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What NFL Clubs learn at the Combine

Thu, Feb 20, 2014

By Phil Savage

The NFL Combine is Feb. 22-25 in Indianapolis and is step two in the NFL Draft evaluation process for clubs around the league. For football fans, a lot of eyes will be on the 40-yard dash, the premier event of the Combine. But, for NFL clubs, there is much, much more information to obtain during their time in Indy.

The mental part of the week not only includes the face-to-face interviews, but also some comprehensive psychological testing.NFL teams will focus on three areas this week: medical, mental and physical. In the medical portion of the Combine, all 32 clubs will have their medical staffs and team doctor in place. Players will be put through a myriad of tests. Usually when you see a player drop on draft day mysteriously, it's because of something that was discovered at the Combine. 

The third and final component is the physical testing that you see on TV: the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, a variety of shuttle runs and then some position drills. All of the information obtained at the Combine is put together and added to the portfolio of the 330-plus players that will be in Indianapolis.

For the seniors who went to the Reese's Senior Bowl, if they post the kind of times/measurables that they are hoping to achieve, everything that they need to do is in the books and they can go work on conditioning and specific football drills as it leads up to the NFL Draft. If they don't reach the goals and objectives that they hoped to achieve, then they still have their Pro Day to fall back on, very much like an insurance policy.

But for the 102 juniors that declared, this is their first impression in front of the NFL clubs. So, you could argue there's a lot more pressure on a junior than a senior because a senior has his portrait already painted and he's looking to add that final piece of the puzzle together while the juniors are at the beginning of this pre-draft evaluation period.

Phil Savage Phil Savage is the Executive Director of the Senior Bowl. He worked 20 years in the NFL as a coach, scout and executive, including two years as the Director of Player Personnel for the Baltimore Ravens and four years as the general manager of the Cleveland Browns.