Rookie Diary #2: Busy Weekend at the Combine for Adibi
by TechSideline.com, 2/26/04

We continue our rookie diary series with Nathaniel Adibi, as Adibi describes a long and tiring weekend at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

Friday: Arrival

I left Oakland about 7:30 Friday, and I arrived at Indianapolis around 4:00 Indianapolis time. We got in Friday, and checked into our rooms. I had a room to myself. I think some people had rooms to themselves, and others had to share a room, but I had one to myself.

The first thing I had to do was the Cybex machine. It tests your hamstrings. It's like a leg extension or leg curl. They put it on a hard setting to test your strength, then they put it on a quick setting to see how fast you can pump it. They do that with both legs.

Then we ate dinner, and it was a requirement that everybody get checked by the doctor before Saturday. Everybody was pretty much at the hospital for three-plus hours -- three, four, or five hours. I was there from 7 o'clock 7:00 to about 10:30. They pretty much go through a history of your injuries, dating back to your high school career. I told them everything, but they pretty much had a list of everything, anyway.

They did bloodwork, and they X-rayed everything. They X-rayed my [previously injured] thumb, my neck, they do your back, your spinal area. They check your heart with an EKG machine.

I got back to my room around 10:00, 10:30. I wasn't able to sleep that night, because I was still on west coast time, and I didn't fall asleep until 1:30 or 2:00, and then I had to wake up the next morning at 6:00 a.m.

The first thing we did the next day was the height test and the weigh-in. They measured how long your shoulder is to the tip of your finger, they measured the width of your hand from pinky to thumb, and they measured your body fat. My weight was 255, my height was a little over 6-3, and my arm length was 33 [inches]. My body fat was 10%.

Saturday: Doctors, Doctors, and More Doctors

Next we did a drug test the next morning, and then we had to take a personality-type test [the Wonderlic test]. It was a written, multiple-choice test, and you had twelve minutes to answer as many questions as you can. I don't know how many questions were on it, but I know I answered about 35 to 45 of them.

They had questions like, some were simple, and easy. One thing they did was give you two rows of maybe five numbers, and you had to say how many matched out of the two rows. Another question was, "Do all chickens lay eggs?" [laughs]. The questions went from easy to hard. They had some word problems, and decimal questions, that kind of thing.

Then we went to go see the doctors. Everybody's team doctors were in six different rooms, and in each room were probably about 20 doctors from different teams. You go in and sit on a table, and they say things like, "This is Nathaniel Adibi, defensive end from Virginia Tech. He had a dislocation on his thumb, and he had two pins inserted in it after the Temple game. He missed one game." They talked about my shoulder, and they talked about my ankle injury at the beginning of the season.

They put my X-rays up, and the doctors would all look at them, and then come by and look at my thumb. They tug on your shoulders, your knees, your ankles. They did this in every room, the same exact thing, to make sure that nobody missed anything. I didn't feel like a piece of meat yet, but I was getting there.

We did this for what seemed like forever. When I finished that, I had to go into the [RCA] Dome and do a video interview. In the video interview, they ask you some standard questions, and this is the tape they show to any teams that might not have gotten to see you. They get a chance to see you, how you talk, how intelligent you are, your background, and things of that nature.

It's pretty much all basic questions like tell us about your family, your parents, where you grew up, have you ever been arrested, do you have any children, do you have a wife, have you graduated.

After that, I finally got to each lunch. This was around 2:00. Some people had to go do MRIs that night, if the doctors wanted to see more than what you can see on an X-ray. All I had to do was get another X-ray of my thumb, because they hadn't X-rayed it far enough down, and I also had to get an X-ray of my neck, for a sprain that I had in my neck during the season.

On Saturday, they also did bench press reps of 225, but I didn't do that, because of my thumb injury. I told them that I hadn't had a chance to work out as much, and that I would do that during the Pro Day at Virginia Tech [March 18th].

I went back to my room and took a nap, and I had to be back down around 5:00 or 6:00. People had interviews with teams, and if you had an interview with a team, you had to go to an area across the street, where you got to meet with position coaches. Saturday night, I met with the Kansas City Chiefs, the Jets, and the Tennessee Titans. Kansas City and the Jets did theirs together.

They asked me questions, very similar to the video interviews, but they got to do it face to face.

I had a short night that night, so I went back to my room and called my parents and told them what was going on. I was in bed by at least 11 o'clock, and I didn't have any trouble sleeping. I was definitely tired.

Sunday: More Tests and Interviews

The next day was an easy day for me, because I had played in the Senior Bowl. Sunday was a day for taking a lot of tests, all types of tests. The New York Giants test, it was like an hour and a half or two hours long, depending upon how fast you go. The Houston Texans tests, they had you do visual exams, reaction tests, see how intelligent you are by psychologists. I mean you have all types of stuff going on with these different types of tests.

I had already done a lot of mine at the Senior Bowl.

One woman was from the Denver Broncos, and she had a test where you filled out, one to five, what was most important to you, like weight training, conditioning coaches, watching film with your teammates, questions like that. Then she talked to you one on one, basically the same questions as the video session. I did that one, and I did one for the Cleveland Browns. They were both like 30 minutes apiece, so they were quick for me, but other people had to take maybe seven of these. Some people were there for hours, but I was there for about 45 minutes or an hour, total.

I spent another couple hours meeting with position coaches, because they want to get to know you, and they ask you basic questions like what your scheme at your school is. They just wanted to know your basic football knowledge. Nothing too hard. I met with the Redskins, Raiders, Vikings, Broncos, Jaguars, a lot of them.

Usually it [the Combine] is only two days a year, but this year they added an extra day for us, so we could meet with more people and talk to more people.

I got back to my room at about 1 o'clock and took a nap, then had to be back down at around 5 o'clock. People who didn't have a chance to meet with position coaches Saturday night had to go back over and do it on Sunday night, but I didn't really have that many people to meet with, so I got back to my room early and went to sleep for the night.

At this point, everything's going smoothly. Everybody just wants to meet you, get to know you, and they're kind of waiting for your workout day, which for me was Monday.

Monday: Drills

Monday comes around, and Monday morning, our wakeup call was like 7 o'clock. We got up, ate breakfast, and headed over around 8:30.

They started by videotaping you from all angles while they ask you your name, school, position. We were in that room for a good 40 minutes, just sitting there waiting.

We walked to the RCA Dome, where the tight ends were still doing their position drills. There was a group of 14 of us D-linemen, seven D-ends and seven D-tackles. We do the vertical jump first, and I jump a 33, which is pretty good for me. I was right with everybody. The D-ends all did 33 to 36. I did about the same height at Virginia Tech. Since my name starts with A-D, I got to go first, out of all the defensive linemen, in everything. Then I got a chance to sit back and see how everyone else was doing.

I got my vertical jump in, and then we started warming up for the 40, and everyone ran their 40. They don't give you your times right after you run. When you run the first one, you want to know what you ran, so you know what to work on possibly, but they don't tell you nothing. I went first, and everybody else went, then I went again, and everybody else went, and they still don't tell you your times, so you don't know what you ran.

Then we did our D-line drills, and after that, they told some of us D-ends that they wanted us to do linebacker drills. I didn't even realize that I was going to do that, so I had to get my mind right real quick! I just tried to do the best I could doing it. All of it was based on drop back coverage, lateral movement, that kind of thing.

I know one thing, I need to practice catching the ball again!

Six of the D-ends had to do linebacker drills, at the end of the D-line drills. So now they [other D-linemen] were over there doing their long jump, while we were doing our linebacker drills, and after our linebacker drills, then we had to go do the long jump. My best ended up being about a 9'-10" [jump], which is the best I've jumped so far. The longest of the day from the D-linemen was a 10'-8".

Then we went on to the L-drill. I've been practicing doing the L-drill. You go out, touch a line, come back, then you run a cone going to your right, you do a little figure-8 till you make it around a cone, then you end up where you started at.

My stance when I run is a left-handed stance, but they said you have to start out with a right-handed stance and touch the line with your right hand. Well, I had been doing the drill with a left-handed stance, and touching the line with my right hand. I didn't know it mattered what stance you got into, so I was like, "Well, I'll see you all at my Pro Day, because I've never practiced that way, and I'm not going to embarrass myself by getting a really slow time."

You do and you don't want to [refuse to do a drill], but you don�t want to look stupid doing it, either. So you just have to be professional about how you do it.

Then we went to the 5-10-5, the NFL shuttle. You can go get taped, but I didn't tape my ankles, because I'm not going to run the 40 with taped ankles. Doing the D-line drill, I got my ankle a little bit. So in the shuttle, I only ended up running like a 4.3, and I know I could have easily hit a 4.1. It was still a pretty good time. I'm definitely going to do that over again during my Pro Day at Virginia Tech.

I'm thinking that's it � no. Since we did the linebacker drills, we had to do the long shuttle, too. It's almost like doing a suicide. You go 5 yards, come back, 10 yards, come back, 15 yards, and come back. It's a 60-yard shuttle. Well, I hadn't practiced that, either! [laughs] But I went ahead and did it for them. I didn't do too hot in that, because my ankle and everything was definitely hurting from the turf. I'm definitely going to do that over at Pro Day, too. It's no big deal.

It was a great experience for everybody. Some people were disappointed, like the wide receiver group. A lot of them did not run well at all this past weekend. A lot of them in what were supposed to be a blazer group ran like a 4.5. I heard Ernest [Wilford] ran a 4.7, 4.8. A lot of the wide receivers ran like a 4.55, 4.59, 4.6.

I wish I had run a 4.55. One D-tackle from Washington ran a 4.69. I was like, "Oh, my God!"

After that, we went back to our rooms, showered, ate a little bit and hung out and talked. It was good seeing a lot of guys I played against in high school. Bobby Blizzard was there, Dexter Reid was there. I saw a lot of the guys I had met at the Senior Bowl. Benjamin -- Big Ben -- the tight end from Georgia. I saw Keith Willis, Kevin Jones, DeAngelo Hall, Jake Grove, Ernest � Cols was there, so we had a lot of people from Virginia Tech. Kevin Jones and DeAngelo didn't participate in a lot of the stuff, and Jake Grove pulled his hamstring. Keith didn�t tell me what he ran, but he said he didn't do too hot.

They didn't tell us what we ran in the 40 until were done with everything. They gave you like, six different times [for the two runs], and for me, they went from 4.6, or 4.61, up to 4.64. So I guess everybody was real accurate on timing me.

Overall, I think I did a little bit above average. Nothing too great, nothing that'll stand out, but I think I did pretty good. I'm definitely looking forward to my Pro Day now, and bettering everything I did at the Combine. Hopefully, I'll get to show them everything I can do, and improve upon everything that I did.

For the most part, I would say I'm satisfied, but I definitely want to do better.

I'm taking a couple of days off, and then I'll start working out again, getting ready for Pro Day at Virginia Tech.

Next Week: The aftermath of the Combine, and a look at Nathaniel's life as he trains in Oakland.

Previous Rookie Diaries With Nathaniel Adibi:

Rookie Diary #1: Adibi Prepares for the NFL Combine, 2/19/04

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