It is 2 a.m. and the crowd at the bar has been dwindling for a while.
I am in a group of people that includes the assistant coaches of two different NFL offenses. As another round of drinks is being passed around, one coach turns to the other.
Coach 1: OK, real talk. You know your guy sucks, right?
Coach 2 [laughs]: He's awesome. I love that kid.
Coach 1: It's me. Come on. He can't play.
Coach 2: I'm serious. We value different things at [that position].
Coach 1 [skeptical]: Like what?
And then proceeds a 15-minute debate about the most important attributes to succeed at a certain position and whether or not Coach 2's player has them.
And so it goes in Indianapolis at the annual NFL combine. In theory, the idea is that invited college players can perform certain drills and be interviewed by NFL teams to help them further evaluate those players. And all that does go on and is important.
But something that doesn't get discussed as much is that it's the only time in the year that every person in the NFL is in the same place. General managers, coaches, front-office personnel, other team members ... and the press. No fans, no pressures of the season, just a week in the middle of America.
Everyone is relaxed, friendly and happy to talk football. Many of the coaches and general managers face the press in a formal setting and in less formal settings. It is for that reason I found myself in Indy last week. Many asked, "What's a fantasy guy doing here? Besides, you know, wasting company money." And that's the answer: information. Sure, 40 times and three-cone drills are all fine and good, but a player's fantasy value won't be able to be determined until after the draft, when we know which team a player is going to, what scheme he's going to play in and what opportunity he'll receive, in terms of playing time. But what is available in Indy is information.
And I got a ton of it.
So here, now, in the most name-droppy column of the year, are 10 things I learned at the 2016 NFL combine, in no particular order:
1. I spoke with new Tampa Bay head coach Dirk Koetter and mentioned how -- at least when he had the talent -- his previous offenses had featured the tight end, so I asked him about Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Dirk, in essence, said he can do everything you want a tight end to do. He just was never healthy last season. ASJ still needs to stay healthy, but if he's out there, expect him to be a big part of the offense. Koetter also made a point of talking up Cameron Brate. If ASJ is not healthy, Brate will be a TE2 with upside. But ultimately, the sense I got was Koetter wants to use the tight end more than he was able to last season (when he was just the coordinator).
2. Hue Jackson talked up both Duke Johnson Jr. and Isaiah Crowell but seemed more enthused when speaking about Duke. It's the easy comparison, but in this case I think it's the correct one. Talking with both Hue and others working for the team, Duke will be in the "Gio Bernard role," with Crowell in the "Jeremy Hill role." Neither guy will be a true three-down back for the Browns. Also, Jackson mentioned that they have no indication from the NFL if and when Josh Gordon might be reinstated.
3. After speaking with Titans head coach Mike Mularkey about Dorial Green-Beckham, I expect DGB to be a focal point of coaching this year. He spoke of DGB's obvious physical tools but also of his inconsistency. My sense is he's not ready to be a true No. 1 yet, at least in the eyes of the coaches. There will be flashes, but for our purposes, he's a sleeper with upside but not anyone I want to go into the season counting on as a starter.
4. Want a fantasy sleeper? How about Justin Hardy of the Atlanta Falcons. Dan Quinn spoke very highly of last year's rookie wideout, mentioning his work ethic and all the time Hardy has been spending with Julio Jones, watching film and being taken under Jones' wing.
5. I know, I know. We've all been burned before, but for whatever it's worth, Adam Gase mentioned how much success his offense has had with the tight end in both Chicago and Denver. He expects big things from Jordan Cameron this season. He also spoke of DeVante Parker and said they had him rated very highly in Chicago the previous year. The Bears came close to taking him, ultimately drafting Kevin White instead, but he spoke glowingly of Parker.
6. Dynasty owners of Darren McFadden may want to explore a trade soon. Speaking with Jason Garrett after his press conference, I asked him specifically about McFadden and how he felt about him as his lead back. Garrett said, "It's early. We are going to evaluate free agents, players in the draft, our own players ... too early to talk specific roles, but [McFadden] certainly made the most of his opportunities and we like him."
Make no mistake. I have no idea who the starting running back of the Cowboys is in 2016, but I know who it isn't, and that's Darren McFadden. He'll have a role, but it won't be nearly the volume of last season.
7. I asked Jay Gruden about the five rushing touchdowns that Kirk Cousins had and how repeatable he thought that was. The answer was yeah ... he thinks. Obviously, Cousins is not Cam Newton or anything, but Gruden expects to keep designed runs for him as a part of the offense. For what it's worth, Gruden rattled off exactly how Cousins scored all five of his rushing touchdowns (a mixture of designed runs and broken plays; I was impressed how he could recall all five right off the top of his head), and the words I kept hearing from Gruden and others on the Redskins staff was "sustainable offense." They believe everything they accomplished last season (starting with Kirk) was not a fluke and is not only repeatable but can be built upon. Of course, he's not going to trash his own offense or anything, but my takeaway is that if Cousins scores five rushing touchdowns again in 2016, it won't be a fluke.
8. Speaking of Gruden, he was asked about Matt Jones if Alfred Morris doesn't return to the team. Gruden said that Jones "would obviously slide into the No. 1 role," but he also mentioned how important ball security and durability were to him. Both of those are areas that were a struggle for Jones last season. My take is that Jones is the starter, but on a very short leash. Barring Morris returning or someone else of note being added to the team, Jones will be a flex play with upside for me heading into 2016.
9. Two different Buffalo Bills coaches had insane raves about Sammy Watkins. When not in front of the press with a camera, coaches will be fairly candid. (I've heard stars trashed, for example). They LOVE Sammy Watkins. One coach said to me, "Top-five wide receiver next year. Just watch."
10. PPR league members should file this name away: Rashad Greene. Speaking with members of the Jaguars coaching staff, his name came up a lot as someone they are very high on heading into this season as a No. 3 wide receiver/slot guy. Said one coach: "He could be our Welker. Runs great routes, hard to stay with one-on-one ... love the kid." I expect Greene to be the No. 3 behind Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns come fall.
There are lots of other great nuggets I got from the combine, and the same goes for my podcast co-host Field Yates. We'll discuss these, plus many more I didn't have room for, on our combine podcast, coming this week. Be sure to check it out.
Matthew Berry -- the Talented Mr. Roto -- agrees with Coach 1. Berry is a paid spokesman for DraftKings.com and the creator of RotoPass.com, a website that combines a bunch of well-known fantasy sites, including ESPN Insider, for one low price.