What the Patriots look for — and what they don’t — at the NFL combine

Bill Belichick takes the combine with a grain of salt

Bill Belichick answers a question during a news conference at the 2014 NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
Bill Belichick answers a question during a news conference at the 2014 NFL Combine in Indianapolis. –Michael Conroy/AP

The NFL Combine is just another piece of the NFL Draft puzzle.

For Bill Belichick and the Patriots, the combine has its value, but the process is taken with a grain of salt. After all, prospects run through drills in spandex suits without pads. There’s no contact.

“We’re training our players to play football, not to go through a bunch of those February drills,’’ Belichick said last summer, via The Boston Globe. “I think a lot of players learn from that, that they look at their rookie year and feel like, ‘I wasn’t really physically as well prepared as maybe I was in college or what I will be in succeeding years in the league,’ and train more for football and train less for the broad jump and three-cone drill and stuff like that.’’

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Somegeneral managers and coaches say the most important parts of the combine are interviews and physicals. And so the Patriots can learn a great deal by questioning players and perusing medical reports. But the Patriots may ignore some of the many measurements (like hand size, arm length, height, weight, broad jump, vertical jump, 40-yard dash, bench press, 20-yard shuttle, etc…).

Via The Boston Globe, there are NFL Combine trends that have emerged for the Patriots under Belichick. From the story:

– The Patriots don’t particularly care about the bench press.

– 20-yard shuttle and 40-yard dash drills matter for wide receivers. Height does not.

– For cornerbacks, the Patriots value vertical jump and the three-cone drill but not necessarily height.

Read the Globe story for more insight on what the Patriots look for at the combine, which is taking place this week.

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