The professional football world will descend on Indianapolis this week for the Scouting Combine, which means aspiring NFLers will be put through the familiar rites of evaluation.
There will be interviews, psychological tests and, of course, the on-field Underwear Olympics of 40-yard dashes, shuttle drills and more as they try to show they can be capable members of NFL teams. There will also be people watching and evaluating whether the combine itself is capable of providing the kind of data that teams need to make those decisions.
National Football Scouting Inc. runs the Combine and the company’s president, Jeff Foster, said that they are looking at the current schedule and “making sure that that’s relevant” to the league today. There will be a football performance and technology symposium to discuss possible ways to improve the process, although Foster made it clear they don’t want to field test new ideas at the Combine.
“We want to make sure that we’re using the technology that’s available,” Foster said, via Tom Pelissero of USA Today. “What I don’t think we’re interested in doing is beta testing. We want some proven elements that will help us better evaluate the players so that we can project college players to the NFL.”
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league will “explore everything” that can improve the Combine.
If all this sounds familiar, it’s likely because each year brings talk of changes to some of the nuts and bolts of the combine without too many major shifts actually taking place. With teams doing more to develop their in-house methods of evaluating which tools matter most to them, that may continue to be the case.