The 2014 NFL Scouting Combine will feature more than 300 2014 NFL Draft hopefuls. Leading up to the Combine, which will be held Feb. 19-24 in Indianapolis, we will be previewing many of the positions the New York Giants could be targeting.
The Giants will be paying close attention, of course, and players who could man spots along the interior of their beleaguered offensive line will likely draw special attention. So, we begin our position-by-position primer with a look at the guard spot. We aren't necessarily going to give you a top five. This is more of a primer on players of interest.
Zack Martin, Notre Dame
Here is the only question with Martin that should matter to Giants' fans. Can he do enough at the Combine to justify the Giants, if they don't address the position adequately in free agency, taking Martin at No. 12 overall in the draft this May? It seems almost certain that Martin, who some see at tackle while others project his future at guard, will be off the board before the Giants pick No. 43 in the second round.
NFL Draft Scout considered the 6-foot-4, 305-pound Martin the best player at the Senior Bowl and said "Some teams will look to keep him at tackle, but he is a future Pro Bowler at guard."
Martin is ranked an apparently much too low No. 38 on the Big Blue View Big Board. Mocking The Draft has Martin at No. 28 in a board constructed in late January.
Dakota Dozier, Furman
A collegiate left tackle who was moved inside to guard at the East-West Shrine Game. NFL Draft Scout analyst Dane Brugler said "the transition went smooth as if he's been playing inside for years. He looked quick, balanced and controlled in his movements with the base strength and awareness to hold his ground and pick up extra blitzers."
Dozier's limited experience against high-level competition and very recent conversion to guard (Shrine Game) certainly differentiate him from Cooper in terms of draft value, but his upside could be massive and it wouldn't be surprising to see him gone by the end of round three.
Draft Scout has Dozier ranked as the No. 5 guard prospect in the 2014 NFL Draft, with a third-round grade.
You can't solve all of your draft needs in the first round, or the second. It will be interesting to see if Dozier's conversion to the inside continues to go smoothly.
Anthony Steen, Alabama
Steen suffered a partially torn labrum that required surgery last season, and I have been unable to find info at this point as to how much he will do at the Combine. Steen is a 6-foot-2, 310-pounder who is currently considered a third- or fourth-round draft choice.
Draft Scout expects Steen to become an NFL starter:
Despite lacking the elite size/athleticism combination that we're growing accustomed to seeing come out of Tuscaloosa, Steen's technical consistency, toughness and instincts are exactly what NFL teams look for in the ideal guard prospect.
Want to know more about Steen? Well, our friends at SB Nation's Roll Bama Roll penned a love letter to Steen as a tribute to him. There is a whole lot in there that doesn't really tell you what type of NFL career Steen might have, although it might make you love the guy just a little. There is, however, this:
I can say with reasonable certainty that barring something catastrophic and unforeseen, you will be seeing Anthony Steen playing on Sundays. His NFL scouting grades are fantastic, and he is described by those in the know as having excellent technique. (Even if some believe that at 6'2", he's too short to play Guard and will have to move to Center!)
Players We Have Profiled
David Yankey, Stanford -- 'Invictus' referred to Yankey as "the second coming of his college teammate, David DeCastro." The Pittsburgh Steelers chose DeCastro 24th overall in 2012. Yankey is 28th on the BBV Big Board.
Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA -- 'Raptor' heartily endorses Su'a-Filo, saying "Su'a-Filo can play in any blocking scheme [Ben] McAdoo decides to install. He is a powerful and nimble blocker with the versatility the Giants demand out of their offensive linemen."