INDIANAPOLIS — It’s that time of the year again, when the entire National Football League packs its bags and heads to the Circle City.
The NFL Scouting Combine today kicks off its 32nd straight year in Indianapolis, and this year’s event features a record-number of NFL Draft hopefuls — more than 300 of them — who will undergo the most rigorous job interviews of their lives.
The ultimate goal for the prospects? Try to solidify their spots on each team’s boards heading into the NFL Draft, which kicks off in two short months in Nashville.
The annual Combine is just one of many key offseason events for the Indianapolis Colts and their personnel department, which just recently wrapped up more than two weeks straight of draft meetings at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
The Colts’ initial 2019 board is in place, but it’s far from ready. The next week or so at the Combine will provide the team with a critical opportunity to continue to interview prospects, evaluate their medical history and, in many cases, see them work out on the field.
So what should Colts fans be looking for specifically at this year’s Combine? We’ve got that covered for you right here:
Get a full list of the 337 prospects invited to take part in this year’s NFL Scouting Combine by clicking here.
Tuesday, Feb. 26:
» Kickers, special teamers, offensive linemen and running backs arrive in Indianapolis; begin medical testing and team interviews.
Wednesday, Feb. 27:
» Tight ends, quarterbacks and wide receivers arrive in Indianapolis; begin medical testing and team interviews.
» Colts general manager Chris Ballard scheduled to speak to the media at 2 p.m. ET.
» Colts head coach Frank Reich scheduled to speak to the media at 3 p.m. ET.
Thursday, Feb. 28:
» Defensive linemen and linebackers arrive in Indianapolis; begin medical testing and team interviews.
» Kickers and special teamers work out on the field.
» Kickers, special teamers, offensive linemen and running backs conduct media interviews.
» Kickers, special teamers, offensive linemen and running backs go through bench press station.
Friday, March 1:
» Defensive backs arrive in Indianapolis; begin medical testing and team interviews.
» Offensive linemen and running backs work out on the field.
» Tight ends, quarterbacks and wide receivers conduct media interviews.
» Tight ends, quarterbacks and wide receivers go through bench press station.
Saturday, March 2:
» Tight ends, quarterbacks and wide receivers work out on the field.
» Defensive linemen and linebackers conduct media interviews.
» Defensive linemen and linebackers go through bench press station.
Sunday, March 3:
» Defensive linemen and linebackers work out on the field.
» Defensive backs conduct media interviews.
» Defensive backs go through bench press station.
Monday, March 4:
» Defensive backs work out on the field.
The Colts currently have nine picks in April’s NFL Draft, including the No. 26-overall pick in the first round. Many consider the team’s most pressing needs heading into the draft are defensive line, defensive back and wide receiver — who will the team be watching extra carefully over the next few days? Here, via NFL.com, are the top 10 prospects at each spot who are expected to be in Indy:
» Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
» Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
» Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
» Nick Bosa, DL, Ohio State
» Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
» Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
» Ed Oliver, DL, Houston
» Dexter Lawrence, DL, Clemson
» Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
» Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson
» Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
» Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
» Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame
» Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
» Taylor Rapp, S, Washington
» Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
» Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida
» Amani Hooker, S, Iowa
» Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State
» Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware
» D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi
» Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
» A.J. Brown, WR, Mississippi
» Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
» Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia
» Emanuel Hall, WR, Missouri
» Diontae Johnson, WR, Toledo
» N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
» J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford
» Mecole Hardman, WR, Georgia
Who do the experts believe will be selected by the Colts with that 26th-overall pick? Check out our latest installment of Mock Draft Monday.
The on-field workouts are perhaps the most popular portion of the Combine for those watching at home. Here, via NFL.com, is a breakdown of each of the measurable drills:
» 40-yard dash
The 40-yard dash is the marquee event at the combine. It's kind of like the 100-meters at the Olympics: It's all about speed, explosion and watching skilled athletes run great times. These athletes are timed at 10, 20 and 40-yard intervals. What the scouts are looking for is an explosion from a static start.
NFL Combine record holder (since 2000): John Ross, 2017/Donte Stallworth, 2002; 4.22 seconds
» Bench press
The bench press is a test of strength -- 225 pounds, as many reps as the athlete can get. What the NFL scouts are also looking for is endurance. Anybody can do a max one time, but what the bench press tells the pro scouts is how often the athlete frequented his college weight room for the last 3-5 years.
NFL Combine record holder (since 2000): Stephen Paea, 2011; 49 reps
» Vertical jump
The vertical jump is all about lower-body explosion and power. The athlete stands flat-footed and they measure his reach. It is important to accurately measure the reach, because the differential between the reach and the flag the athlete touches is his vertical jump measurement.
NFL Combine record holder (since 2000): Gerald Sensabaugh, 2005; 46.0 inches
» Broad jump
The broad jump is like being in gym class back in junior high school. Basically, it is testing an athlete's lower-body explosion and lower-body strength. The athlete starts out with a stance balanced and then he explodes out as far as he can. It tests explosion and balance, because he has to land without moving.
NFL Combine record holder (since 2000): Byron Jones, 2015; 12 feet, 3 inches
» 3-cone drill
The 3-cone drill tests an athlete's ability to change directions at a high speed. Three cones in an L-shape. He starts from the starting line, goes 5 yards to the first cone and back. Then, he turns, runs around the second cone, runs a weave around the third cone, which is the high point of the L, changes directions, comes back around that second cone and finishes.
NFL Combine record holder (since 2000): Jordan Thomas, 2018; 6.28 seconds
» Shuttle run
The short shuttle is the first of the cone drills. It is known as the 5-10-5. What it tests is the athlete's lateral quickness and explosion in short areas. The athlete starts in the three-point stance, explodes out 5 yards to his right, touches the line, goes back 10 yards to his left, left hand touches the line, pivot, and he turns 5 more yards and finishes.
NFL Combine record holder (since 2000): Kevin Casper, 2001; 3.73 seconds