I am often asked my opinion on things that involve football. The questions range from how to find which player position best suits a child to who I think will win the Super Bowl, and pretty much everything in between. I have many thoughts on the game, on coaching, and on improving performance, so I am starting Passing Thoughts to share some of those thoughts. I welcome your comments and conversation. –KR

Friday, February 22, 2013

The 2013 NFL Combine

Every football player has a dream of someday playing in the NFL. They all want the opportunity to play at the highest level and reap the rewards from playing professionally. This weekend is the next step for all the college athletes that have performed on the field and drawn the attention of NFL scouts and NFL organizations. Combine weekend can thrust people into the spotlight or drop them from all NFL talks.

Would you be nervous if you knew you were walking into a potential $10 million dollar interview? Wait a minute...not just an interview but also having to perform on all of these things:

· Body Measurements
· Neuropsych baseline testing
· Complete orthopedic & internal medical examinations
· Special medical tests – as needed
· Wonderlic Test – to assess learning and problem solving skills.
· Isokinetic lower extremity testing
· Personal interview
· Bench press
· 40 yard dash
· Vertical jump
· Broad jump
· 3 Cone drill
· 60 yard shuttle run
· Position-specific drills                                                                          Source for list: Mike Ryan Fitness

Tyler Bray
The goal, of course, is to be drafted early. First round picks will be able to command four year deals worth over $20 million, while third round picks may only get $500,000/year. Any negative report, slip in performance, incorrect answer or poor test score, can result in dropping to later rounds or dropping out of the draft completely.  Athletes are scrutinized over every detail of their career and life. Everything is fair game, including their personal life, use of social media, juvenile crimes, personal relationships, etc. Players become “investments” for team franchises, and the organization needs to look over every detail of their potential million-dollar investment.

Denard Robinson
In addition to the behind the scenes scrutiny for players, they have to be able to perform under a new level of intense pressure on the field. College prepares athletes to perform on the field, but nothing really prepares a player for the pressure that comes with throwing a touchdown in front of 50,000 screaming fans, making a game winning field-goal in the NFL playoffs, or scoring the game winning touchdown run in a huge NFL rivalry game. Athletes have prepared themselves to perform on the field, but are they ready for extreme pressure that comes with the NFL experience? Players are going to be exposed in all ways, and their performance and response under pressure in the spotlight is what will determine their fate. Performance on the field will seem easy to when it’s compared to the entire NFL experience.

Manti Te'o
Manti Te'o (LB, Notre Dame) will be watched carefully to see how he handles the questions raised by his social media nightmare.

Tyler Bray (QB, Tennessee) has the size at 6'6 and the arm strength of an NFL QB, but many scouts question his accuracy. The combine will give him the opportunity to throw with different WR's in front of all teams and scouts. How he handles that will determine his fate.

Denard Robinson has been a QB for Michigan all his career, but now has to make the transition to WR for the NFL. Denard will have to show the scouts that he can play the position, make the cuts, be strong enough to block, understand route concepts, and prove that he has the hands to play in the NFL. This is a huge weekend for Denard!

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