The biggest stage for an NFL prospect is the NFL scouting combine and Pro Day. The combine is a week-long showcase that takes place in February at Lucas Oil Stadium. Here is where college football players go through a series of test to display their physical and mental fitness. In attendance are coaches, scouts, and general managers, all of whom are there to evaluate how the players perform during various activities such as the 40-yard dash, bench press, and vertical jump. Along with that, the players complete physical measurements, and interviews.
Although a great combine performance may increase an athlete’s draft stock, these physical tests don’t directly translate how a player will truly perform in the NFL. But for NFL prospect John Ross, recruiters are hoping they get what they see. Ross, a wide receiver from Washington, set a new 40-yard dash time record at 4.22 seconds at the 2017 combine, beating Chris Johnson’s 4.24-second record at the 2008 combine. Hopefully, Ross doesn’t end up like defensive end Vernon Gholston. Gholston, who had an impressive combine performance, was drafted by The New York Jets, but failed to perform in the NFL. Gholston started in only five games and failed to record any sacks in over three seasons.
An athlete who doesn’t receive an invitation to the NFL Combine still has their university’s Pro Day to look forward to. Each university host a showcase and the athletes participate in drills and tests identical to those in the Combine. These drills are also performed in front of the same audience. The difference is that Pro Day takes place in the comfort of the athlete’s environment.
On Wednesday, March 29, 2017, Florida International University will be hosting their Pro Day. For the final story of this series titled “Path to the Draft,” I will provide an exclusive look at FIU’s NFL prospects and will discuss their Pro Day performances.