Michigan DT Chris Hinton reflects on hectic combine and pre-NFL draft process

With days to go before the 2022 NFL Draft begins, Christopher Hinton could be in the best headspace of the entire offseason.

Combined and pro-day workouts are over. The interviews are all over. He even took a quick trip to Nashville last week to see some friends.

“I felt like I did what I had to do in the pre-draft process,” Hinton, the 6-foot-4, 305-pound Michigan defensive tackle, told MLive on Friday. “At this point, it’s up to God to decide. Wherever I go, I go. I just want to make the best of my situation and get the ball out.

The last time we spoke to Hinton, he was in San Diego preparing for the NFL Scouting Combine, a week-long on-the-job interview that players often dread. The days are filled with interviews and meetings, tests and, later, important training.

Every movement is analyzed. Every spoken word is collected for recording.

In part two of our exclusive series with Hinton, the son of the former Northwestern All-American offensive tackle and 13-year NFL veteran, he reflects on the Indianapolis combine week, the aftermath and days leading up to the NFL Draft weekend. really like.

Plus, we get into Michigan’s pro day, teammate David Ojabo’s injury and what Hinton wants to spend his first NFL paycheck on.

Q: Tell me about your combine experience and your takeaways from this week at Indy. How was it?

A: “Overall the combine was really good. It was stressful simply because there was a lot at stake in those few days. Throughout the combine, they kept you busy all day. They made you run with little sleep. But I kept trying to tell myself to put everything into perspective. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Few people are so lucky. Overall it was a good experience and I was glad I got to do it. I was happy with my performance and the results of the combine.

Q: We often hear that the combine is long. How were those days?

A: “Basically, you wake up at 5-6 in the morning and have things to do all day, until maybe 11 or 12 at night. Then you have to wake up and start all over again the next day.

Q: What was the hardest part of it all? Was this the test? Interviews ?

A: “I would say the interviews weren’t bad, honestly. I would just say the fact that all the time, you have to be on your ‘A’ game, because with everything you do, everyone is watching you. I’m a good guy, but it wasn’t too bad. But that’s the most stressful part — because they’re watching everything you do. They analyze everything you do, how you interact in your group (position). Are you going to be on your phone all the time? Are you going to talk? Are you rude? Are you shy? Are you a chef? They try to look at all of these characteristics – how you interact with other people and everyday things.

Q: Did you have a memorable moment this week? All you can look back now, or were you just happy to be done with it?

A: “I would say the memorable moment was having my dad there when I was racing and training; see him in the stands. It was huge, it was big for me and a very important moment.

Q: You ran the 40 meter sprint (in 5.28 seconds) and performed the vertical jump (31.5 inches) and the long jump (106 inches). Were these the numbers you were hoping to get?

A: “Yes, I was happy with all my numbers. I moved very well and I did very well also in terms of the drill work. So I am very happy with my performance.”

After: A comprehensive guide to Michigan’s long list of NFL draft prospects

Michigan defensive lineman Christopher Hinton crouches before the snap during the second half against Michigan State at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing on October 30, 2021.Neil Blake/MLive.com

Q: What was your message to NFL teams that week? Was there anything in particular you were trying to point out?

A: “I was basically trying to tell them that I felt like one of the best defensive tackles in this class. Obviously, I feel like a really good stopper, but I also have the skills when watching the movie. I put on a show. When watching the movie, I illustrated my ability to rush. Coach (Macdonald) trusted me for third downs towards the middle and end of the season, so I have the skills to rush the passer. I was just trying to tell them that I’m one of the best defensive tackles out there, also that I’m a complete player.

Q: We hear a lot about the interrogation at the NFL combine. Did you get anything unexpected or different?

A: “No, that was pretty much all of football. *laughs* In the interview they show all your bad plays – so they want to see how you react to that. Everything was good, but they only show bad plays and want to see how you criticize yourself and how you would do certain things differently.

Q: Then came Michigan Pro Day in March. Was there special attention then? Did you re-test at all?

A: “No, I didn’t run the 40 again. I basically did my agility and stance work. I felt like I did everything I needed to do at the combine, so I was confident in those numbers. My team and I thought the same, so on the pro day I showed them more football, more football skills.

Q: It was a weird day. You were able to see your former teammates again, but David Ojabo was injured.

A: “Yeah, it was a weird day. Honestly, it was a good day until my son fell. It was hard. It was hard to enjoy that day, because it’s the ‘one of my closest friends. So deep down all day I was just hoping. Injuries are going to happen, but I was just praying that his mind would be strong. ‘Cause that’s the biggest part when you have an injury.

After: Michigan DT Chris Hinton explains his decision to enter the NFL Draft early

Q: We are a few days away from the draft. What’s going through your head right now?

A: “Everything I’ve done throughout this process – whether it’s the combine or the pro day – I would say was more stressful than the mindset I’m in right now. I felt like I did what I was supposed to do in the pre-draft process, with meetings and practice sessions and things like that, at this point it’s up to God. Wherever I go, I go there, and to make the best of my situation and get the ball out.

Q: Does that excite you? College is over and your professional career is here.

A: “Honestly, it’s been a super exciting time in my life. It hasn’t completely hit me yet. It’s definitely going to hit me next week, like a huge gust of wind. It’s hard to fathom. , because it’s a dream every child thinks of when they’re little, playing football, watching Sunday football, watching their home team. Achieving your dreams in a few days is crazy to think about. But this n This is just the start of the journey. When you get there, you have to form a team, rotate and make plays.

Q: So what are your plans for the draft weekend? Where are you going to be?

A: “I’m going to be in Atlanta with my family and some close friends. I keep it small. Keeping it real with people who have been there for me since I was little. Keep it small. Just family and a couple of very close friends.

Q: How do you think you will react when you hear your name?

A: “I will probably cry, I will not lie. I will probably hug my mom and dad. I will probably cry.

Q: How’s it been to have your father, a former NFL Pro Bowler, on your side through all of this? Did you learn anything new about him?

A: “I wouldn’t say I learned anything different about him. He was great. My father, I have only good things to say about him because he is always there for me. He never pushes that envelope unless he feels I’ve got some shortcomings. But I’m a self-reliant type of person. I always ask him, I always ask to know him. Financially too. Financial advice and all that. He’s just been invaluable all around, on and off the pitch.

Q: Aidan Hutchinson was asked this question at the combine, but have you thought about what your first NFL paycheck will go to?

A: “Personally, I want a car. But we will see what will happen. I’m a super low-key type of guy. I said to my mother, ‘I don’t want a big house.’ Right now, I’m lucky to be in a situation where I don’t have to retire my family right away. I am blessed to be in this situation. I just said to my mom, “All I want is a car and I want my dog.” A car and a dog. Those are the only two things I want.

Q: Is there a particular type of car you want?

A: “Not specifically. I have my eye on a few things. We’ll see how things evolve. But I want a cane corso (dog), though.

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