The shuttle run may not get the same attention that the 40-yard dash gets at the NFL Combine, but it's at least as important and can tell scouts a lot more about a player. The 40-yard dash is primarily used to display acceleration and speed in a straight line, but the shuttle run covers speed, explosiveness and a whole lot more.
Prospects will start in a three-point stance surrounded by a series of cones. From there, they'll sprint 5 yards to the right and touch the ground. Then, they'll shift directions and sprint 10 yards to the left before touching the ground again. Finally, they'll sprint 5 yards back to the right, running through the line of cones.
It's good for overall agility, speed and lateral quickness. A shuttle run time below four seconds is generally considered great, with the best players closer to the 3.8-second range. Kevin Kasper of Iowa set the shuttle run record at 3.73 seconds in 2001. That's impressive, though it didn't translate to success for Kasper on the field.
Still, a good shuttle run can be the reason a player helped his stock at the combine, while a bad one can certainly do the opposite. It, along with the aforementioned 40-yard dash, bench press, 3-cone drill, broad jump and vertical jump are the critical, non-position specific drills that just about every prospect who isn't injured engages in throughout the combine.