being in gym class back in junior high school. Basically, it is testing an athlete’s lower-body explosion and lower-body strength. The athlete starts out with a stance balanced and then he explodes out as far as he can. It tests explosion and balance, because he has to land without moving.
3 cone drill: The 3 cone drill tests an athlete’s ability to change directions at a high speed. Three cones in an L-shape. He starts from the starting line, goes 5 yards to the first cone and back. Then, he turns, runs around the second cone, runs a weave around the third cone, which is the high point of the L, changes directions, comes back around that second cone and finishes.
Shuttle run: The short shuttle is the first of the cone drills. It is known as the 5-10-5. What it tests is the athlete’s lateral quickness and explosion in short areas. The athlete starts in the three-point stance, explodes out 5 yards to his right, touches the line, goes back 10 yards to his left, left hand touches the line, pivot, and he turns 5 more yards and finishes.
Off the Field: Measurements
Along with positional and general field workouts, players are put to the test mentally and measured up like they’re an undocumented specimen. These measurements include height and weight, arm length, and hand size. PFN is tracking all of the weigh-ins and measurements throughout the week.
Off the Field: Testing
Another big aspect of the combine is the mental tests. Teams will attempt to intentionally get under the skin of players to see how they will respond. It gives teams an idea of a players’ character and how their personalities might mesh or clash within the organization.