Now that the Giants coaching search is over, the real fun can begin.
That starts this week with the Senior Bowl, which will be played on Saturday, Jan. 27 in Mobile, Ala., and Big Blue’s new head coach, Pat Shurmur, is already attending practices to get a look at potential draft picks.
The Senior Bowl is confined to only senior draft prospects or fourth-year juniors who have graduated and is coached by the staffs of two NFL teams (the Broncos and Texans this year).
The showcase game can do a lot to help boost a players profile or draft status and the Giants are going to want to look at these players with something to prove:
Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen is projected to be one of the top handful of picks in this year’s draft.
QB Josh Allen, Wyoming, North, No. 17
Allen is already considered to be a high first-round pick, with some draft prognosticators even saying he would be taken first overall by the Browns. The 6-5, 237-pound quarterback still has questions about how his play from the Mountain West Conference will translate against top talent. With the Giants holding the No. 2 pick and interested in taking a quarterback, Allen is sure to be thoroughly scouted by them all week.
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield
(Jae C. Hong/AP)
QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, North, No. 6
Mayfield is not expected to be one of the top-three quarterbacks in the draft, but the Giants would be remiss if they did not give a serious look at the Heisman Trophy winner. The biggest hurdle Mayfield faces are questions about his size. Currently listed at 6-1, 221 pounds he is considered “small,” which puts him in rare company as far as NFL quarterbacks go.Currently listed at 6-1, 221 pounds he is considered “small,” which puts him in rare company as far as NFL quarterbacks go. Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, Case Keenum and Tyrod Taylor are the only active starting quarterbacks that are 6-1 or smaller. Wilson is the only one under six feet.
OT Tyrell Crosby, Oregon, North, No. 73
Giants GM Dave Gettleman has made it no secret he wants to bring in some big bodies to improve the offensive line. Well, it is tough to get any bigger than Crosby, a 6-5, 319-pound tackle who did not allow a quarterback sack or hit this season, per Pro Football Focus. The Giants could land Crosby early in the second round, but if his Senior Bowl and workouts leading up to the draft are impressive, he could catapult himself into a late first-round pick.
Rashaad Penny of the San Diego State Aztecs
(Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
RB Rashaad Penny, San Diego State, South, No. 20
With Orleans Darkwa and Shane Vereen as free agents, the Giants will certainly need another running back and Penny could be someone they consider. The 5-11, 224-pound back finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting this year and brings versatility as a runner, receiver and returner. He led the FBS in total yards (2,974) and rushing touchdowns (23) and could be a potential mid-round steal.
Shaquem Griffin (r.)
(Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
OLB Shaquem Griffin, UCF, South, No. 18
Griffin is a talented linebacker and unique because he has excelled at the position with just one hand. Griffin had his left hand amputated at the age of four due to a pre-natal condition called Amniotic Band Syndrome. It has not slowed him down in college, earning the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl Defensive MVP and playing a major role in UCF’s undefeated season. The Giants need to bolster their linebacker corps, and Griffin has said he is determined to make NFL scouts forget he has just one hand.
DE Tyquan Lewis/Jalyn Holmes, Ohio State, North, No. 59 & 91
The two Ohio State defensive ends were part of a stacked Buckeyes defensive line that played in rotation with standouts Sam Hubbard and Nick Bosa. Gettleman comes from the school of thought that you could never have too many pass-rushers, so keeping a close eye on what Lewis and Holmes can do away from Hubbard and Bosa could pique the Giants’ interest.
DE Da’Shawn Hand, Alabama, South, No. 9
Hand is another pass-rusher the Giants may want to keep an eye on. They have had success with Nick Saban-coached players recently, with defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson and safety Landon Collins, so seeing what Hand — a 6-4, 282-pound end — is capable of could be of interest for the Giants.
G Will Hernandez, UTEP, North, No. 76
Hernandez, 6-2, 340 pounds, fits the bill as another one of those “hog mollies” that Gettleman wants on the offensive line. The Giants could be looking to fill a major void at guard, too, should Justin Pugh leave in free agency. Hernandez was first team C-USA and second team AP All-American. ESPN’s Mel Kiper has him ranked as the third-best guard in the draft and he could be available for the Giants in the second round.
OT Isaiah Wynn, Georgia, South, No. 77
Wynn, 6-2, 308 pounds, was a guard who moved to tackle this season for Georgia but his size will likely knock him back down to guard in the NFL. He is not the prototypical Gettleman lineman, but Wynn did a good job on a Georgia team that nearly won the national championship. He was also a captain, indicating he is a high character guy that the Giants could use in the offensive line room.
CB Michael Joseph, Dubuque, North, No. 22
This is really digging deep into the draft sleepers, but the Division III corner has a chance to show what he can do against some of the best talent in the country. The Giants could potentially cut Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie or Eli Apple, so scouting cornerbacks is something they may explore at the Senior Bowl.