In order to find the best and most qualified candidates, NFL teams have established a scouting and draft process.
NFL teams put a lot of time and resources into getting ready for the NFL draft. Teams are continuously evaluating their needs and players that may fill those needs. All but five of NFL teams pay to belong to one of the two major scouting services, National Football Scouting and BLESTO.
The National Football Scouting and BLESTO were founded in the early 60’s (1963 LESTO) and the purpose of these scouting organizations is to help NFL teams evaluate prospective draftees.
National Football Scouting provides each of its teams a list of draft prospects in the spring, or after college teams have completed their spring practices.
Teams are given information on graded players that have been viewed as prospects of interests. This information includes position, weight, size, 40-yard dash times, bench press, broad and vertical jump and various significant stats as well as an overall player grade.
Lastly, National’s scouts include complete personal evaluation on potential draftees. Teams will utilize this information in the process of deciding who they want their scouts to evaluate more closely.
National teams include: Arizona, Carolina, Cincinnati, Denver, Green Bay, Houston, Kansas City, New Orleans, New York Jets, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Tennessee.
BLESTO offers the same things as National. However, unlike National who employs its own scouts, BLESTO relies mostly on scouts allocated by each of its NFL member teams. This means that a BLESTO scout may also be a scout for a particular NFL team that is a member of BLESTO.
BLESTO teams: Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Jacksonville, Miami, Minnesota, New York Giants, Pittsburgh.
At the end of February, the NFL hosts the annual Combine to give players who have NFL draft potential the opportunity to display their abilities. For the past 20 years, it has been held in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Lucas Oil Stadium (formerly at the RCA Dome until 2008).
Athletes are invited to attend by invitation only and are showcased by a selection committee that consists of NFL player personnel directors as well as scouts from both National and BLESTO. Collectively, the event lasts for a week, but a player’s individual time there lasts only four days, because the schedule is staggered by position.
The committee usually invites between 320 and 350 players to attend. Each player will go through a number of tests designed to measure both their physical and intellectual abilities.
The physical tests include:
Bench press (225 lbs.)
40-yard dash (also timing 10 and 20 yards)
20-yard short-shuttle run
Players will also be tested in position specific drills, Cybex Testing or measure of joint movement, physical evaluations by NFL team doctors, and other tests as determined or implemented by the NFL Advisory Board (NFLDAB).
Intellectual tests include:
Written tests, such as the Wonderlic Personnel Test (WPT)
Interviews- Each team is allotted 60 interviews with 15 minute intervals
4-day experience at the Combine:
- Day 1 – Pre-exam, X-rays, Cybex tests
- Day 2 – Drug test, Physical tests, Measurements, Wonderlic test
- Day 3 – Team Interviews
- Day 4 – On-field workouts
The NFL Draft is held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City over a three day period in April. The Draft consists of seven total rounds, the first round is held on Thursday, the second and third rounds on Friday and the remaining 4-7 on Saturday.
For a full explanation of the NFL DRAFT see: