Football feast: For NFL general managers, personnel directors, scouts and coaches, being at the NFL Scouting Combine is like being a kid in a candy store. Everything you need for the upcoming NFL Draft is right in front of you.“It’s a chance to look at the actual draft class,” said Steelers pro personnel coordinator Brandon Hunt on SNR. “It’s been months and months of preparation to get where we are today, gathering information, as far as watching film, interviews, talking to people at the school. Now we get to get our hands on these guys. We can get as much information as we can, ask as many questions as we can, eye ball them. All the information you can possibly want.”
- The eyes have it: Hunt referred to being able to ‘eye ball’ the players once they are at the Combine, something that is a huge advantage over watching film because unlike cameras, the eyes don’t lie.
“When we watch tape, you watch a guy and he can look big, fast and in shape,” said Hunt. “You can be tricked by camera angles, speed. When you see these guys on the exact same playing field, standing shoulder to shoulder, participating side by side, everyone has the exact same evaluation.”
Go big: The Steelers will never rule out drafting a player based on the size of their school, the conference they play in, or anything along that line. But over the last few years have focused on some bigger schools with their top picks, and there is an explanation.
“We don’t disregard any of the smaller schools,” said Hunt. “If there is a smaller school guy that shows up and passes all the tests, we stack everybody up evenly. It’s easier to evaluate the bigger schools. We have seen a lot of Ohio State, the University of Georgia from us lately. Ohio State is an easy transition for us defensively because they play the exact same defense we have. You know what you are getting when you get a guy like (Ryan) Shazier or (Cam) Heyward. They are going to be more instant plug and play guys into our defense.”
Interviews a key: The Combine is a huge job interview for the prospects, and one of the biggest aspects is the actual interview they have with individual teams. Each team can talk to 60 players at the Combine for 15 minute interviews. It’s their chance to prove themselves in front of the team’s general manager, coach, scouts, etc. The Steelers have already talked to 58 players at the Senior Bowl, will talk to their 60 selected players at the Combine, and also have the opportunity to bring 30 in for a visit to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. They also have the opportunity to speak with various players at their Pro Days and other opportunities.
“It’s rare that we don’t (talk to a player before we draft them),” said Hunt “We want to make sure we have talked to, visited with, at some time in this process. We have at least some access or visited with those we consider drafting prior to the process. There is nobody we didn’t. There are no surprises for Steelers Nation and the city.”
The 2016 Steelers Fan Blitz presented by Xfinity will be held at Heinz Field on Saturday, April 30. For ticket information and details click on Steelers Fan Blitz.