The annual NFL Scouting Combine is underway in Indianapolis, with various team executives meeting with the media over the next two days. While Colts general manager Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano don't meet with until Thursday afternoon, Grigson talked with Colts.com's Kevin Bowen about the Combine.
Grigson mentioned what he considers the be the most important parts of the Scouting Combine, saying that,
"The actual interview with the player we feel is incredibly important. It is where you find out how the player fits in so many ways from primarily a mental and character standpoint. Every year there is a guy who walks through the door that just brings tremendous energy and enthusiasm that is tangible and you make note of those types of strong interactions. The other I would say is the 40 time, not that it is or isn't the reason to draft a guy, but at the end of the day it helps you assign proper market value to the player. Especially at those skill positions."
Yes, that's right folks, the Colts' general manager mentioned the 40 yard dash as one of the most important parts of the Combine… but he first mentioned the interviews with the prospects, and that is widely considered to be one of the most important takeaways from the entire process.
Along with the interviews, the medical evaluations also play a significant role at the Combine, and Grigson talked about that as well:
"Medical is critical and sometimes it is very disappointing because I am no doctor and we have no choice but to trust our medical staff when it comes to taking a player we really like off our board. Again the interviews are where you try and get all your questions answered about any problem areas with the player on or off field. I'm just not a big fan of the field drills. I watch them but the environment isn't a football game. It is in shorts and in a controlled setting so you can get fooled to a degree because some guys move different when there's bullets flying. Now there are guys that really stand out and pop when you're watching them and those are the only ones I make note of. It is usually from just a pure movement standpoint. Does he significantly stand out because he just has more juice and pure athleticism than anyone else in his position group? Or does he separate himself due to the way he attacks a drill and that perceived competitiveness, not his true athletic ability, is the actual factor in his rate of speed? Things like that specifically have helped sway me in the past towards a particular player but as a whole, the film is the true equalizer at the end of the day."
Grigson talked about other stuff as well, including players who really helped themselves at the Combine, and I recommend reading the entire interview here.
It's perhaps most interesting, however, to hear what the Colts' general manager considers to be the most important things at the Scouting Combine. We all know that there are a lot of drills and events throughout the week and that some have more value than others to team, and the interviews and medical evaluations are nearly unanimously valued by teams and evaluators throughout the entire NFL. The 40 yard dash, however? Not so much.
For a nice breakdown of the drills that will take place this week at the Combine and how they translate to the field, check out this article from Danny Kelly over at Field Gulls.