It has been more than a month since the New England Patriots captured their sixth Super Bowl Championship in Houston. Overcoming a 28-3 deficit at halftime to the Atlanta Falcons, quarterback Tom Brady and company came up victorious in overtime with a score of 34-28. This comeback has garnered historic fame as one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history, let alone the Super Bowl.
As the New England fans clamored with the feeling of victory for a record-sixth time, the National Football League fans of the 31 other franchises could barely hold the anticipation for what the 2017-18 season would bring for their beloved teams. Even though the NFL calendar did not begin until March 9, scouts, general managers and coaches all gathered in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium for the NFL Scouting Combine starting Feb. 28.
This event marked the beginning of the draft process for those college football athletes who declared eligibility for April’s draft.
Prospects from all skill positions competed in various drills to test their skills in certain football situations. Many athletes participated in the bench press, 40-yard dash, three-cone drill and on-the-field workouts. For each position group, the workouts varied. For example, the running back prospects would catch passes, while the offensive linemen would focus on their footwork and moving laterally.
To begin this event, the linemen and running backs performed on March 3, the quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends on March 4, linebackers and defensive linemen on March 5 and the safeties and cornerbacks on March 6. Through every drill and workout, the players tried to raise his draft stock and prove to a potential NFL franchise that he is worth the selection.
Not only did the prospects display their football ability, but at the end interviews were conducted to get to know the players’ background and the people they grew up with. Some coaches even tried to interview their little-league coaches about what they were like as kids.
After the combine concluded, there were still questions surrounding the prospects and the franchises searching for talent. The Cleveland Browns have the No. 1 overall pick and the No. 12 pick in the first round—but it is still unclear what their plans are.
Myles Garrett, one of the top prospects in this year’s draft class, did not disappoint at the combine. He showed power, speed and quickness throughout every drill. Even though it has been said the Browns will take him with the first pick overall, head coach Hugh Jackson has not ruled out selecting a quarterback.
With the onset of a new NFL year, free agency began on March 9 at 4 p.m. Usually, several teams try to sign veterans who can fill glaring holes on their rosters. The implications of this period would give potential first round picks hope and despair if a team that was interested had signed another player to compete at their position. This would ultimately determine if a highly sought after athlete would be taken in the first round, or slide into the later rounds.
Teams may look to sure up a certain position if the individual they signed is older. With the recent onslaught of pro days and individual workouts, players can show the scouts and coaches first-hand how talented they are in a more intimate setting.
Consequently, this provided teams with a chance to see an athlete perform in his home field. Additionally, players not only received a comprehensive description of how they would fit in with the teams that they have an interest in, but the prospect also could attempt to correct any drill that he performed poorly at the combine.
Through this individual workout, the player’s stock will skyrocket with the comforts of home.