Term of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Name

Master of Science, Kinesiology - Exercise Science Concentration

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Department

Department of Health and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Greg Ryan

Committee Member 1

Ronald Snar

Committee Member 2

Stephen Rossi

Abstract

The National Football League (NFL) Scouting Combine offers good face validity however, there has been doubt on the ability of the NFL Combine to predict future success of athletes in relation to in game performance (i.e., predictive validity). This study analyzed the NFL Combine data of 1537 college football players who participated in the Combine between 2013 and 2017 and their subsequent year’s performance in the NFL. The measures used from the Combine were the six different measures of athletic performance; 40-yard dash, vertical jump (VJ), broad jump, shuttle run (PRO), 3-cone drill, and bench press (BP). The measure of NFL performance was average snaps played (avgS). AvgS was derived from total (offensive/defensive and special teams) snaps (TS), and games played (GP) for each position per season over the sample timeframe. Individual athletic performance measures were normalized via Z-scores for each event completed at the NFL Combine. Average Z-scores were calculated for every athlete when compared to all other athletes (avgCZ) and athletes who played the same position (avgPZ). Correlational analysis was used to ascertain whether the physical performance tests were associated with subsequent performance. A multiple linear regression (MLR) was performed to examine whether individual event Combine performance could predict the subsequent year’s performance in the NFL. Of the 35 correlations found when examining relationships only two correlations were found to be moderately strong, avgCZ - avgS2 (r=0.320), avgPZ - avgS2 (r=0.332), whereas the majority were found to be weak (r<0.3). Furthermore, data analysis suggests that Combine measures can only explain approximately 2.6% of the variance in avgS one year following the Combine when using three (VJ, BP, and PRO) performance tests as predictors. The primary results of this study suggest that the NFL Combine lacks predictive ability when examining first year game performance. Furthermore, it also lacks correlational strength when examining relationships between performance and subsequent five years performance in the NFL. Caution should be used if coaches, general managers, and other front office staff are considering the use of Combine data as a possible selection for the upcoming NFL Draft.

Research Data and Supplementary Material

No

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