Eisen's Mailbag: Most important combine drill

Posted Feb 24, 2016

Today’s edition of The Mailbag on

Is there one NFL Scouting Combine drill that stands out more than any other when it comes to evaluating talent?

The 40-yard dash for skill players and the bench press for linemen. Forty-yard times are the combine’s most-discussed measurement for running backs, defensive backs, and particularly wide receivers. The difference between a 4.40 and a 4.50 can make a 20 or 30-slot difference in where a wideout is selected. NFL teams crave speed. A prospect who has blazing speed is going to be attractive to any team. One who post a disappointing time in the 40 is going to be saddled with a red flag heading into the draft. Linemen are scrutinized on how many times they can bench press 225 pounds. An impressive feat of strength will enhance a prospect’s prospects. But an unexpected display of weakness can drop him on many teams’ draft boards.


What types of questions are typically asked during the Scouting Combine interview? Who conducts the interviews?

The interviews are generally conducted by several members of a team, including the general manager, head coach, personnel or scouting director, coordinator, and position coach. Any or all of them can attend. The questions cover a wide area of territory – preparation, attitude, confidence, leadership, injuries, on-the-field responsibilities, off-the-field issues, game situations, NFL players he admires, academics, family, his goals and hopes. Then there are the position-specific questions. A quarterback might be given a crash course in a team's offense and the get asked to repeat what he was just taught. A wide receiver might be queried about why he had a few too many drops, a linebacker or defensive back about tackling issues. The objective is to learn as much about each player in the allotted time.

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