The Combine Report: Demand For NFL Pro Player Combine Reboot?

With No AAF And XFL, The Importance For The Pro Player Combine Is Evident

Getting to the NFL consists of many difficult obstacles. There are several ways to get to the NFL, however, appropriate platforms need to be established for true NFL decision-makers to determine what talents are out there.

Due to the cancellations of the Alliance of American Football (AAF) and XFL, there will be a hole in the evaluation process.

But does it have to be?

After the brief success of the NFL Pro Player Combine, instituted by NFL Football Operations, a reboot of the process could be the bridge to, once again, connect a pathway to the highest level of football – the NFL.

Brandon Copeland/Google Images

In 2015, the NFL Veteran Combine was implemented to refresh opportunities for former NFL players to make a triumphant return to the league. Six of those attendees signed to NFL clubs, including current New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Copeland.

The NFL Pro Player Combine (PPC) followed suit with workouts in 2017 and 2018. Those outlets were imperative for former NFL players, scouts and team personnel alike as the outcome created peace of mind for many parties involved.

The PPC in 2017 opened the door for six players to return to the league, while the 2018 trial ultimately produced 11 talents for NFL rosters, including Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Justin Zimmer and Las Vegas Raiders running back William Stanback.

Both, the AAF and XFL had 416 players each on their leagues. These spring leagues had no known partnership with the NFL. Nevertheless, the leagues were used as filters for potential standouts for the NFL.

In essence, 17 players from the AAF signed with NFL clubs at some capacity, putting them at 4.08 percent success rate. While the XFL helped 3.36 percent of their former players (14) get closer to their dreams.

The PPC did not equal the quantity of bodies like the AAF and XFL obtained. Still, the level of quality equaled as 17.6 percent of the attendees from the 2017 NFL Pro Player Combine went to the NFL, while 32.35 percent of talents from the 2018 session signed to clubs.

With no legitimate spring football leagues kicking off any time soon, the importance of establishing a uniform stage to present both untapped or reprise standouts for a league where talent is always in high demand, is vital.

Justin Zimmer/

The traditional way of getting to the NFL is by way of playing for a national Division-I power with the potential of walking across the stage to shake NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s hand or body. That tour is the ideal direction.

In reality for the NFL, about 56 percent of the NFL is made up with undrafted players.

The scouting process for NFL teams is intact and a well-oiled machine, but they have some breakdowns as well. With no AAF and XFL, the reboot of the NFL Pro Player Combine can once again be an asset for the NFL scouting process.

And clean up some of the leaks that the process – will have.


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