NFL announces changes to Scouting Combine drills

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Potential NFL players will descend on Indianapolis for the Scouting Combine next week and they’ll be the first group to take part in 16 new drills that have been added to the program.

The NFL unveiled the changes on Friday and they also include the elimination of 10 drills that have been done in past years.

One new drill applis to quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends. They will now work on throwing and catching end zone fades while they’re going through the paces in Indy. Quarterbacks will also throw smoke/now routes, which are typically based on pre-snap reads, for the first time while the receiving groups will no longer do the toe tap drill.

Running backs have three new drills, including one named after Eagles running back Duce Staley. The drill calls for backs to step over bags while reading coaches to find a hole to run through in simulation of a zone read play. They’ll also work on pass routes with change of direction while pitch and cone and find the ball drills have been eliminated.

Offensive linemen will do new mirror and screen drills while defensive linemen will have two new drills. One calls for them to run through five bags while showing different techniques for shedding blockers and the other is a pass-rushing drill called run the hoop. The stack and shed drill has been eliminated.

Linebackers will no longer do the old pass drop drill, but will do two new drills. One calls for them to shuffle, sprint and change direction while the other calls for them to react three times in a new pass coverage drill.

Defensive backs have four new drills, including one named after Steelers defensive backs coach Teryl Austin. That calls for movement in several directions that mimic drops into pass coverage. The other drills call for defensive backs to back pedal, open their hips and catch passes in different formats. The former drills focused on those skills have been eliminated.