Combine Events Overview
With the end of the season looming, THN will begin the draft coverage that we are known for. One of the first big events that draftniks have to look forward to is the 2006 NFL Combine. In this article, we will give you a brief overview of the events a player must go through at the combine.
40 Yard Dash
The 40 yard dash is a test of speed and explosion. The player starts from a three-point stance and runs 40 yards as fast as possible. The player is timed in 10, 20 and 40 yard increments, to gauge the player’s explosion of the line and time to top speed.
All players, with the exception of quarterbacks and wide receivers, participate in this test of strength. The player’s goal in this event is to bench press 225 pounds as many times as possible.
The vertical jump is most important to wide receivers and defensive backs. To measure vertical jump, a player stands flat-footed in front of pole that has a multitude of plastic flags sticking out. The bottom of the pole is adjusted to the height of the player’s fingertips when raised straight above his head. The player then jumps from a standing position, in an attempt to swat as many of the plastic flags as he can. The flags, which are staged on the pole every half inch, rotate around the pole, giving the event judge a reading of how high the player jumped.
The broad jump is also done from a standing position, but this drill measures how far a player can jump. This drill is most important to positions that use lower body strength to gain an advantage (i.e. offensive and defensive linemen and running backs). The length of the jump is measured from the starting point to the back of the heel closest to the starting point upon landing.
3 Cone Drill
Replacing the 4 cone drill from combines past, the three cone drill tests speed, agility and cutting ability. The 3 cones are set up in a triangle or L shape, with each cone 5 yards apart. The player taking this test will start in a three point stance at the first cone. When the whistle is blown, the player sprints 5 yards ahead to the first cone, where he reaches down and touches a white line and sprints back to the starting cone. At the starting cone, the player again reaches down and touches a white line and head back to the second cone. This time, the player runs around the outside of the second cone, and cuts right to the third cone. The player runs a circle around the third cone from the inside to the outside, and then runs around the second cone before returning to the first cone.
20 Yard Shuttle
The 20 yard shuttle test lateral speed and coordination. The player starts in a three point stance, straddling a yard line facing the sideline. When the whistle blows, the player runs 5 yards to one side, touching the yard line. He then sprints 10 yards in the other direction and again touches the yard line, at which point he sprints back to the yard line he started from.
60 Yard Shuttle
The 60 yard shuttle, as you may have guessed, is basically the same drill as the 20 yard shuttle. The only difference is that instead of running 5 yards, 10 yards then 5 yards, the player runs 10 yards to one side, then back 20 yards and then 10 yards to the starting point. This drill is probably the best test of endurance in the entire combine.
Position Specific Drills
Maybe one of the best ways to test a player’s ability to play a position is to run them at drills specifically designed for players of their position. Coaches and Scouts typically run the players through the drills, taking note as to their performance. These drills are typically overlooked for some of the sexier drills, like the 40 yard dash and bench press.
Each player in attendance will be measured for height, weight and arm and hand length. Offensive and defensive linemen, as well as running backs, are also measured for body fat percentage.
NFL Team Interviews
Each NFL team is afforded the opportunity to interview up to 60 of the prospects in attendance. The interviews take place in the player hotel, and typically contain questions designed to test a player’s character, mental toughness and football intelligence.
The Wonderlic Test
The Wonderlic test is designed to test a players I.Q. The test is 50 questions long, and each player is only given 12 minutes to complete it. Though the test is very rarely completed, the Wonderlic is typically regarded as a good way to measure a player’s intelligence.
The Cybex Test
The Cybex test starts with a player strapped to a machine. The machine tests the player’s joint movement and flexibility. While this test does not typically receive much attention, this test can be the difference between the first day and second day on draft weekend for a player with either a recent injury or a history of injuries.
In conjunction with the Cybex test, each prospect also must survive a myriad of medical tests, including X-rays and physicals, to ensure that the player’s injuries have all healed.
As with any prospective employees these days, each prospective player must pass a urine test, designed to identify any substances deemed illegal by the NFL including marijuana, cocaine and performance-enhancing drugs.
Editor's Note: Here is a list of the players invited to the 2006 NFL Combine. Be sure to keep coming back to the THN draft section to keep up on the latest happenings, including Combine coverage, prospect profiles and mock drafts in the months leading up to the draft.
This article was released on 2006-01-19.
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