INDIANAPOLIS – Attending the Senior Bowl is a familiar tradition for Jimmy Raye III.
For a man with more than 25 years of NFL scouting experience, the Senior Bowl is a must-stop for Raye's yearly scouting adventures.
In 2017, Raye is again in Mobile, Alabama, with slightly different duties this time around.
Raye, the Colts interim general manager, is the main organizer at college football's most talented all-star game, directing the operations for Jim Irsay's football team.
One different aspect for this year's Senior Bowl is that the Colts will have their coaches and scouts collaborating on-site.
"This is the first time we will have the coaches and scouts together actually looking at players and evaluating players at the Senior Bowl," Raye said just prior to the Colts departing for Alabama earlier this week.
"For myself, I'm just trying to give a leadership perspective to our coaching staff and our scouting department (in Alabama)."
As a long-tenured scout in this league, Raye knows the importance that comes from a week like this.
Yes, Raye is no lock to be Jim Irsay's ultimate choice as the next general manager. Raye will interview, along with other candidates, to follow Ryan Grigson.
But Raye must treat this week with the same sort of attention to detail like a full-time general manager would at the Senior Bowl.
"I think it's very important because you have the college players and the pro coaching staffs together," Raye says of why the Senior Bowl brings so much value. "When you get down there, the players are learning a new system and in a new environment and learning from new coaches. Piecing that together, knowing how they learn and how they adjust, coming from a lot of these guys in a spread offense, something that is completely different from what they are used to do, it's helpful for us in our evaluation process because we see them in an uncomfortable environment trying to learn different things, trying to pick up verbiage they've never heard before, a different terminology than what they are used to. Those are helpful to us in our evaluation."
For the Colts coaches, this week will provide the first live look at potential draft picks. Interaction between the coaches and prospects will take place in Mobile, and again at next month's Combine in Indianapolis.
It's no secret how important this upcoming NFL Draft is for the Colts.
Finding NFL-ready talent from day one has to occur for the Colts, especially on defense.
Raye is leading the first major part of 2017 draft season.
Will he be leading the last piece, April's three-day NFL Draft?*
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