The Atlanta Falcons will begin their Combine interviews today. It's an exciting stage in the pre-draft process, where coaches and front office staff finally get some face time with the guys they've been following and scouting for months. And that got me thinking, wouldn't it be fun to revisit the Combine interviews of guys the Falcons have drafted in recent years.
What follows are excepts from the Combine interviews of Matt Ryan, William Moore, Sean Weatherspoon, Jacquizz Rodgers, Peter Konz, Levine Toilolo, and Ra'Shede Hageman. Enjoy!
2008: Matt Ryan, on being drafted by the Falcons
"It's exciting for me that I think a number of teams I should say might be thinking about taking a QB this year and Atlanta might be one of them. It's a great city. Arthur Blank has done a great job in Atlanta. I think he's made a strong commitment to the city with everything that's gone on the past year and he's done it with class and I have a lot of respect for that organization."
2009: William Moore, on whether he had talked to the Falcons at the Combine
"Yes, sir. They seemed very interested, and I'm also interested in the Falcons. They're a great football team, and I can tell that's the missing piece to the puzzle. They had a great season, and I can step in and contribute."
2010: Sean Weatherspoon, on what William Moore told him to expect before the Combine
"I haven't talked to William that much about this process. I talked to him about the Senior Bowl and he kind of told me what to expect down there. William and I are kind of in the same situation. He had an injury-plagued senior season and he didn't play as well as he did his junior season. And myself, I didn't produce as well as I did my junior season so a lot of the questions I have to answer about putting on weight from my junior year to my senior year so he kind of told me about that process and just taking blame where blame is due. I've been doing a pretty good job with that so far. I am scheduled to meet with the Falcons pretty soon."
2011: Jacquizz Rodgers on his pass blocking
"I think I'm pretty good at it. I've done a great job. That's one thing my running backs coach preached: ball security and blocking."
2012: Peter Konz on the zone blocking at University of Wisconsin
"That was our bread-and-butter. I remember after our 7-6 year, when we were first installing our plays in the spring, we went back to the basics. We went power, zone and then we'd throw in the play-action. That really became our blueprint for the next year and the two Rose Bowls. We went back to the basics and we made sure our o-line was very strong and the defensive line was very strong and we built off of that."
2013: Levine Toilolo, on who he wants to emulate in the NFL
"I think any young tight end growing up watches Tony Gonzalez. For me, I enjoy watching Antonio Gates just being from San Diego. Recently, Rob Gronkowski, just for a guy his size. He has a similar stature to mine and to see the success that he's having. At the same time I enjoy watching all tight ends and just kind of seeing what techniques they use, what works for them and whether they are successful if they run certain routes whatever it might be."
2014: Ra'Shede Hageman, on pre-draft critics calling him inconsistent
"I've just got to stop thinking. Me obviously playing d-tackle for three years I've developed flaws. When it comes to that, it's definitely overthinking. And then when I overthink, I feel like I'm not doing something right; I'm always freezing up. So I feel like once I get a better sense of just educating myself on d-tackle and just what to look for on the o-line, I'll be able to stop thinking and just play."
It's interesting to see where some of these guys were at the Combine. It's especially interesting when their struggles or strengths have pretty much stayed the same since that time. For example, Rodgers is still a boss pass blocker and Hageman is still wildly inconsistent.