The NFL Scouting Combine is known as the definitive job interview for players who aspire to be chosen by the NFL franchises in the Draft.
In the event, the players are analyzed in detail starting with their body measures and their weight control, through individual interviews to physical and athletic tests, positional training, medical tests and psychological tests.
Each edition of the NFL Scouting Combine invites between 330 and 350 players. Sorted by their different positions are assigned a number so that they can be easily recognized.
The same day the players arrive, their height is measured, they are officially weighed and other measures are taken to different parts of their body, such as arms, hands or wingspan (distance from fingertip to fingertip with arms stretched). These measures are not important for all positions but in certain positions a minimum standard is considered as a requirement. For example, a quarterback must measure at least 6’2. An offensive line, above all the Tackles, they must have long arms, and the hands of the receivers and quarterbacks must be large, to name a few of the classic ones.
During the afternoon / evening, they spend the most of the time in the same hotels where they are staying, the players can be asked to be interviewed by the teams. Each franchise can make a maximum of 60 interviews, and these can never exceed 15 minutes.
In these interviews, the questions are very different, there are some which are predetermined that help to know the personality of the player, others are more personal type, but usually related to football.
Physical tests are the same for all participants regardless of the position in which they play and are broadcasted by tv. They are designed to check and compare different physical and athletic qualities of players such as speed, strength, power, agility, jump, etc.
40 YARD DASH
It is the most popular test of the event in which the players must run 40 yards (36.6m) in the shortest time possible. It is a test that specially important for receivers and cornerbacks. Measurements of the official time results are done with lasers, and taken multiple times: at 10, 20 and 40 yards. The 10-yard mark is usually taken as a reference to measure the lower train’s explosiveness of offensive and defensive lines .
This test is the one that measures the strength of the upper part of the body and consists of lifting as many times as possible and without pause 225 pounds (102kg) in bench press. In addition to brute force, resistance is also put to the test as the best athletes can do up to more than 40 ups without pause. It is a test with special importance for the lines.
20 YARD SHUTTLE
It is a test designed to measure the explosiveness, agility and changes of direction of the players. It is, starting from the center and being placed with one hand on the ground, run 5 yards to the side, run 10 yards to the opposite side to finish running another 5 to the starting point. This test is especially important for ‘playmakers’ and especially for defensive backs.
The test is a long jump. This test measures the power of the lower train, the explosivity and its strength so it is especially important for Linebackers, Running Backs and defensive lines.
It is also a jump test but in this case the jump will be performed instead of forward, upwards. Begins by measuring the participant with stretched arms and later placed on scale with colored rods prepared to measure the jumps. The jumper will have two opportunities to reach the maximum number of possible rods, the highest rod that has moved will indicate the total height of the vertical jump of the player. Best historical mark: Gerald Sensabaugh 2005 (46 “1.17m).
3 CONE DRILL
It is the test that measures speed, explosiveness, changes of direction and balance. Some teams look closely at it to evaluate pass rushers. Three cones are placed forming an L 5 yards apart between each and consists of the player sprinting between these 3 cones in the shortest time possible.
The Positional Drills
Once these first physical tests are finished, they begin to perform the tests called “position drills”, specific to each of the different positions in the field.
Different types of tests are performed depending on the positions of the players: Quarterbacks, Offensive Line, Wide Receivers, Tigh Ends, Runningbacks, Defensive Line, Linebackers, Defensive Backs.
After passing the technical test phase, the players are subjected to another kind of test to evaluate other features not related with sports performance: Medical test, anti-drug test, psi,…
All participants undergo a thorough medical examination. If a player has had any type of injury in the last twelve months, he is obliged to provide any documentation such as radiographs, resonances or reports that his medical team has given him in that period. In addition to a general recognition, participants with a history of injury can be claimed to be recognized by the medical team of the franchise upon request individually.
The main reason of the Combine is the exhaustive analysis at all levels from technical, physical, tactical as well as psychological. That’s where the PSCI (Professional Sports Character Inventory) psychological test comes into play, our American partner who was the creator of PRO3, a pioneer in the United States in using psychological assessments for the selection and development of their players.
The test allows to evaluate the player in all those psychological features that concern elite sport. The results of the test provide a punctuation and an in-depth analysis of the psychological performance and personality of the athlete adapted specifically to each of the three areas that matter most in the sport: field, locker room and off-field. This analysis also provides an insight into the stability and overall coherence of the athlete’s personality by assessing the balance in these three areas.
This part is very important when assessing a future signing for NFL clubs since the psychological performance of an athlete is not limited to their ability to react and manage the pressure in a particular match situation. It is also important to measure their ability to be a good partner in locker-room or with the staff, have a good attitude outside the playing field, either when managing their own resources, dealing with the press and attending the media or getting involved in the improvement of society.