Is NFL combine performance predictive of NFL performance?

Is NFL combine performance predictive of NFL performance?

One study evaluated if combine performance was predictive of NFL performance in the player’s first 3 years and in their career. If performance was predictive, then they broke down which of the 7 tests was most predictive.

One of the difficulties with determining if combine performance is predictive of NFL performance is the number of other variables that can have an effect on a player’s career. This study controlled for the following major variables in order to help isolate the effect of the combine performance as much as possible: number of games played, draft position, height, and weight.

Results showed that the 10-yard split of the 40 yard dash was the most important predictor of rushing yards per attempt in the first 3 years and overall career for running backs. Another comprehensive study showed 40 yard dash and broad jump were predictive of total rushing yards, rushing attempts, and yards per game for running backs.

For wide receivers, vertical jump was found to be significantly associated with receiving yards per reception in the first 3 years and in overall careers in the NFL. Furthermore, height was the most important factor in predicting future performance of wide receivers.

There were no significant results for other positions. NFL teams should keep the significant results in mind when assessing running backs and wide receivers in the draft.


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