Everything You Need to Know About The NFL Combine
In this article we will answer several questions about the NFL combine including:
- History of NFL Combine
- How Players are selected
- NFL Combine Medical Questions
- What to do if you are not selected for NFL Combine
- NFL Combine Contact Info
- NFL Player Combine Tests
NFL Combine History
National Invitational Camp (NIC), more commonly known as the NFL Scouting Combine, began in 1982 when National Football Scouting, Inc. first conducted a camp for its member NFL clubs in Tampa, Florida. The key purpose then, the same as it is today, was to ascertain medical information on the top draft-eligible prospects in college football. The inaugural NIC was attended by a total of 163 players and established a foundation for future expansion.
During the first three years, two additional camps were held at different times to collect similar information for teams that did not belong to National Football Scouting. However, in 1985 all 28 NFL teams decided they would participate in future National Invitational Camps with the goal of sharing costs for the medical examinations of draft-eligible players. After brief stints in New Orleans (1984, 1986) and Arizona (1985), the camp was moved to Indianapolis, Indiana where it has been operated since 1987.
As football and the art of evaluating players have evolved, so has the NFL Scouting Combine. While medical examinations remain the number one priority of the event, athletes will also participate in a variety of psychological and physical tests, as well as, formal and informal interviews with top executives, coaches, and scouts from all 32 NFL teams. NIC is the ultimate four-day job interview for the top college football players eligible for the upcoming NFL Draft.
How are players selected for the NFL Combine?
All 32 NFL teams are invited to provide input on draft-eligible players which is used by the Player Selection Committee to select each year’s participants. The Directors of both National and BLESTO scouting services, which combined represent 28 NFL teams, are joined by members of various NFL player personnel departments to form the committee. The participating NFL executives can rotate on a yearly basis, and remain anonymous. ALL eligible players are reviewed and voted on by the committee members. Each athlete receiving the necessary number of votes, by position, is then extended an invitation. While it is not a perfect science, the goal of the committee is to invite every player that will be drafted in the ensuing NFL Draft.
Let me break it down in steps:
It starts with your Junior year evaluation day Which is usually in Feb/March/April before your senior year of eligibility. On your Junior day, they take you height, weight, 40 yard dash time, vertical jump, broad jump, and other measurables.
They will also evaluate your game film form your Junior year
The next step is your season evaluation
During this time scouts will cross-check information with the area and regional scout as different sources will be at different games based on the region they are played.
Then you start to get your season grade
After the season they evaluate bowl games and all-star games
Scouts are now finalizing on a pre-combine grade by cross-checking with other scouts and additionally meeting with your coaches.
At this point, you will need to be on a National or Blesto list to get invited. There are five times that are not on the list. These teams may choose not to invite you because they like you and possibly want to hide you. The combine provides a wide net of exposure so I would suggest going.
Here is the breakdown of NAtional and Blesto membership in the NFL as of 2015.
12 Teams in BLESTO
(ATL, BUF, CHI, CLE, DAL, DET, HOU, JAC, MIA, MIN, NYG, PIT).
15 subscribers to the National
(AZ, CAR, CIN, DEN, GB, KC, NO, NYJ, PHI, STL, SD, SF, SEA, TB, TEN). National Scouting also is the logistical organizer of record for the event in Indianapolis.
Five teams out of the thirty-two NFL teams are unaffiliated with either scouting combine organization: Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins.
Typically 20 - 40 of the top players at each position will be selected to attend the combine.
Combine Player Selection
College football players in their final year of collegiate eligibility who have been selected to participate in the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine AND whose college season has been completed (including championships and/or Bowl games), will be notified of their selection by January. Invitations and instructions for completing the required registration will be sent to the player’s email address provided during their college pro day last Spring.
If you are an eligible Senior and viable candidate to be selected and either did not provide an email address previously, have changed your email address or simply wish to make sure we have the correct address, please email email@example.com with your First Name, Last Name, School and Position as the subject line. You may include any additional information in the body of the message. Please note, this email account is designed to communicate a player’s email address only and there will be no replies to the messages. Additionally, we will not respond to any written requests/questions regarding invitations. Please see the FAQ section of this site to learn more about the selection process and call our office in accordance with the instructions below if you are a player who has not received an invitation and would like to check on your status.
Beginning by the first week of January 2020, any player who is eligible for the 2020 NFL Draft AND whose college season has been completed, may contact the Combine office at (317) 687-8100 or (800) 331-9135 to find out their NFL Combine selection status. The Combine staff will only discuss the status directly with the player, although a family member, coach or representative is welcome to be on the phone with the player.
Selected players who have games remaining in their college season will receive their invitation via email after they have played their final game.
Underclassmen who officially declare for the 2020 NFL Draft through the NFL office will be considered by the selection committee in late January. The NFL Scouting Combine does not encourage players to leave school early and there are no guarantees that an underclassman who declares for the NFL Draft will be invited to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine. Underclassmen who have officially declared should send their email address as outlined above and may call the Combine office beginning Tuesday, January 28, 2020 to check on their status.
Any questions, please contact the Combine office at (317) 687-8100 or (800) 331-9135.
Combine Medical Questions
Please consult your college team athletic trainer and doctor for any x-rays, MRI’s or CT’s, along with their interpretation (performed in the past 12 months), as well as any written surgery or test notes (regardless of how old they are) from injuries and BRING THEM WITH YOU TO INDIANAPOLIS FOR THE PHYSICAL EXAMINATION. You will be given a COMPLETE and THOROUGH medical examination upon your arrival. Failure to bring any previous test findings may result in having to repeat the test once you arrive in Indianapolis. It’s a good idea to retain a copy of any test results you bring in case you do not get your originals back.
All players will participate in Cybex Testing on the day of their arrival in Indianapolis. This will give each player ample time (a minimum of 54 hours) for recovery prior to their scheduled workout.
If I am not selected to attend the NFL Scouting Combine, can I still be drafted?
Yes. Many players who enjoy successful careers in the NFL did not attend the NFL Combine. If you are not selected you can call the combined office directly. Ask if you can get an invitation, tell them you are will to pay for a hotel and all costs associated with travel. State you are prepared mentally and physically. (Prepare a video, email with your measurables, statistics, and brief introduction. You have this in video form and on a sheet of paper in one sheet format.)
Here at Souletics®, we have AI that will tell you what your measurables need to be to get drafted, in which round and additionally we have a database with 30 years of data. Start here - https://www.souletics.coach, enter your measurables and see how you stack up.
Our AI system is here - https://www.souletics.coach/potenital
Combine Player Evaluation Tests
What evaluation tests are players required to participate in. Sometimes players opt out of some tests. Some only do the 40. It is best to prepare for all tests and do them. This will give a team the most information to evaluate you.
Here is a list of Combine Tests
The NFL Combine is a week-long event in which prospective NFL Drafts showcase their abilities to scouts, team owners, and coaches in the hopes of being drafted to the top teams in the league. The NFL Combine 2018 is broken down into categories that allow each player to perform the feats that will be required of them in their desired role on the team. The list below includes the main events at the NFL Combine:
Measures a player’s ability to achieve an awesome top-speed, and hold it across 40-yards to simulate the moments where quick bursts of speed will be necessary to get away from an opponent or catch them on the field before they can make significant progress.
Measured as a player’s ability to repeatedly lift 225-lbs.
The current bench press record for the NFL Combine is held by Justin Earnest, who managed 51 repetitions in the 1999 Combine.
Measures a player’s ability to leap straight into the air, either in a static position or while running down the field. This is a phenomenal way of assessing the maximum reach a player has when leaping over obstacles, or reaching for a football that was thrown a tad off-target.
The broad jump is another word for a standing long-jump. This is a good way of measuring a player’s ability to leap over opponents and soar an extra few feet towards the end zone. Launching one’s body forward during a game requires explosive exertion, so it’s a good sign to coaches and scouts alike if a player can run around for half an hour and then still produce short bursts of energy.
This task was designed to measure a player’s ability to change direction quickly, and complete movements in all directions, as opposed to just running in a straight line. To scouts, successfully completing this drill indicates that you can change direction on the fly, evade opponents, and keep charging forward.
3 cone drill
Being able to move around the field in an agile manner is important for all pro-football players. The 3 cone drill is designed to measure just that; by requiring players to move quickly between three points, while bending and sprinting around the field.
This practice is similar to the 20-yard shuttle but requires players to exert more effort for a longer amount of time to get up and down the field. The drill requires players to run up to a 20-yard line, touch it, turn around, and run back to the starting line. Then, they repeat the process by running to the 40-yard and 60-yard lines as well. Once the 60-yard line is touched, the player sprints back to the starting line.
Teams are allowed a certain amount of interview time for them to speak with potential recruits that they feel would be great additions to their team. This way, if there are any reservations on the part of coaches or team leadership, they can be addressed immediately.
Before any NFL hopeful can make their full transition to the NFL, they have to pass a drug screening to make sure that no performance-enhancing drugs were used, which could give them an unfair advantage over other players, as well as harm their own health.
The Cybex test
The Cybex test is used at the end of the combine to test the overall status of a player’s body. Each player’s joint movement is what is primarily evaluated by the Cybex test.
The Wonderlic test
The Wonderlic test is administered to all athletes at the NFL combine, regardless of their position, to gauge how well they would do on the field, under pressure, with very tight time constraints. Most NFL plays occur within 4-7 seconds, so having a player who can discern the best course of action in a few short seconds could mean the difference between defeat and victory.