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Dale Strahm interview transcript


Texans director of college scouting Dale Strahm noted that the senior cornerback crop was especially strong this season.

Dale Strahm, the Texans' director of college scouting, spoke to's Brooke Bentley last week during the Senior Bowl to discuss his draft evaluations and the talent in Mobile, Ala.

Brooke Bentley (Texans TV): You spend the entire year evaluating these college players, going all over the country. What do you look for at the Senior Bowl?

Dale Strahm: Well, what you're looking for at the Senior Bowl is you're looking for work ethic. You're looking for does a guy have body language, does he have a passion for the game? You want to see what kind of tempo he presents. Does he elevate himself to the level of competition that's at the Senior Bowl? And so it's just more than just looking at tape; it's getting a real feel for the young man.

Brooke Bentley (Texans TV): These players each go through one practice a day where they have individual drills, then they go to team drills. How do you evaluate players during those practices?

Dale Strahm: I think you do it on a constant basis. You look at him in the individual workouts to check out his agility, his speed, his ball reactions, his hand-eye coordination, his ability to make plays in space. And then you look at it in a team concept because football is a team concept game.

{QUOTE}Brooke Bentley (Texans TV): After practice there's a lengthy interview process that scouts often have with players. What do you hope to learn from players during that interview process?

Dale Strahm: I think that really probably is more important or just as important as what he does between the lines, is trying to find out, what's the makeup of this individual? What's his background? What's his character evaluation? What's his mental aspect evaluation? Trying to find out what makes this guy tick so that we can be more effective in our evaluation process.

Brooke Bentley (Texans TV): (North) Coach (Lane) Kiffin said this week that he's already learned so much from players just being a coach; he's learned more than from sitting in the stands. What do you think that these coaches get out of the experience, specifically Coach Kiffin and (South) Coach (Mike) Nolan?

Dale Strahm: Well, I can't answer that specifically because I don't know those individuals, but I know what our coaches and I know what our general manager and our scouts get, is that you get to see the young man in person. You get to see after a failed pass attempt or a reception or an interception, how does he react? Does he come back from a tough play? The coaches get on him a little bit. How does he react? Does he get into a shell or does he go, "OK, I can learn from that mistake and get better." So all those things that you see in person help us in the evaluation process as opposed to just sitting down and watching a tape.

Brooke Bentley (Texans TV): Players here seem a little more raw. They're a little more coached at the combine. Would you agree with that?

Dale Strahm: Yes, absolutely, but this is also at the beginning of the week. I think as the week continues on, I think you will see more of a cohesiveness throughout the week.

Brooke Bentley (Texans TV): Are there any players that have stood out that you think are great in character or great on the field?

Dale Strahm: Several. I mean, obviously there are a lot of players here that are really talented or they wouldn't have been invited here, so to single out one particular individual would not be fair because there are so many.

Brooke Bentley (Texans TV): What position groups do you think are the strongest here?

Dale Strahm: I think really the strongest right now, defensive corners are very strong. I think there's a nice group of defensive linemen, but thin. It drops off quickly. I think the linebacker crew is strong this year. I think the safety position particularly is very weak this year. Offensive linemen, tackles for this particular group in this class is very strong nationally. Tight ends are limited. Running backs, with this particular senior class, it's a marginal class as opposed to what's coming up with the insurgence of the early-out juniors, which is really going to elevate the entire class.

Brooke Bentley (Texans TV): What about the players that did not show up like quarterback Matt Ryan from Boston College?

Dale Strahm: Well, that's an individual thing. Or (offensive tackle Jake) Long from Michigan, or (defensive end Chris) Long from Virginia. There are several of them that did not show up, and that's an individual thing that I'm really sorry that they didn't because it's one more tool of evaluation that we need to see.

Brooke Bentley (Texans TV): So how much does that hurt their draft stock?

Dale Strahm: Probably little. It's an individual thing. He'll compete at the combine, but this is still one thing about football that's so amazing. To us, it's a team concept. One individual does not make or break a team, so consequently you want to see how he's going to function in a team environment.

Brooke Bentley (Texans TV): How can players improve their draft stock at the Senior Bowl?

Dale Strahm: Well, they can improve it from what we've seen to what we finally see in the analysis of a football game. And so if he goes out and continues to evaluate his talent levels and then really produces on Saturday, then that's going to elevate his draft status.

Brooke Bentley (Texans TV): Do you think there are any sleepers here, any players that scouts really hadn't tracked before now?

Dale Strahm:I think the sleeping aspect is almost gone nowadays because the Internet, websites, what have you, everybody knows. And we do such a thorough job, I think maybe the only sleeper would be a guy that we have in a late round that elevates his status up to a first-round possibility. That would be a sleeper.

Brooke Bentley (Texans TV): Of course, after this, the next big event is the combine. What do you take from the Senior Bowl that then you take to Indy?

Dale Strahm:You watch an individual to see if he continues to have a growth pattern. At Indy now we put the pads away and you do the tapes and measures and the speed and the weights and the psychological and the physical evaluations, and then we have an opportunity to sit in a room and evaluate an individual and get a feel for him and how he fits what we with the Houston Texans want from an individual.

Brooke Bentley (Texans TV):And from that individual, what out of character do you really want?

Dale Strahm:Well, we're looking for a guy that is competitive. We're looking for a guy that has a passion for the game. We're looking for a guy that's got a great work ethic, and we're looking for a guy that's a quality individual that we think's a true asset to our team and our individual process.

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