Its that time of year again, it’s the 2019 NFL Combine. Going into this weekend, some players are already expecting to hear their names called on the first night of this April’s draft, but for most, it’s a last chance to impress NFL teams. Players will participate in a hypercompetitive process in which NFL Draftees compete in various set of drills, ranging from the 40 yard dash, shuttle run, vertical jump, and bench press to name a few. These players will be judged and compare to current and former NFL players based on their test results. All the hours in the film room, the protein shakes while lifting and numerous ice baths have lead them to this very weekend. As for preparing for the combine, there is a lot that goes into it. Some players will hire a strength and conditioning coach and others will return to their hometowns. But no matter which path they take, they’re dedicated to improving their skills. I had the chance to pick the brain of former Wisconsin Badgers, and current Tennessee Titans offensive lineman Tyler Marz. At Madison Tyler started 40 consecutive games and locked down the left tackle position, blocking for the likes of Melvin Gordon, James White, and Corey Clement.
Anthony: Good afternoon Tyler, how’s the NFL offseason treating you? Doing anything fun or noteworthy?
Tyler: It’s been a good relaxing offseason, I’ve traveled a bit and gone on a few vacations! No ice fishing yet either, usually enjoy that but with how much snow has fallen this year, its been crazy to get on the lakes.
Anthony: Well that’s good to hear you got to escape the 2019 winter vortex! So with the NFL Combine this weekend, wondering if I could pick your brain a little since you took part of it back in 2016?
Tyler: Yeah man, for sure!
Anthony: For some of our readers out there that might not know, is the combine an open event? Or is it by invitation only?
Tyler: The combine was invite only, along with the all-star and senior bowl game. So it was an honor to be invited!
Anthony: Well that’s cool! So after you played your final snap in the Holiday bowl vs USC, what kind of steps did you take leading up to the combine? Did you head back home to Minnesota or did you stay in Madison with fellow teammates to prepare?
Tyler: I headed down to Orlando to train at a facility that specializes in getting players ready for the combine.
Anthony: When you got to Indy for the combine how nervous where you around some of the nations best players? Or was it just another day on the gridiron?
Tyler: I was pretty nervous for it. I didn’t know what to expect which is the hardest part, I just wanted to get on the field and put up the best numbers I possibly could. Especially in the drill work, I wanted to prove how good my technique was! I wouldn’t say it was fun but it was definitely an experience.
Anthony: So I have to ask, how long did it take you to perfect the 40 yard dash? Or did it just come naturally to you? I’ve seen the tape!
Tyler: The 40 yard dash was something that was weird, I never ran track or anything that was super technical or something we did often as lineman. Definitely different.
Anthony: During the combine did any teams show interest in you? Do teams interact with the players, or do the players just do their thing over the couple of days and wait till their pro days/draft?
Tyler: Well teams do set up questions with players, but other than that there isn’t too much contact between players and teams.
Anthony: With the conclusion of four day event, did you feel like you gave it your all?
Tyler: Yes, in my case I left it all out there. I was glad I got the chance to put myself out there, but not sure if it helped me or hurt me since I went undrafted.
Anthony: Touching back on the teams reaching out question, did Tennessee contact you at all expressing interest?
Tyler: No, the Titans didn’t reach out to me till draft day, didn’t really talk to them too much, it kinda just happen. It all happen so fast! But extremely happy to be given the chance!
Anthony: So for all the kids out there that are trying to prove themselves this weekend, what is one message you’d like to share with them about your experience?
Tyler: My message to them would be to give it your all. This is your big interview for every team, but if something doesn’t go right, don’t sweat it because like me, I was an undrafted guy and have made it a few years so it’s all about the opportunity.
Anthony: Well thank you for giving us a little insight on the combine. I look forward to catching up in a few months down in Nashville!
Tyler: You know it bud. Take care.