Carolina Panthers QB Jimmy Clausen didn't participate in the drills at the 2010 NFL Combine because he was coming off of an injury but still remembers the importance of the week. Clausen spoke on a radio show this week describing his experience at the NFL Combine and what these guys are going through this week at the 2011 NFL Combine.
"You know I think it is definitely important. The draft is a long, long process and the combine is a big portion of that process and you have your Pro Day and then you are just waiting, sitting back until draft day. For me, last year going in I couldn't workout or do anything because I just had surgery on my foot but it is a good time to go into those meetings and meet the coaches, meet the general managers, and just to sit with them one-on-one face-to-face and sometimes it is going to be the first time you are going to meet a head coach or a general manger, so you could get your story out there and just get a feel for that and they could get a feel for you as well."
The most important things at the NFL Combine probably don't even involve the actual workouts. First, the medical exams are critical. If a player is injured, this gives teams an opportunity to see where he is with that injury. Second, just getting face-to-face with some of the GMs and NFL decision-makers is critical as well. Teams can talk to players in an uncomfortable environment (i.e. not their school) and at least begin to figure out who he is.