"It’s a wild four days and you’re not getting much sleep," quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was a part of the 2012 Combine, said via the team website. "You’re getting shuttled around like cattle from place to place and it’s a stressful time, obviously."
"I was nervous. We went through a lot of stuff in the three days that we were there," defensive tackle Paul Soliai said. "I was nervous. How did I perform? How did I talk in front of coaches? It was nerve-wracking.
The Combine separates prospects by position, dresses them in randomly numbered workout clothes, and runs them through a gauntlet of tests to assess athletic ability and mental dexterity. You'll likely see the drills run by top prospects covered on television and even scrutinized by media members.
Even less-touted prospects, like Miami 2011 sixth round pick Charles Clay, are put through the same rigorous process that will help form teams' opinions on their fit in the NFL. For some, it's an honor to be invited, but the methodology isn't their cup of tea.
"Just being there, you realize that you’re one of the top players at that time," Clay said. "I also feel like it was exhausting, especially after that second day. There’s a lot of work that goes into it – lot of meetings and stuff. I wasn’t a huge fan of it."
The hectic nature of 32 teams analyzing and testing over 300 different players over four days stood out the most to players who've been through it, including 2010 second round pick Koa Misi.
"The Combine was crazy," he said. "I think I met with like 12 different teams and, on top of that, you had the medical day where you had to go meet with all the different doctors. There was just so much stuff being thrown at you. It was kind of overwhelming, but, at the same time, you’re trying to get yourself out there and show people what you could do."
"It was busy all the time," Derrick Shelby, who went undrafted, added. "It was fun though to get out there with guys that are supposed to be the best in college. So that part was fun, but the meetings and tests were kind of draining."
Some players feel that too much weight is put on some of the traditional tests that are held at the Combine.
"When it was all said and done, I feel like some of the things they put a lot of bearing into, like the 40-yard dash and that stuff, I feel like that’s a bit overrated," Clay said.
In the end, it's essentially a job interview for all of the potential openings in the career many of these players have been preparing their entire lives to do. These young prospects will need to do everything they can to impress potential teams and ensure their draft standing.
"Everyone’s trying to do his best for every situation, whether it’s an interview, the testing and every part of it," Tannehill said. "You’re trying to impress the scouts and convince teams to want to draft you, so it’s a stressful time but you’ve just got to sit back and just do your best at everything. Don’t stress out about it because it’s going to work out the way that it’s supposed to."