With COVID-19 still representing a clear and present danger to player safety despite a vaccination rollout, the NFL has made the decision to cancel this year’s NFL Scouting Combine. ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted a copy of the memo that was sent to all NFL teams Monday announcing the cancellation.
A copy of the memo sent to NFL teams today that means the traditional Indianapolis scouting combine is off this year and there will be no in-person workouts. pic.twitter.com/yrvsqlljN5— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 18, 2021
The memo details how colleges will now be asked to host media days for their draft prospects during their individual Pro Days, while any interviews and psychological testing of prospective players must occur virtually.
These changes won’t effect much, as most of the players will be tested on their own college campuses, as the memo notes. However, the Combine serves as not only a week-long athletic showcase for former college players, but it’s also a place for scouts to learn more about prospects from draft analysts, college coaches and other evaluators. With those sources gathered in one place, it’s easy to check on rumors and other background information you might have heard about certain prospects. Now that type of sewing-circle gossip will need to take place through different avenues.
Similarly, the combine is massively important for medical check-ups on invited prospects, although the memo indicates that the plan now is to test players at medical facilities near where they live.
For the players themselves, this makes the draft process that much more condensed, with less chances to improve their stock through post-college season events such as All-Star games or said Combine. Some players’ hopes and dreams, particularly those looking to stand out due to coming from smaller schools, will now solely depend on their Pro Days. For fans, this also unfortunately means being deprived of watching a grown man run down a track in a snappy suit for charity purposes. (Who knows, maybe he still will.)