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‘Trust the Tape’ means even more with the cancellation of the 2021 NFL combine

2021 NFL Combine canceled

The NFL announced major changes to the offseason calendar Monday that will significantly impact the 2021 NFL Draft.

The annual NFL combine that takes place at the end of February in Indianapolis will not be held this year due to concerns over the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and the potential for the event to be a superspreader.

Here’s the complete memo that was issued by the NFL to all teams on Jan. 18:

The decision to cancel the NFL combine certainly doesn’t come as a surprise, but it is disappointing.

The opportunity to gather all of the top draft prospects under one roof to run, jump and lift their way up the draft board is a huge benefit for all 32 teams. Now, those same teams will be forced to travel the country in an effort to obtain the all-important testing numbers and medicals on this year’s pool of draftable prospects.

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No NFL combine means the 2021 Senior Bowl will be even more important this year. Alabama QB Mac Jones committed to the game Tuesday, and it was a smart move. It might be the only chance for NFL teams to see him up close and personal.

The league will do its best to manage a uniform set of pro days, but let’s be honest: that isn’t going to happen. The top prospects usually script how their pro days will play out. They’re already armed with agents who will make sure their client is showcased, not necessarily tested, during his pro day event.

We also have the issue of variance in testing results. One scout’s trigger might be a little quicker than another’s on the 40-yard dash, leaving some prospects to look unfairly worse than others.

The biggest takeaway here? The 2021 NFL draft will be the most important in recent memory to simply trust the tape.

Bryan Perez

Bryan is the founder of Pro Football Draft. His work has been featured on NBC Sports and USA Today. Former CFL scout.

Follow him on Twitter: @BryanPerezNFL