What it Takes to Score Big at the NFL Scouting Combine

Every year, since 1977, for a week in February the NFL puts on their annual pre-draft Scouting Combine that showcases the best college athletes for all the NFL personnel in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium. There are about 335 college athletes that are invited in a typical year. The event started getting TV coverage back in 2004 and has grown in popularity since that first year. Each year a few players end up making a name for themselves by jumping higher, running faster or lifting more weight than expected and help their NFL draft chances.

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Source: http://www.nfl.com/combine

One of the athletes that did extremely well and definitely helped his chances of getting drafted was UConn Cornerback Byron Jones. When it was all said and done Mr. Jones stock rose, five spots on the Top 50 draft board list, (click on Byron’s headshot at #45) even though he passed on the running portion (40-yard dash) at the combine. What he did do, however, and do it well was jump. He ended up breaking the NFL combine record in the broad jump when he jumped 12′ 3″ which also happened to set a world record and was 8 inches further than anyone had ever jumped at a combine event. He also had a vertical jump that reached 44.5″ on the Vertec (see photo). Byron Jones is 6’1″ and weighs about 195 pounds and we can all look forward to watching him soon on Sundays because of that great week of testing.

As a former assistant strength and conditioning coach at UConn I will say it was extremely satisfying watching this great athlete demonstrate his athletic skills. He has been coached by some great coaches in and out of the weight room.

Here are the various tests that athletes must go through each year at the combine. There maybe some changes for next year in some of the running events.

  • 40-yard dash
    Bench press (225 lbs. for max. repetitions)
    Vertical jump
    Broad jump
    20-yard shuttle
    3 cone drill
    60-yard shuttle
    Position-specific drills
    Interviews – each team is allowed 60 interviews in 15-minute intervals
    Physical measurements
    Injury evaluation
    Drug screen
    The Cybex test
    The Wonderlic Test
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