By: T.J. Zuppe
The NFL’s unofficial off-season began this week with the kickoff of the league’s scouting combine in Indianapolis. Hundreds of collegiate athletes are measured on and off the field as teams begin to build their boards leading up to the NFL draft.
John Spytek, the Cleveland Browns director of college scouting was a guest of Vic Carucci on Cleveland Browns Daily on ESPN 850 WKNR and discussed the interview process at the combine, the types of questions that are asked and how they scout players after the Browns brought in new coaches to start the off-season.
On what happens during the interview process
“Prior to the draft, we had to submit a list of 60 players at the combine that we wanted to formerly interview… Interviews start at 6:00 every night and they can run anywhere through 11:00. 15 minutes, they blow a horn to start it, they blow a horn to end it… They are obviously important. In that room, we have a big monitor up projecting film that we cut up on each of the kids that we are going to interview. About 10-15 plays just to talk with them… You get a sense of their football intelligence. The other part is we use it to clean up a bit of the character stuff. So if we have some issues with the kid, we’ll address it. We’ve got to ask the tough questions and challenge the kids.”
Why are the players challenged during the interview?
“We kind of throw them off a little bit and see how they respond to a little adversity. I’m not saying that if they do well under the pressure of the combine they are going to help you win the Super Bowl, that’s not the same kind of pressure. But you get a chance to see what kids are like when they are a little uncomfortable.”
What current players that the team drafted stood out during the interview process?
“Joe Haden, full of life, full of energy. I’m sure he was talking to everybody and their brother at the combine. That year he came through, he came in full of life. Trent (Richardson) was awesome. He was very serious. No B.S. You kind of like that little bit of confidence that kids walk in their with. When we did Mitchell Schwartz last year, it was one of those interviews that went for 10 minutes. Every question you asked him, he answered it like that… He just attacked all the questions that we did.”
What type of questions are asked?
“There’s no doubt we are asking loaded questions. Half the questions we ask, we know the answer to. We just want to see how the kid answers them. Sometimes you just see, did he answer me honestly? Was it a B.S. answer? Was he unsure? We do our best CIA work.”
How do you scout different players based on different coaches?
“It started a couple weeks ago. We got coach Horton in and his system. The coaches do a great job of getting us what they need each guy to do… Its our job as scouts to watch and find the guys that can do what they want them to do. The more things a kid can do, the more valuable he is. Versatility is key for us, especially on defense… Tell us what you’re looking for and we’re going to find it.”
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