If you are interested in learning as much as you can about 2011 NFL Draft prospects you will likely want to carve out some time today to watch the Senior Bowl (3 p.m. ET, NFL Network).
New York Giants Director of College Scouting Marc Ross and his staff, however, won't be at Stadium in Mobile, Ala. for the game. For the Giants, work at the Senior Bowl is already done.
"You get it all in practice," Ross said. "Three good days of practice where they're going at a team, one-on-ones, nine-on-seven, seven-on-seven - you get to see everything you need to see in a more controlled environment. You get a feel for their intensity, the way they compete. Some guys you see their personalities come out, some guys are talkers, some guys are quiet, so you can see some leadership qualities come out in that kind of setting. You have guys from many different schools and you see who is going to step up and lead. You can see the way they take instruction, take coaching, how attentive they are. You're right there on top of them so you can see it all."
Ross and the scouts, like many personnel experts, depart the game site well before kickoff.
"At that point you should pretty much know what the guy is or isn't," Ross said. And it's much easier to watch 40 guys on tape than it is sitting there. During the year, if you're only watching one or two guys (at a game), you can focus on them. But at an all-star game to try to get a lot from that situation…some teams have a guy stay and that's good, but I just don't see the benefit of doing it, because you should know them already from the week and then the tape is going to reveal more than just sitting there."
ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk is doing his position-by-position year-end reviews. Where ya been, Ohm? Mine have been done for a while now. Anyway, he most recently reviewed running back, and here is part of what he had to say:
2011 FORECAST: Bradshaw’s contract is up and the Giants will have to make a decision. Coughlin loves Bradshaw. Jacobs has two years remaining on his contract. With a potential lockout looming, the Giants could look at a running back in the draft as insurance since Reese said he will not proceed with any free agents until a new collective bargaining agreement is done. Some additional speed would help as the Giants need more playmakers. The Giants running game was effective at times but they can use more 100-yard games from their No. 1 back. With a healthy offensive line next season, the Giants running game hopefully will improve.
Offensive line is, of course, a major concern for the Giants heading into 2012. Here is a review from ESPN of some of the offensive line play at the Senior Bowl:
It was a very good week for the offensive line group, and a lot of players really helped their stock. Colorado OT Nate Solder was the best lineman here this week. He showed a good combination of size, feet and lateral agility, but the thing that stuck out was his toughness. He was playing with a chip on his shoulder and mixing it up. Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi also had a solid week. He is limited in terms of athletic ability but showed great inline power as a run-blocker and solidified himself as a first-round prospect at right tackle.
Solder and Carimi were the headliners, but a few others had good showings as well. We don't feel Boston College's Anthony Castonzo is an elite prospect, but he has enough foot quickness and strength and showed enough ability in the pass and running games that he will come off the board in the late first round. He has limitations in terms of lateral quickness and playing with the right pad level, but because of the value of offensive tackles, he likely will go on Day 1. A couple of other players who helped their stock this week were Georgia's Clint Boling, Baylor's Danny Watkins, TCU's Jake Kirkpatrick and Slippery Rock's Brandon Fusco.
Speaking of the offensive linemen at the Senior Bowl, Wes Bunting of the National Football Post was extremely impressed by Carimi during the past week.
Big body (6-7, 315). That’s the first thing you notice when you see him in full gear and off of the field. Strength at the point of attack—can take on a bull rush—and good enough feet to get back and attack speed off of the edge because of his reach. There is no doubt Carimi can win up front in the run game and I think the tape from these practice sessions will answer some questions about his pass protection skills against good competition. With Carimi, you are drafting a physical offensive tackle that has the tools to play a long time at both tackle positions in the NFL. We talked to him during the week, and the NFP’s Greg Gabriel (who has over 20-plus years of scouting experience in the NFL) said that the Wisconsin O-Lineman is the type of player you want in the locker room.
I haven't had a chance to mention this, but former Giant defensive tackle Jay Alford has signed with the Seattle Seahawks. Have to wish Alford well.
When it comes to Plaxico Burress there will be teams other than the Giants considering him for next season. Here is a look at the potential Plax market.