It’s been two weeks since Terrell McClain and other pro prospects were tested at the NFL Combine. While he wasn’t among the top performers—a designation reserved mostly for skill players and blazers—McClain’s name is rising fast on team draft boards around the league.
Overall, it’s a good news/bad news scenario for the defensive tackle out of South Florida, who’s been somewhat inconspicuous in a group of highly-touted d-linemen. “I really don’t mind flying under the radar,” McClain says, “because I don’t want to have too much pressure on me. I just want to play football.”
We picked the big man’s brain, seeking his perspective on the event often called “the biggest job interview in professional sports.”
The most surprising aspect of the Combine was…
McClain: “How many coaches and other staff I had to talk to. I wasn’t expecting to have so many interviews and follow-ups, because I did so many interviews with teams at the East-West and Senior Bowl games. I had eight interviews with full coaching staffs, and about 13 with defensive line coaches.”
The most bizarre side of the Combine was…
McClain: “The one thing that was crazy was how long I was in the hospital. I had to go back twice. I was in the hospital for about eight hours in two days. The first day was the physical, and the second day was with the team doctors for follow-up exams and x-rays. They’re looking at all your past injury history and checking on any lingering injuries and making sure there is nothing damaged.”
The most common topics of conversation with coaching staffs were…
McClain: “They want to know what type of person I am, what type of family I come from. Then we started talking about football. We watched some film and talked about their defensive schemes. When I talked to the d-line coaches, we talked about the different formations, and they had me explain what I would be doing on this type of play versus another play.”
The most nerve-wracking experience at the Combine was…
McClain: “I was nervous at first because they split the defensive line groups during the testing, and I went from going fourth to going second. I wasn’t expecting to be one of the first to go through all the testing. [But] once I got a couple reps in, I was fine after that.”
The performance area you excelled in most was…
McClain: “The position work was my best area at the Combine. I wanted to show that I could move quickly with my weight, I have good footwork and balance, and good explosion after finishing the drill. I finished through the cones to show the coaches that I’m a hard worker and a hard hustler. I feel like I accomplished what I set out to do.”
What you’ll remember most about the Combine experience…
McClain: “It was a real blessing just to be invited to the Combine. Being around the best athletes in the country, all in one spot, with all the coaches, scouts and general managers watching, was just amazing. It was a good feeling being there.”
Terrell McClain’s Combine Results:
40-Yard Dash: 4.98 sec.
225-Bench Test: 29 reps
Vertical Jump: 28”
Broad Jump: 8’8”
Three-Cone Drill: 7.48 sec.
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.56 sec.
View part one and part two of STACK’s exclusive interview series with Terrell McClain, then check out his Combine highlights at nfl.com.