2021 Scouting Combine Uncertain To Happen

The big business machine that is the NFL has managed to make a television event out of the annual scouting combine. But regardless of how one feels about watching a series of college players running 40-yard dashes and three-cone drills in shorts, the combine is doubtlessly an important part in draft preparations for NFL teams.

However, as a result of COVID-19, the status of this year’s combine is in doubt. Within the next week or so, the league will decide whether there will be a combine and, if so, what form it will take, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com writes.

The combine has been held in Indianapolis every year since 1987, and the league could hold it in a “reduced form” on its regularly scheduled date and location in February (presumably, that simply means fewer players would be invited). The league could also push it back to April or simply hold a series of regional combines.

Since the combine is typically the first major event of the offseason calendar, any delay could impact the start of free agency, the draft, etc. And as Matt Miller of Bleacher Report observes (via Twitter), any change to the combine will increase the importance of the Senior Bowl and collegiate pro days (assuming they’re allowed).

Most importantly, as ESPN’s Kevin Seifert notes, this means that COVID-19 protocols are not going away and will be a factor for most of the offseason, if not all of it (Twitter link).

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10 comments on “2021 Scouting Combine Uncertain To Happen

  1. crosseyedlemon

    I sense that Rory has the same disdain for the scouting combine as I do :)

  2. mjgrove

    Why not just quarantine everyone invited for 2 weeks? Provide the same resources you gave the NBA bubble? Make much out of nothing

    • Ak185

      If they do cancel, it’d be because this is the NFL’s opportunity to show that they’re taking things “seriously” without actually having to give up something major of substance.

      All of the NFL’s behavior can be explained by the “citing in a lawsuit” method (which also applies to press conferences). When accused of not taking the pandemic seriously in a few years’ time by not, say, postponing or canceling a certain game, they can point to the Combine and say, “Look, we were serious, we can cancelled the Combine!” Same thing with much of the supposed player safety measures-the NFL doesn’t care as much about player safety as they do about having good counterarguments in concussion lawsuits.

      I don’t really think that the Combine has much value, other than introducing us fans to certain players that we didn’t see. But if the NFL REALLY wanted to do it, they could do it in a bubble more easily than the games. They’re reluctant to because of the value in using it as evidence of their good behavior-at least in my opinion. Granted, this is mostly based in my suspicion and own opinion, but the I do agree with you that the Combine would definitely be doable bubble style with less risk to players than the games that are currently being played.

    • twentyforty

      Quarantine the healthy…still as illogical as the last 10 months.

  3. letmeclearmythroat74

    Who cares about the combine ? As long as they take the Wonderlic test … there’s a reason Tua was an all time low and Fitzmagic was an all time high …

  4. jeb39999

    This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me you could have players stagger their arrival times and easily social distance as the players individually do their drills. Considerably easier than say… a football game?

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