Behind-the-scenes at the NFL Combine

Posted Mar 5, 2018 takes you behind-the-scenes at the NFL Combine inside the Bears suite at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis during player workouts.

During the football season, it's a suite that's filled with Indianapolis Colts fans watching their favorite team down on the football field below at Lucas Oil Stadium.

But for one week about a month after the Super Bowl, the suite is transformed into headquarters for the Bears' personnel and scouting departments during the annual NFL Combine. Like every other NFL team, the Bears are there to monitor the workouts of about 330 of the nation's top draft-eligible college players.

On a recent day when the Bears graciously allowed members of the Bears digital media team to visit the suite, general manager Ryan Pace sat at a counter overlooking the field, flanked by coach Matt Nagy and director of player personnel Josh Lucas.

Others in the suite included director of college scouting Mark Sadowski, area scouts and assistant coaches. Some sat in seats in front of the suite, others retreated to benches inside the suite, watching NFL Network's coverage of the Combine on three large television sets. There was plenty of food available, including pizza and crab cakes.

"Our scouts have a good idea of what we like," Sadowski said. "Now it's a matter of presenting what fits best for coach Nagy and his staff. This is the first time the coaches are seeing these guys, so after they see them here, we're going to give them lists to look at. They're going to [study] the tape like we did, and we're all going to come back in April and sort them and stack them on our board based on all that."

During the on-field workouts, prospects participate in position drills; are timed in the 40-yard dash, three-cone drill and shuttle run; and are tested in the vertical jump and broad jump. Workouts were held by position with running backs, offensive linemen and specialists Friday; quarterbacks, receivers and tight ends Saturday; defensive linemen and linebackers Sunday and defensive backs Monday.

"While the group's working out—whether they're running their 40s or they're testing—everyone's kind of locked in," Lucas said. "Area scouts are locked into specific players in their areas. Some of us who do some of the more over the top stuff are kind of locked into everybody. But when they break and there's that transition period that's going on, that 10-to-15-minute period, then we're [conversing] a little more."

The on-field workouts are only one portion of the Combine. The medical tests and player interviews are just as crucial in the pre-draft evaluation process.

"This is a small part of the entire puzzle," Lucas said. "These things don't make or break a player. It's just a part of the evaluation process, and this is just one part of the Combine that we do each year when we come here."