We evaluated over a thousand players this year that we felt were prospects. We evaluate over 1,400 players that we considered to be eligible for this year's draft. With that, there were over five thousand reports written by our coaches and our scouts.
The one thing we did this year, we keep expanding and improving on this area, is our interview process. We start that at the (college) AllStar games. We carry it through the combine with our 30 visits here and also our coaches at the combine in what we call the satellite room. We have personally interviewed extensively over 200 players in that process. We have 382 players we consider to be draftable. Of that number we've discussed about 200 in our meetings.
I think now, even in the second year with Eric, with Mike, our scouts have a real good feeling of what kind of players we're looking for, how they fit the system. I think we've had great dialogue in our meetings. Looking forward to getting the board set and discussing strategy next week.
Q)Has the Mangini's emphasis on character changed the board a little bit?
Bradway: I don't really think it's changed. I think it's a philosophy we've had for a while now. Actually it intensified when Eric got here. We know what kind of guys he wants, these core values that are important with these players that we select. But like Mike said, we're looking for good players, too. You got to get that balance in there. That's what we're trying to do.
Q)Do you think you can get a starter at 25?
Bradway: It's not necessary for one of these guys in our minds to come in and start. You want somebody that's going to come in and compete and play, fight for that job. That could happen. Like most years, if you're picking 12, there's probably eight players you like at 12. We're at 25. I'd say there's going to be 18 to 20 that are going to be guys that we would feel good about taking at 25, and the chances of one of those guys being there is probably pretty good.
Q)What kind of questions do you ask the prospects in the interviews?
Bradway: Mike and Eric ask all the questions about movies, TV shows, you name it, last book a guy read. They kind of do that. The one thing I think that's been interesting that's been good for us, we watch a lot of tape with these guys. As Joey and I visited with players last week, we would watch tape with them. We weren't asking necessarily the technical questions, what is the technique or what is this front called. We asked them about their teammates, the guy they played across from. We just had a running dialogue for half an hour. A lot comes out. Personality comes out. They give us some pretty good information. So I think that was helpful from that standpoint.
Q)How do the questions the coaches ask, differ from the personnel department?
Bradway: They would get more technical with them. They would show them some of our stuff, test them. We wanted to be able to come out of the meeting, the interviews, with a good feel for the player's personality, but also how smart they were, especially from a football standpoint. That's the one thing, if guys want to have a chance to play, in particular play early, they've got to be able to pick it up. If they don't, they're going to fall behind and usually struggle a little bit to get on the field and get the reps.
Q)Can you sway your opinion on a player based on an interview?
Bradway: There were some, yeah. You may had have had a little question about coming in and they did a good job, then others that maybe you hoped you would have gotten a little bit more from. Again, the most important thing we do is evaluate them in the fall when they play football. Like Mike said, we have a lot of information. We have interviews. We have tests. We have combines. We have physical tests. We have workouts. When you put that all together, along with the reports, that's the final grade.
Q)It is better to pick for need, or for the best player available?
Bradway: Mike said it earlier. In '93 when free agency started, drafts became more needbased, especially as you got down into the draft. Now, if you have a top 10 pick, you're hoping you get a need to match the value. But you may end up taking a player that you may not particularly need because it's such a highrated player. I think once you get down into 25, I'm hoping we will be able to fill a need and also get value. I think we will at that point of the draft.
Q)What are your thoughts on the FIU and Miami fight, and how will that impact the prospects involved?
Bradway: That's part of the information we gather. Again, like Mike said, it's important to find out the truth. We've got a good relationship with the coaches at Miami. I feel like we've got a good handle on all their players.