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The Titans Are Getting Straight to Business in Draft Prospect Interviews at the NFL Combine


INDIANAPOLIS – Jon Robinson has nothing against dogs.

But he's at the NFL Combine, not the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, so his focus is understandably on football.

During the NFL Draft process, the Titans General Manager is studying every aspect of draft-eligible players, from their play in college to auditions at the Senior Bowl and the Combine. Pro Days are upcoming.

Interviews with the prospects are also very important.

Here this week, Robinson said the Titans are spending more time talking football than ever before during the scheduled visits.

"I think we've tried to spend more time this year – less with the icebreakers, and more of 'Let's just get straight to football,'" Robinson said. "We are hiring them to be football players; that is going to be their primary job. They have hobbies outside of football, maybe (they like) to play disc golf or collect wrestling cards. That's their prerogative, but as long as it doesn't impact their ability to play football, I think that is where our focus has been. What is their football acumen? How much is football important to them? Can they articulate in that energy setting?

"Now there's some spawn off questions. If they want to talk about their dog Fluffy, they can talk about Fluffy. But we are not going to spend 14 minutes of a 20-minute interview talking about their Peekapoo. We are going to talk about football."

The Titans, scheduled to pick at No.26 in the NFL Draft, have already been busy in the draft process.

Robinson and members of the team's scouting department attended East-West Shrine practices, before a trip to Mobile, Ala., for Senior Bowl practices. The Titans interviewed dozens of prospects in Mobile.

The team's personnel, scouting staff and coaching staff are all in Indianapolis, finding out more about prospects after watching college tape.

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said the interviews – each team gets 45 18-minute interviews these days compared to 60 15-minute interviews in the past – are valuable.

And, oftentimes, they help him trim his list.

"I think it's a good starting point," Vrabel said. "I think you can figure out if you want to follow up, if you want to try to have a second date. You can eliminate. I probably eliminate more than I should here just based on personality, fit, just my own personal feelings. Then maybe those get resurrected after watching the tape. But this is just a first step in a process in the evaluation."

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