Every year at the end of February, the best college football players from the previous season head to Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine. The week-long event is used to determine many aspects of each player’s future — which team will draft him, which round he’ll be selected, and how much money he’ll make.
The Combine requires players to participate in various workouts to demonstrate their athletic ability. These workouts include the 40-yard dash, agility drills, and various jumping tests.
At the 2015 NFL Combine, Phillip Dorsett won $1 Million dollars from Adidas for running the 40 yard dash in 4.33 seconds!
Since so many amazing athletes participate in the Combine — and they’re all competing for the same prize, a spot on an NFL team — every tenth of a second and every fraction of an inch matters greatly.
Past outstanding performers at the Combine include many of the NFL’s current stars. Current New York Jets running back Chris Johnson ran a blazing 40-yard dash in 4.24 seconds in 2008. Johnson’s time is still the fastest recorded in the history of the Combine. Standout safety Eric Berry, of the Kansas City Chiefs, leaped 43.0 inches in the vertical jump at the 2010 Combine, the highest mark ever for a safety. Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who was recently named the 2015-16 NFL MVP, was a top performer in both the 40-yard dash and the 3-cone drill at the 2011 Combine.
While not every player who performed well at the Combine went on to NFL stardom, many improved their draft stock by showing off their athleticism in Indianapolis. At this year’s Combine, stopwatches and measuring sticks will go a long way toward determining which players gain or cost themselves millions of dollars.