* He has to be a leader, a future cog to a championship team.
* Last year I came away from the NFL Combine feeling that way about safety Kenny Vaccaro. I came away from an interview thinking he was a champ, that he had the aura of a first-class, first-round pick.
* Not that it mattered, because Vaccaro left the board before the Steelers picked.
* Evans won't turn 21 until the third NFL preseason game, and after watching him get called for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in his bowl game, I expected to meet someone with entitlement issues.
* Just the opposite. He was smooth, polished, humble yet confident, and he had no problem answering questions about -- and taking fault for -- the poor start to his bowl game. It's hard to describe his aura any better than that of a "champ."
* The thought crept into my mind that he's going to understand the chase for the dollar, too. I can see this guy coming to work with a briefcase some day.
* Evans and Kelvin Benjamin are the two huge WRs who could help the Steelers in the red zone. I'm ranking Evans ahead of Benjamin after meeting the two, but Benjamin was interesting in his own way.
* Held back twice in grammar school while growing up in Muck City, I worried about his intelligence. But that worry has abated. He might not be a genius, but he's no dummy.
* I asked Benjamin if he, like Santonio Holmes, chased rabbits out of the sugarcane fields down in the Muck. He said yes, and that they tasted really good. He must've noticed the reaction on other reporters' faces because he smiled and said, no, they really do taste good.
* Not as polished as Evans, but Benjamin came off better than I had expected.
* Nix came off as a true leader, just like Casey Hampton did coming out of college. Nix has the same sense of humor -- jovial.
* How else would one describe a 330-pounder in good spirits?
* But Nix also came off as wise. And he had his weight down. He was ready for this grandiose week-long interview. Said he wouldn't have a problem keeping his weight down, and he was believable. He seemed to understand the consequences if he doesn't.
* I've always thought Notre Dame guys were polished.
* Nix did get a little touchy about his knee. We had to hit that topic because a bad knee on a big man becomes a vicious cycle. But Nix was adamant that his knee is not an issue. I guess losing 23 pounds in six weeks is proof that he's healthy.
* So was his lateral movement during DL drills.
* His workout was a positive in his attempt to prove he can stay on the field all four downs. No doubt the Steelers will follow up on him.
* Gilbert had great presence at his podium interview. I couldn't help but think of Deion Sanders. Gilbert is 6-0 1/4, 200, so he's bigger than Deion, but the confidence and the smile and perhaps even Gilbert's return game brought the comparison to mind.
* It's unlikely, though, that Gilbert will be available. He ran a pair of 4.3s. That, and his size, and his eight returns for touchdowns (6 kickoff, 2 interception) at Oklahoma State mean this "champ" will certainly be gone by pick 15.
* Evans will be gone, too. Who am I trying to kid?
* So that leaves Nix.
* Nix? That won't go over too well in Pittsburgh, where sub-packages were on the field 60 percent of the time in 2013.
* That will be the argument, but my argument is that all boats rise with the addition of a good big man. And Nix is good. He appears healthy, has his weight down, moved magnificently during drills, and is a leader, a "champ."
* I do have a fallback in the "champ" category. HaHa Clinton-Dix, the free safety from Alabama, came off as more intelligent than his rival for the top, Calvin Pryor. But for a guy named HaHa, he was so serious at the podium.
* It took me by surprise that he described his personality as "a funny guy. I love to work. I'm always smiling. You never catch me down even when things are not going right. I'm just a leader and I try to lead by example."
* I bought all of that, except the "I'm a funny guy" part. He was way too stern, or so I thought.
* When asked about any problems with his unique name, Clinton-Dix responded with an off-color but non-vulgar one-liner about Monica Lewinsky that broke up the room.
* Then I asked him about his first name. "My first name's pronounced Ha-seen, but it's spelled Ha-shawn. So people got mixed up a lot and my grandmother gave me that name when I was about three or four years old. Everyone's been calling me that since then."
* Calling you what? How does your coach address you? "'HaHa get over here,'" he said in imitation of Nick Saban. "I'm just going to say that in a good way," he added.
* If you can a.) understand Saban's defense well enough to win a national championship as a free safety, and b.) take Saban with a sense of humor, you're well on your way to being a "champ" in my book.
* The prediction? Well, at this point I'll just stick with the player I most enjoyed watching all season, Kelvin Benjamin. Ben Roethlisberger would turn that guy into an NFL champ, and I'm not talking about Benjamin's aura, either.
* But the big man, Louis Nix, keeps hanging around in my mind. There's nothing like a "champ" in the middle of your defensive line.