David Njoku shares odd experience from Scouting Combine

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Because the Scouting Combine was wedged up against the start of free agency, the football media never got much of a chance to develop the various stories about the wide range of odd questions and experiences players endure at the Scouting Combine.

On Tuesday’s PFT Live, former Miami tight end David Njoku told a humorous — and bizarre — story from his time in Indianapolis.

Njoku said that, when he walked into the room to meet with one specific team, the head coach and scouts declined to shake his hand. And then they glared at him for a while before someone asked this question: Where does the sun rise, and where does it set?

It would be a weird moment for an adult. It’s even weirder to think that a young man who is still only 20 had to deal with that situation.

Yes, it’s a multi-month job interview. But what other industry entails the kind of goofball tactics and insulting inquiries that football players endure? From questions about their sexuality to their family members, football teams seem to think that the stress inherent to playing football justifies creating stressful situations during job interviews.

Plenty of other jobs are stressful, and they entail consequences far more dire than a team winning a game. But surgeons and lawyers and other jobs that require calm-headed decision-making with high stakes on the line don’t include the kind of weirdness that routinely occurs when NFL teams are trying to get to know more about their players.

It’s one of the benefits of a draft. If the players could choose their pro teams the same way they choose their colleges (and the same way surgeons and lawyers select employment), coaches and scouts would have no choice but to be a little more friendly and civil, because the players would have the power to choose a different employer.

47 responses to “David Njoku shares odd experience from Scouting Combine

  1. Yes but there is an assumption that a doctor or lawyer had a certain level of intelligence. Sadly some football players (see Dexter Manly) can make it through school and not even be able to read. So while the tactic is weird if a prospect can’t answer where the sun rises and sets it would be a huge marker. Just sayin.

  2. I know it will never happen because the players want to impress teams in hopes of getting selected but it would be great if players decided to just walk out of the interview for such antics. Do you really want to work for a team that treats you like that?

  3. “My response will answer both of your questions: the horizon. What’s next? Going to ask me to snatch a grasshopper out of your hand?”

  4. The interviewers didn’t say hello to him. That’s rude but that occasionally happens in all types of professions. I worked in my university’s career services offices for undegrads and grad students part-time in college and heard a lot of stuff like that. I’m aware of interviews in electrical engineering, law, medical research, and petrochemicals.

    I played football in college with 2 guys who were drafted. Both had completely normal interviews. I’ve spoken with about 10 different guys from my college team of different ages who have played in the NFL. None of them ever mentioned a bad interview like this one.

    The question was an easy one. Rises in the east and sets in the west. I’ve heard plenty of odd questions in interviews that didn’t related directly to the job. So what?

  5. It does seem like a stupid or insulting question, but I understand it. The answer is easy, but getting put in a spot and adding pressure is fundamental in football and being under pressure by a potential employer makes the answer not so easy for some people.

    What would make that question very insulting though, is if it was only asked to a person based on bias or stereotyping.

    I do agree questions about sexuality should not apply to interviews.

  6. Doctors and lawyers get tested to the nth degree before they can practice their trade. These teams are drafting a jock based on the fact that they can run, throw, block, whatever, which doesn’t denote any kind of mental ability whatsoever. It’s fair for them to challenge these kids with weird situations and questions to see how they react. There are more than enough head case studies in NFL history to warrant such caution.

  7. It’s cute that you seem to think this only happens in the NFL. I can’t say it is widespread but it’s naive to think it’s an anomaly. I’ve seen equally strange antics in several job settings.

  8. You know they ONLY ask these questions because some players legitimately don’t know them. If every player knew, the questions would stop.

    Whats wrong with seeing if a player is a dummy or not?

    (this doesnt excuse the non-handshake and the “glaring” oddity though)

  9. Must have been the Patriots. The answer is the sun rises and sets on Bill Belichick in New England.

  10. It’s only odd if he answered it wrong. As a matter of fact, I’d love my place of employment to ask applicants these type of simple, common sense questions. It would weed out the idiots.

  11. Rams for sure…wanting to make sure they don’t draft another complete moron at the top of the draft. As we all know, Jared Goff was blown away when he found out the sun rises in the east.

  12. Well since nobody has the “Wonderlic” test scores to look over anymore they have to ask the easy questions face to face. How else do you weed out the idiots who will have a hard time with an NFL pro-playbook?

    Think about a 3rd year junior from Texas who would be a two-time Pro Bowler (Vince Young) who couldn’t answer “How many months of the year end in ber?” It’s four in case you have to sound them all out…….Now we all know why his nickname at Tennessee was Jelly Head…….I heard recently he was hoping to resurrect a career in the CFL…….

  13. If my team DIDNT ask some common sense questions, I would be upset. You have flat world supporters now, First overall picks that don’t know where the sun rises…you need kids with common sense. Yes, you want them to be athletic, and game tape helps. But, if someone is a dunce, that cant always be undone. When youre trying to team them a 300 page playbook, and each play name has 8 words, common sense comes in handy.

  14. ragnarthemagnificent says:
    Apr 4, 2017 1:37 PM

    If he said the sun sets on the left coast you know he’s an idiot


    I nearly lost my coffee on the monitor on this one…..LOL.

  15. Don’t keep us in suspense, did he know the answer to those two questions?

    As odd as the questions are, at least he can take comfort in his Mama’s profession did generate even more awkward questions.

  16. Please stop the sad diatribe of how bad these kids have it because they cannot choose their own team.
    Once corporations start offering signing bonuses and millions per year in pay, and offering incentive pay to reach the post season of competition, THEN we can resurrect the discussion.

  17. Google gives applicants problems to solve that legitimately can’t be solved, and that’s not even close to the oddest thing they do. This isn’t unheard of in the professional world.

    I’ve asked candidates over the years all kinds of ridiculous stuff(nothing HR would cringe about) just to see if they could think on their toes and roll with it.

  18. Then the entire room broke into “Sunrise, Sunset” from Fiddler On The Roof and encouraged him to sing along with them. He was unsure of the words, so they said, “You know, the Perry Como song!”…..

  19. Ask John Elway and Eli Manning if they think that players can’t choose their own teams.

    Let me put it this way, if a really good player doesn’t want to put up with the BS, all they have to tell a team is that they don’t appreciate the crap that is going into this and if they can’t respect them, then they don’t want to play for that team. Once players do that and word gets around, then teams that want to secure really good players, will start treating them better. Lets face it and Mixon is a perfect example, if you can do what he did, not get invited to the combine and still rate a first round pick, what would stop a team from drafting someone who just said, this is a job interview, treat me with respect or I will find a team that does.

    I know money is everything to some people and clearly they will embarrass and degrade themselves to get it, but I don’t care how much money is involved, if I am to disgrace myself, listen to people bad mouth my family, and cower down in front of team management then they could stick it where the sun don’t shine.

    Shame the college kids dont show as much courage in interviews as they do on the field and who knows, who is to say they wont treat a player who speaks out better because they are showing they are leaders, not followers.

    Come one kids, grow some….

  20. The kid is first round talent. He should have just said “don’t draft me” and left.

    If enough teams get snubbed by the players for treating them as sub-humans the teams will get the message.

    I know 31 teams who could use this kid on their team.

  21. Probably some pencil neck consultant who has never suited up for any sport came up with that question.

  22. thereisalwaysnextyear says:
    Apr 4, 2017 1:29 PM

    Yes but there is an assumption that a doctor or lawyer had a certain level of intelligence. Sadly some football players (see Dexter Manly) can make it through school and not even be able to read. So while the tactic is weird if a prospect can’t answer where the sun rises and sets it would be a huge marker. Just sayin.

    While you are correct about Manley’s lack of reading skills, that didn’t prevent him from being a very good player on the field (97.5 career sacks). While “book learning” is a plus, it isn’t indicative of how good of a player they will turn into. Plenty of guys have scored well on the Wonderlic test, but couldn’t find a spot in the NFL.

  23. cribbage12 says:Apr 4, 2017 1:49 PM
    Spielman is STILL using that lame question?


    I’m a long time Vikes fan, but good one.

  24. While the question could have probably been asked in a more professional manner, I think it’s legitimate. If a 20 year old can’t answer that question correctly, it would put huge question marks in my mind. Not only is he intelligent enough to handle the plays called, but is he intelligent enough to stay out of trouble.

  25. Didn’t you see La La Land? They treat actors way worse in auditions.

  26. I was once in a job interview, and f o me meeting with the people there, and their explanation of the work, it was a bad fit on both sides.

    After being interviewed by the third person, they asked me, so where do you see yourself Inc five years?

    I said with all due respect, not here, and I don’t want to waste any more of your time. I’ll see myself out. I got up and left, no hard feelings on either side.

    Hopefully an NFL first rounder will do the same and then call out the Ricky Dink team that does this stuff.

    I can assure you, the Patriots, Giants, Cowboys, Eagles and Seahawks don’t do this crap.

  27. Easy for me to say, but If I were to go into any interview and get treated that way, I would thank them for their time and leave immediately. Maybe if enough of these players do that then GM/Coaches will be creative with their interview tactics instead of trying to intimidate and confuse the candidates.

  28. Then again, it presents a time to shine and demonstrate your values. All the previous answers were, in my opinion, of no value. As a team drafting a player and looking for a solid citizen response, I’d love to hear him say “The sun rises and sets with my love for my family” – or “It rises with Christ’s resurrection and it sets well with my faith”. I’d say either of those two responses sets the player apart from others who simply respond east and west.

  29. sadly the coaches probably didn’t know the sun only rises in the east, and sets in the west, 2 times a year.

    this is why it is important for the employee to also ask questions at their job interview.

    sometimes your boss is dumber than you, and it will be to your advantage to know this, in regards to job advancement, and in general.

  30. He should turn the question around and answer like every other jagov coach answers a press question.

    Q: Where does the sun set?

    A: I’m beyond the sun. It set last night. I’m onto football and will answer any football related question you have.

  31. I would have walked out of an interview like that and made my reasons clear: I do not want to be employed by an organization that thinks it is acceptable to treat people like that.

  32. Florio you need to get off this whole ‘player choosing his own team’ nonsense. Not every profession do you get to choose where you work. Some jobs switch up your job location on you. You don’t get to choose where you’re getting stationed in the military, either. And the NFL pays a whole lot more – even Mr. Irrelevant, the last pick, gets paid a whole lot more.

  33. They’re all wrong. The sun rising and setting is merely a human perspective. We point one way and call it “east” and, as the Earth spins around, bringing the plot of land we happen to be standing on a view of the sun, we call that “sunrise”.

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