The 2019 NFL scouting combine is picking up the pace today as the on-field drills will start in Indianapolis and all position groups — for the only time all week — are present simultaneously. Safe to say that there will be plenty to watch today, so to keep you up to date, here is a quick primer on what will happen as well as what and who the New England Patriots in particular might take a closer look at.
Group 1 (PK, ST, OL), Group 2 (OL), Group 3 (RB): On-Field Workout (timing, station, skill drills), Departure
Group 4 (QB, WR), Group 5 (QB, WR), Group 6 (TE): NFLPA Meeting, Psychological Testing, Media, Bench-Press, Interviews
Group 7 (DL), Group 8 (DL), Group 9 (LB): Measurements, Medical Examination, Overflow Testing, Interviews
Group 10 (DB), Group 11 (DB): Arrival, Registration, Hospital Pre-Exams & X-Rays, Orientation, Interviews
Today is the first day that the combine will be broadcast live from Indianapolis. Starting at 9:00 a.m. ET, NFL Network and the league’s affiliated services will air the on-field workouts of running backs, offensive linemen and special teamers:
Television: NFL Network
Radio: Sirius XM, TuneIn
Mobile: NFL Mobile app
NFL Network will also broadcast live on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, starting at 10:00 a.m. ET each day.
40-yard dash: The most publicized event of the entire combine, the 40-yard dash measures a prospect’s acceleration and sustained vertical speed. Furthermore the interval times — the 10-yard split and the 20-yard split — give teams a clearer look on a player’s quickness and initial burst.
Vertical jump: The vertical measures a player’s leaping ability as well as his lower-body strength and explosion out of his position. The drill is especially important for skill position players on both sides of the ball.
Broad jump: Similar to the vertical jump, the horizontal broad jump tests a prospect’s lower-body explosion and strength as well as his balance in and out of his stance.
3-cone drill: The 3-cone drill tests agility and change of direction skills, and is therefore important for almost all position groups. Since 2010, the Patriots added seven defensive backs with a combine 3-cone time of under 6.75 seconds — a drill to watch, without a doubt.
Short shuttle: The short shuttle is a 20-yard running drill divided into portions of 5, 10 and 5 yards. It measures a player’s quickness, agility, burst, flexibility and short-area explosion.
Prospects to watch
P Jack Fox, Rice: A talented situational punter that also has some experience working on kickoffs and field goals, Fox averaged 45.5 yards per kick in 2018. While the Patriots are expected to extend impending free agent punter Ryan Allen, Fox would be a solid addition in case no deal with the incumbent can be reached.
K Matt Gay, Utah: A two-time first-team All-Pac 12 selection and 2017 All-American, Gay made 56 of his 65 field goal attempts since joining Utah in 2017. Not only is he a rather accurate kicker, Gay’s career-long of 56 yards also shows that he is a long-range option — one that has experience kicking off as well, and could be a potential replacement in the unlikely case Stephen Gostkowski is let go via free agency.
OT Tytus Howard, Alabama State: The former high school tight end held an interview with New England at the combine, and might be on the club’s radar as a developmental option in the middle of the draft. Howard is a nimble player for his size and weight that needs to improve his footwork at the next level and learn to play off his length, but brings a solid foundation to the table.
RB Bryce Love, Stanford: A speedster at the running back position who could very well produce the fastest 40-time today, Love projects to be best-suited for a zone blocking scheme that can utilize him as a perimeter runner. While his vision and durability are a concern, the projected mid-round pick could serve as a change-of-pace back at the next level.
RB Qadree Ollison, Pittsburgh: One of the biggest backs in the draft at 6’0, 228 lbs, Ollison is a power runner that brings tremendous experience and production to the table. A player that might serve as a closer and short-yardage back in the NFL, will be interesting to see how he will perform during the on-field drills at the combine.
RB Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M: One of the Patriots’ pre-draft interviews, Williams is experienced as both a ball carrier and a receiving option in the passing game. Bringing solid burst and pass-blocking ability to the table, the 21-year old should improve with more experience — especially when it comes to reading plays correctly.