An Alternate Route to the NFL – the Regional Scouting Combine

NFL regional scouting combineThe NFL Regional Scouting Combine

Not every football player taken in the NFL draft or signed as an undrafted free agent made their way there through mock draft focus meetings and national scouting events.

Players who don’t spend their college careers in the national media spotlight can still manage to make it onto an NFL roster, and even find success in the pro game. Their paths are different from that of Andrew Luck or Odell Beckham, however, and often start at one of the league’s Regional Combines. Since 2012, the Regional and Super Regional Combine program has expanded the annual scouting network and provided football players with new paths to the NFL.

A alternate way in to the NFL 

Despite the attention the media lavishes on the draft each year, there are plenty of ways for talented individuals to make their way onto an NFL roster or practice squad. These regional scouting events are one option. In 2016, the league held regional scouting combines in:

  • Houston
  • Tempe, Arizona
  • Baltimore
  • Eden Prairie, Minnesota
  • New Orleans

While Regional Combines may not receive the sort of attention the NFL Scouting Combine does, they’re a legitimate path to the draft, or at least to an undrafted free agent contract. Benson Mayowa, a regional combine participant, recently signed with the Dallas Cowboys. Also, CBS noted that three regional combine participants were drafted in the 2015 NFL Draft:

  1. Baltimore Ravens CB Tray Walker
  2. Indianapolis Colts OT Denzelle Good
  3. Washington Redskins OC Austin Reiter

What happens after the Regional Combine? 

The regional combines consist of the same sort of evaluations that are included in the regular scouting combine. Participants who do well are invited to the Super Regional Scouting Combines. It is at these events that NFL hopefuls show off their skills for scouts from all of the teams. Even if players don’t move past the initial regional events, they do get to participate in an NFL-sponsored program that is filled with networking opportunities, leaving the door open for the future.

NFL hopefuls should be sure to include their agents in any significant decisions about their futures in the league, such as whether to participate in a regional combine. They can help with registering, preparation and networking. These scouting events may not be the standard path to the NFL, but they do offer an opportunity. Players entering their final year of college eligibility may want to begin considering whether they should look into one of these local combines.

If you have more questions on the NFL Scouting Combine or Draft, speak with an experienced sports law attorney or agent for more information on getting into the league.

Otherwise, for other articles having to do with the NFL, check out:

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Anthony R. Caruso is a business transactional attorney in New York and New Jersey with experience in structuring, negotiation and completion of legal deals involving business, entrepreneurs, athletes and performers.

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