We had heard a little over a week ago that the NFL’s annual scouting combine was in doubt, and now we’ve got confirmation of major changes.
The league sent a memo to teams, which you can read in full via this tweet from Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, essentially killing the combine as we know it. There will be no mass gathering in Indianapolis, with no on-field in-person workouts happening. Any on-field workouts will happen at individual pro days on college campuses. There are always on-campus pro days, but the league says it will “work with schools to encourage consistency in testing and drills” across campuses.
It will also ensure that all teams have access to video from said pro days even if they don’t attend them live. “For a certain number of prospects,” there will also be an in-person medical examination at a designated location “likely in early April.” Each team can send one doctor and one athletic trainer.
There’s always a lot teams want to unearth medically at the combine each year, so those changes might be even more significant than the lack of on-field workouts. The club interviews with prospects will all be done virtually.
Another usual highlight from Indy is the prospect press conferences, which will apparently still happen in some form. Colleges will be asked to set up virtual media availabilities with combine prospects. The league is also asking NFL teams to still have their head coaches and executives hold media availabilities like always.
Those coach and GM press conferences at the combine always generate a ton of headlines, and hopefully this year isn’t any different. The combine is also usually where a lot of free agency and trade talk goes down, with agents and executives all mingling, and it’ll be interesting to see how this new format impacts that.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.