Posted: 6:00 am Tuesday, February 18th, 2014
By D. Orlando Ledbetter
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Mike Smith will head up the team’s entourage that’s headed to the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, which starts on Wednesday and runs through Tuesday, Feb. 25.
More than 300 players are set to participate in the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine Feb. 19-25 at Lucas Oil Stadium. There’s a group of 24 players with Georgia connections who were invited to the combine.
The players well start to arrive on Wednesday for medical exams, psychological testing and interviews with teams.
They will start working out on Saturday.
The Saturday group – Placekickers, special teamers, offensive linemen and tight ends.
The Sunday group – Quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs.
The Monday group – Defensive linemen and linebackers.
The Tuesday group – Defensive backs.
Here’s a quick primer of the events, which will be televised on the NFL Network.
The is the headliner drill especially for the running backs and wide receivers. If they run a slow time here, they could hurt their draft status. A lot of folks will want to see how fast South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney runs the 40-yard dash on Monday, Feb. 24. Also, Missouri defensive end/linebacker Michael Sam will be a headliner on that day. Also, each player is timed in 10, 20 and 40 yard intervals.
This is the premier event for the big boys. They bench press 225 pounds as many times as possible. There’s the bar and four 45-pound plates. Different teams place varying degrees of importance on the Bench Press. The Falcons didn’t seem to mind too much that Peter Konz only lifted 225 pounds 18 times back in 2011, while others thought it showed a lack of strength for an interior lineman and may have been a factor in him slipping into the second round.
Remember the old Presidential Fitness test back in grade school? The pull ups knocked most folks out of getting their patch, but everybody could do the broad jump. The broad jump test the players’ lower-body strength, explosion and balance. Players have to land without moving.
The players stands flat-footed and leaps as high as he can. The vertical jump shows leg strength and explosiveness. Falcons cornerback Robert Alford has a strong workout at the combine last season which included a 40-inch vertical jump.
The drill shows the player’s ability to change direction quickly. The cones are placed in a L-shape. The player goes 5 yards to the first cone and back, turns and runs around the second cone, then around the third cone, changes directions and runs back around the second cone and finishes. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan did the 3-cone drill in 7.40 seconds in 2008.
The is more like the old basketball ‘ladders’ drill and test lateral quickness in short spaces. The player starts in a three-point stance and runs five yards and touches the line, goes back 10 yards to his left, where his left touches the line, he turns and runs five more yards to the finish. Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon covered the 20-yard shuttle in 4.38 seconds in 2010.