2017 NFL Scouting Combine

Joe Will

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The NFL Scouting Combine is a week-long showcase occurring every February at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, where college football players perform physical and mental tests in front of National Football League coaches, general managers, and scouts. 335 athletes from different college universities across the nation, are invited to attend. It does not matter whether or not you come from a big football school such as: Alabama, or a small division 3 school that nobody has heard of. Each player is given a chance to show what they can do. The goal of this combine is for players to increase their overall draft stock so that when the NFL draft comes around in April, they’ll hear their names called early as possible. Unfortunately this event can also decrease a player’s draft stock if he does not perform at the level that he should.

It will officially start on Tuesday , Feb. 28th with Registration, hospital pre-exam & X-rays, overflow testing, orientation, and interviews. Next will be measurements, medical examinations, overflow testing, and interviews on Wednesday, March 1st. Lastly, Psychological testing, NFLPA meeting, PK/ST workout, media, bench press, and interviews which will take place on Thursday, March 2nd . All of these tests are extremely important because teams do not want to draft a player who has extensive injuries and may be a liability on the gridiron, or a player who does not have good character and is constantly in trouble with the law. The interviews that players have with teams are by far the most bizarre thing at the combine, and some of the questions that are asked have nothing to do with football. When recalling his combine days, former player Austin Lane said that he was asked if“ I had to murder someone, would I use a gun or a knife?” Other players such as Cam Newton with the Carolina panthers were asked whether he sees himself more as a cat or a dog. When he suggested that the question was not relevant and that he saw himself more as a human being, he was immediately asked whether he had a problem with authority.

The actual drill portion of the combine will start on Friday, March 3rd.  Prospects are split up for drills based on their positions and different groups will go on different days. Running backs and Offensive linemen will go on Friday. Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, and Tight Ends, will go on Saturday. Defensive lineman and Linebackers, will go on Sunday, and to finish it off, all defensive backs will go on Monday. One of the most popular drills at the combine is the 40-yard dash. It’s all about speed, explosion and determination.  These athletes are timed at 10, 20 and 40-yard intervals, and good times vary by position. Other popular drills include: Bench press, Vertical jump, Broad jump, 3 Cone drill, and the Shuttle run.

A few names to watch at this years combine are : Wide Receiver  Zay Jones, Quarterback Deshaun Watson, and Offensive Tackle Garrett Bolles. Zay Jones is perhaps the most intriguing of the 3, after coming off his 2nd 1,000 yard receiving season. Jones shined in January at the Senior Bowl, and the former ECU pirate has seen his draft stock skyrocket over the past few weeks. Watson on the other hand, has become a household name after his gritty play and performance for Clemson in the college football national championship the last two years. Scouts are still not sure if Watson’s play will translate to the NFL, and there are still many questions that need to be answered. The last prospect  Bolles is a 6’5 300 lb stud who played for Utah last season. He is certainly athletic enough and big enough to be a first round pick in this years draft which does not feature many top Offensive Lineman. The only knock on Bolles is his age, he will turn 25 in May. Another dark horse candidate in this years draft, is former Oklahoma Sooner Running back Joe Mixon. Mixon was not invited to the combine because of a video that surfaced a few months ago , after an altercation with his girlfriend. Many scouts believe that if it weren’t for his off -season issues, Mixon would be a first round pick and most likely the best Running Back in a draft class which is deep at the Running Back position. Mixon will still have a chance to show what type of player he is, at his pro day March 8. We will see come April if any team is willing to take a chance on this boom or bust player. This years combine should be very exciting and may possess a great deal of drama and suspense.

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