You have an opportunity to get out here and watch practice. How valuable are these few days that you get to evaluate guys both and off the field?
Dodds: “It’s incredible. You just can’t see this many top guys in one place. And just how efficient we can be here. We’ve interviewed probably 90 guys so far, and then getting to see these guys one-on-one, against each other. There’s some games, as we all know, during the year, where it’s … LSU versus a small school, it’s not the same. So now the playing field’s level, it’s a great opportunity to whole week.”
For you, coming from a scouting background, how valuable is this for you? How invested are you in the process of evaluating these guys, and having the conversations?
Dodds: “Extremely. For scouts, it just gives you that verification of what you saw during the year, or it makes you go back and look at something again. If somebody does something that you didn’t think they were capable of, you just go back and take another look.”
You mentioned the value in seeing guys going against top tier talent. How can an athlete separate himself over the course of these few days, going up against some of the top draft-eligible talent?
Dodds: “Yeah, we see it every year. There’s guys that come here, have a great week, and they held that rocket ship up the board. But really, we tell our guys just, “Hey, don’t penalize a guy too much for a bad week, but give him a lot of credit for a good week.”
What are those characteristics that you’re looking at for guys, both in their on-field performance, and then off the field as well, in those conversations that you’re able to have with them this week?
Dodds: “We just want to make sure they’re relentless competitors, and they have the mental toughness to handle it. It’s a grind, our season, so they’ve just got to. They’ve got to have those traits or they’re not going to be a Colt.”
How can guys ascend on your radar, move themselves up? You mentioned those traits. How significantly that you guys do weigh those?
Dodds: “Well, obviously talent, but after that just being relentless. Being a competitor is mentally tough. I sound like a broken record, but they’ve got to have that stuff, or they’re not going to make it.”