We often talk about the interview process for draft prospects and the importance of them. For most fans the interest seems to start at the Senior Bowl and Combine. For teams and scouts the interview process can start as early as their freshman season and can a deciding factor in whether a team will pursue a prospect or not. As a scout the interview process lets me get an inside look into a prospect's character and mental alertness.
While I am at a College or University on a scouting trip, while I may be looking at certain players for the upcoming draft, I also like to find out about other players who may be draft prospects down the road. I have found this may be my best opportunity to get unfiltered thoughts and opinions from the HC and assistants. As a player enters his Junior or Senior season and is starting to be considered for the draft and talked about more in the media, the HC and assistants will give a more filtered answer about prospects. These at times almost seem rehearsed. The interview process can be very extensive for most prospects. A prospect may be interviewed up to 3 times before they even play their last College game. For the team I work for the prospect and their coaches will be interviewed by the Regional Scout, Position Scout and a Verifying Scout.
The interview process does not stop there. As a scout I interview as many people as possible so I can give the best informed opinion on a prospect possible. The typical list of people I interview are:
2. Teammates and opponents (includes both high school and College)
3. Coaches (includes high school coaches).
4. Parents, relatives. (Sometimes, parents tell you what they really think)
5. Wife, girlfriend and ex-girlfriends
6. Trainers and Doctors
8. Teachers, counselors
9. Priest, rabbi, minister
12. Equipment men, janitors
13. Police departments - campus, town, home
All of these interviews are typically completed before the end of the Bowl Games. This allows all of the team's personnel to go over my initial scouting reports and interviews so they can be more focused on what they want to discuss when they sit down with prospects at the Senior Bowl, Combine, Pro Days, private workouts and team days at the home facility.
At the Senior Bowl a team normally has about 40 minutes per prospect for interviews, Combine 15 minutes, Pro Days are controlled by the College or University and team days at facilities are dictated by how many prospects are invited at one time. Private workouts held by a team for a prospect are one of the best opportunities to really get to know a candidate and get in depth with them in an interview.
The private workouts are the most secretive. They are typically not reported to the media and are held in private and sometimes a neutral location. They can be held for 48 hours and give the scouts and coaches a 1 on 1 look at a prospect. As fans we look to see who the teams have interviewed at the other events and see who is invited to Valley Ranch to get insight on who they are interested in, but the private workouts are the ones we do not know about and are the most intensive.