Well gang, the 2015 scouting combine has come and gone. We've seen ginormous men looking like sausages in their Under Armour compression gear run faster than most of us can manage, and we've seen more normal sized athletes do a passable impersonation of 1930s era Superman and almost leap out of or over Lucas Oil Stadium.
So before we get to our new big boards and mock drafts, let's take a minute to wrap up the combine discussion before we continue on with the offseason process. Normally this is where writers trot out their various "Studs and Duds" lists. I'm going to defy the rhyming temptation and take a bit more positive look and identify some guys who I think are studs, and some others who are similarly studly, but not yet in the national eye.
Alvin "Bud" Dupree (DE, Kentucky) - Bud has been steadily climbing up draft boards all season long. At the combine he confirmed his prototypical build for the position at 6-4, 270 pounds. Though he is still dealing with a groin injury suffered toward the end of the season, Bud threw down one of the, if not the, most explosive performances this year. His 4.55 second, 40 -- with a 1.60 10-yard split --, 41 inch vertical jump and 11 foot 5 inch broad jump were among the best of any position. In fact they all rivaled or exceeded Jadeveon Clowney's performance last year.
Stephone Anthony (LB, Clemson) - Anthony was a bit of an under-the-radar prospect as a linebacker, but he had one of the best performances of any linebackers at the combine. His measureables were all around the top of the class, and his on-field drills showed off fluid movement skills. He looks like a prospect the Giants could target in the middle rounds and become a steal.
Kyle Emmanuel (OLB, NDST) - Emmanuel played defensive end in college, but his calling is at linebacker. He looked comfortable in space at the combine, and moved extremely well. But the most impressive thing about him was the comment that he was practicing drills while the rest of his defensive line group was just watching.
Senquez Golson (FS, Auburn) - Golson played cornerback at Auburn, but I believe his best position is a free safety in the NFL. His limited size will limit him at corner, but his excellent agility and instincts would be a boon at safety. He showed fluid movement and very impressive ball skills. His lack of height will push him down draft boards, but some team is going to get a very good football player.
Sean Hickey (OG, Syracuse) - Hickey isn't a guy who is getting a lot of recognition right now. However, I think people started to take notice when he finished second among the offensive linemen in the bench press. More important for me, I thought that while his hips were a bit tight for an offensive lineman, his feet are excellent for an offensive guard. The power and determination he showed on tape and in the weight room would translate to guard as well.
David Johnson (RB, Northern Iowa) - If more people had known about him prior to the Senior Bowl, Johnson would likely be up in the "Stud" group. I became a fan of his when I looked at his tape after hearing that the Giants had talked to him in Senior Bowl practices. After watching his tape, I compared him to Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell. After the Combine, I'm not backing off that comparison one bit. Despite being a big back, Johnson was one of the most impressive athletes there. I showed you Ameer Abdullah's spider graph, well here's David Johnson's:
This is an interesting draft class. It isn't nearly as strong as the 2014 draft class. However, what it lacks in top end talent, it more than makes up for in secondary talent. All throughout the process guys I've never heard of, guys like Ali Marpet, Lynden Trail, Kyle Emmanuel, and David Johnson, have surfaced and thoroughly wowed me.
Unfortunately for the Giants, this draft is lacking in top talent at positions of dire need, such as linebacker and safety. The chances of hitting a Grand Slam like they did in 2014 with Odell Beckham are much slimmer as well. However, much like last year's draft, this one has a very real chance of producing multiple players who are either starters or key contributors early in their careers.