We’ve heard a lot from general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott about the way they go about conducting interviews at the Senior Bowl, NFL Combine and on private visits to pull just what they need from a draft prospect to know whether or not he’s a fit for the Bills.
In advance of Episode 2 of Buffalo Bills: Embedded – Upgrading, which is available here, Buffalobills.com asked Buffalo’s top three 2019 draft choices, what it’s like to be interviewed by the Bills?
One of the questions Buffalo’s brass likes to ask players when they’ve got 15 minutes with them in a formal interview is whether they’d like to be known as tough or smart.
“It’s just to see where their mind is at. What they value as important,” said Beane. “Sometimes it starts a whole different conversation. It’s a conversation starter sometimes. Sometimes you may just take their answer, but sometimes we follow up and ask them why. Just to get in their head a little bit to know what’s important to them.”
For the players it was not an easy question to answer because they know both qualities are coveted in football players.
“I think I tried to do both and said smart and tough,” Devin Singletary told Buffalobills.com. “You could be really tough, but not real smart. But you could be smart, but not very tough. I think I’m both.”
“You want to be both, but I feel like the right answer would be smart because if you’re tough it doesn’t mean you’re smart,” said Cody Ford. “A smart guy can always overcome toughness in my opinion. A tough guy may struggle if his football IQ isn’t there.”
“I picked smart because smart people play tough,” said Ed Oliver. “If you’re smart you know you’ve got to play tough so you can stay around for a while.”
All three of Buffalo’s top draft choices spoke to the buzz they felt in the Bills interview room as soon as they walked in at the NFL combine.
“It was just great energy,” Singletary said. “I could just tell just going from different rooms I could feel a different energy in the Bills room. It was a good vibe.”
The players also appreciated that they got to talk mostly about football in those 15 minutes.
“This is one of the ones where as soon as I walked in I felt love,” said Ford. “I felt like this team is really too good. They focused on me. That was one of the interviews where I didn’t have to walk in and be something I’m not. We just talked ball.”
“I remember walking in and shaking everyone’s hand, but we were on a tight time limit, so we got right to it,” Singletary said. “They asked me a few questions about myself, my family and my college and then we got right to football. We put the tape on. Basically seeing what kind of football knowledge I had. I think I did pretty well with that. We may have watched another team’s tape, but we watched my tape for sure.”
“We talked a little background and then some ball,” Oliver said. “Then before you know it the 15 minutes are up and you’ve got to go.”
But 15 minutes was all it took for Ford to have his favorite NFL club.
“When I went home to Louisiana after the combine I was hanging with my friends and they were asking me who I thought liked me, who was going to pick me,” Ford told Buffalobills.com. “So they asked me who I liked the most and I said, ‘I like Buffalo.’ And they’re all like, ‘Why you like Buffalo?’ And I was like, ‘Man, Buffalo is the spot.’”