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September 17, 2019 2 min read

The NFL is back in full swing with some of the best athletes in the USA on show.
Every spring, ahead of the draft, around 300 players participate in the Combine to showcase their attributes.
Here, Built for Athletes takes a focused look at all six drills used.

40-Yard Dash
This is designed to test explosive speed and is probably the most popular spectator event at the Combine. Athletes simply sprint 40 yards as fast as they can.
The record of 4.22 seconds was set in 2017 by wide receiver John Ross, who went on to get picked by the Cincinnati Bengals. Zedrick Woods got close to that in 2019, clocking a rapid time of 4.29 seconds.

Bench Press
The bench press is another popular drill. Players must lift 225lbs (102kg) for as many reps as they can. This primarily measures strength endurance, informing the scouts how much time each player has put in with their strength and conditioning coaches over their time playing college football. In 2019, Iosua Opeta topped the rankings with 39 reps.

Vertical Jump
A test of lower-body explosive power, the vertical jump is slightly more technical than the first two drills. Players must stand flat-footed and reach up as high as they can as they jump. Juan Thornhill reached 44 inches this year.

Broad Jump
This also measures explosive lower-body strength. Athletes stand in a balanced stance and then must jump out as far as they can. Emanuel Hall travelled furthest this year with 141 inches.

Three-Cone Drill
The three-cone drill tests the athlete’s ability to change directions when moving at speed. Three cones are laid out in an L-shape and the athlete is timed as they run out to the first cone (5 yards from the start line) and back, out to the second cone and back, and then does a weave around the third. Typically it’s completed in 6-8 seconds.

Shuttle Runs
Athletes sprint from the start line to a cone five metres away on their right, then back to a cone five metres from the left of the start line and returns back to the start line as quick as they can. David Long finished first in 2019 in 3.97 seconds.


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