It's been a hectic week for all 32 NFL teams with the Scouting Combine in full swing and free agency less than a week away.
Still, President of Football Operations John Spanos took a few minutes from his busy schedule to provide an update for the fans.
Question: When we last spoke a couple weeks ago, you said you weren't sure how the condensed time period between the end of the Combine and start of free agency would impact the team. Has it changed anything in the way the front office operates?
Spanos: It really hasn't been that different, and that's good. The experience has been pretty much the same as in previous years. It's going very well for us. Things have been smooth, and they have been very productive.
Question:Acknowledging that the Combine is only a small piece of the puzzle, can seeing these prospects in person and meeting with them alter free agency plans? For instance, if a certain group doesn't perform well or underwhelms here in Indy, would you be more aggressive to go after a free agent that plays that position?
Spanos: It doesn't change much for that. It really doesn't because a lot can change between now and the draft in terms of what our needs are. Like you said, this is an important part of what we do and our draft preparation, but there is a lot else that goes into it. So you can't be too reactive by what you see in t-shirts and shorts.
Question: We hear a lot of talk about how it is a weak draft for offensive line and strong at defensive back and edge rusher. How does the national consensus on a draft class impact the team's thought process as far as when players may come off the board?
Spanos: Well, the league perception as a whole has nothing to do with our evaluating process. When the perception is out there that a specific group maybe isn't as strong as previous years; well, it is our job to find the right players within that position group. Someone might say a position is not very deep, and maybe at the top of the draft it is not, but there might be a lot of players in the later rounds that give you good value. So I think when people like to label position groups year by year, there's a lot more to it than you hear.
Question: What's it been like going through the Combine this year with a new head coach in Anthony Lynn?
Spanos:It's been great! He's just awesome to work with. I've been enjoying it and looking forward to continue working with him.
Question: You made some major news before the Combine began by franchising Melvin Ingram. It is pretty unique for this franchise because it is only the seventh time the team has ever used the franchise tag. Why was it important to use it on Melvin?
Spanos:Historically, looking at our team we believe strongly in drafting, developing and then re-signing. We've been big on re-signing our own guys. The franchise tag is something you can use when maybe you are still working toward a deal, but it just hasn't been able to happen yet and it's a player you want to keep around. Melvin is obviously a very talented player. A lot of things have to line up in order to use the tag.