Bryan Randall Rookie Diary #3: A Weekend at the NFL Combine

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Here’s Bryan Randall’s report from the NFL Combine, where
he spent four days being poked, prodded, and tested.

Thursday


Bonus Feature
TSL
Audio Clip

Randall tells us what he thinks his strengths and weaknesses are.
Format: MP3
Time: 1:03
Size: 250 kb

I got to Indianapolis around 10:30 Thursday morning. There
were a lot of other guys on my flight. Mike Williams from USC, David Greene from
Georgia, Cedric Houston from Tennessee, the quarterback from Florida A&M,
Dougherty. When we first got there, we got checked in the rooms and everything
and got our gear. As soon as you got there, you put your stuff down and went to
the hospital and started all these X-ray tests, physicals, check ups on any old
injuries that you might have had over the course of your college career, or
anytime that you may have had surgery. You’re at the hospital for about four
hours.

After we left the hospital we went to the hotel for this
thing called Cybex testing, which I had never done before. Basically it’s just a
machine that tests your hip flexors, your quads and your hamstrings. That was
kind of weird. It was a little bit tougher than I thought it was going to be. It
tests the strengths of your hamstrings and your quads and the rotation of your
hip flexors. You’re on something almost like a leg curl machine, and you’re
trying to do reps as fast as you can with resistance and without resistance. It’ll
wear your legs out a little bit. It was my first time doing that. I didn’t
know what it was. I had seen Cybex testing on the paper, but I didn’t know
what it was. So I wasn’t prepared for it, but its not something that’s so
bad that you are going to be totally shocked.

This had been going on all afternoon, and we had dinner
about 6 o’clock, then we got our itinerary for what was going on the rest of
the week. After dinner there were a couple of groups that went to meet with
position coaches. They had this thing across the street where the players could
walk in, it was basically just a free for all, to where there were a bunch of
position coaches from all the teams in the room. You just stand around, and if a
coach wants to talk to you he just comes over and picks you out. They just walk
over and grab you if they want you. By that time we had to wear our gear pretty
much everywhere to be identified. We had a sweatshirt with our name and number
on the back and your position on the front of it. That area right there with all
the coaches and stuff was usually position coaches.

There was another setup in the hotel where there were
teams that would set up meeting times with you, and they had individual rooms in
the hotel. That first night I had two meetings. I had an interview with the
Chicago Bears and I had an interview with the Washington Redskins. They ask you
a lot about your background, a lot about how your season went, your strengths
and weaknesses as a player. For me personally, the quarterbacks coach was asking
me some questions about our schemes and different things we did as far as the
offense goes, and our protections and a lot of football knowledge about the
quarterback position. It’s almost like you’re being cross-examined in court or
something. The first time I went in there, they videotaped the interview. You
just sit in the chair and all the coaches sit around you and ask you questions
and do whatever you want. It’s like being on the Budweiser Hot Seat, or the
Hokie Hot Seat (laughs). That was pretty much the end of the day, curfew was at
11 o’clock.

Friday

Friday was almost the same thing as Thursday. We started
out in the morning going over and getting physical tests done to you again. On
Friday they had about seven rooms set up with different NFL doctors in there
from every NFL team. You would go in a room, the doctor would look at the card
you had filled out about previous injuries, and they just start examining you.
They look at your X-rays, if you had a sprained ankle they would be looking at
your ankle and checking out the rotation of your ankle, if your shoulder was
hurt they were looking to see if there was any unevenness in your shoulder,
checking your flexibility. Basically they were just picking you apart from the
previous day.

Every
time I saw someone, they said I had a pretty clean history, which I do. I haven’t
had any really serious injuries since I’ve been in school. The only thing they
had on me was that I was flatfooted, that was about it (laughs). It wasn’t
much other than that. We didn’t leave the until probably five o’clock.

We took the Wonderlic Test on Friday. The Wonderlic is a
series of questions that tests reasoning, math logic and different things like
that. It’s a timed test of 12 minutes and 50 questions. The questions start
off easy and they get harder as you go, but it’s really testing your ability
to think quick and things like that. It was my second time taking it, I feel I
did pretty good, but I think I did better probably the first time. The first
time I took it was at the Hula Bowl.

They had the bench press Friday, but I didn’t do that.
That’s the thing, I was expecting the running and everything to come up pretty
quick, but actually the running and stuff wasn’t until the very last day that
we were there. It gets kind of tiring waiting to do all your testing because
that’s what you’re looking forward to, that’s what you’ve been working
out for.

They did the heights and weigh ins on Friday. We did that
before we did any of the stuff with the doctors. You go in there and you line up
by position and number, everybody takes off their shirt and their shoes, you get
your hand measured, your arm length. All the coaches are there watching from the
stands, like they’re there to watch a game or something. You get your height
taken and they call it out, you get your weight taken in front of them after
that. That was the first thing, and I was kind of nervous about that because at
the Hula Bowl I measured in at 5’11”. I measured in at just over 6 feet at
the combine, and weighed 225.

Saturday

Saturday we met with the NFL Players Association that
morning, which was interesting. They talked about contracts, and about how fast
your money can go when you first get into the league, things like that. Troy
Vincent from the Buffalo Bills, he’s the president and he was there to talk to
us about that. It wasn’t just about the contracts and stuff like that, it was
basically what the NFL Players Association is all about. If you’re fortunate
enough to make it into the league, it was about what the Association has done in
the past.




On Saturday I met with the Buffalo Bills, and that went
pretty good. Any interview you set up with any team, they are very similar. A
couple of different questions here and there, but pretty similar.

I saw all of [my teammates] except for Eric. I didn’t
see him. I saw Vinnie, talked to Jon Dunn and Jim. It’s weird because you’re
interacting with all the top players in the country, the top draft picks and
people who are supposed to go lottery on the first day and all that, so you get
a chance to see all the players. All the players are there.

I did get a chance to chill with Mike Williams from USC a
pretty good amount. He was a real cool dude, real down to earth, you know, real
humble. He was just easy going. It’s weird to see people out of uniform after
you get to meet them, because you don’t know what to expect a lot of times.

Saturday night we had to turn in at 11 again. I didn’t
go do any interviews that night because I was so excited about the next day.

Sunday

On Sunday we ended up waking up about 8:30. We didn’t go
over to the RCA Dome until about 10. When we got over there, there was already
another group working out, a group of quarterbacks and wide receivers. So we
waited for about an hour and a half or two hours. We were just sitting around
waiting to do things, and that got kind of nerve racking, just sitting there for
so long.

We went to a back room and did these player profiles. They
take a picture of you with your shirt off, with your name and all that. Then we
went in and watched after sitting around for about 45 minutes, they finally let
us go in there and watch. We sat in there for probably about another hour.

I really wasn’t watching the 40s because I had seen guys
run the day before. I was watching the quarterbacks throwing the ball and the
drills they were putting them through. I was looking at some of the big name
quarterbacks to see how they were doing and to see how everybody was throwing
the ball. It’s surprising because a lot of guys you watch on TV, sometimes you
make them more than what they are. Just like me and Coach Rogers always talk
about, people make guys into super heroes a lot of times, but they put their
socks and shoes on just like you do. You watch guys go out there and make
throws, and everybody talks about people with the big arm and arm strength and
all that. I’m sitting there watching guys throw grounders on outs and out
cuts, and throwing lollipops. I’m watching it and it’s like bringing
everything into perspective, you know, "I can make those throws." I
was gaining confidence just from watching other people.

When it was our turn, we ran the 40 first, and I was
really excited about that. My goal was to run somewhere in the 4.5 range even
though some of the times have been known to be slow on the RCA Dome turf. On the
first one I was real excited, but I didn’t start good. I didn’t start good
on either one of my runs and I knew that was going to be the most important
part, because once I get to about 20 yards I can stride out pretty good. The
start was the big thing for me, and I didn’t come out good on either one of my
starts. I ran a 4.68 and 4.72.

I think I was about fifth or sixth fastest among
quarterbacks. The thing is, I know I’m faster than a couple of those other
quarterbacks that ran faster times than me. I want to say Matt Jones was the
fastest and he can run, he can run about a 4.4. But as far as the rest of them,
I know I can run about a 4.5 range if I can just get out of my start.

After the 40, we started throwing. We had individual
drills as far as throwing the ball and doing drops and things like that. That
was the first time we actually got a chance to throw the ball. I did good. I was
throwing a good ball and had good velocity on the ball. I was pretty accurate.
(laughs) Actually I was laughing with Coach Rogers because Coach Rogers was
there, and the first pass I threw I winged it over the guy’s head on my first
throw. I guess adrenaline you can call it, but after that I was fine. It was
just that first throw, but other than that I was pretty accurate.

After the throwing, we had velocity tests of the ball.
Basically that was just a three-step drop, throwing to a five-yard hitch. They
measure it with a radar gun. They write your velocity down and don’t say
anything, so you don’t know. I found out later that I had the third fastest
velocity. I think about 21 quarterbacks threw the ball.

After the throwing we got together with the wide
receivers. We had worked with them before, but they didn’t really video us for
our drills. We just did some drills for them [the receivers], as far as throwing
them the ball and some short drills. After that, we got to the drills where we
were being filmed on throwing routes. I threw the routes pretty good. We had the
receivers run and the quarterbacks took two routes back to back. They were
slants, out cuts, digs, and then go routes on the left side. And then from the
right side we did curls, post corners, and outs.

I would say I put the ball on the money about 75% or 80%.
From our group, I threw the ball as well as anybody did. In my group it was Matt
Jones, Jason White, Dan Orlovsky, Gino Guidugili, Josh Haldi, Ben Dougherty from
Florida A&M, Craig Ochs from Montana – he used to go to Colorado –
Dustin Long from San Houston State, who used to play at Texas A&M, Stefan
LeFors, Kyle Orton, and Chris Rix. He’s a great guy, I like Chris.

We did all the three-cone and verticals after we had run
and thrown, so it felt like forever. Three-cone I did 6.97, in the short shuttle
I did a 4.08. We didn’t do the long shuttle. We did the standing broad jump,
and I did a 9’5”. And then the vertical was 33”. The vertical was about
the same range that I did at Tech.

I had goals. Even though I had a negative in the 40 yard
dash, I really wanted to run a 4.5, everything else I was happy with.

After that we were done, went right back to the hotel and
got our stuff packed. We didn’t even spend ten minutes in the hotel, just got
on the bus and went to the airport. My daggone flight didn’t even get out, it
was delayed. I got to the airport about 5:30, my flight was supposed to leave at
7:15, but it didn’t leave until 9:50. It kept getting pushed back. It was
terrible.

Overall, it was a good experience. I feel it helped me out
overall. I got to show some people some things. The big thing that I wanted to
do was show people, as far as throwing, that’s what I was really looking
forward to. Throwing the ball was something that I was real confident about
going into. I feel like I impressed a lot of people with my arm strength and my
accuracy. The whole thing wore you down a little bit, by the time you got to the
physical stuff, but all the interviews and all the testing I feel all right. I
mean, I can breeze through the interviews, I don’t have any history that is
going to hinder me, and I have no problem talking to people. So I felt confident
about going through the interviews and things like that.

I thought it was a real good Combine for me, and I think I
impressed a lot of people. I mean all it takes is that one team to really like
you, and I felt I put my best foot forward in giving myself the best opportunity
to turn some heads.

Bryan Randall Rookie Diary Archives:

Bryan Randall Rookie Diary #1: The Combine is Almost Here
– 2/15/05
Bryan Randall Rookie Diary #2: Randall Departs
for the Combine
– 2/24/05

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