WHY A COMBINE?
Before 1982, teams had to schedule personal visits to test, interview and evaluate individual players and scour their medical records, an approach that was not conducive to players or teams. Dallas Cowboys president Tex Schram proposed a centralized event in which a group of prospects could be tested and evaluated in front of all 32 teams over a week-long period, creating a much more efficient and convenient process.
WHO IS INVITED?
A committee made up of the directors of the National and BLESTO scouting services, along with members of various NFL player personnel departments, chooses the top 300 or so draft-eligible players to invite. Draft-eligible players include all college seniors, juniors who have declared for the draft and, in certain circumstances, non-collegiate football players who qualify under special circumstances.
WHAT’S THE OBJECTIVE?
For NFL teams, the combine is a chance to transport 30-40 members of the coaching, scouting, training, medical and front office staffs to get up-close views and various eyes on more than 300 of the top draft-eligible prospects. In many cases, the information gleaned from the combine – specifically medical reports, agility testing and how individual players come across in formal and informal interviews with staff members – goes a long way in deciding where players slot on each team’s draft board. .
For players, it’s a chance to solidify or improve their draft status by posting strong agility and skills scores, providing clean bills of health and making strong personal connections with team officials.
WHAT’S THE SCHEDULE?
Players are separated by position groups, with each group spending four days in Indianapolis spanning arrival, registration, orientation, height and weight measurements, medical and psychological testing, on-field skill and agility workouts, weight-room testing, media obligations and formal and informal team interviews.
HOW DOES THE FORMAL INTERVIEW PROCESS…