The college football bowl season kicked off this weekend and with it the focus of fans across America. For many collegiate players, this will be the last time they’ll don their school colors on the “friendly fields of strife” to represent their university. There are roughly ten to eleven thousand draft eligible players at every level of gridiron competition that are hoping to take their college experiences and head out into the real world in search of real employment.
Many are called, few are chosen
But a very fortunate few (less than half of one percent) will garner the opportunity to go through what can only be described as one of the most extensive interview processes in all of professional sports. The annual NFL Scouting Combine will be held in late February of 2012 at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis. As the Football Educator has described before, here personnel men and professional coaches, along with throngs of media and hoards of agents, will descend upon Peyton Manning’s Palace to evaluate this year’s crop of aspiring NFL players.
Having participated at just about every level of the NFL Combine process (group scout, selection committee member, Director of College Scouting and General Manager) I have a firm understanding of the problems and pitfalls that trip up the average attendee.
Don’t get caught flat footed
Over the course of the evolvement of this event, players and agents have also spread the word of the importance of proper NFL Combine preparation to each incoming class. Though only hours in duration, the NFL Combine can be a grueling brand of physical and psychological torture if young prospects arrive unprepared. Active agents, former coaches and ex scouts have put together entire programs in hopes of educating 2012’s rookie class to reaching maximum performance over their three days in Indiana.
So as the college football season ends, a new season of NFL Combine preparation begins in the warm weather cities of Arizona, southern California and Florida. Here the invitees will begin to practice the various skill drills and attribute tests in hopes of shaving a few precious tenths of second off their recorded times and vaulting themselves up the draftboards of NFL clubs.
Take it for what it’s worth
Prudent clubs and Personnel Directors will use this data for what it’s worth, yet another piece of the overall puzzle of a player’s potential to excel at the next level. But others will become so infatuated with a 40 yard dash time or short shuttle or bench press that all previous indicators are thrown out the window and they’re ready to draft the player on the spot.
It’s vital that a prospect know what drills are most likely to catch the eye of coaches and evaluators. That can vary with position as well. Though an overall high level performance is preferred, history shows us that certain areas of excellence are better indicators than others to future success in the National Football League. Both personal experience and independent outside analysis have led to TFE’s areas of emphasis for NFL Combine preparation.
Follow the leader
The Football Educator will begin to breakdown each position by skill drills, interview process, medical questions and general overall presentation for the players that can’t afford the fancy personal training provided by a sports management agency. It should also provide interest for the fans and aspiring talent evaluators trying to get an inside look beyond the cameras of the NFL Network.
Think you’ve already got it down? What drill outside of the 40 yard dash is the single best correlation to future success in the NFL? You’ll know when we’re done. Please ask questions along the way!