MOBILE, Ala. — The Senior Bowl isn’t only for watching practices and creating scouting reports on what players can do on the field. It’s also for talking.
And there is a lot of talking.
While there will be breathless media reports about which players are meeting with each team this week, the truth is the Saints, and every other team will speak, with each player taking part in the event this week. And while the actual football aspect still reigns supreme, players can help or damage their draft stock while sitting down with a team.
“They can get our attention,” general manager Mickey Loomis said. “They can get our attention by the way they practice, by the things that we see collectively, as well as the interview process.”
New Orleans has most of its staff here in Mobile this week, which makes it easy for the organization to cover a lot of ground and speak with every player attendance. Some of those who met with the team, such as Oklahoma Sterling Shepard, were given a hat with the team’s logo on it.
Many of the interviews are the same. Players are asked about their families, interests and how they grew up. Then it usually veers into questions about the strengths and weaknesses of their games, injury histories and then some things about football.
Shepard, whose father, Derrick, played for the Saints as a wide receiver in 1989, said he spoke with Loomis and that the meeting was like most of the others he’s had this week.
“It can get in-depth, but they’re mainly general questions right now, asking about your home life and asking some small things on football, trying to test your knowledge a little bit,” Shepard said.
Those deeper meeting will take place at the scouting combine next month and when players take official visits to the club’s facility later in the draft process.
Still, a first impression is something that is important and can open the door for a second interview down the line.
“I think we value them a lot. We get to get a little gauge on personality and just how sharp they are, what they know, in terms of football, and our coaches get to spend a little time with them,” Loomis said. “Actually, they get to spend a lot of time with them. That is an important part of this process.”