DELTA FLIGHT 1088 (IND-ATL) -- The NFL Combine has become a made-for-TV event, much to the chagrin of many scouts using the event as an opportunity to refine and enhance evaluations of NFL draft prospects. It's also much more than what you see on TV, with tons going on beyond drills broadcast across the country.
That was apparent during the five days our Falcons digital crew spent in Indianapolis covering Terry Fontenot, Arthur Smith and the prospects they might draft at No. 8 overall and selections owned after that.
- Falcons interview Georgia running back Zamir White and James Cook at 2022 NFL Combine
- Matt Corral, Kenny Picket, Malik Willis meet with Falcons at NFL Combine
- Drake London, Treylon Burks talk Falcons, Calvin Ridley at NFL Combine
- Terry Fontenot discusses the example Cordarrelle Patterson set for the Falcons
- 'We're trying to have our cake and eat it, too': Terry Fontenot discusses winning now versus rebuilding
The flight back home provided an opportunity to reflect on what Tori McElhaney, Kris Rhim and I saw and heard (or, in one case, didn't hear) at the NFL Combine. Some things are relevant to the Falcons, others not. Let's get to some of what we experienced around in Indy:
We take a look at the action in Indy at the 2022 NFL Combine.
Malik Willis makes great impression in Indy
The Atlanta native and Liberty quarterback may have conducted the press conference of the combine on Wednesday, with one stellar (and often funny) quote after another. Then he dropped an absolute dime deep downfield in quarterback drills.
That wasn't his finest feat this week. That came walking the streets of downtown Indy, when he stopped and outfitted a homeless person with some of his combine swag.
All quiet on the Ridley front
Smith and Fontenot were asked about Calvin Ridley's status during press availabilities at the combine and didn't provide an update on the receiver who was away from the team most of last season while, as he said in a statement, working on his mental wellbeing.
Fontenot said he understood the questions and said he could say more at the appropriate time. That was all expected during an uncertain period. It was somewhat surprising, however, that nothing broke beyond that. The combine is a time with teams (and agents) from everywhere come together and mingle, often talking shop late, late into night.
The topic has been radio silent through this point, with but one national report addressing the situation. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport described the situation as “complicated,” without much detail beyond that.
Lindstrom brothers unite??
Chris Lindstrom has become a fixture along the Falcons offensive line, a foundational piece worth building around. Could another Lindstrom help fortify the front? It's certainly a possibility worth exploring.
After all, Alec Lindstrom was a standout center at Boston College – also his brother's alma mater – and could be available in the middle rounds. Alec would like to play alongside his brother, as he mentioned in his combine press conference.
Weirdest question goes to…the Falcons?
It's common for combine participants to get asked about odd questions from meeting with teams at the event. You don't want to be the team referenced in these answers, where the questions mentioned are pretty extreme.
That wasn't the case when Iowa State running back Breece Hall said the Falcons dropped an odd one on him.
Hand size at issue (again)
Kenny Pickett's hand size became a hot topic during early portions of the combine after they measured just 8.5." Hand size has become a big deal when evaluating prospective NFL quarterbacks, with passers getting knocked for not having the hand size to grip the ball well.
There are fears, real or not, that a passer can't excel in cold weather situations. That apparently applies to Pickett, despite, you know, playing at Pittsburgh.
Combine on the move?
The NFL Scouting Combine has been in Indianapolis forever, and for good reason. It's in the middle of the country, minimizing travel distance as much as possible, with the facilities required to host the even well. The NFL has pondered moving it to a bigger market, to further commoditize it or to rotate host cities.
That has been met with backlash from those who often go, including media members, but it may not stop the league from moving combine locations.
Rico Allen enters coaching ranks
Ran into former Falcons safety Ricardo Allen inside Lucas Oil Stadium during the combine while with Falcons videographer extraordinaire Jenny Ross on Thursday. While I didn't know him, Jenny did and Allen lived up to his reputation as a genuinely nice human being. It was great news to those who knew him that he'll be joining the Miami Dolphins coaching staff. Congratulations to him.