NFL clubs are increasingly identifying talented players at the league’s Regional Combines. Clubs began their 2015 organized team activities with a record 119 Regional Combine participants on their rosters.
In the spring of 2015, 43 players from the 2015 Regional Combines signed with NFL teams — three were drafted (a record for Regional Combine players) and 40 were signed as college free agents. The remainder of Regional Combines players on rosters participated in past seasons: 15 in 2012, 28 in 2013, and 33 in 2014.
Learn about the NFL’s Regional Combines.
“These young men have taken advantage of the opportunity provided by the Regional Combines to showcase their talent and catch the eyes of NFL scouts,” said Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations. “They are a testament to the values of football — hard work, tenacity and the never-give-up attitude that is allowing them to live out their dream.”
By the end of the 2015 season, 96 Regional Combine players remained on NFL rosters — including Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus and Carolina Panthers tight end Scott Simonson, who both played in Super Bowl 50. All but one club (San Francisco) had at least one Regional Combine player, and several teams have found the events especially useful for identifying talent: Pittsburgh had nine Regional Combine players in 2015, followed by Tampa Bay (six) and Indianapolis, Miami, the New York Jets and Washington (five).
The NFL launched its Regional Combines platform in 2012 to give deserving players who may not be invited to the National Scouting Combine an opportunity to showcase their talents for pro scouts. In 2015, the NFL revised the events to include only players eligible for the current year’s draft, allowing clubs to focus on players who could end up on their draft board.
The NFL will hold the six 2016 Regional Combines in February and March at the training facilities of five NFL clubs (Houston, Arizona, Baltimore, Minnesota and New Orleans). The 2016 NFL Regional Combines are limited to position players; there will not be a kicker/punter combine this year.
Tray Walker, a defensive back from Texas Southern University, participated in the 2015 Combine in Miami in February and was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth round with the 136th overall pick. Before the 2015 draft, no Regional Combine player had ever been selected higher than the sixth round.
“If it wasn’t for the Regional Combine, I wouldn’t be here, let alone drafted,” Walker said in an interview with LockerReport.com.
|REGIONAL COMBINE PLAYERS ON NFL ROSTERS BY POSITION*|
|Offense (46)||Defense (42)||Special Teams (8)|
|Offensive line - 9||Defensive line - 10||Kickers - 4|
|Quarterbacks - 3||Linebackers - 8||Punters - 4|
|Running backs - 6||Defensive backs - 24|
|Wide receivers - 17|
|Tight ends - 11|
|* as of the end of the 2015 NFL season|