Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and his older brother — Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce — host a weekly podcast called “New Heights.” The title is an homage to the Cleveland Heights, Ohio neighborhood in which they grew up.
This week, the Kelce brothers dropped Episode 30 — in which they discussed the NFL’s Scouting Combine.
“New Heights” with Jason & Travis Kelce | Jukes Original Presented by Wave Sports + Entertainment | You can also listen to the show on Spotify.
1. How to crush the 20-yard shuttle drill
Where last week’s podcast was almost entirely about Travis’ experience hosting NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” this week’s episode centered on Jason’s experience conducting interviews at the Scouting Combine earlier this month. One of the more entertaining bits came when Jason was describing the best way to complete the agility drills — the three-cone and the 20-yard shuttle.
“It’s not so much for time,” explained Jason, “I remember what the coaching points were for me when I was running that so I like to see the strategies or lack thereof. I don’t think a lot of people realize, to have a good 20-yard shuttle time, it’s less about running it as fast as you can and more about hitting the steps and breaking points.
“Like if you go four steps and touch that line and come back, you’re gonna be faster doing that drill than if you have to take six because you’re not being coordinated with your movements. Even if it’s faster. You might get to the line quicker doing six, but you’re not going to come out of the line as fast. You’re not going to break out as quickly.”
Jason then went on to say that he completely failed during his own 20-yard shuttle because his steps were off which caused him to have to hop into his breaks. If you check out the video below you can see what he means. That being said, after watching his combine performance again, I thought he performed pretty well.
Jason Kelce 2011 NFL Combine #flyeaglesfly pic.twitter.com/uGm8uX9OZZ— Philly Bleed Green (@phillybldgreen) February 19, 2017
2. Travis tells yet another story of bombing the formal interviews
Each year, at the Scouting Combine, teams can request to either have an informal interview or a formal interview with a prospect. An informal interview could be the prospect sitting at a cafeteria lunch table with people coming up to them, asking them questions.
A formal interview takes place in a private location — usually a hotel room that the team has rented out. Sometimes, they will show game film on a screen and ask the prospect to break it down. Other times, they will just talk to them and try to get a feel for the player and the person. On average, these meetings last about 15 minutes.
Prior to being selected by the Chiefs, Travis had a formal meeting with the Dallas Cowboys, that — according to him — ended rather abruptly.
“The Cowboys were kind of pressing me about having this red flag of missing a year,” started Travis.
“Being suspended for a season,” interjected Jason.
“(For) smoking weed,” added Travis. “I don’t know if I was having a bad morning. I basically was just — God, I don’t even know if I want to say this.”
“Time out,” interrupted Jason. “What did you say?”
“I basically just said, ‘If you guys think I’m going to be that kind of guy or you’re questioning if I’m still that person after everything I’ve battled through to get to where I am now, from missing a season, then you guys should probably go somewhere else and pick somebody else.’ And that’s exactly what they did.”
So Travis bombed some combine interviews ... sorry Cowboys fans! @tkelce @JasonKelce pic.twitter.com/WJLqa76DxC— New Heights (@newheightshow) March 13, 2023
3. How important is the combine?
The actual importance each team places on combine performances varies from organization to organization. One of the major factors of why the combine exists is to get all of the NFL’s top players together in one centralized location for medical checks. For some teams, how fast a guy can run the 40-yard-dash in his underwear is secondary to how well he runs with the ball in his hands on tape.
“I do think that the combine is a little bit — not overhyped — but you realize at the end of the day that it comes down to your film and what you do out on the field,” said Jason. “As long as you get the opportunity to prove that, that’s all that you want.”
For the 32 NFL teams, it’s also a chance to get together and broker deals, discuss possible trade scenarios and feel out your opposition for players they may like in the upcoming draft.
“It’s basically just a big networking convention,” explains Jason. “I mean, how many deals get done in that little bar at the bottom of the Marriot? I’d be really curious to know.”