A Personnel Point of View

By DJ Harding

While the Combine is known for players doing the 40 yard dash and seeing who can bench press the most. I wanted to get a different perspective on the combine so when I got the chance to speak with Ryan Simmons of the Seahawks personnel staff I took the time to ask him some questions about how him and NFL teams approach the combine.

Simmons joined the Seahawks staff in 2021 after his stint with Oklahoma State as part of their staff. Simmons is a former Cowboy himself playing for Oklahoma State from 2011-15.

We first talked about team meetings the Seahawks even had a few that day, but he explained to me the importance of team interviews giving teams a chance to get to know these players better and get a sense of their character and understand the players better.

But when I asked him if you had to do bad in either the workouts or the interviews Simmons said “You probably want to do worse in Interviews because if you have a bad interview but do very well in the workouts you’ll still be an intriguing prospect, but if you have great interviews and do subpar in the workouts you won’t be seen as intriguing.”

Simmons also informed me the main purpose of the workout at the combine is to confirm what your tapes and game film already show about your game which was what he said would be his advice to younger players.

His advice as he told me “Just do well on tape and perform well because the tape means alot once teams have tape it’s a collaborative effort between analytics, gaining background knowledge on a player, and seeing their athletic score.” For those that might not know, an athletic score is a grading system teams use to determine how good players are with their speed, change of direction, agility, and some other factors.

But as mentioned earlier when talking about team interviews besides tape character is also very important. As Simmons mentioned how NFL Teams assign group leaders for the combine and that’s another way teams can learn about players seeing if you are on time, how do you communicate, do you have leadership qualities? How you are seen by those group leaders hold a good chunk of value because teams will ask group leaders about certain players and how they did which gives them a better feel for players.

I ended the conversation by asking him what is the best way to improve your stock if you are more unknown than other prospects. Simmons informed me that the league has a meeting to choose who attends the combine so no player attending is truly unknown but if you are a person who attended a small school he said “if your a small school guy there is something there that got you here they see value and per team and team needs at the end of the day the way to build value is everything from athleticism, character, working hard, and how you manage yourself. for a small school guy you need more than a Power 5 due to the lack of competition that those smaller schools face.”

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