The 2015 NFL Scouting Combine begins this week in Indianapolis, and it features three Gophers who will be showcasing their skills in a chance to either get drafted in the case of Damien Wilson, or improve their draft stock in the cases of David Cobb and Maxx Williams. Hundreds of scouts and NFL team personnel will take every measurement possible, put the players through several drills, and interview the players looking for any potential red flags.
Below is the full schedule of the combine, and we will break out in detail what that will mean for the Gopher players below:
|Day 1 Arrivals||Group 1 (PK, ST, OL)/Group 2 (OL)/Group 3 (TE)|
|Tuesday, 17 February||Registration, Pre-Exam, X-Rays, Orientation, Interviews|
|Wednesday, 18 February||Measurements, Medical Examinations, Media, Interviews|
|Thursday, 19 February||NFLPA Meeting, Psych Testing, PK/ST Workouts, Bench Press, Interviews|
|Friday, 20 February||On-field workouts (timing, stations, skill drills)|
|Day 2 Arrivals||Group 4 (QB, WR)/Group 5 (QB, WR)/Group 6 (RB)|
|Wednesday, 18 February||Registration, Pre-Exam, X-Rays, Orientation, Interviews|
|Thursday, 19 February||Measurements, Medical Examinations, Media, Interviews|
|Friday, 20 February||NFLPA Meeting, Psych Testing, Bench Press, Interviews|
|Saturday, 21 February||On-field workouts (timing, stations, skill drills)|
|Day 3 Arrivals||Group 7 (DL)/Group 8 (DL)/Group 9 (LB)|
|Thursday, 19 February||Registration, Pre-Exam, X-Rays, Orientation, Interviews|
|Friday, 20 February||Measurements, Medical Examinations, Media, Interviews|
|Saturday, 21 February||NFLPA Meeting, Psych Testing, Bench Press, Interviews|
|Sunday, 22 February||On-field workouts (timing, stations, skill drills)|
|Day 4 Arrivals||Group 10 (DB)/Group 11 (DB)|
|Friday, 20 February||Registration, Pre-Exam, X-Rays, Orientation, Interviews|
|Saturday, 21 February||Measurements, Medical Examinations, Media, Interviews|
|Sunday, 22 February||NFLPA Meeting, Psych Testing, Bench Press, Interviews|
|Monday, 23 February||On-field workouts (timing, stations, skill drills)|
So lets take a closer look at that that means to our former Gophers. As you can see, Tuesday is arrival day for the tight ends. Obviously that means Maxx Williams. Here is Maxx's draft profile from NFL.com
Last night before I make the next step in my career! Combine here I come.— Maxx Williams (@williams_maxx) February 16, 2015
Maxx will arrive on Tuesday, and go right into medical evaluations and interviews with teams. On Wednesday he will get his official draft measurements taken, speak with media in town, and continue to have interviews with teams. Thursday he finally gets to get to work physically as he will get to perform in the bench press test. Here is how that will work according to NFL.com:
The bench press is a test of strength -- 225 pounds, as many reps as the athlete can get. What the NFL scouts are also looking for is endurance. Anybody can do a max one time, but what the bench press tells the pro scouts is how often the athlete frequented his college weight room for the last 3-5 years.
Friday is the day where we all get to see how he performs. The Tight Ends will perform in the on-field workouts. This is where Maxx and the other tight ends will run the 40-yard dash, the vertical and broad jump, three-cone and shuttle drills, and finally, run some position-specific drills such as pass catching and blocking. Here are the NFL.com descriptions of the rest of the drills:
The 40-yard dash is the marquee event at the combine. It's kind of like the 100-meters at the Olympics: It's all about speed, explosion and watching skilled athletes run great times. These athletes are timed at 10, 20 and 40-yard intervals. What the scouts are looking for is an explosion from a static start.
The vertical jump is all about lower-body explosion and power. The athlete stands flat-footed and they measure his reach. It is important to accurately measure the reach, because the differential between the reach and the flag the athlete touches is his vertical jump measurement.
The broad jump is like being in gym class back in junior high school. Basically, it is testing an athlete's lower-body explosion and lower-body strength. The athlete starts out with a stance balanced and then he explodes out as far as he can. It tests explosion and balance, because he has to land without moving.
3 cone drill
The 3 cone drill tests an athlete's ability to change directions at a high speed. Three cones in an L-shape. He starts from the starting line, goes 5 yards to the first cone and back. Then, he turns, runs around the second cone, runs a weave around the third cone, which is the high point of the L, changes directions, comes back around that second cone and finishes.
The short shuttle is the first of the cone drills. It is known as the 5-10-5. What it tests is the athlete's lateral quickness and explosion in short areas. The athlete starts in the three-point stance, explodes out 5 yards to his right, touches the line, goes back 10 yards to his left, left hand touches the line, pivot, and he turns 5 more yards and finishes.
The schedule is the same for the running backs, just one day later. That means check in is Wednesday for David Cobb, and his combine will be completed with his on-field workout day on Saturday. Here is Cobb's NFL.com Draft Profile.
Finally, Damien Wilson will do the exact same things, again just one day later. Check-in will be Thursday, and his on-field day will be Sunday. Here is his NFL.com Draft Profile.
So how can I watch the Combine?
Good Question. The workouts will be shown live on NFL Network. For those of you like most of us who need to work on Friday, but have no qualms about stealing your company's productivity...you can also watch the combine being streamed live for free on NFL.com here! You can also keep up to date on all the Combine participants performances on NFL.com with their Combine tracker. This is where all the info will be added to each players profile that we linked to above. Once they have competed a drill, their time or number of reps will be added to the tracker, and you can sort by highest to lowest. This way you can really compare Maxx to the rest of the tight ends, Cobb to the rest of the running backs, and Wilson to the rest of the linebackers.
The first workouts will begin Friday at 8:00 AM. There will be two groups each day, one going from 8-12, and the other from noon-4. We will have a full recap of the Gophers performances next week, and we can see how they stack up with their competition, and how their draft stock has changed. Good luck to our former Gophers!