With the NFL offseason becoming more closely watched then ever before, the NFL has made some changes to create buzz. They started with the concept of moving the NFL Draft location around, every college "All-Star" game is now heavily advertised and attended, and now there will be an NFL Combine for free agents.
What is it:
Several NFL veterans will show up at the combine going through the same drills and testing as incoming rookies go through. Bench press, the 40, short shuttle, and long jump will presumably be the staples, combined with more workouts and positional drills.
Where and When is it:
The combine will be held in Tempe, Arizona at the Arizona Cardinals training facility on March 22.
Who will be there:
The event will be applied to by several free agents, but only around 100 will be selected to actually compete.
Why does it matter:
This is the big question. On one hand, it seems redundant to put players in the league through the wringer like this and make them jump through hoops. On the other hand, the bottom five or six roster spot on any given team are always up for grabs, and these drills are where special teamers make their money.
While I don't think Justin Houston or Demarco Murray will show up to the combine, there should be some mid-tier guys trying to make an impression on a team. This will give those players a chance to prepare and show what they offer next to some the rookies numbers (the rookie combine is in February).