The NFL Scouting Combine hits Indianapolis this week, with prospective players set to be poked, prodded and pressured on and off the field, all in a grand effort for scouts and general managers to get some validation for what they see on game film before drafting some of these guys come April.
Is a player worth a first-round pick, or do his measurables not meet the standard? Can he run fast? What’s his 40 time? Is he agile? How are his hips? Are they tight? Is his wingspan sufficient? How big are his hands?
These are the very important bits of information teams are looking for this week, in addition to how the prospects answer tough personal questions and whether they display professional-level football savvy. The science of football is on display at an event that has become so popular the whole shebang is televised. The on-field drills and interviews, at least.
Why would people want to give up their weekend to watch at a glorified fun-and-fitness day? Here’s the deal, and there’s not a single one of you who will disagree with me on this: NFL fans LOVE to sound smart about the NFL Draft. Being right about a guy is almost as satisfying as your team making a solid pick.
Bud Dupree at the 2015 Scouting CombineTrevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Most Steelers fans never watched a single game in Bud Dupree’s college career at Kentucky, but by the time the 2015 Draft rolled around those same fans sounded like experts on the rigidity of his hips, the fluidity of his footwork and the impressive spring in his leap — 138.0 inches in the broad jump, if you forgot — like they coached him since his Pop Warner days.
There is more information than ever about these prospects, and the NFL Combine, for many, is the start of what will be an intense 55 days of football. Yes, I’m talking about the fans.
The NFL breaks each session down by position group, so it’s very easy for Steelers fans to pop in and track the players you’ve been convinced the team needs to draft. There are also a few local prospects at the Combine, so here’s a quick viewer’s guide to when everything goes down.