3.10.17

A Trainer’s Perspective: Behind The Scenes At Football’s Premier Scouting Event

By: Joseph Potts

For most of the prospects at pro football’s premier scouting event, preparation began in early January for the drills that fans watched on NFL Network.

Here is a peek into what the cameras don’t show you. The meat and potatoes of pro football’s premier scouting event take place off-camera. The running and jumping that are seen on TV are essentially the dessert for the athletes who’ve spent multiple days going through meetings, measurements,  interviews, and various medical, drug, and psychological tests.

Players will often have wake-up calls around 4 or 5 a.m. to go in for medical testing and interviews. A lot of medical testing and interviews. Probably close to 70% of their time will be spent doing those things before finally heading into the stadium for on-field drills on their final day in town.

Teams are allowed to tag 60 players that they would like to have in for formal interviews, and a player can interview with up to 15 teams. The number of teams requesting to interview a player is normally a pretty good barometer of their draft stock. These formal interviews last 15 minutes in length and let teams talk to the prospects in a private setting. If the player’s 15 formal interview slots are not full, they enter an informal interview hall where teams get 5 minutes to speak to them before moving on.

The health testing is intense — one high-level prospect mentioned that medical personnel from one team tugged at his arms to test the integrity of his previous shoulder surgery. Another mentioned teams did similar things to test his recovery from a previous ankle injury.

Once all the testing, team interviews, press obligations, and various other meetings are over, it can be close to 10 p.m. At this time, some prospects will meet with their private sports performance coaches, who often set up shop in the conference halls of the various hotels near the stadium. From 10 p.m. to midnight they will perform things like massage therapy, flexibility work, weight lifting, and speed training in the hallways of the hotels.

It’s not all work though: During their time in town, players can visit the suites provided by retail and apparel companies such as Eastbay, Nike, adidas, and Under Armour. In those suites, they’re provided food, apparel, gift cards, and get to have fun with things like pool tables, massages, “red carpet” photo ops, Pop-A-Shot basketball, and other games that provide a nice reprieve from the stress of the day.

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