10 Players the New York Giants Should Watch Closely at 2012 NFL Scouting Combine
The 2012 NFL Scouting Combine is set to get under way this weekend, and like all other teams, the New York Giants will have their eyes on specific players.
It is hard to get a sense at who they'll be looking at, frankly because they haven't made any moves in free agency yet.
The front office will have an idea of their plan for free agency, but for now we'll just go with the current assessment of their needs.
Here are 10 players the Giants should watch this weekend.
Dwayne Allen TE, Clemson
The Giants have a huge need at tight end, and the following players could be available in either the first or second round.
In Allen's case, there is a question of whether he will even fall to the Giants at No. 32. He is the No. 1 overall talent as of now, and the combine will likely only enforce that.
The position is not very deep this year, so unless the Giants make a free agent signing, expect them to draft a tight end in the first couple rounds.
Allen is a terrific athlete and a good blocker. He would be an instant difference-maker for Kevin Gilbride's offense.
He had 50 receptions, 598 yards and eight touchdowns in 2011.
Coby Fleener TE, Stanford
Coby Fleener has benefited from playing with an elite college level quarterback and a pro-style offense, and as such looks like the most pro-ready tight end right now.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Fleener join his old coach in San Francisco, but if the Giants want him, he's another guy that they'll have to pick with No. 32.
Fleener had 34 receptions for 667 yards and 10 touchdowns. One of the talents scouts will like is his ability to work the seem and get up the field with his catches. He averaged nearly 20 yards per reception.
Orson Charles TE, Georgia
There is a drop-off after the first two, but I wouldn't complain if the Giants waited until Round 2 and picked up a guy like Orson Charles.
Charles fits the athletic mold of the previous two tight ends, but has a few issues that would need to be worked out. He is not a great route-runner and is not deceptive in his cuts. He does have good strength to fight off jams and can be a mismatch problem at the next level, but he still has some work to do.
He had 45 receptions for 574 yards and five touchdowns last season.
Michael Egnew TE, Missouri
Michael Egnew is a terrific receiving threat and another one of those athletically gifted tight ends that can create mismatches in the middle of the field.
However, his run-blocking is not good. He converted from receiver and never picked up the run-blocking duties you would normally want to see from a tight end.
No worries, the Giants have Bear Pascoe that can handle that. If the Giants are patient and wait for Egnew in the second or third round, they could get a steal.
David DeCastro OG, Stanford
David DeCastro is the best guard prospect this season, and one of the best to come out this decade. The Giants would have to trade up to get him, and if history tells us anything, that is unlikely.
However, if they decide to move Osi Umenyiora and pick up some tradeable draft picks, they might be inclined to move up.
DeCastro is the type of can't-miss prospect that might cause GMs to make uncharacteristic moves.
Peter Konz C, Wisconsin
I know I've said the Giants will not replace David Baas at center, but what I should be saying is they will not replace him in the starting lineup.
If the Giants draft a guy like Peter Konz, who is the best center prospect in this year's draft by far, they give themselves options.
They can either start Konz at left guard, who has the skill set to play all three interior line positions, or start Konz at center and move Baas to left guard, who played the position while in San Francisco.
Kelechi Osemele OT/G, Iowa State
Osemele is someone who would give the Giants multiple options much like the Konz pick would. Osemele played tackle in college, so if the Giants want to replace Kareem McKenzie with someone other than 2011 fourth-round pick James Brewer, Osemele has a right tackle skill set.
If Jerry Reese and the coaching staff are satisfied with Brewer, Osemele could move inside and start at left guard.
Osemele is a very good run-blocker, but is a developmental project as a pass blocker. He struggles against more athletic players, but those qualities are typical in a right tackle prospect coming out of college.
He has a ton of upside, and could be had in the second round.
Zebrie Sanders OT, Florida State
Zebrie Sanders is likely a prospect the Giants would take right now more than Osemele, mostly because he is an athletic big man who is a great pass-blocker.
Not to mention he has a ton of experience at the collegiate level, starting all but two games in his career at Florida State.
The Giants want to be a running team, but if they are resigned to the fact that they are more of a passing offense, Sanders' skill set fits that mold.
Over time, if he improves, his strength he could be the full package.
Dont'a Hightower LB, Alabama
Dont'a Hightower is one of the top inside linebacker prospects the Giants should keep an eye on if only for the fact that both Jonathan Goff and Chase Blackburn are free agents.
If the Giants lose Goff, maybe this is finally the year they bite the bullet and draft a linebacker early. I honestly do not see it happening, but you never know.
Hightower is a terrific athlete who played for one of the best defenses in the history of college football. It was at the top of just about every relevant stat, and Hightower was the catalyst.
This would definitely be a popular guy to pick among Giants fans, who've been craving for a dominant linebacker to remind them of the days of old.
Bobby Wagner LB, Utah State
Bobby Wagner is an under-the-radar prospect from Utah State, but he has the talent to be a solid player at the next level.
Wagner has terrific instincts, is a great tackler and smart at play recognition with pre-snap reads, but the problem is his size.
At 6'0'', 233 lbs his measurables alone could drop him a round or two, but that shouldn't stop the Giants from getting him in the third or fourth if he is still available.