For the next week, hundreds of NFL Draft prospects, team executives, scouts and analysts will convene at Lucas Oil Stadium. Of the 338 invited players, five former Longhorns will be in Indianapolis to try and prove their value to NFL teams.
The NFL Combine is an annual event for teams to touch up their scouting reports, measure physical attributes of prospects first-hand and attempt to develop an understanding of prospects’ characters in interviews. In all this preparation is the hope that hidden gems of the draft season will be found in a sea of data and measurables.
Which Texas players were invited?
Kris Boyd, Cornerback
Boyd, a four-year Longhorn and two-time Big 12 leader in passes defended, has seen highs and lows during his Texas tenure. Used primarily as the Longhorns’ top corner, Boyd’s tape is full of highlights as well as struggles against formidable opponents. His strong technique in drills could go a long way toward helping his draft stock.
Davante Davis, Cornerback
A lengthy cornerback skilled in zone coverage, Davis has tools that will grab attention from some NFL teams. But at the NFL Combine, he’s hoping to prove that he can stick with speedier, shiftier receivers in the league.
Lil’Jordan Humphrey, Wide receiver
With elite production in his final season, along with desirable size and versatility, Humphrey will undoubtedly break the Longhorns’ wide receiver drought in the draft (Marquise Goodwin, 2013). Yet, which round he’s taken in could be influenced by workouts such as the 40-yard dash and three-cone drill.
Gary Johnson, Linebacker
The game tape shows an aggressive force for the former Texas and JUCO linebacker. In a class that may be looking for some more depth at the position, Johnson could become an interesting target with strong workout numbers to add.
Charles Omenihu, Defensive lineman
Omenihu, one of the early risers of the draft process, might have the most to gain of all the Texas prospects. If he were to produce another impressive display, the former Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year would inch closer to securing himself as one of the top defensive line prospects.
When will each player be participating?
While the combine officially begins on Tuesday, on-field drills won’t start until Friday. Before getting their cleats in the turf, the participants will have to manage intense interviews, medical exams, measurements and the Wonderlic Personnel Test, a problem-solving intelligence exam used by employers.
Prospects are separated into their positional grouping, which will be their direct competition in the draft:
Friday, March 1: Running back, offensive line, special teams, Place kicker
Saturday, March 2: Quarterback, wide receiver, tight end
Sunday, March 3: Defensive line, linebacker
Monday, March 4: Defensive back
Humphrey will be running drills Saturday, Omenihu and Johnson on Sunday, and Boyd and Davis help wrap up the combine Monday.
What drills will they be doing?
Every medically-cleared prospect will be participating in a number of workouts — from the 40-yard dash and three-cone drill to the bench press and broad jump — but different on-field drills with varying levels of importance are given to each positional group.
For instance, while it will be important for Humphrey to show a refined ability to run routes and secure receptions on the sideline and in the “catch gauntlet,” Boyd and Davis will have to demonstrate how well they backpedal and transition in stride.
The focus for Johnson will be on displaying lateral agility and range, quick reaction and versatility in pass rushing drills, while Omenihu will perform similar change of direction, body control and rushing drills.
How can I watch?
Viewers with access to NFL Network will be able to watch the on-field drills from Friday to Monday, starting at 8:00 a.m. every day, except Saturday at 9:00 a.m. For the first time, though, ABC will be providing additional coverage of Saturday’s quarterback and wide receiver drills from 12:00-2:00 pm.
Streaming options are available on NFL.com and the NFL’s mobile app.