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VanderBlog: Combine Fever

Posted by voiceofthetexans on February 21, 2013 – 10:42 am

By Marc Vandermeer

Media covering one of many press conferences

Media covering one of many press conferences

I’ve always called the NFL Draft ‘The Off Season Super Bowl.’ If that’s the case, then the scouting combine is the playoffs. Hundreds of media members are covering this seven day event.

The media area is packed with an all star roster of natioal NFL talking heads like Chris Mortensen, John Clayton, Mike Mayock and writers and others who’s names who know.

I’m lucky enough to be able to get downstairs in places where other media people don’t have access. I had a chance to say hello to Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, who I know from my days as Voice of the Miami Hurricanes.

He, Greg Schiano and I had a mini Hurricanes reunion. It’s easy to reflect on how great Andre Johnson’s career has been and how he and countless other ‘Canes have been a big reason why the 2000 Miami staff has spawned four NFL head coaching jobs, and counting.

The Texans are holding nightly meetings with dozens of prospects. The scouts and coaches find these almost more valuable than the workouts. Sure, the measurables are important. But they all want to see how they interact with other players and how they handle themselves in the interview room.

The Texans send virtually every member of football operations to the combine. The video crew collaborates with other NFL video crews to shoot every workout. They then compile the entire body of work to send to every NFL team. So, every team obviously has equal access to the measurables. It’s what an organization does in private evaulations that makes the difference.

There’s a lot of talk about what the Texans might do with their first round pick (27th). One thing to look out for: expect the unexpected! Last year, no one thought the team would take Whitney Mercilus. Two years ago, JJ Watt was a bit of an upset pick. Kareem Jackson surprised the pundits in 2010. Even Pro Bowler Duane Brown was a bit of a surprise in 2008.

Soon, I will give me thoughts on four players to watch out for in this years’s draft.

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