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2017 NFL Combine Preview

Posted Feb 13, 2017

Heading into the 2017 NFL Combine, here's a break down of the overall process.

Defensive End Khalil Mack

We’re just a week removed from Super Bowl LI, and the focus has already shifted toward the NFL Combine, which will begin February 28, 2017 in Indianapolis. For college prospects entering the league, the Combine presents an important opportunity to showcase agility, speed, strength, and other athletic characteristics in front of NFL scouts, coaches, and general managers.

The four-day event features a slew of different drills that allow spectators to break down a player’s talent, and take a look at potential players they could take in the draft.

Over the last three years, the Oakland Raiders have had some notable players come through the Combine, from quarterback Derek Carr, defensive end Khalil Mack, and wide receiver Amari Cooper, the team has found some outstanding talent.

Here is a brief breakdown of the measurable drills, described by NFL’s Mike Mayock:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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, pivots, and turns 5 more yards and finishes.