Inside a combine tradition

(Ben Liebenberg/NFL)

INDIANAPOLIS — Here’s an inside look at an NFL Scouting Combine tradition that takes place on the final day of workouts among defensive backs.

For the victors (above) of Tuesday’s early group, it resulted in a celebration huddle, led by Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara. For the losers (below), the price to pay was in push-ups.

As each of the two groups of defensive backs reach the final on-field drill of their session, they split into two smaller groups for the competition. A player from each group takes the field about 15 yards from one of the combine throwing quarterbacks, who then throw at the defensive backs as they’re in various stages of running forward, left and right. Each player takes a turn, and the coaches running the drill count the drops.

A couple of observations: One, there’s an awful lot of trash talk. Players in the opposing groups will say just about anything (but mostly PG-rated) to distract players from catching the ball. Two, a lot of that chatter also is directed at the two quarterbacks, who are encouraged to throw as hard as they can by the opposing group and chided when they don’t.

For the second group of defensive backs Tuesday, the competition ended in a tie. Each group picked one player — they were LSU CB Patrick Peterson and North Carolina SS Da’Norris Searcy — for a catch-off. Each succeeded on the first throw, and the coaches called it a draw in an effort to wrap up workouts. Not the perfect ending, but everyone is pretty eager at this point to finish the combine.

(Ben Liebenberg/NFL)

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