The NFL Scouting Combine has become one of the league’s biggest offseason events, as the NFL world descends on Indianapolis for the weeklong festivities to see the best prospects do on-field drills, testing, and workouts, while also getting the chance to interview players on site.
Fans have grown to love the Combine as well, as we all love watching the Underwear Olympics, as Mike Mayock used to affectionately refer to them as, where guys run as fast as they can and jump as high as they can in an effort to boost their draft stock by flashing their athleticism out of pads. This year, however, there will be no Scouting Combine, at least in it’s normal, in-person form. Instead, the league announced on Monday in a memo to teams that they will host interviews via Zoom and all workouts will take place at school Pro Days.
Here’s the full memo on changes to the 2021 scouting combine: pic.twitter.com/e1KNcuaUTn
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 18, 2021
For the top prospects and players from the big schools, this will have little impact on their draft preparation, but it is a blow to those from small schools who get a chance to impress at the Combine with the eyes of the NFL world watching. With workouts only happening at Pro Days, the likelihood of top decision makers watching every school’s Pro Day and having the chance to fall in love with a prospect from a small program is less and that can hurt those guys’ draft stock.
From a team perspective, the biggest hurdle, which the league addresses in the memo, is getting medical info on players, as teams prefer to get their doctors in to poke and prod at players to vet their health themselves. The league will be working out ways to do that themselves and get that information to teams from an NFL level. Media interviews will also take place through the school as players will get a chance to promote themselves that way, which isn’t quite the same as the Combine media room, but it’s a wise choice by the NFL not to have hundreds or thousands of people coming into Indianapolis this spring.