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Jon Robinson explains his NFL Combine interview process

NFL: Scouting Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft process is weird, particularly the interview process. Teams are looking to dig into a player’s personality and past, trying to see if they will be a fit for their organizations. You’ve probably heard about the bizarre questions — every team and evaluator has his or her own style.

Whether it be asking about what kind of animal they view themselves as, to what murder weapon they would hypothetically use, to boxers or briefs. Virtually nothing is off limits as teams prepare to invest in their future.

So what’s Titans GM Jon Robinson’s style? Strictly business — that shouldn’t surprise anybody. The Titans have built themselves on physicality, grit and toughness. Mike Vrabel is an extreme no nonsense type of coach, a true ‘football guy.’ Tennessee has continuity at every level of management, and they know what they want.

When asked to detail his approach to interviews at the Combine, Robinson had a simple answer. All football all the time.

“I think we’ve tried to spend more time this year – less with the icebreakers, and more of ‘Let’s just get straight to football,’” Robinson said. “We are hiring them to be football players; that is going to be their primary job. They have hobbies outside of football, maybe (they like) to play disc golf or collect wrestling cards. That’s their prerogative, but as long as it doesn’t impact their ability to play football, I think that is where our focus has been. What is their football acumen? How much is football important to them? Can they articulate in that energy setting?

“Now there’s some spawn off questions. If they want to talk about their dog Fluffy, they can talk about Fluffy. But we are not going to spend 14 minutes of a 20-minute interview talking about their Peekapoo. We are going to talk about football.” (Via TitansOnline/Jim Wyatt)

Each team gets 45 prospect interviews, each lasting up to 18 minutes. The tape and measurables are one thing, but the personality and drive are another. Teams have already done plenty of background work, but seeing how they interact and hearing what they have to say can put them over the top.

It makes you wonder how picks like Isaiah Wilson ever happen, but you’d like to think that evaluators learn from painful picks like those. Perhaps that’s even why they’re so football-centered now.

The NFL Combine will run through Monday, and then teams will have a chance to digest ahead of the pro day circuit. The Titans hold the 26th pick in next month’s NFL Draft, which is set to begin on Thursday, April 28th.