Photo: Kent State running back Dri Archer performs the broad jump at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine. (Ben Liebenberg/NFL) AP
Every year the NFL invites over 300 college football players to perform a variety of physical and mental tests and evaluations that showcase their strength, speed and skills in front of NFL team coaches, scouts and general managers (no pressure there!). Their performance at the Combine can determine where they get drafted. (The higher they are drafted, the better their contract.)
From Feb. 17-23, watch as some of the best up-and-coming players give it their all in a variety of on-field workouts and position-specific drills. All players, no matter their position, must do the following tests listed below. We're not Heisman Trophy winners, but we think it would be fun to try these drills ourselves. What about you? How would you measure against these NFL hopefuls?
It’s the ultimate drill that measures a football player’s speed and explosiveness. Sprint 40 yards from a standstill as you are timed in 10-, 20- and 40-yard intervals.
Time to beat: 4.24 seconds, currently held by Rondel Melendez, Chris Johnson and Marquise Goodwin
Fun fact: Bo Jackson is said to unofficially hold the record at 4.12 seconds (hand-timed) in 1986.
The bench press tests players' strength. They are required to lift 225 pounds, as many reps as they can get. Scouts also want to see endurance, which, according to NFL.com, indicates how often the athlete frequented his college weight room for the last three to five years. Are you up for the task?
Reps to beat: 51 reps by Justin Ernest (1999)
Fun fact: Since 1999, only 14 athletes at the Combine have managed to achieve more than 40 reps.
The vertical jump measures how high an athlete can lift himself off the ground from a standstill, showcasing both lower-body explosion and power. (Strong legs are kind of important in football.)
Jump to beat: 46 inches by Gerald Sensabaugh (1999)
Starting in a balanced stance, the athlete has to jump out as far as possible. This tests lower-body explosion, lower-body strength and balance.
Best jump to beat: 11 feet and 5 inches by Justin Fargas (2003) and Scott Starks (2005)
How fast can you change direction at high speed? That’s what the 3 cone drill determines. With three cones set up in an L-shape, the athlete begins 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.
Best test to beat: 6.42 seconds by Jeff Maehl (2011)
The shuttle run tests the athlete's lateral quickness and explosion in short areas. Start in the three-point stance, explode out 5 yards to your right, touch the line, go back 10 yards to your left, left hand touches the line, pivot, and turn 5 more yards and finish.
Best time to beat: 3.73 by Kevin Kasper (2001)
Statistics from Topendsports.com.