As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional scouting combine has been canceled. Instead, eligible draftees will work out at their school's pro day and stage virtual interviews with interested teams.
Clemson's Trevor Lawrence, Oregon's Penei Sewell, Ohio State's Justin Fields, Florida's Kyle Pitts, BYU's Zach Wilson and Alabama stars Mac Jones and DeVonta Smith are among the notable invitees for the 2021 combine.
The buildup to this year's draft will be almost the polar opposite of its 2020 counterpart. The NFL managed to stage the combine in Indianapolis before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the United States. However, nearly all of the pro days were wiped out as a result.
Over the years, some have questioned the utility of the NFL Scouting Combine.
A player's performance in position drills and tests of athleticism aren't always indicative of how he'll do when he arrives at the next level. Because there usually isn't that much to talk about with the draft still far away, the scene is rife with superfluous narratives, too.
There's no question having all of the prospects in one location for at least a few days would've been more convenient for head coaches, general managers and talent evaluators.
But a team can send up to three representatives to each individual pro day, which will allow for some in-person examination. The league also indicated it is going to work with schools to ensure a level of uniformity in testing.
Front offices won't be going in blind when they're on the clock this spring.
Looking ahead to the draft, Lawrence topped B/R's Big Board 1.0, earning a 9.5 grade to narrowly eclipse Fields (9.2). Pitts, Sewell and Smith round out the top five.