INDIANAPOLIS - This is my 27th NFL Combine. I have seen it go from the old Hoosier Dome to the RCA Dome now to Lucas Oil Stadium. I've enjoyed numerous dinners at St. Elmo Steak House while staying at all the downtown hotels. I've worked 20-hour days and interacted with some of the pillars of the National Football League.
I love this place. Despite being painfully cold at times, the Combine has been a beautiful part of my life. When I first sat in those stands in 1992 and watched those players work out, I knew I was in the right profession.
As the Combine has changed over the years, so has scouting -- and I don't think that's a bad thing. I was brought up in a system where the height, weight and speed of a player really mattered. If you didn't have those traits, it was going to be tough for you to play in this league.
I remember countless meetings where general managers, scouts and coaches would sit in a room for months talking about players and these traits or lack thereof. Were we right? Most of the time, but today is a different game.
Evaluating shorter players, especially at quarterback, is not as big of an issue as it was when I first started scouting. Kyler Murray has been the talk of this Combine -- not so much about his playing ability but his smaller stature.
What we should be focusing on with Murray and his teammate Marquise Brown is how well they play on tape -- not their size. But there still will be a group of older scouts that will not believe you can play with these types of players because they lack certain traits.
I believe the reason why players like Drew Brees and Russell Wilson have had success in this league, especially at quarterback, is because coaches have done a better job of adapting to these players' lack of certain traits. Pat Mahomes is another one that doesn't have all the ideal traits, but Andy Reid made it work.
I thought Jon Gruden said it best when asked about Kyler Murray: "I don't discriminate when it comes to size."
Gruden and I first worked together in Green Bay, and he later coached for Al Davis – who was a total size/speed general manager. For him to say that, it makes me believe that others around the league are coming around to the idea that these players who lack physical traits need to be utilized.
Because if you don't, some other club will line up and beat you with a guy like Kyler Murray.