All 32 NFL teams will be on hand for the annual Scouting Combine starting Saturday morning from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
The four day event splits players up by position and runs them through physical tests like the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, three cone drill, and shuttle run.
Saturday will be the first day featuring tight ends, offensive linemen, and specials teams players. The key skill positions of quarterback, running back and wide receiver will be on display on Sunday.
On Monday, Feb. 24, defensive lineman and linebackers will take the field, and Tuesday is devoted strictly to defensive backs.
In years past many players have seen their draft stock rise or fall based off their performances during the Combine drills. And according to the NFL, since 1985 only three players, or 0.34 percent, have been selected in the first round without attending the combine.
This year most eyes will lock on to the race for the No. 1 overall pick between South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
While the best predictor for how any player will perform at the pro level is their college reel, any of the top three could make the Houston Texans choice much easier with an excellent showing of strength and speed in Indy.
Manziel made waves when his agent declared late last week that he won’t throw the ball at the combine, and will instead run through passing drills during his individual pro day on March 27, according to CBS Sports. It’s currently unclear if Bridgewater will throw on Sunday, and only fellow passing prospect Blake Bortles of Central Florida has confirmed that he will.
On Friday the quarterbacks were measured with Manziel coming in a quarter-inch away from six feet tall, but sporting the biggest hands of the top three passing prospects, according several to reports.
Despite an incredible physical presence and three solid years at South Carolina, the combine represents the best place for Clowney to silence any critics of his poor endurance or conditioning.
Joining Clowney in the deep pass rusher field is UCLA’s Anthony Barr, Auburn’s Dee Ford, and Missouri’s Kony Ealy and Michael Sam. Seen as a mid-round pick, Sam is projected to be the first openly gay player in the NFL after coming out earlier this month.
Among the receivers Clemson’s Sammy Watkins and USC’s Marqise Lee lead the pack. Lee was viewed as a lock for the first round before several minor injuries hampered his junior season. Watkins posted 1,000-yard receiving seasons in two of this three college seasons and is expected to crack the top 10 with a solid showing in the 40 and receiving drills.
Auburn’s Tre Mason, Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde, and Arizona’s Ka-Deem Carey make up an equally deep running back class, but in last year’s draft no running back was selected until early in the second round.
TV Channel: NFL Network, and viewers can find the channel for their cable or satellite provider here
Time: Saturday, Feb. 23 at 9 a.m. EST
Online Stream Info: A live online stream with a choice of views can be watched via NFL.com.
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