Scouting Combine A Valuable Experience For Participants

Posted Feb 19, 2014

Dolphins players vary in their memories of Indianapolis.

Every player fortunate enough to get invited to the NFL Scouting Combine has different expectations and aspirations for those four days of interviews, medical exams and performance drills. When they head back to the airport for their flight home, their heads are still spinning.

This morning in Indianapolis the ritual begins again for the newest crop of college players at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine. The first position players to arrive will be the offensive linemen, tight ends, kickers and special teams, followed by the quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs on Thursday, defensive linemen and linebackers on Friday and defensive backs on Saturday.

Fortunately for the players already on the Miami Dolphins roster, they don’t have to go through the gauntlet – figuratively and literally – anymore. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill and defensive lineman Derrick Shelby still have fresh memories in their heads from the 2012 Combine, as they are only two years removed from the experience. Tight end Charles Clay spent his time in Indy three years ago and linebacker Koa Misi made his trip four years ago, while veteran defensive tackle Paul Soliai had to go back further for his experience to 2007.

Here’s what each of those players remembers from what in essence is the most important audition for NFL prospects:

“You’ve just got to have fun with it. It’s a wild four days and you’re not getting much sleep. You’re getting shuttled around like cattle from place to place and it’s a stressful time, obviously. Everyone’s trying to do his best for every situation, whether it’s an interview, the testing and every part of it. You’re trying to impress the scouts and convince teams to want to draft you, so it’s a stressful time but you’ve just got to sit back and just do your best at everything. Don’t stress out about it because it’s going to work out the way that it’s supposed to.” – Tannehill, who was selected eighth overall by the Dolphins in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft out of Texas A&M

“It was busy all the time. It was fun though to get out there with guys that are supposed to be the best in college. So that part was fun, but the meetings and tests were kind of draining.” – Shelby, who was signed as an undrafted free agent one week after the 2012 NFL Draft

“It has its pros and cons. Just being there, you realize that you’re one of the top players at that time. I also feel like it was exhausting, especially after that second day. There’s a lot of work that goes into it – lot of meetings and stuff. I wasn’t a huge fan of it. When it was all said and done, I feel like some of the things they put a lot of bearing into, like the 40-yard dash and that stuff, I feel like that’s a bit overrated.” – Clay, chosen in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Tulsa

“At the Combine, I did both defensive end drills and linebacker drills. The Combine was crazy. I think I met with like 12 different teams and, on top of that, you had the medical day where you had to go meet with all the different doctors. There was just so much stuff being thrown at you. It was kind of overwhelming, but, at the same time, you’re trying to get yourself out there and show people what you could do. It was good and I had fun, but, at the same time, I was like, ‘Man, this is a lot of stuff,’ but it was a good experience.” – Misi, who was selected in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft out of Utah

“It was good. I wasn’t expecting to go to the combine because I only played one year on the D-line in college, but being there I got to meet new people. I was nervous. We went through a lot of stuff in the three days that we were there. It was a lot of stuff. I was nervous. How did I perform? How did I talk in front of coaches? It was nerve wracking.” – Soliai, chosen in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft out of Utah
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