After taking some post Super Bowl paternity downtime, the podcast returns with a scouting combine extravaganza. In fact, by show’s end, I hope to leave you with everything you need to know heading into the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine as well as a quality sense as to what it’s like being in Indianapolis for combine week.
To that end, the first guest was a no-brainer: NFL Network talent evaluation expert Mike Mayock, who I hope and expect will be a regular podcast guest from here from now through the NFL Draft, which will go down in late April regardless of what goes down in CBA talks from now through March 3. We pick Mike’s brain and ask him for a soup-to-nuts combine preview. Who does he expect to wow at the combine? Which player desperately needs to do so? Who must interview well in the interview rooms? What quarterback in the 2011 class has the best chance to be a factor from the first snap? Mayock reveals all and, yes, we do touch upon Cam Newton.
Then, we put you in the shoes of a current front office talent evaluator, a man whose job, quite frankly, depends on being right based on what he sees in Indianapolis — Atlanta Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff joins the podcast. What’s an average day at the combine like for a GM? How do you prepare to evaluate 330 players in one 4-day span? What is the interview process like from the evaluator’s side of the Q-and-A? How much input does ownership have in the process? And, when the long day is over, how does one blow off steam? Dimitroff gives some quality and entertaining insights on all these fronts.
Of course, the combine days are also long for those who cover it. After doing our best to distinguish the disparate 40-yard dashes from the serpentine 3 cone drills, we on NFL Network need an outlet as well. And that’s where, yes, the Academy Awards come into play. Indeed, there’s not much Hollywood about the combine. Actually, there’s nothing Hollywood about the Combine. But, for some unknown reason, Oscar Sunday almost always falls on a combine Sunday. (It’s probably the other way around, but football rules the roost ’round these parts.) Therefore, we hold an annual NFL Network Oscar Party at the scouting combine and participate in a staff-wide Oscar pool, playing for pride of course.
So, to wind down this podcast, I phone up the biggest film buff we’ve ever had on staff at NFL Network and ask him for his Oscar picks. And that would be Jim Mora, the elder. Seriously. I kid you not, the man loves movies. In fact, he grew up around movies, his dad having worked in the film industry. So, Jim is on this podcast and will try and predict Oscar glory for a select few. Plus, I defy you to find another podcast in the universe on which you can hear the man most famous for a “Diddley-Poo” rant extol the virtues of Natalie Portman.
Finally, we wrap up the show by calling the two-time defending champ of the NFL Network Oscar pool and flat-out accuse him of being a fraud. To learn the identity of this mystery guest, you’ll have to listen to the end. That’s what we in the business call a tease. And a worthwhile pot of gold at the end of this combine podcast rainbow.
Enjoy the listen and I’ll see you in my Prada suit at the starter’s line of the 40-yard dash, if not before.