NFL Combine preview: Players who need to interview well

By Dane Brugler,  |  Feb. 21, 2018 at 10:57 PM
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The annual NFL Scouting Combine puts prospects through a grueling job interview process that tests them physical and mentally. The combine can basically be broken down into four categories: medical evaluations, interview process, agility/positional drills and verified measurements.

This year, 326 invited prospects will travel to Indianapolis for the Combine, to be held February 27 to March 5, representing 326 different situations and game tapes.

The medicals are the most important aspect of the Combine. And second is the interviews. Each team can schedule up to 60 15-minute sit-down interviews with prospects, making it basically a speed-dating exercise.

Here are some top prospects who will have to win over scouts with their words:

Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

From his off-field arrest to his on-field antics, NFL teams will have no shortage of questions to throw at Mayfield. If a team is going to invest a first-round pick, possibly a top-10 selection, on the Heisman winner, his answers and responses when challenged by NFL evaluators will be important.

Simmie Cobbs, WR, Indiana

Although his off-field isn't a substantial concern, Cobbs maturity will be questioned following an arrest last summer for resisting law enforcement at a concert. He also was suspended the previous season for one game after violating team rules.

Jaleel Scott, WR, New Mexico State

Scott has a burglary arrest in his background that teams view as an isolated mistake and not a further problem. But his character and winding path from two junior colleges to New Mexico State will be addressed in interviews.

Darren Carrington, WR, Utah

Carrington started his collegiate career at Oregon, but he was dismissed after multiple off-field issues, most recently a DUI (July 2017) in which he crashed a car into a pole while in a fast food drive-thru. He played his final season at Utah.

Jordan Lasley, WR, UCLA

Lasley was known to have immature tendencies in high school and college, resulting in numerous suspensions. Most recently, he was suspended three games in 2017 for the always ambiguous "violation of team rules."

Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

While he isn't a criminal, there are numerous concerns around the NFL about Rosen's personal character, mostly his attitude and desire to be great. Some in the NFL believe the concerns are overblown; others want nothing to do with him. Rosen is a highly polarizing prospect.

Byron Pringle, WR, Kansas State

Although he has been clean since arriving at Kansas State, Pringle has a criminal past with multiple arrests for burglary. He will turn 25 years old as a NFL rookie and has matured, but his character will still be a questioned by pro teams.

Antonio Callaway, WR, Florida

Callaway is extremely talented but unreliable on and off the field. He was involved in multiple drug issues over his time in Gainesville and was suspended for the 2017 season for his involvement in a felony fraud case.

Desmond Harrison, OT, West Georgia

Prior to West Georgia, Harrison was a top junior college recruit at Texas, but he couldn't find the field due to multiple failed drug tests and a "pattern of lazy behavior" according to someone close to the situation. There is plenty of baggage with this player.

Arden Key, DE/OLB, LSU

Based only on talent, Key has early first-round potential. However, NFL teams are curious about his state of mind and desire to reach his full potential. He took a leave of absence from the program for personal issues last offseason and there are several questions surrounding his character.

Andrew Brown, DL, Virginia

While Brown is immensely talented, scouts have questioned his mental toughness. There are also numerous examples on film of late hits or immaturity, leading to ejections and negative plays. Brown's interview process will be critical.

Azeem Victor, LB, Washington

Entering the season, several scouts were excited about Victor's potential. However, he was suspended twice in his final season in Washington -- once for a failed drug test and then again after he was arrested on suspicion of DUI.

Mike Hughes, CB, UCF

Prior to his outstanding 2017 season at UCF, Hughes started his career at North Carolina, but spent only one season in Chapel Hill. During his freshman season as a Tar Heel, he was charged with assault following a late-night fight at a fraternity house, which left a victim unconscious.

Holton Hill, CB, Texas

One of the more talented cornerbacks in this draft class, Hill was suspended for the final three games of the 2017 season after repeated failed drug tests. His off-field choices will hurt his draft grade and his answers during interviews will likely determine just how much.

Rashaan Gaulden, CB/S, Tennessee

Sometimes it is a fine line between being passionate and undisciplined, which was often an issue for Gaulden at Tennessee. He might be best known for his double-bird salute to the Alabama crowd following the Volunteers only touchdown in that game.

Max Redfield, S, Indiana (Pa.)

Entering his senior season at Notre Dame, Redfield was stamped with a draftable grade. However, he was arrested weeks prior to the 2016 season and charged with possession of marijuana and a handgun without a license. He was dismissed from the program and sat out that season before resurfacing at Indiana (Pa.) where he played well in 2017.

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