The Combine Chronicles: Linebackers

This is the eighth in a series of articles about the NFL Combine. This article does not distinguish between inside and outside linebackers. That is a differentiation DRAFTMETRICS plans to make in the future but doesn’t have the breakouts at this time.

All information in this article is based on the 1999-2012 Combines. The DRAFTMETRICS analysis includes the results of the following drills:

Combine Events

This article reviews the Combine results from three perspectives:
• Provide a context for Combine results by reporting historical performance
• Consider whether results of any Combine drills are meaningful predictors of future success
• Consider whether results of any Combine drills portend a low probability of success

DRAFTMETRICS summarized its information by four overlapping groups of players. Any individual player can be included in only one group or a many as all four. The groups are:
• All Combine participants from 1999 through 2012
• Combine participants who were drafted from 1999 through 2012
• Combine participants who started at least one season (starters start at least 8 games in a season)
• Combine participants who started at least three seasons

The following tables display the number of participants and average for each of the player groups. This is a good starting point in evaluating 2013 Combine results.

The next table shows the range of results for all players who started for at least one season.

DRAFTMETRICS offers the following observations based on its review of Linebackers and their Combine results:
• The 40-yard dash has the most significant difference between starters and all participants
-76% of 1–year starters and 77% of 3-year starters ran the 40 in 4.75 seconds or less compared to 55% of all Combine participants
-All splits showed fairly significant advantages for starters over all participants
• The 20-yard shuttle showed large differences in comparing 3-year starters to all participants
-62% of 3-year starters and 53% of 1-year starters ran the 20-yard shuttle in 4.27 seconds or faster compared to 40% of all Combine participants
• The vertical jump, broad jump and 3-Cone drill results showed modest advantages for starters versus all Combine participants
-Most compelling of the three was the vertical jump
-77% of 3-year starters and 74% of 1-year starters jumped 33 inches or higher compared to 66% of all Combine
• There was little to no advantage in bench press results for starters versus all participants
• A few “red flags” were noted
-None of the 27 Combine participants who had fewer than 16 bench press reps became 3-year starters
-Size somewhat matters - - only 2 of the 34 LBs who participated in the Combine and were under 6 feet tall became 3-year starterso Only 14 of the 86 Combine participants who ran the 40 slower than 4.83 seconds became starters with nine coming 3-year starters.


Tony is the founder of DRAFTMETRICS.COM can be e-mailed at and followed on Twitter @draftmetrics

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