Robbins, DW. Positional physical characteristics of players drafted into the national football league. J Strength Cond Res 25(10): 2661–2667, 2011—To investigate the positional physical requirements necessary to be drafted into the National Football League (NFL), data from the annual NFL combine over the years 2005–2009 were examined. Only those players invited to the combine and subsequently drafted in the same year (n = 1,136) were included in the study. Data from 8 combine physical performance tests were examined for 15 positions. Combine measures evaluated for the center, cornerback, defensive end, defensive tackle, free safety, fullback, inside linebacker, offensive guard, offensive tackle, outside linebacker, quarterback, running back, strong safety, tight end, and wide receiver positions were the 9.1-, 18.3-, and 36.6-m sprints, the vertical and broad jumps, the 18.3-m shuttle run, the 3-cone drill, and the 102.1-kg bench press for maximum repetitions and, from this, a predicted measure of 1 repetition maximum. A 1-way analysis of variance detected differences in all 9 performance measures (p < 0.01). Post hoc independent t-tests indicated that over most tests many positions exhibited outcomes significantly different from most other positions. Generally, lineman positions performed inferiorly in sprint, jump and change-of-direction ability measures and superiorly in the upper body strength measures. Conversely, defensive back positions were the worst performers in the upper body strength test, and wide receivers and defensive backs were the best performers in all other measures. In general, offensive and defensive positions that commonly compete directly against one another display similar physical characteristics. Any advantages (statistically significant and not) between positions in direct competition were consistently in favor of defensive positions. The results of the present research present position-specific profiles for each of 15 positions. Coaches and practitioners will be able to use the findings of this research to better prepare athletes for entry into the NFL.
Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Physiotherapy, University of Sydney, Lidcombe, Australia
Address correspondence to Daniel W. Robbins, firstname.lastname@example.org.