Philadelphia Eagles News

Combine Preview: Shuttle Drills

With help from NFL Network's Mike Mayock, Bloghead has already previewed the 40-yard dash and the bench press, along with the two jumping drills. The last two drills in which every draft prospect at the combine will partake are the shuttle run and the 3-cone drill.

"The first set of shuttles is the short shuttle, also known at the 5-10-5," says Mayock. "What it tests for scouts and coaches is your lateral quickness, burst and acceleration in a short area."

What happens in the shuttle drill is a player starts at, say, the 15-yard-line. From a three-point stance, the prospect will then "explode out low and hard for five yards," in one direction, to the 10-yard line. Then, the prospect must bend down and touch the 10-yard-line before switching direction again and racing 10 yard to the 20-yard-line. There, he must again touch his hand to the 20-yard-line before quickly changing direction again to race the last five yards back to the original 15-yard-line starting point.

"I want to see hip flexion, knee flexion and ankle flexion," Mayock says. The shuttle run "is important literally for every position. For the little guys, it's obvious - quickness, acceleration, change of direction. How about the big guys? Can they bend? Offensive tackle, defensive ends, can you bend? Are you a natural bender or are you a heavy-legged waist bender."

Mayock says that an ideal time for the more athletic players like defensive backs is a 4.2.

Finally comes the 3-cone drill, also known as the "L drill." The setup for this drill is a player starting again at the 15-yard-line with a cone directly opposite him at the 10-yard line and another cone further inside the 10-yard-line, creating an L shape.

"The way it's set up is you start, just like in the last shuttle drill, with your hand in the dirt and you're going to explode out five yards to the first cone," says Mayock. "You're going to touch that right hand, bend your knees, drop your hips, pivot and turn back to the original starting point. Touch again, now we get to the second cone. You're going to come around the cone - now don't decelerate - you have to accelerate around the cone and then weave around the third cone ... Don't slow down, dip, rip and turn around through that second cone, continuing the arc all the way to the finish line.

"Now what does this test? Well, how quickly can you change directions without losing balance and continuing to accelerate while you're making high-speed turns? Think about a pass-rusher, a defensive end, outside linebacker like DeMarcus Ware or Jared Allen. When they're coming past a tackle, they're dipping, staying on balance and accelerating trying to get past and under that tackle. You can't stand up. You can't decelerate. So you're accelerating through and by that tackle and staying low, no different than around these cones. And since you have to do it two or three times in the weave pattern, scouts and coaches can see whether or not you have flexibility in your hips and an ability to accelerate."

Mayock says that an excellent time for a skill position player in this drill is seven seconds. To get Mayock's full combine preview with video of each drill, click here.

-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 1:30 p.m., February 25

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