It’s possible to be an NFL fan and not know much about the yearly NFL Scouting Combine. For some casual observers, the season begins with pre-season play and ends with the Super Bowl. However, if you haven’t bothered to watch the annual NFL Combine, you’re missing out on an awesome opportunity to be introduced to a pool of the best college athletes from around the country.
Let’s say you decided to tune in at long last to the 2016 event. Certainly there are a few questions you want to answer before diving in…such as, “What the heck is an “NFL Combine” anyway?”
If you don’t know, the NFL Combine happens every February. It’s an event that gives scouts from every team in the league a chance to take an up-close look at the cream of the college football crop. Hundreds of players ( this year the magic number is 332) from across the country attend — via invite only.
The invitation process is somewhat straight forward. According to the event’s official website,
“Participants are determined annually by a Selection Committee. The Directors of both National and BLESTO scouting services, which combined represent twenty-five NFL teams, are joined by members of various NFL player personnel departments to form the committee.”
“ALL eligible players are reviewed and voted on by the committee members.”
Although not a “perfect science” this group represents the majority of fresh meat entering the NFL in 2016.
The 2016 NFL Scouting Combine will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. Or as some of us call it, “Colts Territory.” If you’re new to the scouting event and worried you might have already missed something, you can relax; the most entertaining aspects of the Combine technically don’t start until Friday.
The days long event is scheduled to last until Monday, February 29. Interviews and events will be held on certain dates according to the relevant positions. Here’s an abbreviated schedule via Sporting News:
- Wednesday, Feb. 24: Interviews for running backs, offensive linemen and special team players
- Thursday, Feb. 25: Interviews for quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends
- Friday, Feb. 26: Workouts for running backs, offensive linemen and special team players; interviews for defensive linemen and linebackers
- Saturday, Feb. 27: Workouts for quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends; interviews for defensive backs
- Sunday, Feb. 28: Workouts for defensive linemen and linebackers
- Monday, Feb. 29: Workouts for defensive backs
A more detailed schedule is available for download courtesy of the official NFL Combine website.
Now you have an idea what an NFL Combine is and an idea of the dates and schedules. Of course, that’s only part of the fun. Any sports fan can tell you that the rest of the fun comes with gratuitous speculation. With mock drafts being posted daily, the NFL Combine allows armchair football scouts a chance to peg which young college football players are worth the hype or are dark horses in the making.
This year is expected to be an especially good one if you happen to be a quarterback; no time in recent history has exposed so many teams in need of starters and decent backup options. CBS Sports singled out North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz, Paxton Lynch from Memphis, Connor Cook of Michigan State, and Jared Goff from Cal.
These will certainly be names to watch if you happen to support a team that’s really desperate for a star quarterback.
If you want to check out the 2016 NFL Combine, you can do so one of two ways. The first is through the NFL Network. The network will be airing workouts every day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and airing a wrap-up show from 8 p,m. to 11 p.m.
If you don’t have NFL Network, you can watch the event online via the NFL’s official website. The stream will go live at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.
[Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images]