With the weeklong NFL Scouting Combine now in the books, members of the New York Giants coaching staff and front office were hard at work scrutinizing the various player drills, administering tests and, of course, interviewing those young men whose college film has caught their collective eye.
NJ.com and the Star-Ledger teamed up to assemble a list of players with whom the Giants' contingency met at the combine, courtesy of Jordan Raanan and Conor Orr.
Based on analysts accounts, official measurements as reported by the NFL, and other miscellaneous information, here is a look at some of the prospects from the list compiled by NJ.com and the Star-Ledger who helped themselves and some who didn’t.
Eric Ebron came into the scouting combine as the top-rated tight end, according to NFL Draft Scout. His performance during the drills certainly reinforced why he’s probably going to be the first tight end off the board in May.
Standing 6’4”, 250 pounds and running a 4.6 in the 40, Ebron, who, per NJ.com, grew up as a Giants fan, recorded the best marks in both the 40 and in the broad jump, the latter of which was 120 inches.
There’s no question that the Giants are in the market for a solid tight end who can help take some of the pressure off the receivers, and, certainly, a player like Ebron, if he’s there at No. 12, could do just that.
If the Giants are indeed committed to restoring the vertical passing game, (h/t Inside Football), Ebron would be too hard to pass over.
Possessing ideal size for an offensive tackle—NFL Draft Scout lists him as 6’7” and 322 pounds with 35.625-inch arm length—Kouandjio’s combine performance was apparently one to forget.
Ross Tucker of SiriusXM NFL Radio tweeted that Kouandjio “has looked awful…like he didn’t prepare at all.”
There might very well have been a good reason for Kouandjio not looking good during drills.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported over the weekend that Kouandjio had failed several teams' physicals; Pro Football Talk further discussed Rapoport reporting it was an arthritic knee resulting from a failed surgery.
If that wasn’t enough to create concern for teams—and certainly a tricky knee should be a huge red flag—he benched 21 reps in the 225-pound bench press, which is not the kind of production that teams look for when it comes to potential first-round picks.
There’s a lot to like about 6’0”, 230-pound Carlos Hyde, the 2013 Big Ten Running Back of the Year.
In addition to having impressive size, he is a powerful, downhill runner who likes to punish linebackers and keep his legs churning.
If the Giants are planning to return to the days of their power-rushing game, a player such as Hyde, who clocked in at 4.66 in the 40, would appear to be an ideal fit for their offense.
If Hyde is in the Giants’ crosshairs, they might have to try to get him as early as the second round as it’s unlikely he’ll be there waiting in Round 3 or later.
Of course the unknown factor is the pulled left hamstring Hyde suffered, an injury that PFT reports Hyde suffered during his first try, prior to clocking his official time of 4.66 in the 40-yard dash.
Depending on the severity, that could affect any plans Hyde had to participate in his school's pro day. Whether that causes his draft stock to fall remains to be seen, but overall, Hyde's size and physical style of play might be too intriguing to completely ignore.
Sam, the Associated Press' SEC co-Defensive Player of the Year, didn’t have a very impressive showing in the combine drills.
He ran the 40 in 4.91 seconds (tied for 18th), benched 17 reps at 225 pounds (tied for 47th/second to last); had a vertical hump of 25.5 inches (tied for 39th) and a broad jump of 114 inches (tied for 14th).
The lack of a burst as well as the questions about his strength and his looking stiff changing direction during linebacker drills, per NFL.com's Bucky Brooks, could very well have caused his stock to tumble signficantly.
That doesn’t mean he can’t or won’t latch on somewhere and be productive.
For that to happen, Sam needs to distinguish through his future performances whether he's a defensive end or outside linebacker at the NFL level, something that NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt doesn't believe the young man has done.
Going into the conbine I thought Michael Sam was a man w/out a position in NFL. His 4.91 today might have confirmed it. #NFLCombine— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) February 24, 2014
The 6’4”, 302-pound Bitonio finished as a top performer among offensive linemen in five of the six categories, including the 40-yard dash (4.97 seconds, with an unofficial 1.68 10-yard split, per Miami Sports Mensch), vertical jump (32 inches), broad jump (114 inches), three-cone drill (7.37 seconds) and the 20-yard shuttle (4.44 seconds).
Projected as a guard at the next level, Bitonio is versatile enough to play anywhere along the offensive line, and he plays with a nasty streak—two characteristics the Giants have historically liked in their offensive linemen.
If that’s not enough to find this potential second-round player appealing, per his NFL.com scouting profile, Bitonio has been lauded for his solid work ethic and leadership—things that the Giants are in need of on an offensive line that is about to undergo a massive reconfiguration.
Standing 5'9" and weighing in at 207 pounds, Carey, who clocked in at 4.70 seconds in the 40, was a prolific runner at the college level, accumulating 3,814 yards and 42 touchdowns over a two-year period.
Concerns about his upward running style, his lack of idea height and lack of breakaway speed might not make him an ideal fit if the Giants plan to run a power-rushing game.
Bob Glauber of Newsday (subscription required) reported that Carey "struggled a bit in receiving drills" and will need a strong showing at Arizona's Pro Day to show NFL teams that he can be productive at this level.
In addition, Mike Huguenin of NFL.com opines that Carey's lack of elite speed might be a concern to NFL scouts and that Carey's stats in Arizona's spread-based attack might not translate to the NFL.
Gilbert, the freakishly athletic cornerback widely regarded as the top prospect in the draft at his position, was a top performer in the 40-yard dash, at 4.37 seconds, his time being the best of all cornerbacks.
He was also a top performer among the cornerbacks with 20 reps in the bench press.
Standing 6'0" and 202 pounds, Gilbert also logged a 35.5-inch vertical jump that NFL.com's Bucky Brooks said demonstrated "impressive explosiveness."
Brooks went on to report that Gilbert stood out in a positive way during positional drills:
He looked fluid in his transitions and turns while also exhibiting a quick and efficient backpedal. Gilbert flashes natural hands and awareness tracking balls down the field, validating his reputation as a playmaker.
The Giants will almost certainly want to find an athletic and tall cornerback to team up with Prince Amukamara. Terrell Thomas, an unrestricted free agent, is hoping for a chance to compete for that job.
However, a big question mark with Thomas is whether he'll be able to show the burst he once had prior to suffering two consecutive ACL injuries.
Between some knee issues reported by NFL Media Analyst Charles Davis (h/t Chase Goodbread) and a disappointing combine workout by the 6'6", 336-pound junior eligible, Richardson's stock, which was once believed to be that of a first-rounder might very well have slipped to the second round.
Richardson, who was not one of the players listed as having met with the Giants, had been regarded as a first-round pick early on in the process. He benched 36 reps, tying him for second among offensive linemen behind North Carolina’s Russell Bodine (42).
When it was all done, there were several opinions that Richardson probably will slip to the second round.
“If I were a betting man, I’d say he goes in the second round,” said draft analyst Russ Lande via DNJ.com.“He is a good football player, but I don’t think he is a premier guy. I just don’t think he is a top-level athlete. When I watched him on film, he’s struggled with those explosive guys off the edge."
NFL.com's Bucky Brooks listed Richardson as one of his Day 1 combine losers, noting, "The Tennessee standout clocked an underwhelming 5.30-second 40 time and looked like a limited athlete in drills. He didn't exhibit the smoothness or fluidity that scouts expect from an elite edge blocker."