Kliff Kingsbury last attended the NFL Scouting combine in 2003, back when he was a prolific college quarterback trying to impress teams ahead of the draft.
That might seem like eons ago, but the memories remain vivid.
"Intense, I would say," Kingsbury said of the experience on the “Kingsbury Chronicle” podcast this week. "I don't think you realize exactly how full of a three or four days it is for you. It's all day, every day: meetings and workouts and exams. It just never stops. Nobody is really prepared for it as a player until you go through it."
Sixteen years later, Kingsbury will return in a similar position. The Cardinals' front office is stocked -- from General Manager Steve Keim on down -- with veterans of the annual trek to Indianapolis, but Kingsbury will be learning on the fly in his first go-round as an NFL coach.
"I don't think I'm going to understand exactly what goes on until I get there," he said. "We have the schedules and we've done the prep work, but until you get there and see the interviews and the schedule and how full it is, I think you've just got to take it one day at a time and keep your head above water."
While Kingsbury lacks experience, he has an advantage others may not. He is coming directly from the college game, which could be beneficial when it comes to interviewing prospective draftees.
"I think I have a pretty good feel for that age group – I've been around them – and what makes them tick," Kingsbury said. "I understand their train of thought and I think I can ask some pertinent questions."
Kingsbury has specific physical traits he is looking for to fit his offensive scheme, and those are easy to identify. The challenging part is peeling back the layers on personalities and figuring out which players would be the best match for the Cardinals.
"You do as much research as you can," Kingsbury said. "It's great to have the face time with them and try to get a feel. And then our scouts do a tremendous job of gathering information from their (colleges), from their high schools, and putting it all together."
Kingsbury was asked where he excelled during his stint at the combine, and again the memories came flooding back.
"I was really good at the 'L' (three-cone) drill," Kingsbury said. "I had those steps down well. I could crush the 'L' drill."
Kingsbury ended up getting drafted in the sixth round by the Patriots. Now it's his job to help steer the Cardinals' selections, from the No. 1 overall pick down to the seventh round.
"I'm excited," Kingsbury said. "I'll know a bunch of those guys having coached against them that we'll talk to and be around. I'm excited to see it from this side of things."