A key step of the pre-draft process kicked off this week in Indianapolis, as the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine is now off and running.
Whether it's on-field activities or in-person interviews, it is likely the first chance for coaches and team staff to see the players in person.
Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley arrived earlier in the week and sat down with Chargers Team Report Hayley Elwood at the Combine to discuss his third Combine as a head coach.
For Staley, his favorite part of this week in Indy isn't on the field, as he looks forward to the first impressions that come with interviewing prospects for the first time.
"I love meeting players for the first time," Staley said. "What you're going to gain out of a 15-minute interview, we can debate that, but I think that chance at a first impression. You prep for the interview, you're watching the player, but then you kind of put the player on film to this actual person and I always love that, the relationship aspect of it.
"Football connects you in so many ways, there's like someone that I coached with, or coached in the past that knows this guy and just bringing it all together, that first impression I think is memorable," Staley added.
Take a look back at photos of the Chargers celebrating in the locker room following wins during the 2022 season
At the Combine, teams have an opportunity to interview prospects for 15 minutes. While it may not be enough time to go fully in-depth, Staley talked about the value that it does have and how it may be a factor as the process progresses.
"It's a pretty brief snapshot, but I think you can get a first impression on the player and that's what it is, it's just an impression," Staley said. "It's a part of the evaluation. I think what you're able to do after this is maybe go on a Zoom and confirm a little bit more.
"It's a little bit more in-depth, you got a little bit more time do a deep dive," Staley added. "I think first impressions are important and I think they can make a difference when you're breaking ties at the end."
The Bolts hold the 21st overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and currently have a selection in each of the seven rounds.
As the week continues for the Bolts in the lead up to the draft, Staley's hopes for this week is straightforward:
"To keep our program going," Staley said. "We've gotten off to a great start as a coaching staff, we want to keep that momentum going.
"In the mornings we're working on Chargers stuff, then in the afternoon, the evening we're working on draft combine stuff," Staley added. "Just keep the momentum going, make sure we stay in shape, that we don't fall in the trap of eating big and staying up late, so just make sure we wake up early, that we're getting a lot of work done that's going to help the Chargers win."
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