The NFL Draft kicks off on April 25th and a whole new class of players will get to move on from the college to professional ranks of football. Some of those names are all but guaranteed. Write them in stone if you must -- the players like Luke Joeckel, Geno Smith, and Dee Milliner. Others aren't so sure.
That's what makes an event like the NFL Combine in Indianapolis so very important for more than a few hopefuls that will be looking to solidify their standings somewhere in the draft. Whether that's jumping up into the top ten or just getting into the end of the seventh round, there will be 333 prospects at the Combine, and only about 255 will get drafted. The quest to continue their football journeys hits another important step on February 20th, when the 2013 NFL Combine kicks off at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Things start on the Wednesday the 20th when offensive linemen, tight ends, special teams players, and kickers report for registration, orientation, and interviews. These are known as Groups 1, 2, and 3. The biggest name in this group is going to be Luke Joeckel, the big tackle out of Texas A&M that is projected by some to be the No. 1 overall pick. Others include Eric Fisher, LT, Central Michigan, Alabama guard Chance Warmack, and tight ends like Zach Ertz of Stanford and Tyler Eifert of Notre Dame.
All are expected to be first round picks, but a great week or a bad week could have serious consequences. Sort of like in a golf tournament (or a round of Row Row Row Your Boat) these groups will go one ahead of the other through the ringer of:
- Registration (Day One)
- X-Rays (Day One)
- Orientation (Day One)
- Interviews (Day One)
- Measurements (Day Two)
- Medical Examinations (Day Two)
- Media (Day Two)
- More Interviews (Day Two)
- NFLPA Meeting (Day Three)
- Psychological Testing (Day Three)
- Bench Press (Day Three)
- More Interviews (Day Three)
- On-Field Workouts (Day Four)
The biggest workouts for many fans to pay attention to will be the bench press and the On-Field Workouts that include the 40-yard dash. Just as Groups 1, 2, and 3 are finishing on Saturday the 23rd, Groups 10 and 11 (Defensive Backs) will be starting their Day One.
The second wave of players will be Groups 4 (QB, WR), 5 (QB, WR) and 6 (RB). Next arrivals are Groups 7 (DL), 8 (DL), and 9 (LB) before finally the arrivals of secondary players.
The group of quarterbacks could be the most interesting to watch, as nobody is quite sure that any signal-callers will be drafted in the first round. Geno Smith is the most likely to be drafted in the first round right now, and quarterbacks will be working out on Saturday the 23rd and Sunday the 24th. This will also include players like Matt Barkley, Tyler Wilson, EJ Manuel, Ryan Nassib, and Tyler Bray as they try to boost their stock and solidify a pick on day one of the NFL Draft.
Fans can follow along from the 20th to the 26th on the NFL Network and check in with SBNation for updates throughout.