In some circles, the NFL Combine is the ultimate test to determine a player's real value – all that college tape is great, but how do you stack up in person? Of course, many others believe the annual gathering of players wearing underwear and competing in feats of strength and explosion isn't always indicative of how good you'll be in the league. It's there mostly to find some surprises.
So what exactly is it good for?
The NFL put out several new videos to explain the significance of some of the major Combine tests – the 40-yard dash, the bench press, the vertical jump, the broad jump, the three-cone drill – citing players in years past that wowed scouts, and if those wows were fulfilled later on a real field.
Most of the videos present common sense, but take a look to get a better grasp of these drills and learn what general manager Scot McCloughan and his scouting team will be looking for in each of these tests.
We begin with the 40-yard dash, the Combine's marquee event and certainly the most translatable for practical application.
The Redskins' Stephen Paea holds the record for the bench press (49 reps), which is more about endurance than maxing out.
The vertical jump is a pretty useful tool to judge cornerbacks and wide receivers, since they're the ones that will be battling in mid-air for jump footballs. But it's also helpful to see the explosiveness from a bigger defensive player, like, say, J.J. Watt.
The broad jump really tests lower body explosion. You have to stick the landing for your jump to count, so this drill is just as much about balance.
Finally, the three-cone drill adds another layer to determining speed and agility, especially for pass rushers, who need to be quick off the edge and be good at changing direction as the quarterback maneuvers the pocket.