We're here in Indianapolis with Saints director of player personnel Ryan Pace. Ryan tell us about your role in the situation here.
"We got in yesterday and we'll have about 300 athletes here. At this point in time, we already have all of our reports written so the football on the field aspect of it, that's been done. Now we're just kind of fine-tuning. The medical reports are a big deal this week. Our interviews at night time will be a big portion of this combine. The workout drills we can kind of sort through some things when we are splitting hairs on some players and what not. Those are good to view as well. It will be a grind for us, seven straight days."
You mentioned the workout aspect. There are a lot of top prospects who won't workout here. Does that work in or against their favor?
"We always say, fast guys are fast, no matter where it's at. We encourage them to workout here on a surface where everybody is kind of judged on the same plain. Some guys will have legitimate excuses, whether it is injuries or what not. We prefer everybody to workout here and kind of see them all side by side and in one place."
How vast is your library when you come to place like this? How many players have you looked at already, a ballpark figure?
"We've looked at every guy here thoroughly. We probably have three or four evaluations on every single player so it's pretty vast. You don't want what's going on here to greatly affect what our current grades on these players already are. It's really just verifying certain things, paying attention to certain measurables that we like to track. But really, as far as our evaluations and our grades that hay is pretty much already in the barn."
That's what I was about to ask you. Could a player do something here that could vault him or diminish him in some capacity?
"It can. I would say nothing is really that drastic. I think you can make a lot of mistakes here when you get too caught up in that. Let's face it. There's guys that play fast on the football field but might not run fast at the combine. It matters. I don't want to say it doesn't matter because we definitely pay attention to it but I think more mistakes are made when you are drastically moving guys or changing grades based off what these guys are doing in shorts and T-shirts and not in full pads."
This franchise has seemed to do a wonderful job in terms of drafting late-round gems. How are you guys able to do that?
"I think there are a couple of things that go into that. First, our area scouts are outstanding and really it starts with them. They're out their grinding all fall, uncovering all those gems. Also, beyond that I think it goes to Mickey (Loomis) and Sean (Payton). They don't care where these guys come from. It's just what they are as football players. We can bring a guy in here from Bloomsburg or wherever it may be and if he's a good player they trust our opinions and it kind of unfolds from there."
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