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NFL Combine Guide: How players need to test on offense

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Editor's note: Welcome the latest addition to the Bucs Nation staff in Buc It! He starts today with some Scouting Combine breakdowns.

This builds on the work from my previous FanPost: What To Watch For: NFL Combine & NCAA Pro Days, where I found which tests scouts look at to judge each position. Then I built a percentile range for each position to show what scores a player needs. Basically, the higher the percentile, the more athletically gifted the athlete is. With what I found in the FanPost, I colored the top row text white to show the important NFL Combine tests and made the background blue if it was important for Pro Day tests. The black boxes represent the range at which teams look for on each test. If the box is longer, it shows that the test isn’t as important. But if it is shifted up, then is shows importance. Here’s what I found.

Quarterback

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For the quarterback position, many scouts tell people not to look at the NFL Combine test as measurements of a player’s skill. While that is true, it does show what is important. A great example is the body weight. Jameis Winston was openly criticized for being 231 pounds at the NFL Combine. What’s funny is he is only in the 80 percentile. Jamarcus Russell on the other hand was 265 pounds. And even Andrew Luck was 234 pounds. But players like Aaron Rodgers and Tony Romo fall into the range most teams look for. On the flip side, players like Johnny Manziel and Russell Wilson have to make up for their lack of weight by scrambling.

Full Back

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Sadly, the fullback position has turned into a lost art due to the rise of the spread offense. Generally speaking, teams look for bigger running backs with slower speeds and wide shoulders to block. While that’s not everything, Mike Alstott, Peyton Hillis, and Heath Evans did well to show that a little shiftiness (Shuttle/3Cone) goes a long way.

Running Back

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For running backs, I was surprised to see that the average running back runs a 4.59 40 Yard Dash. I use the Electronic Time (ET) because it is more accurate than the Hand Held (HH) time. But what didn’t surprise me was the importance of big hands. You'd hate to have a running back who fumbles the ball due to "Deadpool hand". Also, keep an eye on Broad Jump, it shows explosiveness and the "switch", how quickly they can go, of the player.

Wide Receiver

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Who was surprised to see that speed would be important to wide receivers? I know Al Davis is clapping in his grave on that revelation. However, it looks like that isn’t the most important thing. You know when they have BIG HANDS…. Oh wait, forgot this was Bucs Nation. Hand size is important for wide receivers though!

Tight End

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There is such a wide range of tight ends out there. Both Height and the 10 (HH) Yard Split can be ignored due to the standard deviation being so wide. 20 (HH) Yard Split and Broad Jump shows a negative relation to the test which also allows us to ignore them. That leaves the Vertical Jump and body measurements. In all honesty, I would rather use NCAA production and a minuscule amount of NFL Combine data to see who is a better tight end.

Offensive Tackle

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To block for the quarterback, you need to be a big dude. Scouts are looking at offensive tackle's Height, Weight, and general athletic ability. On average, an offensive tackle needs to be 6'5" or taller and show explosiveness in his jump tests and Shuttle. It does help to have long arms.

Offensive Guard

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To run the power scheme, teams look for an offensive guard that has the agility to pull around with speed. Specifically, that would be the 3Cone drill and 10 (ET) Yard Split. In general however, an offensive guard needs explosiveness off the line to block bigger and faster defensive tackles. In that case, Height, Weight, and Arm length come into play for leverage and the Vertical and Broad Jumps show the explosiveness of an offensive guard.

Center

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Finally the center position. They are usually the smallest of the offensive line group at 6'3" and 298 pounds. Overall, they just have to be athletic and use leverage like the offensive guard position.

Coming Up Next: Defense