Operated and organized by National Football Scouting (NFS), the NFL Scouting Combine is perhaps the most exciting sporting event that happens every year. The NFL Combine, sometimes referred to as the National Invitational Camp, is a showplace that occurs every spring at the RCA Dome, in Indianapolis, Indiana. The NFL Scouting Combine is a gathering of some of the top college players from across the nation. The NFL (National Football League) Combine is held prior to the NFL Draft, and is primarily focused selecting the most competent players who wish to enter the professional world of football. The Combine is one of the prime determinants that NFL teams employ in the draft selection process. It is physically challenging, and usually lasts for a period of three days. The NFL Combine was first held in 1977, with the combined effort of three scouting services: Blesto, National, and Quadra. Since then, it has come a long way.
Depending upon the available talents, the number of athletes participating in the Combine may vary. However, it is estimated that every year more than 300 football players participate in this event. Accommodations are arranged for players that are usually within walking distance of the RCA Dome. The NFL Combine consists of a series of physical as well as mental tests, which in turn enables each NFL team to make a better decision as to which players would be most suitable for the upcoming draft. Included in these tests are the 40 yard dash, vertical jump, standing broad jump, 20-yard shuttle, 60-yard shuttle, and bench press, apart from a myriad of drills including the three-cone drill and position-specific drills. Races ranging from 10 yards to 60 yards are primarily to evaluate quickness as well as the speed of the athletes. Standing broad jumps evaluate an athlete’s lower body explosiveness. Drills such as shuttle and cone-based drills are to evaluate endurance, body control, and the speed of the athlete.
However, The NFL Combine is much more than these series of physical tests and also involves physical measurements, including weight, height, and arm as well as hand length; an injury evaluation which is to ensure that players previous injuries have healed; the Cybex test, a machine test to measure an athlete’s joint movements and flexibility; the Wonderlic test, designed to test a player’s IQ by giving them a set of 50 questions; and interviews by sports psychologists in order to get an idea of the player’s football intelligence and personality as well as mental toughness. Above all, the participants are required to undergo a urine test, which helps to determine whether players have taken any substances that have been deemed illegal by the NFL, such as cocaine, marijuana, or any other performance-enhancing drug. Further, football players are evaluated by top executives, coaches, and general managers from all 32 NFL teams.
The NFL Combine is an invite-only event, i.e. it is closed to everyone except for invited players, as well as NFL team officials. Athletes who are eligible to participate in the NFL Combine usually consist of, all of the college seniors following their final year of collegiate football and underclassmen who satisfy all of the requirements of the NCAA and NFL are also eligible to participate. In addition, an athlete who is not playing collegiate football may also sometimes qualify for the event, under special conditions. As mentioned earlier, these participants are determined by a selection committee, which in turn is jointly represented by the directors of Blesto and National Scouting services. Eligible players are usually voted and reviewed by a member of the committee. Later, the athletes with sufficient votes are given an invitation.
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