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The Secret of the Combine: Interviews


Looks like Dave’s got a secret!  Source: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

The combine is all about measuring the potential of college prospects, but there is only so far that the raw evaluation of events can help a player rise or fall.  A lot of what else happens at the combine, the short talks in hallways and the interview processes, also contribute to how teams see the raw numbers.  While some prospects don’t perform as anticipated and some do much better, a lot of the estimations heading into the combine are simply confirmed during the events.

Enter the interview process.

Per Jacksonville Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell recently said, “A lot of times it’s about answering red flags.”  Those red flags can be physical or mental.  “We might ask a guy, ‘Why did you miss this game? Why did you miss that game?’ Maybe we’re not 100 percent sure of this players’ place. Maybe we really like this player, but he’s a wide receiver and he ran a 4.75. Let’s go back and watch and look at him again. Maybe he is playing against poorer competition, honestly, and that’s why we have him where we have him,” Caldwell elaborates.

We have to trust that the Jags’ staff is able to discern between those who are just workout warriors, those who are game day standouts, and those who have the physical tools but aren’t mature enough at this point.  The Minnesota Vikings are struggling with this currently with the Percy Harvin situation.  Many teams will disregard the all-too-critical personal red flags that may come up while talking to a player.  Caldwell knows this and is keeping it in mind as the combine and draft inch ever closer.

– Luke N. Sims

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