For the Raiders, prospects are brought into a room containing Ziegler, head coach Josh McDaniels, Brandon Yeargan (director of college scouting), Shaun Herock (senior personnel advisor) and a rotating cast of the Raiders’ scouting and coaching staff. In total, the team spent 810 minutes of the league’s weeklong event formally speaking with potential future NFL players.
“It’s an interesting environment. You’re front and center,” Ziegler said of how that can be intimidating for young prospects. “All eyes are on you.”
Silver and Black group questions range from breaking down film to scoring football IQ to asking personal questions. This is essentially a first job interview for these 45 candidates.
“You can get a sense of what their overall maturity level is for the process and who they are as people,” Ziegler said of what can make a player stand out. “Some players you see have had an element of self-reflection in their lives. I’ve always thought that a 21-22-year-old should have the understanding and self-reflection, and then the confidence to be able to vote, that’s an interesting trait.
“And then their level of football intelligence. There are some people who really stand out. Their overall knowledge of a full offensive system or a full defensive system, not maybe just knowing their position.
Ziegler is preparing for his second draft as a general manager, but he’s been to countless Combines since he first began his professional scouting career in 2010. One thing that hasn’t changed about him is how much he enjoys the interview portion , as this is a chance to get a first impression and a face-to-face connection.
“I like. I think he’s super valuable,” the GM said. “You can’t judge it because it’s one time and it’s a young adult who’s in an upsetting situation, so I think you have to have some level of understanding. But it’s unique to see someone’s body language, to see how they carry themselves, their self-esteem. It’s little bursts of it, but it’s that process.
“It’s a puzzle, and it’s one small piece of the puzzle that you can put into a player’s profile.”