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'Everyone's got a story': How Bears will delve into QB prospects' wiring during NFL combine interviews

Colleen Kane, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Football

INDIANAPOLIS — When NFL prospects arrive at the Chicago Bears interview room this week, they’ll face a choice — the same decision the Bears posed to players at last year’s scouting combine.

Darts or putting?

Coach Matt Eberflus said the Bears will use the same icebreaker they used last year to try to put players at ease and get their competitive juices flowing at the start of their combine interviews. Once the quick game is complete, they’ll get to the football — as much as they can cram into 18 minutes.

Bears coaches will teach the prospect a play. They’ll review the player’s college game film. At the end, they’ll go back to the play that was taught, testing the player’s functional football intelligence and recall. And when the time is up, the Bears will move on to another of their allotted 45 interviews.

In the grand draft process — in which team representatives go to college games, analyze film, interview coaches, teammates, family and friends, go to pro days and often meet with the prospect privately — the combine interviews are one data point among many.

But ideally they help the Bears record a first impression of a player’s personality and how he operates and learns.

 

As general manager Ryan Poles said Tuesday at the combine, the only way to really understand if a player is going to fit in Chicago is to spend time with him.

“Any type of relationship, it’s time on task and just kind of getting to know the personality,” Poles said. “There’s been a ton of information gathering from my team just in terms of teammates, coaches, things like that, but you’ve got to spend time with another person really to understand their wiring.”

And no time is more important — both this week and in the weeks ahead — than that spent with quarterback prospects as the Bears determine whether to draft one with the No. 1 pick.

A piece of the puzzle

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