Inside Look: NFL Scouting Combine

This  time each year, during the month of February,  350 collegiate football prospects arrive in Indianapolis to be evaluated by every team in the NFL. It is an invitation – only opportunity for players who have completed their college eligibility or who have declared to leave the college ranks after three years. The position group who  consistently receives the most attention are the Quarterbacks. Normally a range of 18 – 22 Quarterbacks are issued an invitation to participate each year.

Each prospect is evaluated in the 40 – yard dash, vertical jump, standing long jump, pro shuttle, three-cone, bench press (optional for Quarterbacks), several intelligent tests, personal interviews, and a full compliment of position drills. Additional measurements and evaluations include: a complete medical review; height/weight and hand size measurements; and for the Quarterbacks – a radar gun measurement of ball speed. The Combine is scheduled over four days for each position group of prospects. For the Quarterback, the personal interviews and passing drills are important evaluations. In preparation for the passing segment of the combine, a Quarterback has trained since early January  by throwing the official NFL ball “Wilson” inflated to “regulation” weight. These highly scrutinized passing drills come on the final day of the QB’s 4 – Day week which has been preceded by three intense 16-18 hour days. Typically, these days begin at 7:00am and can go with Combine activities through 11:00PM concluding with nightly personal  interviews. Then on Day “4” at 10:00 AM the QB is timed in the 40 yard sprint and then asked to demonstrate his QB skills in a 60 –90 minute passing evaluation. It is a format that challenges the mental and physical makeup of the young ascending Quarterback prospect.
Many of the NFL teams reach an early judgment on a Quarterback based on the face-to-face interview. This 15 minute discussion can leave a lasting impression with a team. The Quarterback prospect prepares himself to enter the interview room loaded with energy and an awareness of the key people involved in the interview. Normally for a Quarterback interview, teams will include the General Manager/President, Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator, QB Coach, Director of Personnel, several team scouts and a “designated hitter” (team psychologist  or trainer). Quarterback interviews tend to fill up the room.
The questions can range from A to Z, with football and leadership discussion points leading the way. The most important factors are not the questions, but how the prospect answers the questions.How he presents himself (posture, eye-contact, self-confidence) is as important as the response given. The QB must bring strength to his answers, but not with an arrogant manner. He wants to demonstrate confidence, but with a touch of humility that can go a long way. Keeping his responses concise and never passing up a chance to inject humor into the dialogue – this brings out the QB’s personality which can go along ways among the probing, highly intense and sober NFL personnel inside the room.  A sharp prospect leaves himself time to ask several questions of his own at the end  of the interview time creating his own Two – Minute Drill.
Listed are some unique questions that found there way into the QB interview room at the Combine…….
  • Describe how you take a mental rep during practice?
  • We have spent millions of dollars with bad results, now it’s time to spend millions of dollars and get good results, so why should we draft you?
  • For your first ever NFL play as Quarterback, what play do you want called?
  • Which active QB do you emulate and why?
  • How will you handle an out-of-control veteran in your NFL offensive huddle?
  • How would your College coach describe your work ethic — meeting room habits — toughness in the weight room?
  • You have 4 minutes. Go to the board and list every play in your college offense this past season!! GO…………
The NFL Scouting Combine experience is merely another step a college prospect takes in his journey  toward chasing his dream, his passion to play in the NFL. The Combine serves as an opportunity for a first impression and what the prospect must know is that he only has 4 days or sometimes  merely 15 minutes to make a  “FIRST IMPRESSION.”

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