College coaches have a few years, or in some cases months, to build a relationship with a prospect. NFL coaches have just a few short weeks and a combine to see if they're the right fit for their roster.
With millions of dollars potentially on the line for draft prospects, almost every prospect goes into the interview portion of the combine very well trained on how to answer the questions. For front office guys those sit downs are the ultimate job interview.
“I would say the formal interviews we conduct are as important as anything done at the combine," Colts GM Ryan Grigson explained on their website. "Just sitting and listening to a prospect speak and tell you about themselves and also see how they respond to tough questions we may throw their way (is valuable). It’s the ultimate job interview.”
Grigson went on to explain that the culture that the staff has created in a short period of time in Indy is highly valuable and getting players to drop the act and training at the door during the interview is a challenge for a lot of teams that don't want their locker room chemistry messed with.
“A lot of times these kids are prepped so extensively before they walk in the door that it can put a wall up in a sense and inhibit us from really getting what we want out of the interview. It is a disservice to us and ultimately the player in the end."
But the Colts have a unique weapon for their interview that no other team has at their disposal.
“Our weapon against this is Chuck (Pagano) himself. He has a way of getting kids to open up because he builds a level of trust so quickly with people just due to his genuine nature. It is extremely helpful having him in our corner and engaging each and every player that walks through our door every night.”
In a few years with hundreds of combine interviews and a few drafts under his belt, it will be interesting to see what kind of team Pagano builds and the locker room dynamic that he helps create with that genuine approach.