Leslie Frazier Discusses Player Evaluation

USA TODAY Sports

We continue looking at Leslie Frazier's press conference from the NFL Combine in Indianapolis with the coach's discussion of how he evaluates players in situations like the Combine. Remember that last season, the Minnesota Vikings' coaching staff had the opportunity to coach at the Senior Bowl, giving them an extra opportunity to scout a good portion of the 2012 draft class. (It also, ultimately, led the team to decide that they liked safety Harrison Smith enough to trade back up into the first round for him.) Frazier was asked a few questions about that on Friday during his presser.

When WRs get on the field here Sunday, what catches your eye?

Part of the evaluation for us will not only be what they do on the field. But also when we get a chance to interview them in these meetings in the evening, along with when we bring them to Winter Park. So we'll have a chance to talk to them there as well. So it'll be a combination of what they do in these workouts, what we're going to find out when we go to their college campuses and work them out as well and what we get done in these interviews. So it won't be just what I see in the workout here but a combination of a lot of things between now and the draft that will determine if they're going to be a fit for what we're trying to get done.

What's the advantage of the Senior Bowl?

That's a good question because that time at the Senior Bowl was big for our staff. We got a chance to get to know those players on an intimate basis because we were working with them every day. So when we got to this point in the process, our familiarity with them was so much better than it had been in years past. So it was big for us when it came to targeting the right guys for the draft. A good example of that is Harrison Smith. He's a guy we spent a lot of time with at the Senior Bowl. And if we had not spent that kind of time with him and gotten to know him as well as we did, who knows if we would have moved up the way we did and been aggressive as we were in picking him.

What you look for in interviews with players?

Just try to find out what his comfort level is in conversating and how he's going to be able to respond when we talk to him about our offense or our defense. When we give him some information, can he disseminate that back to us? We want to see if he can handle information and be able to process it. And also, some of the personal questions, how he's going to handle those. Is he a guy that has the character you're looking for when you ask him some of those tough questions. So that's a part of it as well.

Biggest lesson you've learned in player evals?

I've learned from coming to Indianapolis for the combine and not getting too caught up in numbers. When you're looking at 40 times, you're looking at vertical jumps, you're looking at the broad jump. Don't forget about watching that tape and trying to determine whether or not this guy's actually a good football palyer with pads on and not just with shorts on. So that's a part of it. But there are so many things you do that you have to learn from year to year, season to season, game to game, week to week. I mean it's an ongoing process of learning for me personally. But specifically about the combine, just making sure that this is just one part of the evaluation process and not the whole deal.

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