Viking Tries: The NFL Combine

Lincoln Bloom, Ryan Stanley, and Tyler Foug

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From the breakneck speed of Cincinnati Bengals’ wide receiver John Ross (4.22 second forty yard dash) to the mountain-moving strength of Carolina Panthers’ defensive tackle Dontari Poe (44 reps of 225 lb bench press), the NFL combine has been the place for league hopefuls to showcase their skills since 1982. The combine is a massively important event for players where they undergo various drills and workouts to prove their athleticism for the league scouts, coaches, and general managers in attendance. Generally, each position focuses on different drills that it is more necessary for them to be good at; wide receivers and corners are most keen on doing well in the speed drills as pace is important to their position; offensive and defensive lineman are observed most heavily in the strength; quarterbacks in accuracy, etc. There is also an intellectual aspect to the combine that includes the Wonderlic intelligence test, something that Viking Tried in a previous issue. Partaking in the months just before the NFL draft, the combine is a huge determinant of how high players get drafted. Based on how well or poor players do at the combine, their position in the draft can drastically improve or fall depending on their performance, as the combine is the only place where all athletes will be competing together at the same time for all team scouts to see. Despite being in the middle of the offseason and having almost zero competitive football played, April’s combine has historically been home to some vastly entertaining moments. Home to famed blooper moments, such as cornerback Shamarko Thomas faceplanting after his forty yard dash attempt or defensive tackle Chris Jones’ accidentally exposing his private parts. Home to athletic marvels such as Bo Jackson’s unofficial 4.12 forty yard dash time or defensive back Byron Jones setting a world record broad jump at twelve feet three inches. Home to eyebrow-raising drama such as linebacker Reuben Foster’s meltdown where he nearly punched a scout or quarterback Josh Allen having old racist tweets resurface. Home as well as to the ever important off the field questionnaires that included quarterback Drew Lock being interrogated about a math test he cheated on in the ninth grade, defensive end Austen Lane being asked what weapon he would choose to murder someone, or perhaps most blasphemously, the Falcons asking a few players whether they thought their mother was attractive or not. The combine certainly has it all, so here at Viking we thought we would test it out to see if we had what it takes to compete with premier league talents.

Despite our otherworldly athleticism, we were not able to secure invites to the NFL combine, so we set up a slightly adjusted version right here at Hod Ray stadium. Our version included the ever important speed test of the forty yard dash, an accuracy test displaying quarterbacking skill, broad and vertical jumps to test air abilities, a 20 yard shuttle to test agility and reaction times, and the famed bench press, although slightly lowered in difficulty due to our lack of strength.  You can find our results next to our player profiles.

In light of the NFL combine, former Paly quarterback Keller Chryst is currently preparing for his pro day at the University of Tennessee. We reached out to him asking for his thoughts on if pro days and the NFL combine truly measure the skill set of a player, he replied: “In general the testing has a ~15% relation to being a good football player”. However, Chryst later went on to say “For under the radar players, impressing scouts, coaches and teams with good testing numbers can get them to take the time to even evaluate their game film because so many players go unnoticed because teams don’t even watch their game film”. Hearing this makes the NFL combine sound like a great platform for underrated players to show scouts their athletic ability and potential. However, the combine can also weed out players who may have great game film by putting up very bad numbers.

We also asked Chryst what he was doing to prepare for his pro day. “I’ve been running shuttles day after day and explosive drills and exercises in the weight room”, we wish the best of luck to Keller as he is grinding for a shot at the NFL, however, we know he doesn’t need luck because he has hard work and experience.