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NFL Scouting Combine: The Importance Of The NFL Combine | The Data | How Important Are The Workouts?

About the NFL Scouting Combine and Why It Is Important

The NFL Combine is an event where college football players eligible for the NFL Draft showcase their physical and mental abilities in a standardized setting. Here are some key things to know about the NFL Combine:


Location: The NFL Combine is typically held in late February or early March at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. However, the event was not held in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the location for future events may be subject to change.


Attendees: The Combine is invite-only, and invitations are typically extended to around 300 top college football prospects eligible for the upcoming NFL Draft. From 2012 through 2022, there have been 2500+ attendees.


Tests and drills: Prospects at the Combine undergo a battery of physical tests and drills to assess their athleticism, strength, and football skills. These include the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill, shuttle run, and bench press.


Medical evaluations: Besides the physical tests, prospects undergo a thorough medical evaluation to assess any pre-existing injuries or medical conditions.


Interviews: Teams also have the opportunity to interview prospects, both individually and in group settings, to assess their character, work ethic, and football IQ.


Importance: The Combine can significantly affect a prospect's draft stock. Their performance in the physical tests and interviews can substantially influence how teams view them as potential NFL players.


Overall, the NFL Combine is an essential event for both teams and players, as it provides a standardized setting for prospects to showcase their skills and for teams to evaluate them as potential draft picks.


The NFL Scouting Combine Data Using Our Free NFL Combine Research Tool

Here are some averages of the top player assessments at the NFL Combine since 2012.

Average 40 Time Since 2012: 4.7

Average Vertical Jump Since 2012: 33"

Average 3-Cone Drill Since 2012: 7.3Sec

Average Bench Reps Since 2012: 20

Average Shuttle Run Since 2012: 4.5Sec


Defining each NFL Combine measurable and the top performers.


40 Yard Dash

The 40 Yard Dash is a test that college football players undergo at the NFL Combine, and it measures a player's speed, acceleration, and explosiveness.


Here's how it works:

  • The player starts from a three-point stance at the starting line.

  • At the whistle, the player sprints 40 yards as quickly as possible, with their time being recorded from start to finish.


The 40 Yard Dash is considered one of the most important tests at the NFL Combine. Speed is an essential attribute for many positions in football, including wide receivers, running backs, and defensive backs. A fast 40 Yard Dash time can greatly improve a player's draft stock and overall NFL prospects.


The Top NFL Combine 40 Yard Dash Performances

John Ross, 2017 NFL Combine – 4.22 seconds

Kalon Barnes, 2022 NFL Combine– 4.23 seconds

Chris Johnson, 2008 NFL Combine – 4.24 seconds

Tarik Woolen, 2022 NFL Combine – 4.26 seconds

Dri Archer, 2014 NFL Combine – 4.26 seconds

Jerome Mathis, 2005 NFL Combine – 4.26 seconds

Henry Ruggs, 2020 NFL Combine 4.26 seconds



20 Yard Shuttle Run

The shuttle run, also known as the 5-10-5 drill, is one of the tests that college football players undergo at the NFL Combine. The shuttle run measures a player's agility and ability to change direction quickly.


Here's how it works:

  • The player starts in a three-point stance at the starting line.

  • At the whistle, the player sprints five yards to the right, touches the line, and then sprints 10 yards to the left and touches the line.

  • The player sprints five yards back to the starting line, completing the drill.


The player's time is recorded from start to finish, indicating their ability to accelerate, change direction, and decelerate quickly.


The shuttle run is considered an important test at the NFL Combine because agility and quickness are crucial for many positions in football, including running backs, wide receivers, and defensive backs. A good time in the shuttle run can help players stand out to NFL teams and improve their draft stock.


The Top NFL Combine Shuttle Run Performances

Brandin Cooks – wide receiver – 3.81 seconds – 2014 NFL Combine

Jason Allen – cornerback – 3.81 seconds – 2006 NFL Combine

Bobby McCain – cornerback – 3.82 seconds – 2015 NFL Combine

B.W. Webb – cornerback – 3.84 seconds – 2013 NFL Combine

Justin Simmons – safety – 3.85 seconds – 2016 NFL Combine

Desmond Trufant – cornerback – 3.85 seconds – 2013 NFL Combine

Three Cone Drill (Lateral Agility)

The Three Cone Drill, or the L-Drill, is a test that college football players undergo at the NFL Combine. The drill measures a player's ability to change direction, agility, and acceleration.


Here's how it works:

  • Three cones are placed in an L-shape, with each cone five yards apart from each other.

  • The player starts at the first cone and sprints to the second cone, then quickly changes direction and sprints around the second cone to the third cone.

  • The player then changes direction again and sprints around the third cone, finishing the drill at the starting point.


The player's time is recorded from the start to the finish, indicating their ability to change direction quickly while maintaining their speed and balance.


The Three Cone Drill is considered to be an important test at the NFL Combine because the ability to change direction quickly and maintain balance is crucial for many positions in football, including running backs, wide receivers, and defensive backs. A good time in the Three Cone Drill can help a player stand out to NFL teams and potentially improve their draft stock.


The Top NFL Combine Three Cone Performances

Jordan Thomas – cornerback – 6.28 seconds – 2018 NFL Combine

Jeffrey Maehl – wide receiver – 6.42 seconds – 2011 NFL Combine

Buster Skrine – cornerback – 6.44 seconds – 2011 NFL Combine

Scott Long – wide receiver – 6.45 seconds – 2010 NFL Combine

David Long – cornerback – 6.45 seconds – 2019 NFL Combine


Vertical Jump (Measures Explosiveness)

The Vertical Jump is a test that college football players undergo at the NFL Combine, and it measures a player's explosive lower body power and jumping ability.


Here's how it works:

  • The player stands with both feet flat on the ground under a measuring apparatus called a Vertec.

  • The player then jumps as high as they can, hitting the Vertec with their hand at the highest point of their jump.

  • The difference between the player's standing reach and their highest point of contact with the Vertec is recorded as their vertical jump height.

The Vertical Jump is considered an important test at the NFL Combine because a player's ability to jump high can indicate their lower body strength, power, and explosiveness. This is particularly important for positions such as wide receivers, defensive backs, and defensive linemen, where jumping high can help a player make plays on the ball, disrupt passes, or jump over blockers.


The Top NFL Combine Vertical Jump Performances

Chris Conley – wide receiver – 45 inches – 2015 NFL Combine

Donald Washington – cornerback 45 inches – 2009 NFL Combine

Byron Jones – cornerback – 44.5 inches – 2015 NFL Combine

A.J. Jefferson – cornerback – 44 inches – 2010 NFL Combine

Obi Melifonwu – safety – 44 inches – 2017 NFL Combine

Juan Thornhill – safety – 44 inches – 2019 NFL Combine


Broad Jump (Measures Explosiveness)

The Broad Jump is a test that college football players undergo at the NFL Combine, and it measures a player's lower body explosive power, lower body strength, and overall athleticism.


Here's how it works:

  • The player stands with both feet shoulder-width apart behind a starting line.

  • The player then jumps forward as far as they can, landing on both feet and keeping their balance.

  • The distance between the starting line and the point where the player's heels make contact with the ground is recorded as their broad jump distance.


The Broad Jump is considered an important test at the NFL Combine because a player's ability to jump far can indicate their lower body strength, power, and explosiveness. This is particularly important for positions such as wide receivers, defensive backs, and defensive linemen, where the ability to jump far can help a player make plays on the ball, disrupt passes, or jump over blockers.


The Top NFL Combine Broad Jump Performances

Byron Jones – cornerback – 12’3″ – 2015 NFL Combine

Obi Melifonwu – safety – 11’9″ – 2017 NFL Combine

Emanuel Hal – wide receiver – 11’9″ – 2019 NFL Combine

Juan Thornhill – safety – 11’9″ – 2019 NFL Combine

Miles Boykin – wide receiver – 11’8″ – 2019 NFL Combine


Bench Press (Measures Strength)

The Bench Press is a test that college football players undergo at the NFL Combine, and it measures a player's upper body strength and endurance.


Here's how it works:

  • The player lies flat on a bench with their feet on the ground and their hands on the bar, using a grip that is shoulder-width apart.

  • The player then lifts the bar off the rack, lowers it to their chest, and then lifts it back up until their arms are fully extended.

  • The player repeats this motion as many times as they can in a set period of time (usually 225 pounds for as many reps as possible).


The number of reps that the player can complete is recorded as their bench press score. The Bench Press is considered an important test at the NFL Combine because upper body strength is important for many positions in football, including offensive linemen, defensive linemen, and tight ends.


The Top NFL Combine Bench Press Performances

Stephen Paea – defensive tackle – 49 reps – 2011 NFL Combine

Mitch Petrus – offensive lineman – 45 reps – 2010 NFL Combine

Jeff Owens – defensive tackle – 44 reps – 2010 NFL Combine

Dontari Poe – defensive tackle – 44 reps – 2012 NFL Combine

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