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The Patriots and the 3-cone drill

02.28.12 at 12:15 pm ET
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Wes Welker had an excellent 3-cone drill time as a collegian. (AP)

Tuesday marks the final day of workouts at the NFL scouting combine, and one drill that Patriots’ fans should be on the lookout for is the 3-cone drill for wide receivers and defensive backs. Over the years, it’s clear that New England puts an added emphasis on this drill when it comes to measuring quickness of wide receivers and cornerbacks.

Unlike the 40-yard dash, which measures straight-ahead speed, the 3-cone drill measures shiftiness and an ability to turn on a dime. The drill goes like this: Three cones are placed in an L shape. Players go 5 yards to the first cone and back, then to the second cone and back. Then, they run a loop around the third cone, switch direction and come back around the second cone. If you can finish the process in less than seven seconds, you’re looking at someone with good foot speed.

Through the years, several Patriots’ picks excelled at the 3-cone drill, whether it was at the combine or at their respective Pro Day. Julian Edelman had a 6.62 time in the 3-cone drill as a collegian, while Wes Welker was 7.06, also as a collegian. In addition, Devin McCourty’s 6.7 at the 2010 combine put him second among all corners and Deion Branch clocked a 6.71 at the 2002 combine, one of the better numbers among WRs. Of course, sometimes it isn’t always a good indicator as to how a prospect will do in New England — at the 2006 combine, Chad Jackson had one of the best finishes with a 6.74, but never caught on in his brief career with the Patriots.

Read More: Chad Jackson, Deion Branch, Devin McCourty, Julian Edelman
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