Insider View on the NFL Combine
On this special episode of Pro Mindset® Podcast, Craig Domann shares his experiences as a veteran NFL agent and discusses the major challenges for players competing in the NFL Combine. Not only does he give the viewpoint of the agent, but he also covers the perspective of the players, the teams, and the media. He includes clips from previous podcast interviews with current Broncos OL Coach Chris Kuper, former Bills and Cowboys OL Duke Preston, and former GM for the Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos, Harold Richardson. Each guest shares their insight into coach evaluations, GM evaluations and interview strategies. They will look at how a player can improve his NFL Draft stock and what he can do to avoid hurting himself. This unique episode will give you the unseen viewpoint of the NFL Draft and the process behind it.
Craig explains that a player is going to prove his NFL Draft stock the most during his workouts on day four. To give a different viewpoint, Craig includes a soundbite of a previous interview with Chris Kuper, OL, Broncos, where he describes the difference between attending the NFL Draft as a player verses attending as a position coach.
Chris explained that as a player, he got caught up in his numbers. “As a player going into it, those numbers mean everything to you because you think, I ran a 5.01 but I ran 4.92 in training two days ago. What is that going to do to my draft stock?’ Those things can wear you out.”
Chris says that as a coach (currently OL coach for the Broncos), he wants to see how the player performs in general. The workouts or the player’s numbers are not his main focus. “When I go there as a coach, I'm not really watching a workout. There are coaches who handle time on their own and record everything on their own. But I just really want to watch and see how they do it.” It is more important for Chis to see how the player moves and transitions.
Craig talks about the importance of interviews during the NFL Draft process and includes Duke Preston’s own perspective on the interviews. Duke shares his strategy for getting beneath the surface of a player and finding out if he has a growth mindset or a fixed mindset.
“My one thing that I try to look for is a guy that can think critically, and problem solve. So, I've developed a couple of different riddles to get to that. I’m asking a guy to think on his feet and solve a problem. Or I’m asking an open-ended question where they can show me how they think.” Duke likes to ask questions that the players would not expect. For example, he may ask them to define the word “ambiguous” or give them a basic math question to see whether they attempt to answer it. If they have a fixed mindset, they will not even try to come up with a response. If they have a growth mindset, they will try to respond with an answer.
Craig then covers the agent’s perspective of the NFL Combine by including an interview with Harold Richardson.
“Quite frankly, I think you learn a lot more by looking at film than you do at Indianapolis. Indianapolis obviously can tell you a lot of things. It's raw numbers. However, how fast a guy runs in shorts doesn't necessarily equate to how he runs in the game.” Harold believes that you learn a lot more about a player by looking at their film. An athlete is going to perform and respond much differently during a game. Harold wants to see how they will respond under different and more difficult circumstances. A player’s performance on Saturday will tell you more than raw numbers.
To wrap up this episode, Craig briefly talks about the Pro Mindset® that an athlete needs during the NFL Combine. “The biggest challenge for players in terms of having a Pro Mindset is the mental beat down.” A player is being tested mentally and physically and it is crucial that they have all seven elements of a Pro Mindset to be at peak performance. Belief, passion, motivation, training, lifestyle, habits, and performance are the seven building blocks of a Pro Mindset. All these components must come together to create success for the athlete in the NFL Combine or you in your own life.