NFL Combine: What is the 3-cone drill?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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One of the many drills that prospects participate in at the NFL Combine is the 3-cone drill. Here is an explanation of the exercise.

The NFL Combine may have begun on March 1, but the first day of drills for prospects begins on March 3. Of course there is the 40-yard dash, where players from each position group run in a straight line as quickly as possible. Then there is the bench press, where teams see how many reps a draft prospect can press 225-pounds.

While those drills do not require much explanation, there is one drill that is a bit more complex. Of course, we are talking about the 3-cone drill. Here is what the drill requires each participant to do.

2022 NFL Combine: What is the 3-cone drill

The first thing to know about the 3-cone drill is that there are actually 4 cones. The 3 cones are placed five yards apart in an L-shape. The goal of the 3-cone drill is to measure how a player can change direction while running full speed.

Prospects begin the drill at the first cone. They run to the second cone, where they touch it, turn around to touch the first cone where they began. After that, they run past the second cone to reach the third cone. They then run around the third cone, wrap around the second cone and run past the first cone.

It’s tricky to explain, so here is a video provided by the NFL’s official YouTube page, which you can watch at this link.

In terms of what is considered a fast speed, Oklahoma cornerback Jordan Thomas holds the NFL Combine record by clocking in at 6.28-seconds.

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