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Preparing for the NFL Combine

Although the 2008 NFL Draft is still over two months away, the time to start scouting potential picks is now.  In the next couple of months, all 32 franchises will scout hundreds of players in hopes of finding that one guy that can make their team a contender or that one sleeper that will someday become a starter.  The NFL Draft isn't the only way to make a team better with free agency being such a big deal now-a-days, but the foundation of winning franchises is usually built during the draft.   Just look at the Detroit Lions for proof of that theory.

The Matt Millen era is notorious for bad draft picks.  As funny as it may be to some, in reality this is why the Lions are still a mediocre franchise.  Rather than use previous drafts to address needs and to get the players necessary for winning, the Lions just continue to look foolish nearly every April because of the draft.  I won't say that every single draft pick has been bad since the Millen era started, but most of them have, leaving the Lions with average or below average players at many positions.  That lack of a foundation has caused the Lions to go through many disappointing seasons, and although 2007 was a step in the right direction, that doesn't really mean much when you only have to improve on 3-13.

As mentioned already, scouts will be very busy over the next couple of months.  They will have to watch a lot of film and will head to various colleges for "pro days," but first they will head to Indianapolis for the NFL Combine.  The combine is the best event for scouts to evaluate potential draft picks as there are so many players there.  Plus, there are many different tests and drills the players go through, giving scouts an idea of what a players strengths and weaknesses are on and off the field.

The 2008 NFL Combine will get underway later this week.  Players will begin checking in over the next few days and then planned activities will start officially on Thursday.  Drills and things of that sort won't really get going until Saturday, but leading up to that there will be press conferences and interviews to get to know the players off the field before actually seeing their physical skills.  For a full schedule of events for each position, click here.

If you have the NFL Network then you will be able to watch a lot of combine-related programming.  Here is a schedule of what is on the NFL Network over the next week or so:

Thursday, Feb. 21

ALL DAY – NFL.com: Video on Demand content available
2:30 p.m. – NFL Scouting Combine Press Conferences
7 p.m. – NFL Total Access from the Scouting Combine
(re-airs at 11 p.m.)

Friday, Feb. 22

ALL DAY – NFL.com: Video on Demand content available
2:30 p.m. – NFL Scouting Combine Press Conferences
7:00 p.m. – NFL Total Access from the Scouting Combine
(re-airs at 12 a.m.)

Saturday, Feb. 23

11 a.m.-2 p.m.NFL.com LIVE: Five live streams from workouts available
11 a.m. – Workouts: Kickers, Offensive Linemen and Tight Ends
(re-airs in its entirety at 4 p.m. with cut-down versions at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.)
2 p.m. – NFL Scouting Combine Press Conferences
7 p.m. – NFL Total Access from the Scouting Combine
(re-airs at 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.)

Sunday, Feb. 24

11 a.m.-2 p.m. – NFL.com LIVE: Five live streams from workouts available
11 a.m. – Workouts: Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, Running Backs
(re-airs in its entirety at 4 p.m. with cut-down versions at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.)
2 p.m. – NFL Scouting Combine Press Conferences
7 p.m. – NFL Total Access from the Scouting Combine
(re-airs at 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.)

Monday, Feb. 25

11 a.m.-2 p.m. – NFL.com LIVE: Five live streams from workouts available
11 a.m. – Workouts: Linebackers, Defensive Lineman
(re-airs in its entirety at 4 p.m. with cut-down versions at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.)
7 p.m. – NFL Total Access from the Scouting Combine
(re-airs at 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.)

Tuesday, Feb. 26

11 a.m.-2 p.m. – NFL.com LIVE: Five live streams from workouts available
11 a.m. – Workouts: Defensive Backs
(re-airs in its entirety at 4 p.m. with cut-down versions at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.)

Wednesday, Feb. 27

8:00 p.m. – 2007 NFL Scouting Combine Wrap-Up Show
(re-airs at 11 p.m. and on Feb. 28 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.)

As you can see, there is a ton of stuff on the NFL Network during the combine.  Even if you don't have the NFL Network, fear not because NFL.com LIVE (as shown in the schedule above) will be showing things from the combine for free on the Internet.

Here are some other useful resources to get ready for the combine:

With talk of the NFL Draft really starting to heat up, look out for a mock draft database to be posted in the next couple of days to give everyone an idea of who the Lions may be targeting.  Until then, thanks for reading and Go Lions!