Updated March 12, 2021 at 9:34 AM CT

Evaluating talent without the combine 

       The NFL is adapting to the pandemic with the cancelation of the annual scouting combine normally held in Indianapolis. Instead, each school (103 of them) will host a pro day that teams are sending scouts, coaches and general managers across the country to witness.

The NFL has devised rules for the pro days that started March 5 at Kansas and concludes April 9. COVID-19 means no more than three people per team allowed at any pro day.

“This will end up being the Super Bowl of good scouting and player personnel,” agent Leigh Steinberg said. “It’s going to be their time to shine. It’s going to be their Super Bowl, with the better organizations being more creative and coming through with better talent assessment, and some people not being very successful. But that happens every year, right?”

Most of the top QB prospects don’t even plan to do timing or testing at their pro days, instead focusing solely on their throwing sessions.

Teams also won’t be allowed private film sessions, workouts, or dinners with prospects, though in-person visits are allowed only if a school built time into the schedule. Any private workout or timing and testing not affiliated with the NFL is off limits.

One part of the evaluation process that remains is the team's medical checks. Of the 323 players who would’ve been invited to this year’s combine there would have been medical test performed by the NFL in Indianopolis. The NFL is working on a plan to have that available to teams, but right now the best medical evaluation will be done by the teams’ medical staff. Teams can host up to 30 players, and when they do a team of doctors will run their own gauntlet of tests. 

On Jan. 25, teams started to interview players by video, which they’re allowed to do up to five times, with each limited to a maximum of 60 minutes. POT calls are allowed with no limits up to April 28 — the day before the NFL draft starts.

NFL scouts are left with college game film, zoom calls, pro days, and prayers.

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Updated March 2, 2021 at 6:08 AM CT

Virtual combine means death of the 40

       The NFL’s annual Scouting Combine format is altered due to the pandemic. There will be no in-person workouts, but they will instead take place at individual pro days on college campuses, the league stated.

Team interviews and psychological testing and assessments will be done virtually.

“This plan will likely involve a combination of virtual interviews by club medical staff and testing done at labs medical facilities near the prospects’ residence,” the league said.

Leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft, invited prospects will be scheduled for media interviews with league and team media personnel.

Any head coaches and general managers who are often available during the combine are being asked to do so virtually this year.

The NFL held its first combine 30 years ago in Indianapolis. The annual event has become a staple of the offseason calendar, with all eyes on the 40-yard dash.

Former scout and current NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah thinks that could be a glimpse of the future:

“We’re about 2–3 years away from personnel departments not caring about 40 times. The game GPS data is going to replace it. Who cares what he ran in the 40, I know exactly how fast he ran in game conditions & I have 5 years of data for context.”

But now that so much player-tracking data is being collected at the college and NFL level, the 40 is destined to be a thing of the past.

Fine. Let’s move on to hand size.

Ran DeBord - All Access Sporting News

 Follow @AASNSports on Twitter, or me, @RanDeBord

Attributes: AASNSports; NFLMedia

"In the face!"

Previously ==================

February 24, 2020

Hand measurements at the NFL combine

      Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has one thing on LSU's Joe Burrow: Tagovailoa’s official hand size measurements at the Scouting Combine included a 10-inch measurement for his left hand, but a 9-7/8 for his right.

Tagovailoa learned to throw with his left when he was a child but does pretty much everything else with his right.

Eyebrows were raised when Joe Burrow measured with a 9-inch hand this morning, definitely on the small side for what scouts want to see.

On the other end of the scale was Michigan State QB Brian Lewerke, who measured a gigantic 10 5/8 inches via Tom Pelisserio of NFLNetwork,

Previously ================

February 26, 2020

Combine weigh-ins to be done twice

         The NFL has instituted a second weigh-in, just before players do their on-field workouts. A committee of General Managers requested the change, to make sure players are working out at their listed weights, as they do in a pro day setting.

For example, receivers were weighed and measured on Monday, but won’t run until Thursday night, and players’ bodies can change significantly in a short amount of time.

A number of players go to extreme measures to hit certain numbers during the pre-draft process.

A year ago, Florida State pass-rusher Brian Burns played at 230 pounds, but bulked up to 253 in two months for his Combine weigh-in (oh, you know, a 10 percent of his body weight increase). After proving he was the size of an actual NFL outside linebacker, the Panthers drafted him in the first round. Once he went through OTAs, he was back down to 243 by the middle of June, and he referred to the 253 as his “max weight.”

The swings won’t be as big in four days, but the league wants to make sure they’re getting a representative measurement.

RELATED ====================

January 28, 2020 

How players are selected to participate 

     Participants are determined annually by a Selection Committee. The Directors of both National and BLESTO scouting services, which combined represent twenty-five NFL teams, are joined by members of various NFL player personnel departments to form the committee. 

The participating NFL executives can rotate on a yearly basis, and remain anonymous. ALL eligible players are reviewed and voted on by the committee members. 

Each athlete receiving the necessary number of votes, by position, is then extended an invitation. 

While it is not a perfect science, the goal of the committee is to invite every player that will be drafted in the ensuing NFL Draft. 

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