Each February, the premiere players from college football head to Indianapolis for the NFL scouting combine, where they will be prodded, drilled, and quizzed by a host of people, most of which have never put on a football uniform. Executives, scouts, doctors, and coaches from all 32 teams are in attendance, oggling young males in skimpy clothing. While it may seem a bit homoerotic that older males with clipboards are staring at muscular young men in lycra, it’s all in an attempt to find the next superstar, while avoiding the selection of the next Ryan Leaf. Below is a list of some common drills that all prospects have to perform while at the seven-day event, which concludes today.
- 40-yard dash
The mother of all speed drills, players are timed at 10, 20, and 40-yard intervals. While 40-times are considered the holy grail in learning a player’s foot speed, it is interesting that the drill is done with no pads, and in a complete straight line.
- Bench press
Players don’t just max out like one of these guys at the gym, but instead see how many repititions they can get at 225 pounds. This is supposed to get a barometer on a player’s endurance, instead of just how much they can throw up one time. If you don’t think that’s important, Todd McShay will hunt you down and make you listen to his top-10 prospects.
- Vertical jump
Who’s got ups? That’s pretty much the point of this drill, as players start flat-footed then jump and reach for the highest flag possible. Even offensive lineman do this drill, since leaping as high as they can is an essential job requirement.
- Broad jump
Just like on field day back in elementary school, you just stand in one place, and jump as far forward as you can. While explosion is imperative, balance is also key in this drill, as you have to land without a wobble.
- Three cone drill
Cones are arranged in an L-shape, and players have to navigate through in a jagged sort of way, testing an athletes ability to cut on a dime. Seems that this would be an essential drill for defensive backs and running backs to master. Players struggling in this event run the risk of slipping way down Mel Kiper’s big board, which surely causes them to lose sleep at night.
- Shuttle run
Another activity you may have performed back in gym class, the shuttle run is like a mini-suicide drill. Players start in a three-point stance, go five yards, then head back the other way 10 yards, before a pivot and closing it out with a five yard sprint. Lateral quickness and explosion are what the suits are looking for in this one.
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