CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – This time of year NFL scouts, general managers, coaches, executives and agents all gather for the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
Not this year.
Endless wondering through the many halls of the Indiana Convention Center, St. Elmo’s famous shrimp cocktail, late night happy hour at Prime 47 and 4 a.m. stops at Steak and Shake have been postponed to next February.
The cancelation of the Combine for 2021 is another adjustment for teams to navigate as they continue their evaluations and preparations for April’s NFL Draft, still scheduled to be held in Cleveland.
“Fortunately, the whole football world is Zoom proficient,” Browns executive vice president of football operations and general manager Andrew Berry said in January. “Whether it is digging on player background, we have plenty of tape with the conferences that played this year.
“We will be prepared for the draft.”
Without the centralized location for medical checkups, interviews and workouts, pro days on college campuses will take center stage over the next six weeks.
Berry doesn’t believe losing the Combine this year will hinder the Browns’ draft preparation process. Cleveland holds the No. 26 pick in the first round following an 11-5 regular season before bowing out to Kansas City 22-17 in the AFC Divisional round.
“I do not really think it is going to be that big of a deal,” Berry said. “We went through a whole spring where it was virtual really on the fly mid-process. Now at this point, all of us know how to use Zoom. All of us know how to use Zoom and FaceTime. The reality of the combine is you are still going to get the medical information. The league has done a nice job in really organizing that. We did a ton of player virtual interviews last spring. It seems like that will continue into this year. We will be able to ascertain the physical measurable data that we need.
“I do not see any reason that we can’t work through the spring, again have a nice process in place and have a high-quality draft. I do not really see that as an impediment at all.”
Air Force will kick the string of pro days on March 22.
Alabama will host a pair of pro days – March 23 and March 30. Clemson’s will be on March 11.
Ohio State’s pro day will be held March 30.
Pro Days for some other Ohio schools: Kent State – March 15, Ohio – March 19, Bowling Green and Toledo – March 22 and Miami (Ohio) – March 29.