For the past two years, I have been reporting on forthcoming changes to the NFL Scouting Combine schedule, including the prime time workouts we are seeing this year. So how is everyone taking to the new Combine schedule?
Except for a very small minority who I spoke with, the vast majority of players, trainers, scouts, agents and even media, detest the new schedule. I would also assume that restaurants and watering holes in the city of Indianapolis also do not like the new schedule, as most of these places, packed every night during Combine week in previous years, have been half full at best. But let’s concentrate on the players, as they are the ones most impacted.
Timing of workouts and excess waiting negatively impacting players
I reported yesterday afternoon during my weekly Draft Analysts podcast with Chris Tripodi, players are attributing many of the injuries sustained during Combine workouts, especially hamstring pulls, to the late starting workouts. Sure enough, just a few hours after the podcast was posted, during the defensive line and linebacker workouts we saw several big named prospects pull up in the forty with hamstring pulls and/or strains.
There are two primary reasons for this. They are 1) except for a few sessions, most of the players’ Combine training leading up to the week in Indianapolis takes place in the morning; and 2) players arrive at Lucas Oil Stadium hours before the workout and just hang around.
One linebacker I spoke with yesterday told me he arrived four hours before his workout and just hung out. On Friday, I spoke with a running back who told me his group arrived six hours before they took the field at Lucas Oil Stadium.
You can also take the experience of quarterback Malcolm Perry from Navy, who was working out with the second group of wide receivers on Thursday night and arrived at Lucas Oil Stadium six hours before his group took to the field.
Since Perry has no true position in the NFL just yet, scouts wanted him to drill in several areas, including both as a receiver and running back, as well as field punts. After completing his vertical and broad jump, Perry ran the forty, did position drills at receiver, fielded punts, and then ran his shuttles and three-cone.
Teams then wanted to put Perry though a battery of running back drills, the position I project him to at the next level. There was one problem – the clock was closing in on midnight and scouts felt it was too late to start Perry on those running back drills.
Beyond the field, someone who has been to the past 15 Combines told me that “not only do they sit around all day, but the food for the players was poor, and it was a poorly run week. Top agencies are talking about not having their players work out (at the combine) next year.”
Whether the latter happens remains to be seen, as a year ago I reported agents and agencies were protesting the pending change to prime time workouts and threatened to have players sit out Combine workouts. However, now that they’ve experienced the issues that come with these workouts which last until 11 PM, it may be a different story in 2021.