What does a team do if a player does find his own mother attractive?
Wide receiver Chris Conley gets ready to run the 40-yard dash during the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images.
As long as there’s been an NFL draft, teams have adopted tactics to ensure their selections are prepared for success — both physically and mentally. While players’ physical pedigrees are proven during their college careers, the psychological aspects have proven far more elusive, turning the league’s pre-draft player evaluations into surreal interviews, and featuring questions that would never fly at a cocktail party … or anywhere else for that matter.
Execs and scouts use seemingly random questions to get inside the heads of the players they’re sizing up, doing their best to ensure they’re drafting a player who displays as much mental fitness as they do physical prowess.
The strange questions asked of players have turned into something of a trope over the years, and the collection of previously asked questions will cause you to wonder what’s going on in the interviewers’ minds, more so than those of the subjects.
The questions below have all been asked of players in the previous NFL Combines, and while very little context is provided for the queries, it’s hard to imagine any circumstances that would make these questions appropriate, never mind useful, in the evaluation process.
For instance, where on a player’s draft sheet do you mark down their response to this question?
Strangest interview question I've heard a NFL team ask a prospect so far: Do you find your mother attractive? #NFLCombine— Dane Brugler (@Dane Brugler) 1456413830.0
It would be fun to see a player’s response to this question pop up on a draft day graphic, too.
Strangest question DE Obum Gwacham has heard at the Combine: "When did you lose your virginity?" (He didn't answer)— Dane Brugler (@Dane Brugler) 1424464170.0
The player tasked with answering this question no doubt sweated while trying to figure out which was the “right” answer.
Western Michigan OT Willie Beavers said the Falcons asked if he'd rather be a cat or dog. He said dog.— Josh Katzenstein (@Josh Katzenstein) 1456350410.0
Most of us no better to pull at this thread, but all is (apparently) fair game in sizing up a draft pick.
#Baylor OT Spencer Drango said 1 team at combine asked "Would u share your internet history w/ us?" Drango: "Sure. I search a lot of food."— Gregg Bell (@Gregg Bell) 1456365564.0
Unless this was posed by the equipment manager, it seems like a very inappropriate question as well.
When a scout at the combine asked me "boxers or briefs". https://t.co/6IwjeszYBD— Austen Lane (@Austen Lane) 1456240174.0
Again, I don’t understand the purpose here, but I feel like for a football player, “shark” is a safe answer.
Agent told me 1 of his clients in combine interview asked what kind of fish he would be. Response was "shark." What's the point of that ?— mike freeman (@mike freeman) 1488669176.0
Given the questions asked, and the fact that NFL teams don’t appear to be any more or less successful with their draft picks following these nosy interviews, it’s little surprise that the whole psychological testing process is debunked and retooled on an almost annual basis. But that doesn’t keep teams from trying their best to get inside the heads of their prospective players.