We already shared our opinion of who won and lost in drills at the NFL Scouting Combine, but we're not quite done dissecting the performances in Indianapolis. Here are the prospects who stole the show behind the microphone during media sessions, presented as our 11-man 2014 combine All-Interview Team:
Michael Sam, DE, MissouriThe largest throng of media to fire questions at any of the 260-plus prospects who held a press conference hit the NFL's first openly gay draft prospect with the toughest they could think of. He handled them all with impressive ease.
He said it: "If someone wants to call me a name, I'll have a conversation with that guy and hopefully it won't lead to anything else."
Dee Ford, DE, AuburnFord was good in his press conference, but even better on Sirius XM NFL Radio, when he got one too many questions about Jadeveon Clowney.
He said it: "People are just looking at the fact that he's a physical specimen. Honestly if you watch the film, he plays like a blind dog in a meat market, basically."
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South CarolinaAlways entertaining and never one to be shy around a microphone, Clowney held court in his press conference with reporters, handling questions from why the Texans should take him No. 1 overall, to why Steve Spurrier questioned his work ethic. But he was probably at his best when asked by NFL Network about Dee Ford's criticism.
He said it: "I told him, 'I don't see you out here. You ain't doing none of these drills.' For him to say something, I (didn't) want to hear it. I just feel like he just said that to build his stock up or something."
Eric Ebron, TE, North CarolinaEbron is considered the best tight end in this year's class, and he's not short on confidence. He vowed to run a faster 40 than his former college teammate, Bengals RB Gio Bernard, did at last year's combine, but failed in that effort, coming up .07 seconds short of matching Bernard's time (4.53 to 4.60). Ebron also flashed some brashness when asked about why he rarely faced press coverage and whether that could be a concern for NFL teams.
He said it: "I think why teams don't press me is because they can't. I will not be pressed at the line of scrimmage. That's a prideful thing of mine. They'd be best to play a couple yards back."
Louis Nix, DT, Notre DameNix, ranked as the top defensive tackle in the draft by NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock, weighed in at 331 pounds at the combine, which is a little more than 20 pounds lighter than his playing weight at Notre Dame. He's enjoying the perks of a tighter waistline.
He said it: "Yeah man, my stomach doesn't stick out as much. That's kind of nice. I like that part. My thighs got a little smaller. I just feel sexier, man."
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, safety, AlabamaThe former Crimson Tide star has one of the best names in the draft, and he left the combine with one of the event's top quotes. Clinton-Dix, arguably the top safety in this year's class, was asked what's the best and worst thing about his name. He bypassed the best and went straight to the worst thing about his last name, drawing one of the biggest laughs of the week.
He said it: "The whole President Clinton thing with Monica Lewinsky. Whatever."
Dominique Easley, DL, FloridaEasley is one of the most unique characters in the draft. He carries around a "Chuckie" doll, and is never afraid to speak his mind, even about his knee rehab.
He said it: "I mean, I tore my ACL in 2011, [and] I got faster in 2013. So when I get back from this ACL, it's going to make me nothing but faster."
Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma StateGilbert caught some heat for the quote below on Patriots star cornerback Aqib Talib. While he could name three other corners he looks up to ( Patrick Peterson, Joe Haden, Richard Sherman, he also said he didn't get to watch much football on Sundays at OSU because the team had Sunday practices. Nice recovery, Justin.
He said it: "Who? I don't know who that is."
Jonathan Dowling, DB, Western KentuckyDowling is projected to be a mid- to late-round pick, but he thinks playing in a non-power conference has more to do with that projection than his ability. A two-time first-team All-Sun Belt selection, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound defensive back made it clear that he feels disrespected when a reporter asked him what an NFL team would be getting if it drafted him.
He said it: "I feel like they're getting a diamond. Not even a diamond in the rough. They're getting a pure diamond that's very discernible. I feel like I make a lot of plays at Western that don't get any respect because I'm in the Sun Belt. ... I got a chip on my shoulder and I'm ready to prove it.
Dri Archer, RB, Kent StateArcher is one of the smallest prospects in this year's draft, but the diminutive ball carrier talks a big game. While he didn't ultimately back up the talk, he made quite an impression on the gathered reporters. Less than a minute into his session with the media, the 5-foot-8, 173-pound back made one of the most forceful declarations of the combine when discussing his prediction for his 40-yard dash time.
He said it: "I'm going to break the record."