The NFL Scouting Combine has been likened to the world’s most public job interview, with each player’s success and failings on tape for millions to see.
Players project an image of fine-tuned excellence, and fans are lured into mystique of watching them perform.
The reality for those athletes is actually much different, as Redskins defensive end Adam Carriker explains in his brand new blog on ProInterviews.org. He dishes his take on the drills and interviews, and explains how some players “crumble like an old piece of bread.”
In 2007, Carriker finished up his senior season at Nebraska with 52 tackles, seven sacks and an interception. Before the draft process started, he was on many people’s radars as a top-flight defensive line prospect.
These were his measurable numbers from Combine weekend (via ESPN):
Not surprisingly, he aced each physical test needed to solidify him atop the draft boards, but it was still an experience that he describes as quite unpleasant:
In my experience, the Combine was not a lot of fun…What I hated was getting absolutely no sleep for about four days straight.
You get to bed after the interviews at about 1 or 2 in the morning, and then, you have to get up at 4:30am to do all these drugs tests, along with a bunch of other tests that they want to do on you.
What Carriker actually did enjoy was the “speed dating” experience of the team interviews. Different teams threw different challenges his way, from the benign to the obscure:
You don’t know what team you’re going to be meeting with until you walk in the room, and you have no idea how the meeting is set up.
It’s amazing the tests they come up with and have you doing all day to test your mental capabilities and other random skills.
They will show you about twenty different pictures and at the end of it they will ask you what was in picture number six to see if you remember.
They would say about ten numbers to you in no particular order, and when they’re done, they want you to repeat them back to you in the same exact order. Then, to mess with you, they have you do it backwards.
And each of those tests has a lot to do with playing football.
At the end of it all, Carriker got his beauty sleep and was drafted 13th overall to the St. Louis Rams. But even for a player that nailed the biggest job interview of his life, it isn’t something that he’d like to do again.