The first day of the on-field workouts of the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine is set to begin and features the offensive lineman and tight ends.
Friday at the Combine is usually considered the least exciting day of on-field workouts because, collectively, the least exciting athletes are on the field. However, that doesn't mean it isn't worth watching, or just as valuable as the other position groups.
So, who should we be watching, and what drills should we pay attention to?
Players To Watch
Ronnie Stanley (OT, Notre Dame) -- Ben McAdoo mentioned in his press conference Wednesday that the Giants need to bolster both lines to improve their offense and defense. Stanley is generally considered the No. 2 offensive tackle, and offensive lineman, in the draft and could be around when the Giants pick at No. 10. He has also mentioned that he had an informal meeting with the Giants. If they have some level of interest, we should, too.
Jack Conklin (OT, Michigan State) -- Like Stanley, the Giants have had an informal meeting with Conklin. They're also using one of their 60 formal meetings with the Spartan tackle. He measured in a 6-foot-6, 308 pounds. But from the Giants' perspective, the truly exciting numbers are his 35-inch arms and 10 3/8" hands. He is a tough, nasty competitor and the Giants love linemen with long limbs and big hands.
Jason Spriggs (OT, Indiana) -- Spriggs showed a competitive drive and a mean streak at the Senior Bowl. He reminds a bit of Justin Pugh with his athletic (for a lineman) build and quick feet. He also has the long arms and big hands the Giants tend to favor in their linemen. If they don't fill their hole at right tackle in free agency, Spriggs could be another option from the draft.
Vadal Alexander (OG, LSU) -- Alexander is a massive (6-5, 326-pound) lineman with long arms (35 1/2") and big hands (10 1/2") to go with a mauler's mentality. He is a fouryear starter who has experience at both guard and tackle. David Diehl has stated that he believes that Bobby Hart should be a starter this year on the offensive line. If that is the case, then Alexander could compete at either right guard or right tackle.
Drills To Watch
40 Yard Dash -- This drill means (much) more for the tight ends than it does for the linemen. But hey, who doesn't like watching big guys run farther than they every will have to again?
3-Cone Drill -- The 3-cone is much more applicable to a lineman and is a good measure of how agile they are. Linemen who are able to do this well should have the athleticism to hold up on the edge or play well in space.
Bench Press -- While you normally hope your offensive tackle or tight end aren't on their back, pushing a strong safety off their chest, the bench press is said to be an indicator of how dedicated a prospect is in the weight room. At the very least it's worth paying attention to because the Giants love strong linemen.
Wave Drill -- When it comes to offensive linemen, the "wave drill" is one of the more important drills. It may seem a bit silly to grade a lineman based on how well or poorly they can get off the ground and shuffle from side to side at the direction of a coach, however this drill shows scouts how well players can react and control their body, how well they can move their feet, and any issues with their movement patterns that could become problems later.
Pass Protection & Combo Blocking -- I'm lumping these two drills together, because both show vital skills for a lineman. In the former, the prospect has to act as either a left or right tackle and keep a "rusher" away from away from the "quarterback." This separates the tackles from the interior linemen. In the second drill, two lineman act together to simulate a pull in a typical run play. It gives the players a chance to show their agility in a practical setting, as well as their blocking prowess as they bull the opposing lineman back.
Route Running -- This one is for the tight ends. With the importance of a pass catching tight end in today's NFL, they have to show that they are able to run routes with precision, track the ball in the air, and catch it cleanly.