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What Is The Combine?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 24, 2010 – 5:24 pm

As you’re surely aware of by now, this year’s NFL Scouting Combine is underway in Indianapolis as personnel departments and coaching staffs from across the league have descended upon Indianapolis to continue their evaluations of this year’s draft class.

But in case you’re not completely aware, let’s run down the basics of what the Combine actually is.

The nation’s top pro football prospects are invited to the Combine each year so NFL clubs can continue the process of turning over every possible stone to determine which players are best equipped to play at the NFL level.

It’s important to remember that the Combine is just one part – an important part – of a long evaluation process. By the time everyone gathers in Indianapolis, most teams have a general understanding of the draft class. The Combine’s value is derived from several factors (explained below), but clubs will typically only adjust their opinions of players after the Combine.

At the Combine, prospects are first weighed and measured – clubs look at each player’s physique and build. Then the prospects are evaluated by medical personnel to examine past injuries or uncover new/potential injuries. After that, the prospects participate in on-field drills specific to their positions. Receivers run routes and catch passes. Quarterbacks throw passes and demonstrate their footwork. There are even strength tests, intelligence tests and flexibility tests.

As you can see, the Combine can seem like a human version of cattle prodding.

But the Combine is about uncovering character and attitude as much as it’s about gauging speed and strength. Teams spend significant amounts of time with the players in meeting rooms, a place that can indicate potential just as easily as a football field. Teams want to get to know each player to see if he’s the type of person that they want to bring into their organization.

So there’s a basic rundown of this event. Be sure to stay tuned to vikings.com for comprehensive coverage of this year’s event. Also, remember to submit your Monday Morning Mailbag questions to me at wobschallm@vikings.nfl.net.


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