The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had plenty of scouts in the RCA Dome on Sunday. So did Bucsblitz.com. For the first time, Matthew Postins was able to enter the inner sanctum of the NFL’s player evaluation process and see what life was like inside the Dome. If you’ve ever wanted to know what the Combine is really like, here’s your chance in this exclusive feature.
From the Indianapolis Convention Center a member of the NFL’s public relations department led us through a maze of corridors and hallways. About 30 NFL writers, armed with notebooks and binoculars, followed him from behind.
I was one of them.
For the first time I was allowed past what had been the line of demarcation all week at the NFL Scouting Combine — the RCA Dome. Just past the escalators by the media workroom in the convention center was a secure area one could only access with the proper credential. All week, I’d had the wrong one. Every writer had the wrong one.
But on Sunday morning that changed. Thanks to the Pro Football Writers’ Association, of which I’m a member, two shifts of writers were allowed access to the RCA Dome to scout players for their fellow scribes.
My task was to scout Louisville wide receiver Harry Douglas, a player who just a couple of days before had told me that he “loves me some Ike Hilliard.” Hilliard, of course, is a current Buccaneers wide receiver, but he’s also a former Gator, and Douglas was apparently a fan.
Once we emerged past security we walked around a concourse in the convention center. To one side were the medical examination rooms. Five teams shared a room where they evaluated players medically. To the other side, along with the good pastries, were the X-ray machines and the heart testing machines.
There is nothing left to chance when teams are considering investing millions of dollars in a player.
Plus, there’s the room where Cardinals strength and conditioning coach John Lott ruled the bench press drills during the combine.
Suddenly, we stop. In front of us were a group of revolving doors. On the other side was concrete and an opening through which you could see the inside of the RCA Dome.
Michael Lipman of the NFL — and our guide on this excursion — turned around to speak.
“OK guys, just a few things,” Lipman said. “No recorders. Turn off your cell phones. Binoculars are fine. Feel free to use them. Just respect the scouts.”
And, we were off to the inner sanctum of the NFL — the Scouting Combine.
Want to read the rest of Matthew Postins’ combine scouting experience, including what it’s like inside the RCA Dome during the combine drills? Just click here to view the rest of this exciting feature.
Want to read Matthew Postins’s scouting report on Louisville WR Hary Douglas, the one he turned in to the PFWA? Just click here to view Postins’ thoughts on Douglas.
Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. An award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers Association, he appears frequently on Scot Brantley Show from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1470-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.