By Tim Graham
INDIANAPOLIS -- The NFL scouting combine isn't only about dashing, lifting, jumping, throwing and shuttling.
Perhaps the most important facet of the process is the interview. Prospects can rise or fall on a team's draft board with a bad Q&A performance this week.
"We're trying to pick out anything we can about the guy's ability, his retention of schemes, his ability to apply that scheme to another scheme and just his football knowledge and football instincts," Buffalo Bills assistant GM Doug Whaley said.
"It's a good exposure for the coaches to find out about these guys and be with them and talk to them face-to-face and get a synopsis of how they are learning and talking football."
Whaley said there's no such thing as a perfect interview "because there's no right or wrong answers. It's such a subjective thing."
But a prospect can doom his future by leaving a bad interview impression.
"The surefire way to blow and interview," Whaley said, "would be to come in and not be a professional and not take this as, 'Hey, this is my job interview to set my family up and myself for the rest of my life,' and not take it seriously.
"Anybody that's ever interviewed anybody for a job, you can tell: unprepared, body language, not being able to communicate, not caring to communicate, not following instructions or not being to answer a question. Those are the things you pick up on."
I asked Whaley to tell me about one of those terrible interviews. He leaned back in his chair and laughed.
"Here's a story," Whaley said. "I was working with the Steelers, and there was a positional player at the University of Pittsburgh. So we interview the guy.
"One of the questions at the end of the interview was, 'What would be the most exciting thing if we picked you, and you played for the Pittsburgh Steelers?' And the guy said, 'I'd at least know where to go party after the game on Sundays.'
"Now, come on, man."
Did the player get dropped from the Steelers' draft board?
"He didn't fall off," Whaley said, shaking his head, "but he slid down a little bit."
tagged2013 draft | 2013 NFL scouting combine | Doug Whaley