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New England Patriots

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New England Patriots

2024 NFL Combine preview

Mar 4, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; The NFL shield logo in the end zone during the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest events of the pre-draft process takes place this week. Over 300 of the top prospects in this year’s draft class will be on hand for the 2024 NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

In addition to this being a big week for the prospects, it’s also a big news-making week with decision-makers from all 32 teams in the same place at the same time. Events begin on Monday with the first public events taking place on Wednesday, and workouts running through next Monday. Here’s a full look at the schedule, by position…



From a draft perspective, the Combine is a fact-finding mission on the players. For many, it’s the first time they’ll have height and weight officially measured (the second for players who went to showcase games last month). In addition to the well-known Combine drills like the 40-yard dash, bench press, etc., the often-forgotten on-field drills can be eye-opening for teams as well.

That’s a long way of saying, there will be a lot going on this week. There are also typically a few surprises that come out of the Combine as well. Heading in though, here are the big storylines to track this week.

  • Jayden Daniels’ weigh-in

    ORLANDO, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 03: Jayden Daniels #5 of the LSU Tigers looks to throw a pass with pressure from Kalen DeLoach #4 of the Florida State Seminoles in the first quarter at Camping World Stadium on September 03, 2023 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

    ORLANDO, FLORIDA – SEPTEMBER 03: Jayden Daniels #5 of the LSU Tigers looks to throw a pass with pressure from Kalen DeLoach #4 of the Florida State Seminoles in the first quarter at Camping World Stadium on September 03, 2023 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

    Daniels has cemented himself as a top three quarterback in this year’s NFL Draft, and many experts have him as the second quarterback off the board. Still, his makeup doesn’t come without question.

    One of the biggest questions regarding Daniels is his size. He’s going to need to run somewhat regularly to maximize his efficiency in the NFL, and in college didn’t exactly do a great job of protecting himself in the open field. In the pros, those hits will only get bigger and more physical.

    At LSU, Daniels was listed at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds. NFL teams will be looking for him to bulk up a bit in order to better absorb those hits. So, this becomes a two-part question. One – what does he actually measure in at/has he started the process of adding size? And if he has, does he still move as well as he did at LSU? That second part will be something to focus on in on-field drills, especially if he runs the 40 or 3-cone.

  • Michael Penix’s medical testing

    Washington v Stanford

    STANFORD, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 28: Michael Penix Jr. #9 of the Washington Huskies warms up prior to the start of his game against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on October 28, 2023 in Stanford, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

    In addition to meeting with players, teams can also have them undergo basic medical testing/physicals. No player will be more in the spotlight in that regard than Penix.

    During the season Penix certainly performed like a top-15 pick, but there are concerns about where he is at physically. His first four college seasons were all cut short due to injury. That included tearing his right ACL twice (one of which took longer than expected to heal), as well as one significant injury in each of his shoulders.

    The following two years Penix didn’t miss any time, starting 28 games for Washington, but that injury history looms large over his status as a prospect. What kind of condition is his right knee in now? How about his throwing shoulder? These are legitimate questions for teams to have, and questions they can start to get answers on this week. Given Penix is a higher-profile prospect, it wouldn’t be surprising if the findings of those evaluations are reported in more general terms (ex. pass or fail) at some point.

  • Offensive tackle arm measurements

    TUCSON, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 30: Offensive lineman Jordan Morgan #77 of the Arizona Wildcats during the second half of the NCAAF game at Arizona Stadium on September 30, 2023 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    TUCSON, ARIZONA – SEPTEMBER 30: Offensive lineman Jordan Morgan #77 of the Arizona Wildcats during the second half of the NCAAF game at Arizona Stadium on September 30, 2023 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    This is always a big one at the NFL Combine. Reach is a very important attribute at the tackle position, so arm length becomes an important factor. Players with less of a reach are almost moved inside to play guard, where there is less space to cover.

    Over the past decade, 33 inches has been used as the unofficial cutoff for arm length between tackles and guards. In that timespan, only two tackles who measured in below that threshold were drafted in the first round with one, Justin Pugh, later becoming a guard. A third tackle, Rashawn Slater, was the only tackle drafted in the first round with arms measuring in at exactly 33 inches.

    Last year, Peter Skoronki was viewed as the consensus top tackle in the draft heading into the Combine. However his arms measured in at 32 1/4 inches, and while he still ended up as a first round pick by the Tennessee Titans, they immediately moved him to guard.

    Looking at this year’s tackle class, there’s a bunched-up group of players at the position all expected to go between the 20th and 50th picks. Could arm length help sort that group out? Two players experts expect to be right around that 33-inch cutoff are Washington’s Troy Fautanu and Arizona’s Jordan Morgan. Morgan actually measured in just under the threshold with 32 7/8-inch arms at the Senior Bowl, but sometimes the Combine measurements differ slightly.

  • Which wide receivers will bounce-back after the Senior Bowl?

    CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - OCTOBER 14: Devontez Walker #9 of the North Carolina Tar Heels breaks away from Kamren Kinchens #5 of the Miami Hurricanes for a touchdown during the second half of their game at Kenan Memorial Stadium on October 14, 2023 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Tar Heels won 41-31. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

    CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA – OCTOBER 14: Devontez Walker #9 of the North Carolina Tar Heels breaks away from Kamren Kinchens #5 of the Miami Hurricanes for a touchdown during the second half of their game at Kenan Memorial Stadium on October 14, 2023 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Tar Heels won 41-31. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

    Much like the tackles, there’s a big group of wide receivers expected to go from late on Day 1 to early on Day 2 that doesn’t have much consensus. Testing at the Combine should help sort that group out.

    Two players from the group that stand out are Tez Walker from UNC and Xavier Leggette from South Carolina. Both were projected fringe-first-round picks heading into the Senior Bowl, but struggled in Mobile in what was overall a strong week for the wide receiver position. Will either or both bounce back with a notable Combine performance?

    This is also a chance for those players in that range who weren’t at the Senior Bowl. That group includes Xavier Worthy and AD Mitchell from Texas, Troy Franklin from Oregon, Ja’Lynn Polk and Jalen McMillan from Washington, and Jermaine Burton from Alabama.

  • Why a 40-yard dash?

    INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 02: A general view prior to the 40-yard dash during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 02, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

    INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – MARCH 02: A general view prior to the 40-yard dash during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 02, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

    I like to relay this anecdote every year around NFL Combine time. Ever wonder why it’s a 40-yard dash? Why not 100 yards? 20?

    It’s because when the NFL Combine started, 40 yards was the length of the average punt. GMs simply wanted to see if players could get downfield in time to field a punt. In reality, NFL players rarely run a full 40 yards uninterrupted. For wide receivers and defensive backs who will end up doing that the number still certainly matters, but there’s another measurement hidden within the 40 that’s as much if not more important for all positions.

    Not every 4.50 40 is the same. Along with the final times the NFL usually publishes 10 yard splits, or how long it took each player to reach each 10-yard segment of the 40. The first 10-yard measurement can be used to see how explosive a player is – how quickly they can get out of their stance and get into gear. So when looking at the 40 times this year, keep that in mind.

  • Which pass rushers stand out?

    HOUSTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 02: Nelson Ceaser #9 of the Houston Cougars reacts to a stop against the UTSA Roadrunners during the first half at TDECU Stadium on September 02, 2023 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

    HOUSTON, TEXAS – SEPTEMBER 02: Nelson Ceaser #9 of the Houston Cougars reacts to a stop against the UTSA Roadrunners during the first half at TDECU Stadium on September 02, 2023 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

    Edge rusher is a sneaky-big need for the Patriots this offseason. That need only becomes compounded if they lose Josh Uche in free agency. In looking to fill Uche’s role the Patriots would likely target an athletic and explosive pass rusher. Those are two traits that can be measured at the Combine.

    The Patriots likely wouldn’t address that need at the top of the draft, but will any players further down the board pop and make their case for a longer look? A few names to watch in that regard are Austin Booker from Kansas, Mohamed Kamara from Colorado State, Javon Solomon from Troy, Jalyx Hunt from Houston Christian, Xavier Thomas from Clemson, and Nelson Ceaser from Houston.

  • Pre-draft meetings

    Jan 19, 2017; Ashwaubenon, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers director of football operations Eliot Wolf during practice at the Don Hutson Center in preparation for the NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons. Mandatory Credit: Jim Matthews/Green Bay Press Gazette via USA TODAY Sports

    Jan 19, 2017; Ashwaubenon, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers director of football operations Eliot Wolf during practice at the Don Hutson Center in preparation for the NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons. Mandatory Credit: Jim Matthews/Green Bay Press Gazette via USA TODAY Sports

    While a Combine or any other pre-draft meeting doesn’t guarantee a team will draft a specific player, there’s still value in the information as a whole. By looking at the meetings overall we can see what sorts of players in what range(s) of the draft teams are looking at. We’ll keep a running tally of the Patriots pre-draft meetings here (the list is already started with meetings from the Senior Bowl).

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected].

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