It's time for the NFL beauty pageant!
While no tiaras will be given out -- which is a shame -- the NFL combine will give prospective NFL players a chance to show their skills to every one of the league's 32 teams. The Bears will join in by bringing 50 staff members to Indianapolis for the combine.
What do you need to know as the combine gets underway?
What is it? More than 300 collegiate players who hope to be drafted will attend the combine. Under the watchful eye of NFL staffers, they will run through drills meant to show their strength, speed and agility. They will go through medical exams. They will take a Wonderlic test, which is supposed to measure an athlete's intelligence. They will be interviewed by teams, and then they'll have a swimsuit competition. (OK, that last one isn't true.)
Who will the Bears be looking for? In Marc Trestman's first season, the Bears will be looking to drastically upgrade the offense as quickly as possible. Though the Bears have many areas of need, figure that the the Bears' staff will look to fix the offensive line as quickly as possible. Next, they'll look at tight ends and possibly linebackers.
Can I watch? Of course! The NFL likes to share everything with its fans. The entire combine will be televised on the NFL Network. It starts on Saturday with the offensive linemen. Definitely tune in for the linemen, because it's amazing to watch 330-lb. men run a 40-yard dash, and then realize they still did it faster than you.
Does it really make a difference? Before a team uses a draft pick on a player, they will collect every bit of intelligence on him that they can. The combine is part of that information collection, but far from the team's only tool. They'll also break down how he played in collegiate games, his pro day, word from scouts and coaches, and his performance at the combine. While a good combine performance may give a player some good buzz, it doesn't necessarily mean his draft position is improved.