God Bless the NFL Network (channel 180 on Comcast Digital here in San Francisco)! Beginning at 8am this morning, the NFL Network is putting out a three hour package each day covering the 2007 NFL Scouting Combine. Today's package included offensive linemen, tight ends and kickers. Tomorrow is the money package including running backs, quarterbacks and wide receivers; Monday will cover linebackers and defensive lineman; Tuesday is devoted to the defensive backs; Wednesday will feature an 8-hour marathon of the position packages from 8am to 4pm, followed by a 5pm wrap-up show. For a complete rundown of NFL Network, check out this pdf document.
In scrolling through the World Wide Web, I've come across a lot of interesting information related to the Combine workouts. ESPN and NFL.com obviously have the most information, but I found an interesting article at The Hogs.net. The Hogs ran down the various drills and what they are meant to test:
- 40-yard dash: With times at 10, 20 and 40 yards, immediate explosion and general speed are measure. The shorter distance times are more important for offensive and defensive lineman, while the 40 yards is key for receivers and backs (offensive and defensive).
- Bench Press: Strength is so important in a league in which players are getting bigger and stronger every year.
- Vertical Jump: Essential on both sides of the ball, a quality vertical jump would probably give a team more reason to take a shorter defensive back. The NFC West is loaded with big receivers and quality defensive backs will be essential in the coming years.
- Broad Jump: This is a key drill for offensive, defensive lineman and running backs, considering the need for lower body strength in driving forward.
- 3-Cone Drill: Agility and speed is obviously important at any position considering the abilities at the NFL level. Cutting is important for running backs for what I hope are obvious reasons. Thus we have the 3-cone drill to measure these abilities. I just watched an offensive lineman run the drill and I'm stunned he didn't slip, fall and sprain or break something. The combine is the perfect opportunity to see what freaks of nature many of these guys are.
- 20-yard shuttle: Running side to side is not something I do all that often in life. Making quick sprints to your left and right definitely seems like a good way to look at coordination combined with speed in your bigger guys. For the skill positions? Well that leads to...
- 60-yard shuttle: The 20-yard shuttle seems hard enough, just imagine tripling that? The Hog lists it as the best test of endurance. One question I have is, if you start at a yard line, go 10 yards left, 20 yards right and 10 yards back to the original spot, isn't that only 40 yards? Maybe somebody out there can clarify it for me.
- Wonderlic Test: You know everyone is waiting for the first score under 15 to be leaked out. They claim it's a good test of intelligence, but I'm not really sure about that, considering some of the scores reported. Either way it makes for entertaining reading when the rumors are floated about poor scores.
- Physical Measurements: I was watching the NFL Network coverage and needless to say it is a total cattle call. The announcers were quick to continuously point out the guy with the longest arms. Definitely glad they made sure I know it.
- Team Interviews: You have to wonder what Pac Man Jones had to say in his team interview considering he's been arrested or question in 8 different "incidences" since he was drafted. I wonder if he compared notes on the best clubs to check out in the various cities.
- The Cybex Test/Injury Evaluation: I figured there was some sort of injury evaluation, but I'm certainly intrifued by the Cybex Test. Apparently it tests joint movement and flexibility and results can affect draft status. Consider the injury issues last year, hopefully the 49ers get some quality information out of this.
So hopefully this gives you a little more insight as we see the Combine play out over the next few days. NFL.com will have all the results posted of the various drills and I'll make sure to pass that along for players that might interest the 49ers. After watching offensive lineman rumbling through the 40-yard dash today, it will be interesting to see wide receivers blast through it tomorrow.