BEREA -- More than 100 football players from across the country worked out in football-specific and later, position-centric drills at the 2013 NFL Regional Combine at the Cleveland Browns’ Casey Coleman Fieldhouse Sunday.
Starting with one at the 2013 Pro Bowl, regional combines are held around the NFL and select players from those events will be brought to Cowboys Stadium in Dallas for the Super Regional Combine on Sunday, April 7.
“What we promise is that we will test you as accurately as possible,” said Mike Kozak, regional director for the NFL Regional Combines. “We collect the data in the exact same manner it’s collected at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. These guys are tested and the data is collected. Then, they’re put through position drills. These are NFL scouts. They take the data from the tests, they look at position drills. They decide who is worthy of a look to Dallas.
“All of the best guys throughout the country at these combines will then get an invite to Dallas. Your opportunity is, if you can come out, test well and perform well, you’re going to get a fair look.”
Regional combines allow athletes to compete in drills and get weighed, measured and timed by NFL personnel, despite not being invited to the annual NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Just over 300 players are invited to Indianapolis to have their draft stock evaluated in person.
“There are a lot of guys that can do it,” Kozak said. “You’re looking for guys that could be worthy of at least a mini-camp invite, maybe make a practice squad or make a roster. They’re out there, and 99 percent of these guys probably won’t make it, but they’re looking for that one percent that got overlooked.”
During the 2012 offseason, the NFL held nine regional combines in which 3,000 players participated. Of that group, 140 were invited to the Super Regional Combine in Detroit, and 80 later participated in NFL training camps. At the start of the 2012 season, 53 regional combine participants were on active rosters or practice squads around the league. Fourteen players finished the year on active rosters, and another 14 were on practice squads.
St. Louis Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein and punter Johnny Hekker participated in the 2012 Super Regional Combine before being signed. In his rookie season, Zuerlein kicked seven field goals from at least 50 yards, tied with Cleveland’s
“It validates this whole process,” Kozak said of regional combine participants making it in the NFL. “If you go to the Dallas Combine this year, it has the look of the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, and those guys are very legit athletes. From there, it’s up to the scouts to decide who they want to cast invites to. It’s a very legitimate process.
“This is the first level. It’s the sifting level, who are the guys that belong and who are the guys that do not.”