NFL Scouting Combine Changes: What Are Executives Planning To Do?

Changes may be coming to the NFL scouting combine in the near future. A committee is currently being put together by National Football Scouting, the organization that owns the NFL combine. The members of the committee will be made up of league executives, scouts, coaches, athletic trainers, and team physicians. Their duties will require them to go over and analyze, all aspects of the combine process. Jeff Foster, the president of National Football Scouting, spoke with USA Today Sports about the potential combine changes.

“Our first focus is to look at what we do currently and making sure that that’s relevant. And if it is, great, we’ll continue to do it, because historical comparison is really important to the evaluation process. But if we believe that there’s something that’s not relevant, then what can we replace it with that will help us evaluate the players?”

Not every player and coach thinks the combine process is worth the effort that is put into it. Players spend months of their time training in the combine events in order to improve their stock. Bill Belichick is one of the NFL coaches who has spoken out against the combine and its methods. Along with Belichick, other coaches and teams are using technology and other concepts in order to study players instead of watch them compete in the combine. Some experts believe that the combine needs to evolve in order to attain better results. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy commented about the NFL’s commitment to make sure the sport is evolving forward with the times.

“We’re continuing to explore everything in an effort to improve. So, if there are ways to tweak, improve, modify anything we do, we’ll explore that (and that includes) the combine. The mantra is, how can we get better?”

This Wednesday, NFL executives will be having a meeting with Dr. Marcus Elliott. Doctor Elliott is the founder and director of P3 which specialized in using 3D technology to analyze performance. The P3 technology has been used by the NBA. This will be the first time the NFL will be meeting with any group that specializes in this type of technological analysis. Doctor Elliot explains briefly about what his company does.

“Everybody wins when you do these things. You start choosing players that are slotted more correctly based on their real physical tools, and you also have insight into injuries they’re at risk for, so you can help them prevent those injuries.”

The NFL scouting combine has taken steps to integrate technology and new diagnostic tools into the combine process. The combine added a screen that studies functional movement and the have added baseline neurological testing. The neurological testing is being done in order for the NFL to try and curb the amount of brain damage caused by concussions. Psychological testing has also been added. The actual football drills have remained stagnant for many years. Jeff Foster wants to make sure that established technology is better utilized.

“We want to make sure that we’re using the technology that’s available. What I don’t think we’re interested in doing is beta testing. We want some proven elements that will help us better evaluate the players so that we can project college players to the NFL.”

As we head into one of the most anticipated parts of the NFL offseason, the changes to the combine will no doubt be talked about while the athletes perform in the 2016 combine.

Do you think the NFL scouting combine needs to change?

[Image Via AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles]