NFL changes 2021 scouting combine format due to COVID-19 pandemic

The NFL’s coaches, scouts and personnel executives will not descend on Indianapolis in February for the annual scouting combine as the league has altered the event to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

The combine, which has been held in Indianapolis since 1987, will be altered due to COVID-19 precautions. In a memo obtained by ESPN that was sent Monday to team executives, trainers, team physicians and head coaches, the NFL outlines the format for this year’s run-up to the draft.

Routinely around 330 of the draft’s top prospects are invited to the combine each year, an event whose official name is the National Invitational Camp.

The prospects are put through an on-field workout, a battery of psychological testing, in-person interviews with individual teams and an extensive medical exam.

This year all on-field workouts will be conducted at on-campus pro days and Monday’s memo outlines that the league will try to have as much uniformity in the on-field drills as possible to give teams the ability to compare the workouts from one site to another. The memo does not specifically outline what COVID-19 precautions will be in place at the on-campus pro days, but said more details about how team personnel will attend the pro days will come at a later date.

All interviews between the prospects and team officials will be conducted virtually as will the psychological testing. The memo said the schedule for interviews will be coordinated by the staff at the NIC.

The medical exams, for the most part, are expected to be conducted in a combination of virtual interviews between players and each team’s medical staffs to go with exams done at medical facilities near the prospect’s home campus.

A select number of prospects, the memo said, will be asked to travel to one or more designated sites for a more comprehensive exam — the memo said “likely in early April” — that can be attended by one physician and one athletic trainer from each team.

Those in-person exams are expected to be conducted over a two- or three-day period. The memo said more specifics will be sent to teams in the weeks to come.

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