For the general public, the NFL Scouting Combine is a flurry of numbers associated with draft prospects.
You find out 40-yard dash times, bench press results and vertical leaps for the players vying for a shot in the NFL. Teams care about those numbers, but they’ve already been scouting players on the field for some time before getting to Indianapolis. That explains why Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson thinks the interview process is as important as any of the on-field work.
Grigson told the team’s website that he thinks the Colts have “a strong culture” and that they use the interviews to see how a player would fit in their locker room. The value of the interviews isn’t a secret to prospects, which is why most of them come in well-prepared for that aspect of the combine. Grigson thinks that’s something teams have to get past when talking to players.
“A lot of times these kids are prepped so extensively before they walk in the door that it can put a wall up in a sense and inhibit us from really getting what we want out of the interview. It is a disservice to us and ultimately the player in the end,” Grigson said. “Our weapon against this is Chuck (Pagano) himself. He has a way of getting kids to open up because he builds a level of trust so quickly with people just due to his genuine nature. It is extremely helpful having him in our corner and engaging each and every player that walks through our door every night.”
With so much information available to every team, it’s no surprise that general managers like Grigson would prize the parts of the evaluation process that are specific to their teams. When it comes to the combine, that means the interviews take on a prominent role.