Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Post - Athens, OH
The independent newspaper covering campus and community since 1911.
The Post
Christopher Miller

NFL Combine and Pro Day: Why not wear full pads?

Should NFL prospects be required to wear pads in workouts prior to the NFL Draft?

Every year, there are thousands of college football players who are entering their final year of college eligibility. For a large majority of these athletes, their football careers come to a close at the season’s end.

On the other hand, a very small portion of these athletes will have the opportunity to earn a living playing football in the NFL.

In 2015, 323 of college football’s most talented athletes were invited to Indianapolis, Indiana, for one week in late February to showcase their skills in front of NFL brass, each athlete attempting to earn a job playing for one of the NFL’s 32 franchises.

For those not invited to the NFL Combine, there are Pro Day workouts put on by colleges and universities all across the country for players to have one last chance to perform for NFL scouts prior to the draft.

Whether an athlete takes part in the combine or pro day, one thing’s for certain. Each athlete will take part in any or all of the following drills: 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, the three-cone drill and the shuttle run. Additionally, skill position players like wide receivers and quarterbacks may run or throw various routes.

The results of these drills will be heavily scrutinized by scouts and other NFL personnel and ultimately determine if an athlete has a future in the NFL. It is in these drills that an extra inch, an extra bench rep and an extra tenth of a second on a 40 time or a shuttle time can make or break a shot at the NFL.

While all of these stats are certainly valuable to scouts, coaches and GMs alike, they are not completely accurate and indicative of an athlete’s capabilities on the playing field.

When athletes participate in these drills, they wear cleats, skin-tight shorts and shirts or tank tops. In some instances they even go shirtless. But, two things they never wear are helmets and pads.

My question is why?

I personally think all drills, excluding the bench press, should be completed in full pads. By not wearing pads and helmets, athletes are achieving results that are simply not attainable during a game.

Take former Kent State and current Pittsburgh Steelers running back Dri Archer for example. At the 2014 NFL Combine, Archer ran a 4.26 40-yard dash. In an NFL game, however, when Archer is running toward the end zone with 15 to 20 pounds of equipment, will he still be running at the pace of a 4.26?

The answer to this question is absolutely not. Players cannot run as fast, jump as high or jump as far as they did at the combine when wearing full pads during live competition. Pads and helmets cause slower speeds and lower jumps.

Former Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel caused quite a stir when he decided to workout in pads during his pro day at A&M in 2014. In my opinion, Manziel made a wise decision.

Manziel’s decision to wear pads while doing his fieldwork gives scouts a better indication of what they can expect on game day.

There is little value in knowing that an athlete can run a 4.26 and have a certain vertical jump while wearing nothing but cleats and spandex. When it comes time to run and jump on Sundays, what a scout saw at the combine and pro day is not always what a coach will see on game day.

The solution is simple: just require full pads to be worn during all drills excluding the bench press. Sure, times and jumps won’t appear as impressive, but they will be more realistic and indicative of in-game action.

Christopher Miller is a junior studying broadcast journalism and sports management. Do you think these athletes should be showing off their skills in helmets and pads? Let him know at or @MLLRC93.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2016-2024 The Post, Athens OH