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Introduction to the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine

Every year, lots of buzz surrounds the NFL Combine. We're all used to hearing about impressive 40-yard-dash times or bench press results, but what do all these numbers really mean?

Let's take a closer look.

What:The NFL scouting combine is a week-long showcase for Draft-eligible college athletes that takes place at Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis) every February. College football players perform physical and mental tests under the observation of NFL coaches, general managers and scouts. Prospects also undergo medical exams by team trainers and physicians, which was the initial purpose of the combine.

Where: Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, Indiana. The combine has taken place in Indianapolis since 1987. Prior to its establishment there, the event was first hosted in Tampa Bay (1982-83), New Orleans (1984, 86) and Arizona (1985).

When: Every year in February

Who: More than 330 prospects received invitations to participate in this year's combine, a multi-day event that is a large part of their job interview with NFL teams.

Measurables: Prospects' dimensions (height, weight, hand size and arm length) are measured to provide consistent figures. They also participate in standardized timing and testing drills that illustrate straight line speed (40-yard dash), strength (bench press), explosiveness (vertical jump, broad jump) and agility (shuttle and three-cone drills).

A tight schedule is kept because there is so much work to be done. Players are broken down into groups and sent through a four-day process

Day 1 arrivals (Tuesday): Running backs, offensive linemen and special teams

Day 2 arrivals (Wednesday): Quarterbacks, receivers, tight ends

Day 3 arrivals (Thursday): Defensive linemen and linebackers

Day 4 arrivals (Friday): Defensive backs

Groups travel to Indianapolis for registration, pre-exams, X-rays and orientation on their first day.

On the second day, groups have their physical measurements taken, undergo medical exams and interview with media and team personnel.

On the third day, groups attend an NFLPA meeting, undergo psychological testing and participate in the bench press and interviews with team personnel.

On the fourth day, groups participate in on-field workouts (timing and testing stations, along with skill drills) and depart Indianapolis.

What follows? Colleges will set up pro day workouts for prospects who were or were not invited to the combine. NFL teams are allowed to bring in up to 30 non-local prospects for visits in preparation for the NFL Draft, scheduled for April 28-30 this year.

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