Things You Need To Know About The NFL Football Combine

 By: Eddie Wilson
Since 1979 the NFL has been doing some sort of testing of players entering the NFL draft. Then in 1982 players and team scouts have gotten together to see player prospects put through many drills to see how players perform. This was the year of the first official combine. The Players were then put through interviews with teams and a comprehensive physical, medical and psychological testing program. This first combine took place in Tampa, Florida and was attended by one hundred and sixty-three players. An additional two camps were held elsewhere From 1982 - 1984.

In 1985 the National Invitational Camp (NIC) also known as the combine merged three camp locations as all 28 NFL teams agreed to participate in a single annual Combine to be held in Arizona. The NIC was then renamed the NFL Scouting Combine after the merger of the three camps.

In 1987 the Combine permanently moved to Indianapolis, Indiana to be held in the Hoosier Dome (later to be referred to as the RCA Dome).
In 2005 the surface of the RCA Dome was changed from AstroTurf surface to FieldTurf surface, resulting in faster 40m times.

The Combine stayed at the RCA Dome until 2009 when it then moved to the new Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts.

Below is an outline of the tests conducted at the Combine...

Physical Testing

- Physical measurements
Each prospect has measurements of height, weight, arm length and hand length. Also running backs and linemen’s measurements include body fat percentage measured using the bod pod.

- 40-yard dash
This is a power and speed test. They start from a three-point stance then the player runs 40 yards as fast as he can. Split times of 10 and 20 yards are then recorded to measure acceleration. the 10 yard dash time is very important for the offensive and defensive lineman because they usually don’t run any further than that when playing in games.

- Bench press
The bench press is to test prospects upper body strength. A player will lift 225 lbs. as many times as he can. The only players who are not required to take part in this test are the quarterbacks and wide receivers. This test is most important for an offensive or defensive lineman.

- Vertical jump
The player will jump off both feet straight up as high as he can to test his explosion and power. This test is one of the most important tests for receivers and defensive backs who often have to jump for the ball in games.

- Broad jump
Very much like the vertical jump, this tests a player's lower body strength, explosion, and power. The broad jump is a measurement of how far a player can jump, not how high. The player will jump from a standing position forward off two feet as far as he can jump. This test is most importantly to test running backs, lineman, and linebackers.

- 20-yard shuttle
Also known as the 5-10-5 shuttle This is an agility test including speed, explosion, and change of directions. The technique is very important in this test. Players are timed as to how fast they can go 5 yards laterally, then 10 yards back in the opposite direction and finally finish 5 yards back to the starting line.

- Three-cone drill
This will test a players agility as the player runs around three cones placed in the shape of a capital L. The cones are placed with 5 yards between each other.

- 60-yard shuttle
This anaerobic test is a ladder shuttle of progressing distances.the player stands at the starting line and runs 5 yards and back than 10 yards and back than 15 yards and back while touching the line each time.

Skill Testing

The skill testing is position-specific drills. each player goes through football drill designed for their position. Sometimes these drills are overlooked due to the fact that everyone is more interested in the fitness test numbers. An example of the position specific drill is the one on one pass coverage.


The Wonderlic test, an intelligence type test has been given to Combine players since the 1970s. In 2013 a new 60-minute long test was added to the testing program. The new, expanded player assessment tool offered much more robust and comprehensive assessment of players capabilities, aptitudes, and strengths. This test measures a players competencies, of learning style, motivation, decision skills, responding to pressure, and intellect.


- Injury evaluation
Every player must go through X-rays and physicals to check their injuries and injury history. Any currently injured players at the combine will be looked at closely.

- Drug screening
Each Player takes a urine test to test for illegal substances not allowed by the NFL. They are mostly looking for marijuana, cocaine and performing-enhancing drugs.

- Cyber test
The Cybex test is not that important for prospects but injured and previously injured players results will be looked at closely by coaches. This test checks the flexibility and joint movement of every prospect. Prospects are connected to a machine to determine their results.
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