7 NFL Scouting Combine Drills That Don’t Exist, But Should
Broad jumping, palm measurements, and of course the Wonderlic are but a few of the tests that potential NFL players must endure at the glorified meat market known as the NFL Scouting Combine. But while players are judged on a variety of skills that loosely relate to tasks they’d have to perform during an actual NFL game, there are lots of very necessary skills that go untested, leaving NFL teams fully in the dark about the true pro potential of these prospects.
With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of NFL Combine drills that don’t exist, but should.
Post-Tackle Celebration Appropriateness Test
There are few greater indignities than inappropriately celebrating after the opposing team has gained a first down (or worse, is up by four touchdowns). The GIF above highlights a particularly unfortunate case in which Sheldon Richardson of the Jets began celebrating before Fred Jackson was tackled, or even really close to the ground. A basic “yes” or “no” written evaluation in which defensive players are given situations and have to determine whether it’s appropriate to celebrate afterwards would be very useful to teams. If a player answers “yes” to more than 10% percent of the situations, that’s a big red flag.
Squirting Water Through Gaps In Facemask Accuracy Test
Hydration accuracy is critical for professional success, which is why it would behoove teams to test how well an incoming player is able to squirt Gatorade through the gaps in their face mask. Correct technique can make a player whose measurable’s lack in other areas look like an all-pro, a la Drew Brees above. While questionable technique will result in water getting all over your face. Case in point, look how disappointed Tyson Jackson looks as a result of his poor squirt bottle accuracy below. A really shameful performance for a player of his caliber.
It may seem like a relatively simple task, but it’s one of the most common actions in sports. And as Dustin Brown taught us, poor form can result in utter humiliation.
This guy had to do it this one time, so better safe than sorry.
Missed Interception Reaction Reflex
The NFL has a clear system in place for when players drop an interception: Defensive backs entering the league must be prepared to instinctively put their hands on the side of their helmet in complete disbelief after every missed interception, regardless of the score of the game or whether they were in fact that close to catching it. The time it takes to react to the interception is crucial because it must match up with when the camera pans to the player and the announcers admonish him for the subpar attempt. Here are some real professionals at work*:
*If the player is on the ground, they must then proceed slam their fist on the grass and/or turf.
Last season, Andre Ellington led the NFL by averaging 5.5 yards per carry. Despite this, we still place an absurd amount of importance on how fast players can run 40 yards unimpeded, a situation that occurs pretty much never. Why not save everyone time by just measuring the distance that many of the players on the field will move on a given play (particularly if they’re blocking)? For a more accurate reflection of how fast a player will run 40 yards in a game, just repeat the 2.5-Or-So-Yard-Dash 16 times and add it up.
Quarterback Sliding Drill
An underrated art, proper utilization of quarterback slides can be crucial to drawing penalties, staying healthy, and not looking like a damn fool.
A good slide, such as Matt Flynn’s below, can save a quarterback from impending doom.
While a bad slide can look really, really stupid …
… or be career-defining.
Teams need to know what kind of slider they have. They probably want to know if they have Mark Sanchez, too.