At first glance, the broad jump drill at the NFL Combine is a simple one. You jump as far as you can, and that's it. The person with the longer jump gets drafted higher, right?
Well, there's more to it than that. First off, you must jump from a standing position, with no forward momentum other than what your leg muscles can give you off the jump. This can actually be a useful drill to determine lower-body strength and explosiveness. Both of those are key attributes for wide receivers looking to get a jump on the cornerback, or for pass rushers trying to get a quick step on the offensive lineman opposing them.
The other important part of the drill is the landing. Balance and precision are the key to properly sticking the landing, and scouts won't be too impressed with prospects who wobble or even stumble when they land. It's not unlike a gymnastics competition where athletes will get points deducted for missing their landing.
Most players would do well to get 10 feet on their broad jump, while the draft's elite athletes can go up to 11 feet or higher. Two years ago, Byron Jones set the all-time record with a 12'3 jump, shattering the previous record by eight inches. He's the only player in Combine history to ever clear 12 feet at the broad jump. Jones went on to be drafted No. 27 overall by the Dallas Cowboys and has been a quality player through his first two seasons.
Last year, running back Daniel Lasco and defensive back Jalen Ramsey led the pack, both recording jumps of 11 feet, three inches.
This year's drills will begin on Friday and run through Monday. Here's the position-by-position schedule.
Friday: Offensive linemen, running backs, place kickers, special teamers
Saturday: Quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends
Sunday: Defensive linemen, linebackers
Monday: Defensive backs