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2011 NFL Scouting Combine: Notes Of Interest For Giants Fans

With the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine beginning on Thursday, here are a few notes on players who might be of interest to the New York Giants.

Alabama running back Mark Ingram has apparently lost weight during a grueling offseason workout regimen and hopes to impress NFL scouts with a slimmer physique and a faster 40-yard dash during the Combine.

“The first week, you barely can walk, you know. Your hips are busted up, everywhere. Arms, shoulder, back, you’re just busted up. And it’s like, man, why am I doing this?” Ingram told the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, where he’s been working out with a personal trainer. “But after a while, the next week you feel better, next week you feel better, next week you feel better, and you start getting more and more confident in everything that you’re doing here. The training is hard, it’s not for everybody, it’s really not. But that’s what I love to do. I love hard work.”

You can actually place bets on various Combine performances, including whether Ingram or Ryan Williams of Virginia Tech will run the faster 40-yard dash.

The Combine is, of course, important to all of the athletes who will be in attendance. ESPN looks at some of the players who have the most to gain or lose, including USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith.

Smith played right tackle for two years at USC and shows natural feet and freakish athleticism on film, but he played the 2010 season at around 290 pounds so teams will want to see if he can add some bulk to his frame without sacrificing athletic ability.

We're hearing that Smith will be at or above 300 pounds at the combine and his arms are reportedly nearly 36 inches long, so the weigh-in could be the first step in a big week for him. Smith has a very good build and his athleticism should shine during workouts. I expect good 40 times and he should test well in agility drills, which alongside his film would give Smith a good chance to move into the top 15 overall.

Wes Bunting of the National Football Post has some of his own thoughts on players who have the most to gain at the Combine.

Great Blue North Draft Report has a look at some Combine sleepers. There are several names on the list I am intrigued by, since they play positions of interest for the Giants.

Draft Countdown has a nice interview with Boston College offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo, who is often connected to the Giants in many of the mock drafts so prevalent at this time of year.

Here are a couple of my favorite Castonzo quotes:

"I’m basically a guy who refuses to accept failure. If I get beat on a play, I will think about that until I get it fixed. I will actually fix anything that’s wrong. I’ll watch the film. I’ll be in my room doing kick steps - I’ll be anywhere doing kick steps. I’ll be figuring out how to get myself in the right position. Basically, just that relentless attitude of trying to perfect myself is what separates me. ...

"I have no least favorite parts of playing football. I love football. My favorite part of the game is if I’m able to get a guy in the 3rd and 4th quarter, I can look in his eyes and know that he basically has given up. To know that I’ve kind of conquered another person like that is something you can’t get too many places and be commended for it, so that‘s awesome about football."