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2009 NFL Combine Introduction

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I was planning on putting this post up yesterday, in time for the first day of the NFL combine, but with the release of Deuce McAllister on Tuesday it obviously had to get put on the back burner. So without further ado, let's take a little look at this whole NFL Combine thing. I have put together what I think is quite an impressive little introduction to the 2009 NFL Combine. If you had any questions about this mysterious event before today, chances are they will be answered right here, right now. So let's find out the who, what, where, when and why of the 2009 NFL Combine. 

 

How did the Combine get started?

From NFLCombine.net.

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, 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 has 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.



Who is eligible to be invited to the NFL Combine?

From NFLCombine.net

  • All college seniors are eligible for the NFL Combine immediately following their final year of collegiate eligibility.
  • Any underclassmen who declare for the NFL draft and satisfy all NCAA and NFL requirements are eligible to participate.
  • Additionally, an athlete who is not playing collegiate football may qualify under a special circumstance in the year that correlates to his natural draft year had he been playing college football. He must first contact the Player Personnel Department at the NFL Office in New York to verify eligibility for the upcoming NFL Draft.


How are players selected for the NFL Combine?

From NFLCombine.net

Participants are determined annually by a Selection Committee. The Directors of both National and BLESTO scouting services, which combined represent twenty-six 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.


What is the Combine schedule?

From NFLCombine.net

DAY 1 ARRIVALS*: Group 1 (PK, ST, OL), Group 2 (OL), Group 3 (TE)

Wednesday
February 18, 2009

Travel to Indianapolis* ~ Registration ~ Hospital Pre-Exam & X-rays ~ Orientation ~ Interviews


Thursday
February 19, 2009

Measurements ~ Medical Examinations ~ Media ~ Psychological Testing ~ Interviews


Friday
February 20, 2009

NFLPA Meeting ~ Psychological Testing ~ *PK/ST Workout* ~ Interviews


Saturday
February 21, 2009

Workout (timing, stations, skill drills) ~ Departure from Indianapolis



DAY 2 ARRIVALS*: Group 4 (QB, WO), Group 5 (QB, WO), Group 6 (RB)

Thursday
February 19, 2009

Travel to Indianapolis* ~ Registration ~ Hospital Pre-Exam & X-rays ~ Orientation ~ Interviews


Friday
February 20, 2009

Measurements ~ Medical Examinations ~ Media ~ Psychological Testing ~ Interviews


Saturday
February 21, 2009

NFLPA Meeting ~ Psychological Testing ~ Interviews


Sunday
February 22, 2009

Workout (timing, stations, skill drills) ~ Departure from Indianapolis



DAY 3 ARRIVALS: Group 7 (DL), Group 8 (DL), Group 9 (LB)

Friday
February 20, 2009

Travel to Indianapolis* ~ Registration ~ Hospital Pre-Exam & X-rays ~ Orientation ~ Interviews


Saturday
February 21, 2009

Measurements ~ Medical Examinations ~ Media ~ Psychological Testing ~ Interviews


Sunday
February 22, 2009

NFLPA Meeting ~ Psychological Testing ~ Interviews


Monday
February 23, 2009

Workout (timing, stations, skill drills) ~ Departure from Indianapolis



DAY 4 ARRIVALS: Group 10 (DB), Group 11 (DB)

Saturday
February 21, 2009

Travel to Indianapolis ~ Registration ~ Hospital Pre-Exam & X-rays ~ Orientation ~ Interviews


Sunday
February 22, 2009

Measurements ~ Medical Examinations ~ Media ~ Psychological Testing ~ Interviews


Monday
February 23, 2009

NFLPA Meeting ~ Psychological Testing ~ Interviews


Tuesday
February 24, 2009

Workout (timing, stations, skill drills) ~ Departure from Indianapolis


What events and drills do the players perform?

40-yard Dash

The 40-yard dash is one of the most popular drills at the combine as tenths of a second can greatly affect a player's future. Players are timed in 10, 20, and 40 yard increments to see how quickly they explode off the line and how quickly they reach the top speed.

While the 40-yard dash is a fan favorite, NFL scouts also consider the 10- and 20-yard dashes, as well as 20- and 60-yard shuttle runs and cone drills, as measures of a player's agility and speed.

Bench Press

The bench press, quite simply, is a test of strength in which players bench press 225 pounds as many times as possible.

Vertical Jump

Players stand flat-footed in front of a pole that has plastic flags sticking out of it. Players jump from a standing position and try to swat as many of those flags as they can.

The vertical jump is just one component to seeing how skilled athletes are at elevating off the ground from a standstill.

Broad Jump

Like the vertical jump, the broad jump is done from a standing position, but this drill measures how far a player can jump.

Like many of the core events of the NFL Scouting Combine, athletes are very familiar with this fundamental fitness test.

20-yard Shuttle

The 20-yard shuttle is designed to test lateral speed and coordination. The player starts in a three-point stance. When the whistle blows, the players run five yards to one side, touching the yard line. They then sprints 10 yards in the other direction and again touch the yard line, at which point they sprint back to the yard line they started from.

60-yard Shuttle

The only difference between the 60-yard shuttle and the 20-yard shuttle is that instead of running five yards, 10 yards then five yards, the players run 10 yards to one side, then back 20 yards and then 10 yards to the starting point.

Three-Cone Drill

Players start in a three-point stance in front of three cones that are set up in a triangle or L shape, with each cone five yards apart. They then sprint five yards to one cone, sprint back to the starting cone, and head back to the second cone where they run around it and cut right to the third cone. The players then run a circle around the third cone from the inside to the outside and run around the second cone before returning to the first cone.

Position Specific Drills

These drills vary by position. For a detailed video about each position specific drill, check out this informative video the NFL put together at NFL.com.

NFL Team Interviews

Each NFL team can interview up to 60 players at the combine. Questions range in topics from football to personal.

The Wonderlic Test

From Wikipedia

The Wonderlic Personnel Test is an intelligence test primarily known for being administered to prospective employees for the purposes of recruitment, placement, development and retention. The Wonderlic is a twelve-minute, fifty-question exam to assess aptitude for learning a job and adapting to solve problems for employees in a wide range of occupations. The score is calculated as the number of correct answers given in the allotted time. A score of 20 is intended to indicate average intelligence.    


This assessment roughly corresponds to examples from Paul Zimmerman'sThe New Thinking Man's Guide to Pro Football. According to Zimmerman, examples of average scores for each position are:

  • Offensive tackle - 26
  • Center - 25
  • Quarterback - 24
  • Guard - 23
  • Tight end - 22
  • Safety - 19
  • Linebacker - 19
  • Cornerback - 18
  • Wide receiver - 17
  • Fullback - 17
  • Halfback - 16

Measurements

Players' height, weight, arm length, and hand length are measured. Body fat percentage is measured on running backs and lineman.

The Cybex Test

Players are hooked up to a machine that tests their flexibility and joint movement. 

Injury Evaluation

Players are given physicals and x-ray examinations.


Which players should Saints fans be watching?

Obviously, the Saints are in need of some defensive help. While anyone on the defensive side of the ball is fair game, the defensive backs are definitely where we need to focus our energy; possibly the linebackers. Therefore we don't need to startreally paying attention until February 23rd (defensive line, linebackers) and February 24th (defensive backs). For a full list of the participants check right here. Highlighted players have been discussed as a possible draft pick by the Saints right here on CSC.

 

Cornerbacks

Akins, Kevin DB 6'2" 224 Boston College
Allen, Asher CB 5'10" 198 Georgia
Barnes, Kevin CB 6'1" 188 Maryland
Burnett, Joe CB 5'10" 188 Central Florida
Butler, Darius  CB 5'10" 178 Connecticut
Byrd, Jairus CB 6'0" 205 Oregon
Carey, Don CB 6'0" 186 Norfolk State
Davis, Vontae  CB 6'0" 204 Illinois
Delmas, Louis  CB 5'11" 197 Western Michigan
Fletcher, Bradley DB 6'1" 196 Iowa
Francies, Coye CB 6'0" 179 San Jose State
Harris, Cary CB 6'0" 188 Southern Cal
Harris, Victor CB 5'11" 186 Virginia Tech
Hughes, Brandon CB 5'11" 177 Oregon State
Jenkins, Malcolm  CB 6'0" 200 Ohio State
Johnson, Bruce CB 5'10" 182 Miami
Johnson, Domonique DB 6'2" 192 Jackson State
Lewis, Keenan CB 6'1" 198 Oregon State
Mickens, Mike CB 6'0" 190 Cincinnati
Moore, D.J. CB 5'10" 184 Vanderbilt
Mouton, Ryan DB 5'9" 180 Hawaii
Munnerlyn, Captain CB 5'9" 185 South Carolina
Osaisai, Wopamo CB 5'11" 198 Stanford
Owens, Christopher CB 5'10" 182 San Jose State
Palmer, Ryan DB 5'9" 190 Texas
Pegues, Derek DB 5'10" 193 Mississippi State
Powers, Jerraud CB 5'9" 192 Auburn
Quin, Glover CB 5'11" 200 New Mexico
Smith, Alphonso  CB 5'9" 193 Wake Forest
Smith, DeAngelo CB 5'11" 191 Cincinnati
Smith, Sean CB 6'3" 210 Utah
Taylor, Curtis DB 6'3" 208 LSU
Trent, Morgan CB 6'1" 190 Michigan
Underwood, Brandon CB 6'1" 192 Cincinnati
Washington, Donald CB 6'0" 194 Ohio State
Webb, Lardarius CB 5'10" 180 Nicholls State
Word-Daniels, Jahi CB 6'0" 193 Georgia Tech
Wright, DeAndre DB 5'11" 193 New Mexico

 



Safeties

Bruton, David FS 6'2" 210 Notre Dame
Chung, Patrick  SS 5'11" 207 Oregon
Cook, Emanuel FS 5'10" 205 South Carolina
Ellison, Kevin S 6'1" 224 Southern Cal
Greene, Courtney SS 6'1" 211 Rutgers
Hamlin, Michael FS 6'2" 207 Clemson
Harris, Nic S 6'2" 233 Oklahoma
Hodge, Stephen SS 6'0" 236 TCU
Holmes, Lendy FS 6'1" 201 Oklahoma
Johnson, Rashad  FS 6'0" 195 Alabama
Martin, Sherrod FS 6'1" 187 Troy
McBath, Darcel S 6'1" 199 Texas Tech
McClinton, Marcus S 6'0" 208 Kentucky
Moore, William  S 6'1" 230 Missouri
Nolan, Troy S 6'1" 207 Arizona State
Sanford, Jamarca FS 5'10" 209 Mississippi
Spillman, C.J. FS 6'0" 190 Marshall
Vaughn, Chip S 6'1" 218 Wake Forest
Wiley, Otis S 6'2" 210 Michigan State

 

Linebackers

Arnoux, Stanley  ILB 6'1" 240 Wake Forest
Beckwith, Darry ILB 6'1" 233 LSU
Brinkley, Jasper ILB 6'2" 262 South Carolina
Casillas, Jonathan OLB 6'1" 226 Wisconsin
Clemons, Chris LB 6'1" 210 Clemson
Curry, Aaron  ILB 6'2" 246 Wake Forest
Cushing, Brian  ILB 6'3" 243 Southern Cal
Ellerbe, Dannell LB 6'1" 236 Georgia
Felder, Anthony ILB 6'2" 231 California
Fokou, Moise OLB 6'1" 228 Maryland
Follett, Zack OLB 6'2" 231 California
Freeman, Marcus LB 6'1" 235 Ohio State
Ivy, Mortty OLB 6'2" 239 West Virginia
Laurinaitis, James  ILB 6'2" 240 Ohio State
Levy, DeAndre OLB 6'3" 228 Wisconsin
Maiava, Kaluka OLB 6'0" 232 Southern Cal
Matthews, Clay OLB 6'3" 246 Southern Cal
Maualuga, Rey  LB 6'2" 254 Southern Cal
Mauga, Josh OLB 6'2" 245 Nevada
McKenzie, Tyrone OLB 6'2" 244 South Florida
McKillop, Scott ILB 6'1" 243 Pittsburgh
McRath, Gerald OLB 6'3" 224 Southern Miss
Orakpo, Brian OLB 6'4" 260 Texas
Phillips, Jason ILB 6'1" 236 TCU
Robinson, Lee OLB 6'2" 249 Alcorn State
Sintim, Clint  OLB 6'3" 249 Virginia
Williams, Worrell OLB 5'11" 250 California
Wooten, Morris LB 6'1" 245 Arizona State

 

 

How can I keep up with the 2009 NFL Combine?

The NFL has put together a blog that will update regularly. The NFL Network will also have plenty of coverage this week.