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The Super Bowl has come and gone, and now, all eyes are looking forward to the 2023 NFL season. The first taste of it comes this weekend at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. This year, it will take place from February 27 to March 6 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis — the home of the Colts — where it has been hosted since 1987.
Each year, the NFL invites some of the most promising NFL Draft prospects in the country to the NFL Combine, for an opportunity to showcase their physical (and mental) skills in front of a collection of coaches and executives from around the league. This year, there were 319 players invited, named here.
Players in attendance at the combine have a LOT to get done in such a short time.
First off, players participate in medical testing (sometimes termed medicals), including blood work, EKGs, MRIs, and the like, depending on the player and their history. This is an opportunity for players who have suffered an injury in their collegiate careers to prove their health, but also an opportunity for teams to ensure there are no underlying medical conditions that could affect NFL performance or clearance to play (like a heart condition).
They'll also participate in interviews with the media, and individual teams (each team may conduct up to 60, 15-minute interviews) to showcase themselves on a personal and intellectual level. Historically, the interview process has historically been kind of weird, and at times, extremely inappropriate. Last year, however, the NFL sent a league-wide memo stating that teams could be fined and even lose draft picks if team representatives displayed "disrespectful, inappropriate or unprofessional" conduct during an interview.
Finally, there are the measurables, drills, and on-field workouts. Standard measurements for players include your basic height and weight, as well as wingspan, arm length and hand size. Drills include things like the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, 3-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle — all of which aim to showcase different aspects of a player's athleticism, including speed, agility, explosion and strength.
Each position group will participate in four phases, including team interviews, media interviews, measurements and on-field workouts, and the bench press/departure. Here's a look at the televised schedule, organized by date/position.
Thursday, March 2 at 3 p.m. ET: Defensive linemen, linebackers
Friday, March 3 at 3 p.m. ET: Defensive backs (including safeties and cornerbacks)
Saturday, March 4 at 1 p.m. ET: Quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends
Sunday, March 5 at 1 p.m. ET: Running backs, offensive linemen
Fun(ish) fact: The bench press was previously linked with the other on-field workouts, but after mass opt-outs last year, the NFL installed it as the final event to eliminate any concern that participation could affect a player's peak performance in an arguably more important drill (such as the 40-yard dash).