With previous Combines lasting just five days, teams like the Bucs used to race against time trying to get interviews with the top prospects, who had to juggle their time between weigh-ins, extensive medical exams, position testing scores and their plane reservations to leave town.
"I think it's good because it gives us a chance to spend more time with the kids and do the interviews with these players," said Mark Dominik, Tampa Bay's director of pro personnel. "It allows us to get to know them even more in depth. That was the goal in the lengthening of the combine was to allow teams more one-on-one time with players. With all of the medicals and workouts it was very hard to get all the one-on-ones that you needed."
Although the prospects of draftable players not showing up for scheduled interviews is expected to decline due to the extra two days, the amount of time allowed to each team to interview those future pros has. Teams will no longer be able to have 30-60 minutes to grill and comb over players.
Instead, a new rule introduced by the NFL Competition Committee, of which Buccaneers general manager Rich McKay is a member of, limits each interview to just 15 minutes and limits the number of players each team can interview to just 60. Approximately 330 players have been invited to this year's Combine.
Although the Buccaneers might seem a bit hurried to dive right back into pre-draft scouting, the team's front office and coaching staff is focused and more prepared than they were last year when they had just completed the trade for head coach Jon Gruden with the Oakland Raiders. Due to the firing of Tony Dungy and the protracted coaching search, the Bucs didn't even have a full staff of coaches in place to take to the Combine.
The assistant coaches Pewter Report has recently spoken with said that they are excited to be more involved in the player selection process this year and are eager to provide their input.