This weekend, the Jacksonville Jaguars brought their very own Combine-style event to London, giving NFL fans of all ages and skill levels the chance to test their abilities against similar challenges the pros go through when they are hoping to be scouted.
Jaguars first-team players Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue came to the UK to support the event. Fans had the chance to meet and greet the stars who last year led the team to the NFL playoffs before taking part in the Combine challenge and embracing the American Football Fan Festival.
“It was great to be part of it all”, said Campbell. “It was amazing to interact with the fans, see their skills and give away some amazing prizes. As players, we really appreciate the support we get from the UK, so to be able to come over and give something back was an unmissable opportunity.”
Yannick Ngakoue added, “Whenever we come to London to play, the fans are always so amazing it feels like a home game. We’re always excited about interacting with our fans and showcasing the team.”
The Combine contest consisted of a number of challenges including a vertical jump, throwing accuracy test, power test and a 10-yard dash, with money-can’t-buy prizes up for grabs for the best performances.
The overall winner received VIP tickets, pitch-side access and a locker room tour at the upcoming Jaguars vs. Eagles game at Wembley in October. The winners of the individual test’s walked away with the brand new Jaguars merchandise signed by Campbell. As well as the NFL activities, there were food and drinks trucks, live music and merchandise stalls at the Fan Festival.
“Bringing the NFL Combine to the UK was a fantastic chance for our fans to engage with the team as well as a way to introduce more people to the sport. We were incredibly excited to have the support of Calais and Yannick and are thrilled to reward our fans in the UK for their great support”
Said Hussain Naqi, Senior Vice President, International Development for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“It is just another touchpoint in our continued commitment to the UK the Jaguars and NFL fans over here.”
In addition to the Fan Festival the Jaguars gave one lucky fan, Sarah Langley, a once in a lifetime opportunity to announce a pick in the 2018 NFL Draft as part of the #DraftOurJag social competition to find the biggest Jaguars fan.
— Calais Campbell (@Campbell93) April 28, 2018
Sarah represented the UK, side by side with Campbell and Ngakoue as she began Will Richardson’s professional career when she announced his selection by the Jaguars live on the NFL Network. Richardson, a Tackle from North Carolina State University, was the Jaguars fourth selection of this year’s Draft.
With the Jaguars’ ongoing commitment to play one home game each year in London, the team continued to honour its UK fan base after making NFL history four years ago by having Draft picks announced outside the US.
The NFL broadcasted its annual Draft in Dallas, Texas this year and saw the Jaguars select Miami Defensive End, Taven Bryan in the first round, followed by a steal of a pick with D.J Chark in the second round and Ronnie Harrison in round three.
With another exciting Draft complete by the Jaguars, the hard work now begins for our new rookies with Organised Team Activities coming up as they aim for a place in the squad and the chance to travel to London to face the Philadelphia Eagles at Wembley Stadium, 28th October 2018.