10 NFL Combine Prospects That New York Giants Must Closely Watch
With the 2013 NFL combine beginning on Wednesday, NFL executive scouts will be looking for the best prospects and late-round steals to bolster their franchise's roster for the upcoming season and for years to come.
The New York Giants have been successful in the draft room in recent years, highlighted by guys like Hakeem Nicks, Jason Pierre-Paul and David Wilson.
Unlike the Senior Bowl, the scouting combine gives players of all classes the opportunity to showcase their talents in hopes of playing in the NFL.
So who should the G-Men keep a close watch on during the next week?
Let's take a peek.
Xavier Rhodes, CB
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Even with the struggles of Corey Webster last season, the Giants still would have needed to bolster the cornerback position.
Prince Amukamara is still learning to play at an NFL level while battling injuries, while Jayron Hosley doesn't have the experience to be a consistent playmaker on defense.
With Dee Milliner likely being taken in the top five, Xavier Rhodes is the second-best corner in the draft.
At 6'2", 217 pounds, Rhodes has the ideal height and speed to defend NFL wide receivers and could make an impact for Big Blue in 2013.
Ezekiel Ansah, DE
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Senior Bowl MVP Ezekiel Ansah has been linked to the Giants a lot this offseason, especially with Osi Umenyiora's days with the Giants likely over.
All Giants fans know that Jerry Reese can't turn down an athlete, especially on the defensive line, as Ansah is already drawing comparisons to Jason Pierre-Paul (h/t ESPN).
Ansah had a solid 2012 season, posting 4.5 sacks, 13 tackles for a loss, one interception, one forced fumble and nine pass breakups—you can see why the G-Men would be interested in the former BYU defender.
If Ansah is still on the board when the No. 19 pick rolls around, I don't see New York passing him up.
Manti Te'o, LB
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Whether you like it or not, former Notre Dame inside linebacker Manti Te'o should be a target of the Giants in the upcoming draft.
Chase Blackburn is solid at MLB, but New York knows it needs depth, and possibly a replacement, at the position behind Mark Herzlich.
Te'o is an excellent wrap-up tackler and run-stopper, and he's also solid in pass coverage, as evident by his seven interceptions in 2012.
NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt has New York selecting Te'o with the No. 19 overall pick in his latest mock draft.
With the G-Men looking for a leading linebacker of the future, Te'o could be that guy.
D.J. Fluker, OT
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The offensive line is one of the Giants' biggest needs this offseason, and former Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker could be a key addition.
The 6'6", 335-pound tackle was instrumental in two Alabama BCS National Championships and did an excellent job of protecting quarterback A.J. McCarron and opening up lanes for Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon.
Some fans have grown unhappy with David Diehl's play of late, and I can't say I disagree with them. Neither can Football Outsiders, as they ranked Diehl the No. 20 right tackle in the NFL last season.
Leon McFadden, CB
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Getting into the deeper rounds of the draft, corner Leon McFadden could draw some attention of the G-Men in the third round with a solid combine.
McFadden doesn't have the ideal size to play the position (5'10"), but he has great speed and is a solid cover corner, making him a good option to cover slot receivers in the NFL.
He's a three-time All-Mountain West corner and is being compared to Brent Grimes, according to NFL.com.
If Big Blue could find a solid cover corner like McFadden in the third round and use its first two picks on an offensive lineman, defensive end or linebacker, it'd be off to a fantastic start.
Oday Aboushi, OT
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Former Virginia offensive tackle Oday Aboushi could be a nice second-round find for New York if he opens some eyes at the combine.
He's a 6'6", 310-pound tackle who has experience starting at both the RT and LT positions. Since the Giants are no stranger to injuries on the O-line, it wouldn't hurt to draft someone who can be shifted along the line.
Aboushi excels at blocking off the edge and getting to the outside, which also happens to be what New York running back David Wilson loves to do.
Getting Aboushi in the second round would undoubtedly be a win for the G-Men.
Jordan Reed, TE
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The Giants have yet to re-sign tight end Martellus Bennett after a career season for New York in 2012, despite the 26-year-old making it known (via NJ.com) that he'd be willing to take less money to remain a Giant.
New York could use some depth at the TE spot, but there's no reason to spend a high draft pick.
If for some reason things don't work out with the "Black Unicorn", New York should keep its eye on former Florida TE Jordan Reed in the combine.
Reed led the Gators in receiving in 2012 and could be a viable offensive weapon if there's a hole at tight end for the G-Men.
Arthur Brown, LB
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New York's defense was a big reason it didn't make the playoffs in 2012, as there are a number of holes to fill.
One first-rounder the Giants should keep a close eye on at the combine is former Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown.
B/R NFL draft expert Matt Miller has the G-Men taking Brown in the first round in his latest mock draft, and I like the selection.
Brown is a raw LB who owns excellent tackling skills and sideline-to-sideline abilities.
In a division with rushers like Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris and LeSean McCoy, Big Blue could use a guy like Brown on defense.
Sam Montgomery, DE
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Former LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery is ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper's pick (Insider access required) for the Giants in his most recent mock draft.
New York will want to keep an eye on the DE, given Umenyiora's likely departure and the Giants' struggles to rush the passer last season.
With a strong showing at the combine, Montgomery could be a Giant next season, boasting his excellent instincts and run-stuffing abilities.
The 6'4", 245-pound defender also racked up seven sacks last season, which is what New York desperately needs in 2013.
Robert Lester, S
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You can never get enough depth at safety, right?
Robert Lester is a safety the Giants can get as late as the fourth or fifth round and that can still make an impact in 2013.
You can rarely go wrong with an Alabama defensive product, as Lester possesses solid coverage in the center of the field and great hands, picking off 10 passes combined in 2010 and 2011 and another four in 2012.
He's still an inconsistent run-stopper, but the Giants don't need him to come into camp and be an immediate starter.
If Lester impresses at the combine, he could be a late-round steal for the G-Men.
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