ICYMI: The week on Front Row PLUS: ESPN Sport Science puts more NFL prospects to test

Last year, host John Brenkus and his ESPN Sport Science team picked Syracuse’s EJ Manuel as the top quarterback prospect in the NFL Draft – despite many draft analysts’ contentions that West Virginia’s Geno Smith was the top collegiate passer. When the Buffalo Bills made Manuel the first quarterback taken off the board at 16th overall – and the only QB selected in the first round – ESPN Sport Science was not surprised.

The group was back in the ESPN Sport Science lab recently for another pro football combine in which top 2014 NFL Draft prospects were analyzed using cutting-edge technology and unique tests designed to evaluate the skills necessary for success in the league.

In the ESPN Sport Science lab, draft prospects undergo a series of position-specific tests, designed to isolate the relevant skills they use on the field. The results are factored into a metric, which the team uses to compare them to hundreds of the other NFL players previously tested. This new and innovative methodology – using science to assess a player’s potential – has an amazing track record, as noted with last year’s Manuel prediction.

“The ESPN Sport Science combine is redefining the way athletes are evaluated,” Brenkus said. “We’ve had the opportunity to work with over 700 of the world’s greatest athletes, and in the process we’ve developed a series of tests that help us rank players and the potential they have for NFL success. We have really raised the bar in this year’s NFL Combine special.”

The one-hour ESPN Sport Science Combine Special (tomorrow, 5 p.m. ET, ESPN2) features more than 20 of the top prospects, including UCF’s Blake Bortles, Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Clemson’s Sammy Watkins, Texas A&M’s Mike Evans, UNC’s Eric Ebron and Alabama’s A.J. McCarron. Some of the top candidates’ segments will also be highlighted on SportsCenter throughout the week.

By Jen Cingari

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• Friends and cancer survivors Robin Roberts and Stuart Scott reconnected this week when Roberts and a Good Morning America crew visited Connecticut to produce a feature on Scott.

• A new ESPN promo for its 2014 FIFA World Cup coverage features footage of Team USA’s rowdy supporters, the American Outlaws.

Read a first person account from ESPN producer Willie Weinbaum detailing Sunday’s Outside the Lines special report on the 10th anniversary of the Pat Tillman’s death.

Andy Katz, Prim Siripipat and Darren Rovell are the voices behind three new podcasts in ESPN Audio’s ESPN Perspectives series.

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1. From ESPN The Magazine: Smuggling Yasiel Puig out of Cuba left in its wake an allegation of torture, a theft and a lawsuit against Puig.

2. Dick Vitale raises money to honor the memory of Lacey Holsworth


3. For the first time, one of the three Army Ranger platoon mates who fired at Pat Tillman speaks publicly about what happened that fateful day, 10 years ago this week:

4. Enjoy an array of photos from the ESPN Images’ Images of the Week.

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