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2024 NFL Combine Records & Events to Watch (Fantasy Football)

2024 NFL Combine Records & Events to Watch (Fantasy Football)

One of the premiere events in the professional football offseason is the NFL Combine.

A total of 321 NFL hopefuls head to Indianapolis to help or hurt their possible football careers without playing any actual football. Instead, they will run, jump and try not to hit cones to get a call from an NFL organization. With 257 picks in this draft, not everyone will get that chance, so standing out here is important for some.

If we’re being honest, it’s become more of a spectacle than an assessment of talent. Even some coaches have put less emphasis on it and don’t attend. We’ll see a few seconds of players participating in these drills, but it’s more of watching “experts” judge whether or not they will be a future Hall of Famer or the biggest bust ever.

Then, obviously, someone has to do the 40-yard dash in their Hugo Boss suit and wing-tip shoes.

Still, we will be watching to find the next stud like Vernon Davis or an overhyped player like Darrius Heyward-Bay. Yes, Heyward-Bay will forever be the benchmark of an excellent Combine performance that turned into an NFL bust.

Last year, quarterbacks were the main attraction, as a few were in contention to be the top overall pick. We saw three go on Day 1 (Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson), and how it’s shaken out so far has reminded us that the higher pick may not always be the best pick.

For 2024, all eyes will be on the quarterback position. Once again, several are looking to be taken in the first round. Caleb Williams is the consensus top choice, but several others like Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye and J.J. McCarthy will be positioning to get their name called early on. Some of them have already elected not to participate in some activities, but that doesn’t mean they won’t draw attention

So, let’s break down each event at the Combine and how it impacts each NFL prospect.

2024 NFL Draft Guide

2023 NFL Draft Scouting Combine Primer

40-Yard Dash

Record: John Ross – 4.22 seconds (2017)

Running has been one of the tests of athletic stature ever since sports have existed. Olympic track stars have been revered, marathon runners have been cheered and we’ve all lined up at the playground to watch the two fastest kids race each other.

John Ross still holds the benchmark, and the only player last year who moved into the top 10 was CB DJ Turner at 4.26 seconds. He was selected 60th in the draft.

The 40-time doesn’t matter for specific positions; running a sub-five isn’t going to raise an offensive or defensive lineman’s draft stock.

If a quarterback is known for their mobility, then they need an impressive in this event. It’s also essential for the non-power running backs and wide receivers that stretch the field to show that they have quick bursts.

An edge rusher’s 40-time could certainly help them, but they are evaluated higher on the explosive tests. For the defensive backs, this is the test scouts pay attention to. An unknown cornerback with a sub 4.30 can boost their draft stock, while a slower time could push them down.

Vertical Jump

Record: Gerald Sensabaugh – 46 inches (2005)

Is it weird that players look at things over their heads and think, “I have to see if I can touch that?” NFL prospects will do that as they try to jump as high as possible and smack specific markers.

This is a drill that doesn’t matter for a quarterback. Besides Tim Tebow with his jump throws, most scouts want their quarterbacks to have their feet on the ground.

Defensive linemen can only benefit from a good vertical. Teams would love a big guy who can also leap to block a pass. It’s the same with running backs; having a fantastic vertical shows lower body explosiveness, but it isn’t crucial.

For wide receivers, the vertical is just as important as the 40. Jumping is an integral part of the position because you need to out-leap your opponent when going for a pass, especially the 50/50 ball.

Conversely, the defensive backs that defend them need that same vertical ability.

2024 Dynasty Fantasy Football Guide

20-Yard Shuttle

Record: Kevin Kasper – 3.73 seconds (2001)

The shuttle is all about swift reactions and being able to show your footwork. In what’s sometimes known as the “5-10-5 drill,” the player begins in a three-point stance, explodes up five yards, goes back 10 yards and then returns another five yards to the start line.

This is an excellent way for defensive players to show how well they can change direction, especially when backpedaling. During this drill, analysts will discuss these players’ “quick twitch muscles.”

This will prove if a defensive player can make split-second adjustments and change direction with their assignment. Keeping the opposition close while in man coverage is essential in the NFL.

Broad Jump

Record: Bryon Jones – 12’3? (2015)

The NFL combine is like House of Pain, making you “Jump Around” a few times. The broad jump is another test to show off a player’s lower body strength. Unlike the vertical, this showcases their hip flexor muscles.

This drill is essential for offensive linemen. A strong core and hip flexors are vital when twisting and shuffling with a defensive lineman, and the players that show off well in this drill are usually slated to play tackle.

That also goes for the players they’re trying to stop. Teams want pass rushers who can leverage their lower bodies to maneuver through the pocket and get to the quarterback.

Bench Press

Record: Justin Ernest – 51 reps (1999)

Every high school and college team loves to have this competition at the gym. This isn’t about a player’s strength but more about their endurance. A player will try to do as many repetitions with a 225-pound barbell as possible.

This is another one where the players in the trenches are closely evaluated. For offensive linemen, teams want to know if they can continually push away another grown man, week in and week out. For defenders, it’s about whether they can push those large men back.

Smaller players who are more known for their speed usually skip this drill.

Three-Cone

Record: Jordan Thomas – 6.28 seconds (2018)

The three-cone is another drill that shows off the player’s ability to pivot and change direction. The cones are set up in an L shape; they go five yards to the first cone and back, turn, run around the second cone, run a weave around the third cone, change directions, come back around that second cone and finish.

Confused? Watch the video.

This is an excellent drill for defensive linemen, especially edge rushers, to show their ability to shuffle and maneuver when getting through the pass protection. Smaller running backs that excel in the open field like to show off in this drill. The same goes for wide receivers that are known for their cut-and-run abilities.

The Combine is just one part of the pre-Draft evaluation. It’s not the only thing scouts evaluate, but a stellar performance at this event can boost their stock.

A prominent example is UConn’s Byron Jones. He posted a top-10 40-time (4.38) and, as mentioned, holds the record in the broad jump, which propelled him to a first-round pick.

A terrible showing can plummet you. Maurice Clarett comes to mind because of the spotlight he had in becoming NFL eligible. He started the Combine with a 4.72 40-yard dash and skipped the other drills. Another well-known recent Combine faller was Isaac Nauta. Considered a possible first-rounder, he had an abysmal showing, which could be why he dropped to the seventh round.


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Josh Shepardson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @BChad50.

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