Tough questions top prospects will be asked at NFL combine

While events like the 40-yard dash have become a spectacle for fans to enjoy during NFL Network's coverage of the NFL Scouting Combine, some of the most important moments for prospects this week in Indianapolis will take place away from the cameras, when prospects meet for interviews with teams behind closed doors.

The way prospects handle an interview can make or break their standing with a team. With that in mind, here's a look at the questions some of this year's top prospects will face in those interview sessions, and the answers NFL teams will need to hear.

Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State

What he'll be asked: The biggest question Winston will be asked has to do with his maturity. What's his explanation for his series of off-field incidents during his time at Florida State? Is he moving in the right direction now? Teams have to figure out whether they're willing to invest in him as the face of their franchise.
Answer teams will need to hear: Winston will have to be honest and acknowledge instances when he made a mistake. He'll need to say, "I did this wrong, but here's how I corrected it." Teams understand that young people sometimes make mistakes, but they'll want to see that there's an understanding of those mistakes and how to avoid repeating them in the future. Teams will do their research into Winston's past, and if he isn't honest and open in an interview setting, it will cost him.

Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

What he'll be asked: Teams are going to ask Mariota about his demeanor and how he'll command a team when he appears to be so laid back. A lot of teams like to see their quarterback be a little more fiery and will question whether Mariota fits what they need in terms of leadership.
Answer teams will need to hear: He's going to have to tell teams there's a lot more fire and determination in him than they know. He has to say he still can garner respect and lead, even if he's not the loudest or most outspoken guy, and he can say that some digging into his history at Oregon will prove it.

Kevin White, WR, West Virginia

What he'll be asked: White came out of a junior college program in 2013 and there's talk that he lacked confidence initially. He exploded with a huge 2014 season, but teams will want to know if he gained confidence, and if so, how was it gained? They'll ask him why he won't lose confidence quickly in the NFL if things don't go well right away.
Answer teams will need to hear: Teams will want to know if White believes that he did in fact lack confidence and what led him to play with confidence in 2014. He needs to say, "I've been down before, but I like where I am now. This is how I got there and I don't plan on going back. I know who I am and I'm confident in my ability."

Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri

What he'll be asked: No one doubts Green-Beckham, who sat out last season after transferring to Oklahoma, is immensely talented, but he'll have to answer for the off-field issues that led to his dismissal from the Missouri football team last spring. He'll be asked, "What made you decide to come out before playing a season with Oklahoma and what did you learn in that year since you were dismissed from the Missouri program?"
Answer teams will need to hear: Teams need to hear Green-Beckham explain what went wrong at Missouri, why it went wrong and how he's corrected it. They'll want to know how his season at Oklahoma made him better as a person and a player, since he wasn't allowed to play in games. He'll need to say that he matured, worked hard and learned a lot during his season in Norman and be specific about how did those things.

Marcus Peters, CB, Washington

What he'll be asked: Peters was suspended by then-Washington coach Steve Sarkisian for the first quarter of the Huskies' bowl game to close out the 2013 season, and things really went off the rails under new head coach Chris Petersen last season. Peters was dismissed from the team. Teams will dig into those incidents and ask Peters some pointed questions what happened.
Answer teams will need to hear: It's easy for a player to say he didn't get along with a certain coaching staff, but Peters was disciplined by two different head coaches in back-to-back seasons. That's going to require a clear explanation -- one that shows he's adaptable and willing to accept coaching. He'll have to explain why things turned out that way and what he would do if a conflict with a coaching staff arose in the future.

Follow Charles Davis on Twitter *@CFD22.*

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