It is once again time for the NFL Combine. It’s the annual cattle call that features NFL Draft prospects who are put through numerous official measurements, medical exams, interviews, and of course the physical testing. This year two former Minnesota Golden Gophers have been invited to the combine—linebacker Blake Cashman and offensive tackle Donnell Greene. Both Gophers will try and become the first Gopher drafted since Jalen Myrick in 2017.
The combine officially began Wednesday with players in town for the medical exams and interviews with teams portion beginning. The physical measurements began on Thursday for several positions including the offensive linemen. Workouts begin on Friday for the offensive linemen, running backs, and special teams players. Saturday’s workouts include quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends. Sunday’s workouts are for defensive linemen and linebackers, and the workouts conclude Monday with defensive backs.
For the two Gophers prospects both the medical exams and workouts will be important. Both players had injury issues while at Minnesota. Cashman had had three separate shoulder surgeries in the last year and NFL teams will want to check his durability to ensure that he will be able to keep up with the rigors of an NFL season. For Greene he missed the Gophers Quicklane Bowl win to have miniscus surgery on his knee. NFL teams will want to check that knee and see how he is recovering.
The workouts also will be key for both players. Cashman will try to show he has improved his raw numbers to go along with what NFL teams can see on film in what appears to be a weak linebacker class. Meanwhile Greene will try and see if he can stand out physically in what is supposedly a strong offensive tackle class. In his case measurements may make all the difference to whether a team will take a late round flyer on him or try and see if they can bring him in as an undrafted free agent.
So what physical tests will the players perform?
If you have payed any attention to the combine at all you will recognize several of the tests the players will perform during the workout period. The most well known one of course is the...
- 40-yard dash. Jalen Myrick ran one of the fastest times ever at the combine in 2017 but still only was a 7th round choice. Obviously this is more important at the speed positions than it is for an offensive lineman, but NFL scouts will still look at the numbers for that group as well.
- Short Shuttle. Players will start in the center and sprint five yards to the right, then ten yards to the left, and then back to the finish line at the center. This tests agility, balance, and horizontal movement. This could be a key spot to see where Cashman stacks up with the rest of the linebacker class.
- Vertical jump. Jump as high as you can...obviously. More key for WR and DB, but it can show athleticism.
- Broad jump. Jump as far as you can. Again less important for the Gophers but can show lower body explosion and balance which are key for an offensive lineman.
- Three-cone drill. Three cones are set in a L shape and players must run to each one and around from a starting point. This drill is meant to test for agility, flexibility, and change of direction. Again, key for a linebacker so Cashman’s time will be one to watch.
- Bench press. Pure upper body strength. How many times can you press 225 pounds. These numbers are always in the discussion for the OL.
The OL measurements began Wednesday morning. Here is what Greene measured out as:
#NFLCombine key measurements thread…— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) February 27, 2019
31. #Minnesota OT Donnell Greene
Height: 6-5 2/8
Hand: 9 4/8
Arm: 35 2/8
Cashman has not yet been measured. A reminder that all combine workouts will air live on NFL Network. Coverage begins at 9 AM both Friday and Sunday for the position groups for Greene and Cashman. We will have a recap of their performances next week here at TDG.