NFL Combine Training with Adrian Peterson, Patrick Willis, and Alan Branch
The NFL Combine is a week-long opportunity for prospective NFL players to demonstrate their ability to outshine the competition and become a draft pick. Athletes can massively improve their draft placing and their salaries during this week, entire careers have been based off a good Combine performance.
NFL Combine Testing
There are several different tests that potential players must undergo. Some of them are well-known (broad jump, 40-yard dash, bench press) while others are much less well-known such as mental tests (Wonderlic) and physical measurements. Here are the tests that are undertaken:
- Bench Press: The weight is standard for everyone, 225lbs. The test is to see how many repetitions a player can manage without rest. Justin Ernest has the record for most repetitions with 51 in 1999.
- Standing Broad Jump: Players must stand in an upright position and then jump as far forward as they can. They are allowed to use their arms for momentum but must launch and land with both feet.
- Vertical Jump: Players must jump as high as they can from a standing start
- 20 Yard Shuttle: A test of agility and speed. Players run 5 yards, 10 yards, and then 5 yards in a lateral direction.
- 60 Yard Shuttle: Players run 5 yards, 10 yards, and 15 yards and back for 60 yards
- 40 Yard Dash: Players sprint 40 yards as fast as they can from a sprinters position
- Three Cone Drill: Three cones are placed in a right-angle triangle 5 yards from each other. The players run between each cone as fast as they can
These tests are completed by every player, they then have position-specific tests that will demonstrate how good they are at the skills required for their chosen position. A defensive tackle and a quarterback will have a completely different skillset and need to be tested differently.
Next, there is the Wonderlic test. A psychological test that has been used to test NFL players for decades. Players are tested on their motivation, decision-making, ability to react to pressure, and intelligence.
An average score is around 20, with Offensive tacklers, centers, and Quarterbacks scoring (on average) the highest and halfbacks the lowest. Tom Brady scored a 33 , while Pat McInally scored a perfect 50. Morris Claiborne holds the record for lowest score by an NFL player with 4.
Peterson completed the NFL Combine in 2007. He performed zero reps on the Bench Press, scored a 16 on the Wonderlic, and managed a 4.41 second 40-yard dash. He performed particularly well in the positional drills. He was picked 7th in the draft by the Minnesota Vikings, he was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in his first season.
Prior to the combine, Adrian worked hard at improving his flexibility as well as getting as lean as possible.
Willis also completed the NFL Combine in 2007. He managed 22 reps on the bench press, scored a 12 on the Wonderlic, and managed a 4.56 in the 40-yard dash. His Combine really helped improve his draft position, particularly due to his speed, this led to him being picked 11th overall in the draft.
As with Adrian, Patrick saw a marked improvement in his flexibility which he believed helped him to run faster.
Probably the most successful of the three, thanks to his two Superbowl wins, Branch managed 33 reps on the bench press, a 5.07 in the 40-yard dash, and his Wonderlic score has not been published. He was picked in the second round of the draft and was the 33rd overall pick.
Alan saw a big change in his pre-combine training, losing 10lbs in weight (weighing in at 324lb during the combine). He targeted getting a fast 40-yard dash time, and his coach would be pretty pleased with a 5.07 considering his bulk.