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NFL Draft

TDN Scouting: How To Evaluate NFL Scouting Combine

  • The Draft Network
  • September 5, 2020
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Currently going through summer evaluations, our scouting team of Kyle Crabbs, Joe Marino, Jordan Reid, and Drae Harris are meeting up every day to discuss prospects, traits, and concepts.

On Friday, we talked a bit about the NFL Scouting Combine, discussing how to weigh certain tests at specific positions.

Importance of Play Speed

The NFL Scouting Combine is an interesting event. After all, what’s not to like about seeing all of your favorite prospects going through the same tests and drills? Our staff was adamant—despite the hype that comes with running fast and jumping big—that they put much more of a priority on game tape as opposed to combine testing.

“The first thing is seeing if the numbers match up to the play speed,” Harris stated. “You have to be sure the tape aligns with the numbers you’re seeing.”

Reid shared this same sentiment, noting that you should only use testing to confirm what you already know.

“I agree with Drae. A lot of these tests you should just use to confirm what you saw on tape or dispel some of the things you see on tape,” Reid stated. “I think (Minnesota Vikings CB) Cameron Dantzler is a great example of this, just because he was a guy who ran a 4.64 forty at the combine, but we know he’s much faster than that out on the field.”

https://twitter.com/JReidNFL/status/1234280024519380992?s=20

Explosive Tests

Although our staff was in full agreement that tape is the most important part of an evaluation, that doesn’t mean that the combine and athletic testing is useless, especially when it comes to explosive tests like the 10-yard split and vertical jump.

“The most important test generally speaking is the 10 (yard split),” Harris stated. “I don’t think the 40 (yard dash) is super important, but seeing how a player moves, especially in the short areas, is big. It always goes back to the tape, though.”

Crabbs also offered his own thoughts, mentioning that he loves to see the jumps as opposed to more flashy tests like the 40-yard dash.

“As far as tests go for guys in the trenches—it’s not a make or break proposition—but I like to see the 10 (yard split) and the jumps,” Crabbs stated. “That lower body explosiveness—being able to generate a lot of force below the waist in a short amount of time—is important. That for me is what really moves the needle for a lot of bigger guys. You think about tackling and rolling your hips through contact and those are the types of things that use the same force applications (as these jumps). So when I think about boxes I like to see checked, I love seeing a prospect jump high because it tells you they’re super-twitched up and powerful.”

Finally, Reid differed a bit from the rest of the staff on this subject matter, discussing the importance of the on-field drills as opposed to the actual testing that goes on during combine week.

“I’m a guy that likes to put a lot of stock in the on-the-field drills, especially when it comes to defensive backs,” Reid stated. “Seeing guys flip hips, turn and run—seeing how sudden they are—I’m a guy that really values the on-the-field portion as opposed to the testing. (With the testing), I really just want to see if it confirms or dispels what I saw on tape.”

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