The NFL Combine does a solid job of preparing college prospects for what they'll face at the next level. However, the Indianapolis event is missing a few practical drills that would really ensure each draft class is ready for life on Sundays.
With that in mind, here are five more things future pros should be asked to do during their time in Indy. To be clear, none of this will ever, ever, ever happen, but they still should.
1) The 10-yard backwards walk
Yes, the 40-yard dash is the headline attraction at the Combine and it's certainly a valuable way to measure a player's raw speed.
Know what happens more than 40-yard sprints at NFL stadiums, though? 10-yard backwards walks following a holding penalty on the offense.
In this drill, guys will begin their stroll following a stand-in ref's announcement of the holding infraction, and scouts will have a chance to look at their tempo, gait and how the flag affects their demeanor. With the way officials are calling the action these days, this is a relevant idea.
2) Tackling a Balloon Quarterback
Defenders are allowed to tackle offensive players in the NFL, unless that offensive player is a quarterback. In that case, defenders have to politely place the passer on the ground, make sure he has a warm glass of milk and offer them an apology hug.
So, that's why the Combine should give defensive up-and-comers a chance to take down a Balloon Quarterback. If the thing pops, they were too aggressive and they have to try again. If it stays intact, then they're ready for their first run-in with Tom Brady.
3) Deflecting blame on long TDs
This one would be more for the back end of a defense but equally as helpful as the tackling of a Balloon QB.
As an NFL DB, it's crucial to never accept responsibility for a blown coverage. Therefore, in this scenario, safeties and corners would allow a pass catcher to race by them for a long score and then immediately point fingers at one another or shrug their shoulders to suggest they were expecting assistance.
Or, if they want to really impress talent evaluators, they'll just snap off their chinstrap, slowly shake their head and then subtly call out their teammates later in media scrums. That's a super pro-caliber move.
4) Kick return kneels
While the XFL has introduced new rules to encourage kick returns, the NFL is still touchback-heavy.
Because of that, why should kick returners waste time on anything other than kneel downs?
The special teamers in Indy should get the opportunity to showcase how quick their knee-to-grass ability is and also fine-tune their ball tosses to the refs in the end zone, or even show off their I'm not going to catch this one arm motion when a kickoff flies out of the end zone. It's a ratings boost waiting to happen.
5) Social media skills test
Here's something NFL teams can implement when they meet a potential selection face-to-face in the meeting portion of the Combine.
Forget getting a glimpse into how a player can draw up a scheme or review his own film. Instead, franchises need to ask themselves: How is this dude on Twitter and Instagram? It's 2020 people, not 1920. The Internet isn't going anywhere, so the league has to adjust.
What kind of caption will the kid post alongside a picture of a sweet sideline grab? Can he use the eyeballs emoji in the right situations? Would he like a post from an opponent following a loss?
This addition to the Combine, plus the four above it, would no doubt lead to more well-rounded rookies. Someone grab this story's link and send it to Roger Goodell right away. Thanks in advance.
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