The NFL combine tests draft prospects in all kinds of ways. They are pocked and prodded as all their physical size and ability is measured and their medical history is examined.
For the purposes of this article, I’m listing just the tests administered, not the drills. These are all the things measure that don’t include actually physical or football ability. You can find the list of those drills below, though. Here is the complete list of NFL Combine Tests:
This is probably the simplest part of the entire NFL scouting combine. Official height and weight measurements are taken for each prospect. Your arm length and hand length is also taken. Lineman and running backs also have their body fat percentage taken. This is also the part of the combine where scouts can get an up close visual look at your build and body composition.
A lot of teams consider this the most important part of the NFL combine, because it is one of their only opportunities to talk with you in a one-on-one private setting. You will be asked a wide variety of questions that the team asks to get a look at your mental health. Some questions are very personal and designed to see if they can incite a reaction. Teams want to know how athletes will respond in each situation. Each team gets 15 minutes with each athlete and can interview a maximum of 60 prospects.
For most athletes, this is a chance to make sure there are no red flags in their injury history and that your body is capable of holding up at the NFL level.
This is more important for prospects with an injury history and especially those with a recent or current injury. Teams want to make sure that everything is healing properly and that they aren’t at an increased risk for future injuries.
This is simple. You will be drug tested. Every year, several players fail the test, despite knowing exactly when it will be. To NFL teams, this can be a sign of a serious problem.
This test joints and flexibility of the athlete. Prospects are hooked up to a large machine and have to resist the force of the machine. This is another test that is more important for previously injured athletes. You can find out more about the Cybex test here.
You’ve probably heard about this one. 50 questions in 12 minutes, designed to test the ability to process information quickly. The questions are similar to that of a general I.Q. test. After, you will be given a score out of 50. You will need to prepare for this test. While it is tough to prepare for the actual questions on the test, as each exam has different questions, you can prepare for the style and format by taking practice exams.
Noticeably absent from this list are the actual drills performed by the draft prospects. You can find the NFL Combine drills list at this link. If you don’t need an explanation for all the drills, here is a list:
All of this to guess how everything transfers to the football field? While the drills at least show football and athletic ability, these test’s transfer to football field skills is mostly insignificant. After all, a lot of health and fitness junkies could do very well on these parts of the scouting combine.
So why are these tests important for NFL prospects? Scouts and team personnel look at these as a way to find and evaluate potential red flags for prospects. For instance, the injury evaluation can potentially show any long-term injury concerns or at least make sure any current or recent injuries aren’t major, and the interview and Wonderlic test can show the athlete’s ability to process information quickly.
While the validity of these tests is questionable for predicting future success, it is an important part of the scouting process when teams are looking to make multi-million dollar investments into players. It is even more important for individual prospects, who are looking to secure their future opportunities in the NFL.