Quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers participated Saturday in timing and testing drills as part of the annual evaluation of more than 300 draft-eligible prospects by scouts and coaches from all 32 NFL teams.
There are drills that use easy to understand metrics like how fast a player can run 40 yards in a straight line or how many times he can bench press 225 pounds, and there are also agility and passing drills like throwing to receivers and tight ends in "the gauntlet" and trying to connect with receivers on the route tree.
With the Vikings believing they located their starting QB for a long time last year in Teddy Bridgewater, General Manager Rick Spielman and Head Coach Mike Zimmer told reporters this week that they might take a look at potential developmental quarterbacks.
Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner told Voice of the Vikings Paul Allen and Paul Charchian on KFAN this week about discovering Gus Frerotte during the combine when Turner was head coach of Washington in 1994.
"We found Gus Frerotte here at the combine and drafted him in the seventh round at Washington," Turner said. "We obviously took Heath Shuler in the first round, and Gus ends up being a better player. He threw all the running back and tight end drills and was kind of the guy who was out there for three days throwing. I kept watching him and said, 'Who is this guy?' We went back and watched all his college tape, and he was a good player."
Quarterback evaluations will be based more on the eyeball tests of the way they throw the ball and then how they perform on game film and in interviews with teams, but it's still fun to take a look at the numbers, even though quarterbacks weren't too active in timing and testing drills.
Marcus Mariota, the 2014 Heisman winner out of Oregon, ran the 40 the fastest with a time of 4.52 seconds. Nick Marshall, who was grouped among QBs in Indianapolis but participated in the Senior Bowl last month as a defensive back, was the only QB to participate in the bench press (12 reps). Marshall participated in a defensive backs agility drill Saturday.
What do those performances mean?
Tony Villiotti processed numbers to determine which measurable drill was most important to each position for nationalfootballpost.com. Villiotti looked at players who have started "one full season" and whether or not they were top performers among their position. He concluded a minimal relation between top performances and starting quarterbacks.
Villiotti also broke down which drills were most important for each position and determined the vertical jump and 40-yard dash have the strongest correlation and a higher one than for running backs in either drill.
Marcus Mariota, Oregon, 4.52 seconds
Nick Marshall, Auburn, 4.54
Blake Sims, Alabama, 4.58
Cody Fajardo, Nevada, 4.63
(tied) Brett Hundley, UCLA, 4.63
Nick Marshall, Auburn, 12
Nick Marshall, Auburn, 37.5 inches
Bryan Bennett, Southeastern Louisiana, 37.0
Brett Hundley, UCLA, 36.0
Marcus Mariota, Oregon, 36.0
Bryce Petty, Baylor, 34.0
Bryan Bennett, Southeastern, Louisiana, 10-feet, 5-inches
Nick Marshall, Auburn, 10-4
Marcus Mariota, Oregon, 10-1
(tied) Bryce Petty, Baylor, 10-1
Brett Hundley, UCLA, 10-0
Marcus Mariota, Oregon, 6.87 seconds
Bryce Petty, Baylor, 6.91
Brett Hundley, UCLA, 6.93
Cody Fajardo, Nevada, 6.95
Nick Marshall, Auburn, 6.96
Brett Hundley, UCLA, 3.98
Cody Fajardo, Nevada, 4.10
Marcus Mariota, Oregon, 4.11
Bryce Petty, Baylor, 4.13
Nick Marshall, Auburn, 4.15