As hundreds of NFL prospects descend on Indianapolis to be measured, assessed and tested, we provide you with some useful information on what those strange drills actually test. We'll churn these test previews out just before the position groups in question begin to do the drills in question.
Quarterback: The quarterback drills are primarily a way for each prospect to showcase his physical skillset. In these passing drills, scouts focus on a quarterback's footwork, his ability to read a receiver as he's dropping back and how well he plants and drives through the throw. Offensive line: Offensive linemen are required to engage in a series of drills intended to test their foot speed, hip rotation, balance, acceleration, and change of direction. Running back: The principal running back drills ask the prospect to start in a two-point stance, take a handoff and navigate over bags or between cones, until he arrives at a coach moving a bag left or right.
Prospective wideouts are asked to engage in a series of drills designed to test their ability to run routes, make cuts, adjust to thrown balls, and demonstrate bodily control. The gauntlet, shown above as the "multiple catch drill," is a great measure of focus and concentration.
As you might expect, tight ends perform a combination of offensive line and wide receiver drills. The purpose of this running back pass protection drills is to develop pass blocking skills of the running backs in the five and seven step dropback game. The first linebacker will rush the QB on the whistle command, on the second whistle the running back will get in position for the second rusher. Here, in the second installment of our Combine Primer series, we take a longer look at the position-specific drills for offensive personnel.


In addition to these general speed, power and agility tests, each prospect participates in a set of drills designed to assess the necessary skills for his specific position. NFL scouts want to compare prospects' footwork, delivery, the quickness of his release, and his arm strength. Coaches will have them perform a "hip rotation drop," in which they scoot backwards for 15 yards rotating their hips from side to side. As the league becomes increasingly pass-happy, teams are placing an ever-higher premium on capable left tackles with pass blocking ability.
The back must simulate a cut by quickly reacting in the opposite direction from that in which the coach moves the bag.
As fans of the Cowboys know all too well from watching Emmitt Smith throughout the 90s, the most important characteristic a good back can have is vision; sadly, there is no Combine exercise that can measure this. Receivers need to look the ball into their hands and then instantaneously move on to a different target, for a total of seven catches. The results of these drills tend to be overlooked by the general public, since the general assessments like the 40 make for better television. To do so, they'll have each prospect work out of a progressive series of dropback depths (three-, five- and seven-step drops), throwing each of the routes on the basic "route tree": a slant, an out, an in, a deep corner and a go-route.
The drill that measures their ability to protect high-profile quarterbacks by keeping up with the Von Millers of the world is the kick-slide drill, which ascertains an offensive tackle's ability to slide outside without losing balance or strength. In an alternative exercise, the back takes a pitchout, simulates an end run and, once he gets to the "second level" weaves through a set of cones as if negotiating downfield traffic. Further, it shows how well a receiver can maintain his body and speed as he runs in as perfect a line as he can, while focused on the various throws (as opposed to maintaining a straight line).


Click on "workout drills" to hear him opine on the general tests; click on "position drills" to get his input on the position-specific drills. A fan needn't be supremely knowledgeable to compare 40 times; making distinctions between linebacker candidates during a pass drop and hip rotation drill, however, requires a sharper or more experienced eye. Scouts ask linemen to get into a two- or three-point stance, open up at a 45-degree angle and opposite a defender.
Lastly, running backs are asked to run their particular "route tree": flat, circle, corner, flair and flat and up.
As Mike Mayock pointed out recently, coaches hate this drill, as it runs counter to everything they preach about ball security, but scouts love it, as it provides them so much information about a prospect's hands. So, while the casual fan may pass on the individual drills, you can be sure that scouts don't; they watch these very carefully.
The prospective OT slides along and follows the defender outside of a cone placed 12 yards behind the start of the play. Because receivers don't have time for the ball to come into their bodies before the next ball is coming, it allows them to demonstrate how well they can make "hands" catches. And since you, loyal BTBer, are anything but a casual fan, you'll need to know that these drills are and what exactly they test.
Then, he has to run along a straight line and catch five passes from quarterbacks lined up on both sides of him 12 yards apart, with the throws alternating on opposite sides of him-all while he's running full speed across the field.



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Comments to «Running back drills to get faster»

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