Charley Casserly knows the NFL Scouting Combine inside and out.
As a former NFL executive and current league analyst for CBS and NFL Network, Casserly has seen the rise in attention for the league’s annual pre-draft workouts. This year, Casserly foresees Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III of Baylor University being the most talked-about player in Indianapolis.
We spoke with Casserly on Tuesday before 49ers.com’s week of 2012 NFL Scouting Combine coverage kicks off from Lucas Oil Stadium. In our conversation with Casserly, who tweets from his @CharleyCasserly account and will be featured on NFLN’s combine coverage beginning Thursday, the long-time league insider had plenty of valuable information to share.
For many of the league’s top decision-makers, the combine is all about the drills. Casserly said it’s his favorite part of the event, as it allows him to compare similar players who compete in drills one after the other.
“When the guys are really close, you separate them by their workouts,” Casserly went on to say.
The league analyst also placed a high value on the one-on-one interviews that take place in Indianapolis. Although teams are only allowed 15 minutes to meet with individual players, Casserly said that time is used to get specific questions answered.
More highlights from our Combine Conversation with Casserly, including his thoughts on the 49ers options at the 30th overall pick, can be found after the jump.
ON WHAT CASSERLY’S MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING AT THE COMBINE:
“To me the talk of the combine is going to be Robert Griffin III. This is his first opportunity to get in front of teams to interview and interview in front of the media as well. What he does in the skill drills and the 40-yard dash remains to be seen. He’s going to be the focus of the spring because people are going to have to make a decision if they trade with the (St. Louis) Rams to get him.”
ON HOW MUCH STOCK CASSERLY PUTS INTO QUARTERBACK DRILLS:
“As far as the quarterback drills, I divide them into two parts. There’s the throwing part – they’re throwing to a stationary target. You see the drop-back, their release and their arm-strength. I like to see that. As far as them throwing to receivers, to be honest with you, I don’t pay attention to that because they haven’t practiced with these guys so that accuracy part of it really is not going to be there. So you have to be careful evaluating that part.”
ON SAN FRANCISCO’S OPTIONS IN THE FIRST ROUND:
“I think there are a lot of receivers, and I want to sort this out myself, who are bunched together. There’s (Rueben) Randle of LSU, (Alshon) Jeffrey of South Carolina, (Michael) Floyd of Notre Dame, (Kendall) Wright of Baylor… I want to see them workout and how well they run because there kind of all in that late first-round group together. There are questions whether its size or speed that some lack.”
ON THE BENEFITS OF DRAFTING LATE IN THE FIRST ROUND:
“I think it’s a good spot for a couple of reasons. No. 1, if you decide to take the best player available like the (Baltimore) Ravens have been doing, you’re going to find some players who slip down there that can be pretty good. It may not be at the position you want, but you can end up with a good player.”
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