The NFL Combine starts today!
The football world will be focused on Indianapolis for the next week, as several hundred of the best prospects in this year’s NFL Draft arrive to go through workouts and meetings for a huge job interview. Team executives, coaches, and scouts are all in attendance and there are significant conversations and events that take place during the Combine.
Here are the four big things that have relevance to Colts fans that they should be paying attention to this week - and these are the four things that we’ll be focusing heavily on here at Stampede Blue this week.
1. Chris Ballard and Chuck Pagano speak
From a purely Colts perspective, there’s nothing more relevant during Combine week than getting the chance to hear from the team’s leadership. General manager Chris Ballard will meet with the media at 3:00 p.m. ET Wednesday afternoon, while head coach Chuck Pagano will meet with the media at 10:00 a.m. ET Thursday morning. We haven’t heard from Pagano since the day after the regular season ended, while we haven’t heard from Ballard in an official press conference setting since his introductory presser. In Pagano’s last presser there wasn’t much offseason talk because, well, nobody knew if he’d be back yet or not, while in Ballard’s last presser there wasn’t much offseason talk because he was still getting familiar with the roster. So this week, we’ll get to hear from the two of them about potential areas of emphasis in the draft and in free agency, as well as their thoughts on some of the team needs. They may or may not reveal much, but at the very least it’s a chance to hear from the team’s leadership once again - something that’s pretty rare in the offseason. From a Colts perspective, this is the biggest event of Combine week.
2. The coin flip
On Friday, there will be a coin flip at the NFL Combine that mainly has significance to two teams: the Colts and the Eagles. Because the Colts and the Vikings (who traded their first round pick to the Eagles) finished tied in the standings and tied in the tiebreaker (strength of schedule) - which means that a coin flip will determine who gets the 14th overall pick and who gets the 15th overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. Those are the only two picks left to be determined in the draft, and though it’s just a difference of one spot, it can be an important one in the middle of the first round. So we’ll definitely be paying attention to the results of the coin flip on Friday, March 3, at 12:30 p.m. ET.
3. Players interviewing with the Colts
Also significant are the interviews that take place between teams and players at the Combine. Teams get to request certain players to meet with, and it’s always interesting to follow along with which players the Colts have been meeting with. This isn’t always an accurate gauge of the level of interest - maybe for some of their top prospects they don’t need to talk with them, or for some others they’re not that interested but want to clear something up - but it at least gives us a baseline of some of the players the Colts have expressed some interest in. So we’ll be paying attention to these interviews, but of course the real significant aspect is how those interviews go behind the scenes. We won’t hear much about that, but we should hear of a number of prospects the Colts meet with. It may or may not mean much, but at the very least it’s an indicator of potential interest from Indy.
4. More clarity on positions of need
The hope with the NFL Combine is that there will be a greater sense of clarity about some of the Colts’ positions of need after the on-field workouts. There are mixed feelings about how much weight should be put on Combine workouts, and it’s clear that these workouts should not be the main emphasis of scouting - but they can present valuable information nonetheless. In particular for the Colts, it will be interesting to see how some of the EDGE rushers test and measure at the Combine. There are a number of very intriguing and good prospects, so perhaps the workouts will help the Colts determine who they’re most interested in - or some players who pique their interest this week. The same is true for their other positions of need, like inside linebacker, cornerback, running back, etc. There shouldn’t be too huge of an emphasis placed on these things, but they can help provide some semblance of clarity on some lingering questions.
So, to recap, here’s what really matters at the NFL Combine for Colts fans: the Ballard and Pagano press conferences; the coin flip to determine the Colts’ exact pick; the players the Colts are meeting with; and the on-field workouts at some of the positions of need to help answer some lingering questions. Those are really the four things we’ll be focusing on, and those are the truly valuable aspects of the Combine this week for the Colts.