The NFL Combine will feature a host of top collegiate wide receivers in the country starting on Feb. 17, one year after standout NFL rookies Odell Beckham, Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin took center stage in Indianapolis to showcase their talents before scouts and coaches.
The highlight of the event for the wide receivers is The Gauntlet, a turn-and-catch drill combined with a 53-yard sprint across the field where each player will have to catch seven passes from coaches and five different quarterbacks. All of this is done while they run at full speed in a straight line.
It’s the ultimate test of coordination and vision for these prospects, and it simulates game-like conditions by requiring a high amount of concentration. Running routes with precise timing is key at the next level, and the prospects will have an opportunity to prove they can make the adjustment.
Receivers can also improve their draft stock in the combine’s main events:
For wideouts, the 40-yard dash can mean the difference between being a first-round selection or late-round flier. Past players such as Arizona Cardinals wideout John Brown, who recorded a 4.34-second 40 last year, used a fast time to vault their status. This time around will be no different in the marquee event.
Of course, not all of those teams need a center. And the trick is that while playing with those elite power forwards might maximize Okafor’s skills, it’s probably not the best complement for the existing star. The Kings aren’t likely to kick Cousins out of the post for Okafor, for example.