The yearly ritual known as the NFL Combine begins on Wednesday, February 20th, and continues through next Tuesday, February 26th. Draft-eligible players will be weighed, measured and put through on-the-field and off-the-field testing, all in an effort to show that they're ready to contribute to an NFL team. Players will rise and players will fall, money will be made and lost, all because of what happens during the upcoming week.
On-the-field workouts will follow this schedule:
Saturday, Feb. 23: Tight ends, offensive linemen, special teams
Sunday, Feb. 24: Quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers
Monday, Feb. 25: Defensive linemen, linebackers
Tuesday, Feb. 26: Defensive backs
The 40-yard dash is the marquee event at the 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.
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.
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.
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.
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, explodse 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.
This year, the combine will include a new mental test in addition to the standard Wonderlic.
The NFL will implement a new, expanded player-assessment test designed to provide a comprehensive look at a player's "non-physical capabilities, aptitudes and strengths," according to an NFL memo obtained by NFL.com's Steve Wyche. The memo, which was sent to team presidents and general managers, says the new assessment tool is not being introduced as a replacement for any other tests, but rather as a way to provide new measurements over a range of non-physical capabilities.
You can read the memo on the test, here.
For the complete combine schedule in PDF from, click here.