This might not be an event that you are particularly familiar with, but it seems to be an idea with great potential value. Over the course of the past two days, the NFL held what it called the Regional Combine Invitational, and it provides a critical opportunity for players who otherwise would not be in the public eye to get in contact with the teams around the league, where a relationship can develop from that.
The Regional Combine Invitational began last season and consisted of veteran players with three years of experience or fewer. They were invited to essentially participate in the equivalent of the Combine, performing workouts in addition to undergoing a variety of assessments, such as medical checks.
According to the league, 93 veteran players participated in the event last season, and that resulted in 16 players being signed to NFL rosters following their workouts. That might not seem like a great ratio, but that’s probably around a dozen or so players that otherwise wouldn’t have had a job. Of course, they make no mention of how many of those players might have gone on to make an actual 53-man roster.
The Regional Combine is expanding this season in a very key aspect, however. During the two-day event, there is one day devoted to each class of players. On the second day, which was held yesterday, the veterans worked out. On Saturday, however, draft-eligible players who did not receive invitations to work out at the Combine were able to basically have their own Combine.
While the circumstances and surroundings are far less prestigious than the national Combine held in Indianapolis, this is a critical opportunity for those who were not invited to participate to get some eyes on them. You can be sure that every team has representation of some level at the event.
At the very least, the opportunity to talk to these players will probably help them find jobs after the draft by signing with teams as undrafted free agents. Obviously, there are plenty of undrafted free agents who sign every year (almost every team fills out its 90-man offseason roster), but this could help create a more even playing field.
While it doesn’t specify how many college players have been invited and participated in the weekend’s event, it does say that the invitations are limited to those who are eligible for the upcoming draft among athletes who played last season and who have used up their eligibility.
Personally, I think it’s a great idea and it would seem to make little sense not to continue this event and perhaps even expand it further in future years. The college player component is considered a pilot program.
If you would like to read more about the specific tests that the prospects undergo and things of that nature, you can read about it in the link that was posted above.