Good morning New York Giants fans, and Happy Saturday! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, and some great Thanksgiving leftovers.
We're almost at the end of the college football season, but we find ourselves in one of the best weekends of the year -- Rivalry Weekend.
Already we have seen No. 4 Iowa hold off Nebraska, Texas Tech beat Texas, 48-45, and TCU take down Baylor in a two- overtime win, played in what appeared to be a monsoon.
So what does Saturday have in store for us? Let's find out, and check in on which games the Giants' scouts will be attending.
Ohio State at Michigan (Noon, ABC) - Today's schedule is simply littered with big games, but one of the biggest happens to be one of the first games to kick off. Right now both Ohio State and Michigan are on the outside of the college football playoffs, but they are also knocking at the door. Both teams have a chance to get into the post-season tournament, but winning this game is a must. Ohio State started the season as the prohibitive favorite to repeat as champions, and their roster is replete with NFL talent. However, they never seemed to find the groove that carried them to the championship in 2014. Michigan, on the other hand, was considered to be devoid of talent at the start of the season, but the arrival of Jim Harbaugh lit a fire under the woebegone team. This should be an excellent game, and don't sleep on Michigan to upset the Buckeyes.
Florida State at Florida (7:30 p.m., ESPN) - The first game we come to that is officially being attended by the Giants' scouts. Florida is another team with the chance to squeak into the playoffs if they win out and manage to win the SEC. But if they do that, it will be on the backs of their defense. This game will feature the two best defensive backs in the 2016 draft in FSU's Jalen Ramsey and Vernon Hargreaves III of Florida. The Giants are likely also interested in defensive end Jonathan Bullard, though he seems more of a fit for a 2-gap scheme, and middle linebacker Antonio Morrison. Morrison suffered a devastating knee injury in last year's bowl game, and was expected to miss 10-12 months. However, he returned in just 6 months and has played at a high level as a senior. CBS Sports calls Morrison a "a light athlete to quickly redirect and burst towards the play", who plays with instincts and awareness. He is also renowned for his intensity as the leader of the Gator's terrific defense.
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State (8 p.m., ABC) - Its Bedlam! In the absence of an actual championship game, this game between 10-1 teams from the state of Oklahoma should determine who is the Big 12 champion. This is also the second game that the Giants have credentialed scouts attending. The Sooners should have Heisman candidate quarterback Baker Mayfield back after suffering a concussion in last week's victory over TCU. The main prospect to watch is OSU's defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah. Ogbah has the length, athleticism, and power that the Giants like in their defenders,and has a reputation of sterling character off the field.
This also marks the second week in a row that the Giants will have credentialed scouts at an Oklahoma Sooners game. The likely prospects are linebackers Eric Striker and Dominique Alexander. A refresher from last week, Striker is an undersized, but very athletic, edge rusher. Scouts are concerned that at 6-foot, 220 pounds, he lacks the size to be effective in the NFL. Alexander is undersized as well, but if he doesn't have to routinely take on offensive linemen, he has adequate size. He is usually described as a "steady" linebacker, who plays with discipline and rarely makes mistakes.
With the 22nd pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, the New York Giants select ...
Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia -- I have mentioned before that my preference for the first round of the draft is to try to address multiple needs with a single pick. My top target, Myles Jack (LB, UCLA), could possibly find himself going int the top-15 or higher if teams are comfortable with his medicals.
While he isn't the same kind of quick-twitch, explosive athlete that Jack is, he came in to the 2015 season as one of the SEC's elite edge rushers in Georgia's 3-4 front. But over the course of the season he has proven that he isn't just an edge rusher, but a complete linebacker. He has a great first step and bend, and puts them to use to consistently pressure the passer. He has also added the ability to play in space to his arsenal, and is able to hold up in coverage over the middle. As a lanky 6-4, 235, Floyd can struggle to hold up when teams run right at him, but if the defensive line is able to keep him clean, his length, agility, and athleticism should be a good fit for the WILL linebacker position.