The COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t able to bring the NFL’s regular season to a halt in 2020, but it did force the league to make some alterations. That weaving through the pandemic looks like it’ll continue through the 2021 offseason, particularly with the NFL Scouting Combine. A memo sent to all 32 teams on Monday noted that the Combine “will be conducted in a different format.”
The major change is that there will be no in-person workouts held at the Combine this year. Instead, any workouts will take place during individual pro days on college campuses. The league stated in the memo that they will work with the schools to encourage consistency “in testing and drills across pro days and ensure that all clubs have access to video from those workouts, irrespective of whether the club is represented at a particular workout.”
They are also working to obtain medical information about all the prospects who would ordinarily be invited to the Combine, which will include testing done at medical facilities near the prospect is currently residing. In special cases, there will be in-person follow-up examinations that likely occur in early April. Under those circumstances, each club will be allowed to send one physician and one athletic trainer to conduct those in-person exams, which will likely occur over a two or three-day period.
As for team interviews with prospects, those will be done virtually instead of in-person.
The Combine has been a staple to the NFL offseason dating back to 1982 and moved permanently to Indianapolis in 1987. Under normal circumstances, Lucas Oil Stadium would play host to not only one of the key evaluation points during the pre-draft process, but it was one of the more interactive periods between teams, which could alter some offseason deals as well.