It’s a lot more than 40-yard dash times, the number of reps at 225 pounds on the bench press, and the three-cone drill.
Following are five takes on evaluation from five NFL coaches at the NFL Combine that concludes today in Indianapolis:
Gus Bradley, Jacksonville Jaguars, on evaluating video:
“You always go back to the film. You see them run and do drills at the Combine, but don’t forget about the film. That’s their body of work. It will be cool to visit them, see them compete, and then go back to the film and find the true story.”
Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks, on evaluating motivation:
“That’s a great science of his draft business, trying to figure out what is the makeup of the athlete and what kind of competitor you get when you draft him. There is a long process that goes into that with a tremendous exchange of information to try to figure the guys out. We can measure this stuff; this stuff is not the hard part.
“The hard part is taking the measurements and then connecting that with the mentality of the player and figuring out what that’s really going to turn out. It’s a tremendous science there.
“We have all the confidence in the world that we will figure it out as well as anybody. But it’s a challenge and for us, it’s that competitiveness that we are trying to find in the guys. That chip on the shoulder, that mentality they have that will take them beyond where normal people go.”
Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers, on face-to-face evaluation:
“Every year there are a number of things you’re obviously able to take away from the Combine. If I was going to rank them, I’d say the interviews are probably, from my perspective, the most important. There’s a lot that comes out of the interviews.
“If you look at how the interview process has grown over the years, the players, the prospects are a lot more prepared than they probably were 10, 15 years ago.
“The interaction is high velocity. You have a lot more interaction. You have to dig deeper. Actually, it’s fun. The workouts are obviously important, but the video of the workouts and the access you have to the video afterwards is very resourceful.
“I think the biggest thing that I’ve noticed the last five, 10 years particularly with what the NFL Network has done with the atmosphere they created here at the Combine is it creates a great stage for these young men to come in and learn a lot about how they interact and handle this process. There’s a lot to gain from coming down here to Indianapolis.”
Bruce Arians, Arizona Cardinals, on over-evaluation:
“That’s a hard thing. You can overload yourself with information. Sometimes players in your hometown, where I have coached, you hear too much about them. Then you don’t take them and they go off and become successful.
“Just let them play football. Judge their character. Are they good in your locker room? Can we help this guy become better? And put him on your football team. It’s really not rocket science.”
Mike Smith, Atlanta Falcons, on how coaching the Senior Bowl helps at the Combine:
“I talked to a number of coaches and staffs across the league that had the opportunity to work the Senior Bowl. It was something we embraced as a coaching staff, but also with our scouting staff. To have the opportunity to work directly with 55 guys and have an opportunity to spend time with another 55, so spending time with 110 draft-eligible players, the advantage was big for the two staffs that were able to do that.
“We feel like we are ahead (of the curve). I know that I am in terms of knowing the players, especially the seniors.”