One of the aspects Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden enjoys most of the annual NFL Combine is the opportunity to sit down with a prospect and learn more about them after watching tape on them from afar.
"I love the interview process," Gruden said at his press conference on Wednesday. "You get to know the guys. I love it. …The interview process is important to me, and then going back after you get the numbers, exactly the way they are, and then go back and watch the tape."
Gruden did explain that there are benefits to the on-field portion of the combine, too, as personnel get the chance to see just how big, fast and strong they are.
"This stuff just really validates what they are, how big they are," Gruden said. "Their height, weight, speed. But the interview process is important to me, and then going back after you get the numbers, exactly the way they are, and then go back and watch the tape."
On Friday, specialists, offensive lineman and tight ends will take their turns. On Saturday, Lucas Oil Stadium will host some offensive power, as the quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers will work out together.
Then the defensive lineman and linebackers will take over on Sunday before the defensive backs round out the on-field portion of the combine on Monday.
As for the prospects at the combine and later on down the road in the draft pool, Gruden said that the Redskins have several needs they're looking to address.
If it comes down to two players they're looking to draft, though, they're going to "look at the best available player, period," echoing what new team general manager Scot McCloughan has said in recent weeks.
"I'm excited to get to know these guys in our interview process and watch them run and watch them work, so your needs can change," he said. "You may not be thinking about a position, but somebody else stands out in the interview room or on the field out there and you back and watch the tape on him."
Gruden also said that over the next few days, all positions will be evaluated on level ground so that they can make the correct grades
"We're not gonna close our eyes and say, 'We only need this,'" he said. "We're going to open our eyes up and evaluate every position equally."