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Cover 3 is a weekly feature column written by PewterReport.com’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat writer Trevor Sikkema published every Tuesday. The column, as its name suggests, comes in three phases: a statistical observation, an in-depth film breakdown, and a “this or that” segment where the writer asks the reader to chose between two options.

Part 1: The Schedule

Ah, the NFL Scouting Combine, the annual circus in Indianapolis, Indiana that involves hot mics at podiums, underwear olympics and hot takes as far as the eye can see and the ear can hear. Some people, like yours truly, love the Combine. Others seems to hate it.

Is one more right than the other? Is the Scouting Combine worth soaking everything in to better your knowledge of the draft process, or is the fact that no football is actually being played over the course of the four days the players are there mean that what should be remembered matters about as much as me giving you inside information on who’s going to win the next season of the Bachelor?

The truth of the matter, as it often does, lies in the in-between.

Let’s first go over the schedule of the Combine to make sure you all know what’s going on the week of.

Day 1 arrivals: Group 1 (PK, ST, OL), Group 2 (OL), and Group 3 (RB)

  • Tuesday, February 27th – Registration ~ Hospital Pre-Exam & X-rays ~ Overflow Testing ~ Orientation ~ Interviews
  • Wednesday, February 28th – Measurements ~ Medical Examinations ~ Overflow Testing ~ Interviews
  • Thursday, March 1st – Psychological Testing ~ NFLPA Meeting ~ PK/ST Workout ~ Media ~ Bench Press ~ Interviews
  • Friday, March 2nd – On-Field Workout (timing, stations, skill drills) ~ Departure from Indianapolis

Day 2 arrivals: Group 4 (QB, WO), Group 5 (QB, WO), Group 6 (TE)

  • Wednesday, February 28th – Registration ~ Hospital Pre-Exam & X-rays ~ Overflow Testing ~ Orientation ~ Interviews
  • Thursday, March 1st – Measurements ~ Medical Examinations ~ Overflow Testing ~ Interviews
  • Friday, March 2nd – Psychological Testing ~ NFLPA Meeting ~ Media ~ Bench Press ~ Interviews
  • Saturday, March 3rd – On-Field Workout (timing, stations, skill drills) ~ Departure from Indianapolis

Day 3 arrivals: Group 7 (DL), Group 8 (DL), and Group 9 (LB)

  • Thursday, March 1st – Registration ~ Hospital Pre-Exam & X-rays ~ Overflow Testing ~ Orientation ~ Interviews
  • Friday, March 2nd – Measurements ~ Medical Examinations ~ Overflow Testing ~ Interviews
  • Saturday, March 3rd – Psychological Testing ~ NFLPA Meeting ~ Media ~ Bench Press ~ Interviews
  • Sunday, March 4th – On-Field Workout (timing, stations, skill drills) ~ Departure from Indianapolis

Day 4 arrivals: Group 10 (DB), and Group 11 (DB)

  • Friday, March 2nd – Registration ~ Hospital Pre-Exam & X-rays ~ Overflow Testing ~ Orientation ~ Interviews
  • Saturday, March 3rd – Measurements ~ Medical Examinations ~ Overflow Testing ~ Interviews
  • Sunday, March 4th – Psychological Testing ~ NFLPA Meeting ~ Media ~ Bench Press ~ Interviews
  • Monday, March 5th – On-Field Workout (timing, stations, skill drills) ~ Departure from Indianapolis

Contrary to popular belief, the Scouting Combine actually begins on Tuesday, not just on Friday where the first drills begin.

Each position group arrives in the same order they will go to their on the field workout in. So, special teams players, offensive line and running backs arrive on Tuesday, wideouts, tight ends and quarterbacks on Wednesday, defensive line and linebackers on Thursday and defensive backs on Friday.

There isn’t much going on during the day of arrival for each group. The day after, however, is when the Combine process really begins. The day after each group’s arrival, they’ll go through their official measurements for the first time. This is important because schools are often incorrect in how they list some of their players. For examples, I’ve heard cases where a strength coach will just ask a player, “Hey, how tall are you?” A player will respond, “Uh, I’m 6-foot-3” when they’re really 6-foot-1 and a half. But, that’s just how it goes. There’s often no one to verify and sometimes the school will fudge the numbers on purpose to make their players appear to be bigger and taller. So, getting official measurements at the Combine is important because teams do have certain “thresholds” that they want their players to hit. Some teams are more strict than others, but some elements of a threshold likely exist for every team within their draft strategy.

Bucs DE Noah Spence - Photo by: Getty Images

Bucs DE Noah Spence – Photo by: Getty Images

Thresholds not only vary from team-to-team but also from position-to-position. An example of a threshold might be height for a cornerback. There are some teams that will not have a cornerback on their board if they are say bellow 6-foot. Even if a player under 6-foot is good, because of how they align their cornerbacks and the responsibilities they ask of them (likely in man coverage), they can’t start behind the 8-ball, if you will, by drafting a player who is already giving up a height advantage for what they’re going to be asked to do, like be in single coverage in the red zone. Another threshold could be height for a quarterback. Some teams won’t touch a quarterback if he’s under 6-foot-2. That’s just the way they have their philosophy set up. How strict a team is on their threshold varies.

Contrary to what we may think, most NFL teams don’t go into draft weekend with a big board of over 300 names. What is usually the case is that team will have their board down to about 100 prospects they know they like, in order, and readily available to select with confidence no matter where they are in the draft. But, that’s not to say that team aren’t doing their homework. With all of their scouts around the country, each team is looking at probably over 1,000 players total during the football calendar. Some players are easy to eliminate right away, perhaps due to character  or team fit or scheme, but getting that board down to the hundreds really starts at the Combine with official measurements – as well as medical checks.

Medical check are big because, again, schools aren’t as keen (or might not be allowed to) give out or discuss medical matter of their student athletes. At the Combine, independent doctors can take a look at a player’s body and examine a player’s shoulder a year after it was hurt, or what a prospect’s knee looks like after major surgery. Those are important to all teams.

Finally, there’s the interview processes. General managers and coaches have to use their 15 minutes of time wisely at the Combine, if they’re looking to talk to a large list of prospects. They can always have teams in for private workouts and interviews after the Combine, as well as chat with some of the ones they missed at Pro Days, but the Scouting Combine is a unique setting where you can see how a prospect operates under a somewhat nervous situation. Remember these kids have been waiting to do this their entire life and only get to do it once. I’ve asked prospects myself what some of the questions have been inside the meeting rooms and they say it can get weird. Some get asked if they’re a dog or a cat person, or where they would take someone on a first date or things like that. It’s as much of a personality test as anything else.

So, before the prospects even touch the field (the only part we ever think about) that’s sort of what goes on behind the scenes. And, honestly, some coaches and general managers don’t even stay for the on the field drills. They’ve already seen what a player can do in pads and they’ll get the results later. the most important part of the Combine, for the team, at least, happens before those Friday cameras even turn on.

With the growth in popularity of the Combine, NFL.com has started to broadcast some of the Combine events at the podiums before the Friday workouts. Some of those include coaches and general manager interviews.

Here’s this year’s schedule for which front office members will be taking the podiums and when.

GM/Head Coach Interview Schedule

Wednesday 9:00 ET Brian Gaine, Texans Hue Jackson, Browns
Wednesday 9:15 Vance Joseph, Broncos Sean McDermott, Bills
Wednesday 9:30 Jon Gruden, Raiders Pat Shurmur, Giants
Wednesday 9:45 Dave Gettleman, Giants
Wednesday 10:00 Jason Licht, Buccaneers Dan Quinn, Falcons
Wednesday 10:15 Doug Marrone, Jaguars
Wednesday 10:30 Sean McVay, Rams Bob Quinn, Lions Brandon Beane, Bills
Wednesday 10:45 Dirk Koetter, Buccaneers Matt Patricia, Lions Steve Wilks, Cardinals
Wednesday 11:00 Kevin Colbert, Steelers Brian Gutekunst, Packers Steve Keim, Cardinals
Wednesday 11:15 Duke Tobin, Bengals Matt Nagy, Bears Jon Robinson, Titans
Wednesday 11:30 Rick Spielman, Vikings Mike Vrabel, Titans
Wednesday Noon Howie Roseman, Eagles Dave Caldwell, Jaguars
Wednesday 12:15 Doug Pederson, Eagles
Wednesday 1:00 Adam Gase, Dolphins Thomas Dimitroff, Falcons
Wednesday 2:00 Jason Garrett, Cowboys Mike McCarthy, Packers
Wednesday 2:30 Frank Reich, Colts
Wednesday 3:00 Chris Ballard, Colts
Wednesday 3:15 Andy Reid, Chiefs
Wednesday 3:30 Bill O’Brien, Texans
Wednesday 4:00 John Elway, Broncos
Thursday 10:00 Ron Rivera, Panthers
Thursday 10:30 Les Snead, Rams
Thursday 10:45 John Lynch, 49ers
Thursday 11:00 Tom Telesco, Chargers Brett Veach, Chiefs
Thursday 11:15 Anthony Lynn, Chargers Mike Zimmer, Vikings
Thursday 11:45 Kyle Shanahan, 49ers
Thursday Noon Pete Carroll, Seahawks John Dorsey, Browns
Friday 10:00 Marvin Lewis, Bengals
Friday 10:30 Ozzie Newsome, Ravens
Friday 11:00 John Schneider, Seahawks

I think it’s kind of funny that they have Jon Gruden going right before Jason Licht on the first podium on Wednesday, don’t you?

Licht will be going on at 10:00 a.m. EST on Wednesday and Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter will be on 45 minutes after that. I will be there representing PewterReport.com for both interviews, as well as some exclusive time with both the general manager and head coach, too.

On the next page, we’ll get into specifics of why the Combine matters for the Buccaneers – and what to emphasize and what to avoid.

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About the Author: Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: trevor@pewterreport.com
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3 years ago

Jameis sure deceived us with that deep ball accuracy combine display…wrecked

3 years ago

Remember you being pretty down on Beckwith after the draft and even during OTA’s and training camp Trevor. Curious if your opinion has changed or not, and if so, what’s your take on him now?

Reply to  Trevor Sikkema
3 years ago

Thanks Trevor. Btw, wasn’t trying to imply you were wrong in your initial eval of him. After re-reading my post, think it might’ve come across that way. Not the intent. Guessing his improvement probably was the result of a player that understood he had to step up his game both mentally and physically and a coach like Dufner being able to reach him. Liked his end-of-the-year presser and hope he continues to develop.

3 years ago

Is page 2 and 3 blank for anyone else here?

Dustin Romero
Reply to  Trevor Sikkema
3 years ago

i can only see part of the pic of winston on pages 2/3 still bro

3 years ago

M.Mariota _ beat Winston on EVERY category at the combine and the bucs still took Winston???..

Reply to  sunshineben
3 years ago


Reply to  sunshineben
3 years ago

If Jameis was in this year’s class then he would’ve been taken ahead of everyone in this class too.

Reply to  sunshineben
3 years ago

And what exactly is every category? Are we talking 40, which means nothing to a qb? just ask Tm Brady. Or broad jump? Maybe the high jump is better for a qb. You see how stupid your point is?

3 years ago

I’m getting no page 2 & 3. I’ll just imagine it was all good.

3 years ago

Web pages are now fixed. Click out of web browser and click back on. I use Chrome – worked for me. Or use Edge browser if you’re on Windows 10. Never had a problem on my Iphone IOS 11.2.6.

Reply to  macabee
3 years ago

Thank you, I got it now.

3 years ago

In response to your “Read-Option” section Trevor, I actually record all the entire weeks coverage starting tomorrow. Like to listen to the evals and pay special attention to the drills for each group. Actually wish they’d expand their coverage on those because half the time the camera’s on the talking heads while guys are going through their reps on the field. Just show me the players and I’ll be happy lol. The talking heads will have more than their share of camera time for the next two months doing their “Path to the Draft” shows and the like. Will be… Read more »

3 years ago

Granted the team needs to be familiar with who’s available in the draft, but kind of refreshing going into it where the needs at QB, WR, TE and LB aren’t as pressing as in years past. Shows depth is slowly getting built I guess.

3 years ago

so many holes on this Bucs’ roster & picking in the top 10…there’s a player to watch everyday of the Combine this year. Enjoy my friends.

3 years ago

Trevor,. Good information.

3 years ago

Page 2 and 3, still not showing up

Will Moffatt
3 years ago

If any of you guys are at the combine and want to grab a drink or just want some ideas on where to go out to feel free to message me, I work in downtown Indy right by the stadium.

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