The broad jump is a test of a lower body strength in which prospects must jump from a standing position and go forward as far as they can with both feet, landing with both feet without falling down. The test combines the explosiveness and power of a prospect's lower body strength with their balance to stay standing without falling down.
Unsurprisingly, the broad jump is similar to the other jumping drill, the vertical jump, in that it is often misconstrued as a test of one's jumping ability. However, the broad jump is one of a few tests that looks to measure a player's burst and quickness in short areas.
The best results in the event have often come from athletic skill position players and defensive backs. The record in the event, 137 inches, is shared by former-Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Scott Starks and former-Oakland Raiders running back Justin Fargas. However, neither made much of a lasting impact in the NFL.
Among the more notable recent jumps were wide receivers Darrius Heyward-Bey and Mike Wallace who each jumped 129 inches in the 2009 NFL Combine. With 120 inches near the league average, those were impressive numbers. They have been able to translate that explosiveness and burst into solid careers with the Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers, respectively.
The test also looks to find athletes that are able to display this quickness and burst while staying balanced and under control. Falling backwards or forwards will force a prospect to try again and shows a lack of control over the jump.