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2024 NFL Scouting Combine: 5 Things You Need to Know

After everyone takes a deep breath following the conclusion of the Super Bowl and another NFL season, the next step is to get ready for the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine, the 1st real event for the next season.

The event has only grown in popularity over the 40-plus years it has been around. With another scouting combine set to begin soon for 2024 draft prospects, we have included 5 things you need to know to get ready for this year’s event that will have an impact on the big boards and mock drafts going forward before April’s draft.

So before you go ahead and scour the NFL odds for the draft, let’s look into the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine.

What Is the NFL Scouting Combine?

Developed in the 1980s, the NFL Scouting Combine is an annual event held each February that invites hundreds of draft prospects to a centralized location (Indianapolis) to undergo a series of physical and mental tests. It also gives teams (coaches, scouts, and general managers) the chance to get in front of these draft hopefuls in interviews and establish contact with them leading into the draft in late April.

The scouting combine lasts for several days, and here are some of the drills you can expect to see many players participate in:

  • 40-yard dash
  • 20-yard shuffle
  • 60-yard shuffle
  • 3 cone drill
  • Bench press
  • Vertical jump
  • Broad jump
  • Position-specific drills
  • Drug screening
  • Cognition tests
  • Physical exams (measurements, injury histories, etc.)

Some players will bypass certain combine tests such as the 40-yard dash and choose to participate in those at a later date on their pro day. A 40-yard dash time could have a huge impact on a player’s draft stock, especially at speed-needy positions such as wide receiver and cornerback.

But a wide receiver’s straight-line speed may not be as impactful as having success in the 20-yard shuffle to show more short-area quickness, which can be beneficial as a slot receiver working against linebackers.

The interviews are also very important too, and those are not something we are privy to on television. But you can think of this event as a huge job fair for the athletes who wish to join the NFL next year now that their college career is complete.

When Is the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine?

The 2024 NFL scouting combine will last a week from February 26 through March 4. Actually, that’s 8 days given we have a leap year in 2024. But the important dates and schedule are for the positional drills as outlined below.

Times are subject to change, but these should be aired in the afternoon (1 PM or 3 PM ET):

  • Thursday, February 29th – Defensive linemen and linebackers
  • Friday, March 1st – Defensive backs and tight ends
  • Saturday, March 2nd – Quarterbacks, wide receivers, and running backs
  • Sunday, March 3rd – Offensive linemen

All events will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the Colts. Indianapolis has hosted every scouting combine since 1987.

Where Can I Watch the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine?

The NFL can put on a schedule release show and get millions to tune in to the family of networks. But the scouting combine remains the NFL event that is for the most hardcore of hardcore football fans, so its coverage is still limited to live coverage on NFL Network and for those who have NFL+ accounts for streaming.

But you can expect to tune into NFL Network during those main days of drills (February 29 – March 3) for live coverage of the prospects and instant analysis from the network’s draft analysts, including Daniel Jeremiah.

Who Are Some of the Top Prospects Attending the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine?

The combine is invite only and the NFL invited 321 prospects to attend the 2024 event. They may not all show up, and not everyone is going to participate in every drill. But we have included a partial list of many of the top prospects you should expect to see at the combine:

  • QB Caleb Williams, USC
  • WR Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State
  • QB Drake Maye, North Carolina
  • TE Brock Bowers, Georgia
  • OT Olu Fashanu, Penn State
  • OT Joe Alt, Notre Dame
  • WR Malik Nabers, LSU
  • QB Jayden Daniels, Florida State (2023 Heisman Trophy winner)
  • EDGE Dallas Turner, Alabama
  • WR Rome Odunze, Washington
  • EDGE Jared Verse, Florida State
  • CB Terrion Arnold, Alabama
  • EDGE Laiatu Latu, UCLA
  • CB Cooper DeJean, Iowa
  • CB Nate Wiggins, Clemson
  • OT Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State
  • CB Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo
  • OT J.C. Latham, Alabama
  • DL Jer’Zhan Newton, Illinois
  • CB Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama

The expectations for this 2024 draft class are high on the quarterbacks, wide receivers, offensive tackles and corners. The expectations are not as high on the linebackers, defensive ends, interior linemen and running backs.

What Is the Controversy Involving the S2 Cognition Test?

An interesting story to watch ahead of this 2024 scouting combine is what players to decide to do about a cognitive test like the S2. Recently, the Wonderlic was removed from the scouting combine after facing criticism for its lack of value in determining the mental capacity or intelligence of a prospect.

There would even be complaints that a player could “score too highly” on the Wonderlic, a test with 50 questions, which would make them problematic to be open to coaching if they were smarter than the coach.

The Wonderlic was out, but replacing it recently is a cognitive test like S2, a standardized test that caused its own controversy in 2023 when Houston rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud only scored 18 out of a possible 100 points on the test.

Do the Results Really Matter?

Of course, Stroud went on to be drafted No. 2 by Houston and had a stellar rookie season, winning Offensive Rookie of the Year honors and winning a playoff game for the Texans. He sure seemed to grasp the offense just fine, which led to the creators of the S2 to say that Stroud’s leaked results were flagged as “potentially invalid” and unreliable according to an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

Bryce Young scored the highest at 98% on the S2, but it’s not like that helped him as the No. 1 pick to the Carolina Panthers, who had the worst record in the league.

The Pushback

This year, sports agency Athletes First has told the NFL none of their clients will be taking part in any cognitive tests like the S2 at this year’s scouting combine. Athletes First represented Stroud and Jahmyr Gibbs last year, and they have represented the most 1st-round NFL picks for 4 straight drafts.

It will be interesting to see if other agencies follow their path and forbid their clients from taking part in these cognitive tests at the combine.

In the end, game tape and talking about plays with a player can usually tell you enough about their capacity to perform at the highest level. But the draft is a major event in the NFL calendar, both for the players and bettors at the top sportsbooks alike, and the scouting combine is always a big source of information to make those decisions in April on these prospects.

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