clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Brendan McAlinden

Filed under:

NFL Combine: What To Expect During Pre-Draft Drills

A barometer for what’s good, what’s bad and what’s legendary.

The NFL Draft Combine’s on-field workouts begin Thursday. We’re giving you a cheat sheet to the most popular drills, so you can figure out if Notre Dame Fighting Irish players did enough this week to get drafted in April.

Each subsequent chart will tell you what’s red flag territory (based on Todd McShay’s assessment), the five-year average among all NFL Combine participants by position group and the best performance by a former Notre Dame player (since 2001).

The Combine will air on the NFL Network from 4 to 11 p.m. Eastern today through Saturday and 2 to 7 p.m. Eastern on Sunday.

Composite graphic by Brendan McAlinden

After three days of interviews with pro clubs, medical exams and psychological testing, NFL Draft hopefuls encounter the bench press on their fourth day. The player will test their upper body strength and endurance by doing repetitions of 225 pounds until failure.

This test is important for linemen, but less so for wide receivers and punters and kickers. Just five percent of quarterbacks have participated in the past 20 Combines.

Chase Claypool, Chis Finke and Cole Kmet all had their opportunity Wednesday at the bench press. Claypool did 19 reps, which was fifth best among receivers. Finke put up seven, which was dead last. Kmet declined to participate; he’ll do it at Notre Dame’s Pro Day instead.

Former Notre Dame players that stood out in the bench press: Guard Quenton Nelson (35 reps, 2018); guard Eric Olsen (35 reps, 2010); defensive lineman Trevor Laws (35 reps, 2008); defensive end Stephon Tuitt (31 reps, 2014); and outside linebacker Drue Tranquill (31 reps, 2019).

Bench press schedule:

  • Thursday: Tony Jones Jr.
  • Friday: Khalid Kareem, Julian Okwara
  • Saturday: Jalen Elliott, Alohi Gilman, Troy Pride
Composite graphic by Brendan McAlinden

Perhaps the most exciting of the drills, the 40-yard dash assesses both a player’s initial burst (in the form of a 10-yard split) and his speed over a greater distance.

On Monday, Philip Gough offered his predictions for what each former Irish player would run. The South Bend Tribune’s Tyler James also offered over/unders for Pride, Finke and Jones of 4.33, 4.5 and 4.65 seconds, respectively.

Former Notre Dame players that stood out in the 40-yard dash: Wide receivers Will Fuller (4.32, 2016), Golden Tate (4.42, 2010) and Miles Boykin (4.42, 2019); running back Ryan Grant (4.43, 2005), cornerback Brock Williams (4.46, 2001) and safety David Bruton (4.46, 2009).

40-yard dash schedule:

  • Thursday: Claypool, Finke, Kmet
  • Friday: Jones Jr.
  • Saturday: Kareem, Okwara
  • Sunday: Elliott, Gilman, Pride
Composite graphic by Brendan McAlinden

Both the vertical jump and the broad jump measure a players’ lower body strength and his explosiveness.

Former Notre Dame players that stood out in the vertical jump: Boykin (43.5 inches, 2019); Brock Williams (42.5, 2001); running back Tony Fisher (41.5, 2002); Bruton (41.5, 2009); wide receiver Javin Hunter (41, 2002); defensive end Grant Irons (40.5, 2002); wide receiver David Givens (40.5, 2002) and running back Darius Walker (40.5, 2007).

Vertical jump schedule:

  • Thursday: Claypool, Finke, Kmet
  • Friday: Jones Jr.
  • Saturday: Kareem, Okwara
  • Sunday: Elliott, Gilman, Pride
Composite graphic by Brendan McAlinden

Former Notre Dame players that stood out in the broad jump: Boykin (140 inches, 2019); Bruton (132, 2009); running back Dexter Williams (130, 2019); Brock Williams (130, 2001); Javin Hunter (129, 2002); cornerback Bennett Jackson (128, 2014); Fuller (126, 2016); Fisher (126, 2002); Givens (126, 2002); and safety Zeke Motta (126, 2013).

Broad jump schedule:

  • Thursday: Claypool, Finke, Kmet
  • Friday: Jones Jr.
  • Saturday: Kareem, Okwara
  • Sunday: Elliott, Gilman, Pride
Composite graphic by Brendan McAlinden

The 20-yard shuttle — or short shuttle — tests a players’ lateral quickness, burst and balance. Participants start in a three-point stance, sprint five yards in one direction, touch the ground, sprint 10 yards in the opposite direction, put the hand down again and then run five yards back in the original direction.

Former Notre Dame players that stood out in the shuttle run were: cornerback Robert Blanton (3.97 seconds, 2012); Bennett Jackson (4.0, 2014); cornerback Vontez Duff (4.03, 2004); Javin Hunter (4.04, 2002); linebacker Rocky Boiman (4.05, 2002); wide receiver Arnaz Battle (4.06, 2003); and Boykin (4.07, 2019).

Short shuttle schedule:

  • Thursday: Claypool, Finke, Kmet
  • Friday: Jones Jr.
  • Saturday: Kareem, Okwara
  • Sunday: Elliott, Gilman, Pride
Composite graphic by Brendan McAlinden

The three-cone drill is a test of agility, arc and change of direction. It’s especially beneficial for edge rushers who can show off their deftness and burst. Weirdly, the correct setup for the three-cone drill is to use...four cones.

Former Notre Dame players that stood out in three cone drill were: Bruton (6.6 seconds, 2009); safety Harrison Smith (6.63, 2012); Brock Williams (6.7, 2001); Blanton (6.71, 2012); cornerback Julian Love (6.72, 2019); Battle (6.74, 2003) and safety Kyle McCarthy (6.74, 2010); Bennett Jackson (6.75, 2014), Motta (6.75, 2013) and Boykin (6.77, 2019).

Three-cone drill schedule:

  • Thursday: Claypool, Finke, Kmet
  • Friday: Jones Jr.
  • Saturday: Kareem, Okwara
  • Sunday: Elliott, Gilman, Pride

The NFL Draft will be held April 23 to 25 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

OTHER NOTES

According to Walter Football:

  • Claypool has met with the Buffalo Bills and New York Giants at the Combine.
  • Elliott met with the New England Patriots at the Combine.
  • Finke met with the Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers and Washington football club at the East-West Shrine Game.
  • Jones met with the Jacksonville Jaguars and San Francisco 49ers at the East-West game.
Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Notre Dame Football Friday Fire: Just Win, Baby

Football

Notre Dame Football Position Preview: Linebackers and Dog Breeds

Football

Notre Dame Football: The quiet camp of quarterback Tyler Buchner