Yesterday, I came across an article from by Gil Brandt, Senior Analyst with about how NFL Scouts and personnel judge player’s Combine/Pro Day perfomances.

Gil did a great job explaining how certain drills mean more to some positions than others.   He was the VP of Player Personnel for the Cowboys for 29 years, so he’s a credible source on this topic.

Now obviously you wanna do well in all of the drills, but knowing as much as you can about how scouts are going to look at your results can at least calm your nerves a little.

Tennessee Titans' running back Javon Ringer (ICON Sports)

Anyways, today I’ll be speaking on some of the things that stood out to me in the article.

In case you find something interesting that I fail to mention, make sure you give the article by Mr. Brandt a read for yourself.

Plus, they have a chart at the bottom of the page with the target times and scores you should be looking to achieve, by position. You might wanna print that out to set some goals for yourself.

Click below to get to the article.

What does the combine data mean? Depends on your position

Anyways, let’s get started.

Combine Results are Tie-Breakers


According to Brandt, combine drills are more of a tiebreaker between two prospects a particular team grades-out as equal.

In other words, they don’t trump the importance of your overall ability to play the game.

But don’t misunderstand that to mean that the combine drills should matter any less to you than they do now.

For all you know, your Combine or Pro Day numbers might make the difference between you and another player getting drafted or getting an undrafted free agent contract this year.

WR’s, Work on Your 10-Yard Splits


Gil says the 10 yard split is crucial for wideouts:

With receivers, there’s increased focus on the 10-yard time, because it measures burst off the line of scrimmage. When you compare two receiver prospects, it’s often the wideout with the better 10-yard dash — not the 40 time — that attracts more attention.

‘Nuff said.


Linemen, Don’t Worry about the 40… As Much


This should go without saying, but Brandt says linemen don’t have to worry as much about their 40 time. Linemen hardly ever need to sprint 40 yards in a game.

Nevertheless, speed sells in the NFL, so the faster your 40, the better, even if you “are” a lineman.

It could very well be your tiebreaker in the event that a team is trying to decide between you and another lineman.

>> Training for the 40 yard dash


Linemen, DO Worry about the Bench Press


Although all players need to be strong on the football field and use strength in some part of their game. Brandt mentions that linemen need to do at least 20 reps in the bench press test. Anything less than that raises red flags.

>> Training for the 225 Bench Press Test


Everybody Needs to do Good in the Vertical and Broad Jumps


While everybody on the field doesn’t need to run a fast 40, or bench press at least 20 reps, explosion is helpful everywhere on the field, so don’t take these two tests lightly.

>> Training for the Vertical Jump Test

>> Training for the Broad Jump Test


The Short Shuttle is CRUCIAL for Running Backs

Brandt used the example of Javon Ringer, who’s 40 time (4.60) wasn’t that great at the Combine, but was a top performer in the 20 yard shuttle.

According to Brandt, Javon’s 4.11 in the 20 yard shuttle prompted Tennessee to pick him up, regardless of his subpar 40 time.

>> Training for the Short Shuttle


Bad 40 Time? You Need To Do Well in the 3-Cone


Brandt says it simply, “…good times in this drill can trump poor 40 times when it comes to how coaches view certain prospects.”

Returning to the Javon Ringer example, he ran a 6.87 in the 3-cone, and the chart on Brandt’s article says you want to run at least a 7.25 as a running back. So I’m sure that helped him out as well.


So now you know a little more about how the NFL personnel are going to evaluate your numbers at the Combine or Pro Day.

Good luck, and make sure you recommend this article to your friends and teammates. I’m sure they’d appreciate it.

This is a one-shot deal. No do-overs.

Let’s get it.

Catch me on Twitter! @alvingrier 

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