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Joe Judge watches Micah Parsons, Jayson Oweh blaze thru Penn State Pro Day

Is Judge’s presence in Happy valley a hint about Giants’ draft plans?

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic - Memphis v Penn State Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

In the wake of the cancellation of the NFL Scouting Combine, the focus has turned to college “pro days” for scouting for the 2021 NFL Draft. Here is a breakdown of Thursday’s Pro Days.

Penn State

Leading off in State College, Pa. is the Nittany Lions’ pro day. It was certainly a big day for the Giants, as head coach Joe Judge was in attendance.

Micah Parsons is the first name to look out for with the Giants. Parsons has been in play for the Giants’ 11th pick for some time as arguably the top linebacker in the draft. In his last season in 2019, he put an incredible 104 total tackles (14 for loss), 5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and one recovery. He opted out of the 2020 season, but was already established as the top prospect at his position. And he showed his athleticism today:

However, teammate Jayson Oweh may be the draft’s fastest riser due in no small part to his near-superhuman athleticism:

A 6-foot-5, 257-pound defensive end running sub-4.4 is something that doesn’t just happen. Draft scouts were impressed when Montez Sweat ran a 4.4 flat at around the same weight as an edge rusher. While Oweh is certainly impressive, the former All-Big 10 First Teamer only has 63 tackles (13.5 for a loss) and 7.5 sacks for his CAREER at Penn State. He did not record a single sack in 2020. His 2019 season was his most impressive with 5 of his career sacks coming in tis season as well as 2 career forced fumbles. Not the most ideal statistics for a guy with his athleticism, but college play is not always most indicative of NFL projection.

Oweh has all the potential in the world, but he will need coaching to reach it.

Rounding out the Nittany Lions’ defensive prospects is the 6-foot-2, 247 pound defensive end Shaka Toney. While not garnering the same attention as Oweh or Parsons, Toney is a solid defensive end with the career numbers to prove it. He put up 115 tackles (29.5 for a loss) as well as 20.5 sacks (tied for eighth all time at Penn State), 4 pass deflections, 4 forced fumbles and one recovery over his years in Happy Valley. A solid prospect, Toney could be a great value pick for the team (maybe the Giants) who takes him.

Finally, Pat Freiermuth has been one of the best tight ends in college football for some time. The 6-foot-5, 251 pound junior opted to participate in drills today, and looked solid doing so. The all-time leader in touchdowns by a tight end at Penn State with 16, he also finishes with a career 1,185 yards on 92 catches.

An interesting note about Penn State: the 40 times at their pro day are historically faster than the results at the Combine:

For the full results of Penn State’s Pro Day, click here.

Tennessee

Headed down south to Tennessee, watch out for guard Trey Smith as a potential Day 2 option for teams in need of o-line help. The No. 1 player in the 2017 recruiting class, here’s what our own Chris Pflum had to say about Smith:

Trey Smith is a big, powerful guard prospect from the University of Tennessee.

Smith typically lined up at the left guard position and has excellent size and strength to play on the interior in the NFL. He has good length and sports a balanced physique with good thickness in his upper and lower body. That being said, Smith’s movement skills and lower body flexibility bely his bulk. He shows good flexibility in his ankles, knees, and hips, allowing him to play with good knee bend and maintain his pad level throughout the rep.

Smith does have medical concerns, as he was forced to sit the entire 2018 season due to blood clots. He has been a fantastic guard when healthy though, as evidenced by his All-SEC First Team nod last season after he only let up one sack. Depending on what the Giants do at 11, Smith could be in consideration for the second or third round.

Ole Miss

Wrapping up is Ole Miss, where wideout Elijah Moore headlined the prospects. The 2020 First Team All-American went off in his third season in the Rebels lineup, accumulating 1,193 yards and 8 touchdowns on 86 receptions in only eight games.

Standing at 5-foot-9, he will likely be seen (and used) as a slot wideout. And in a deep receiver class, he will find himself being pushed down the draft board a bit. But the Giants have certainly gone to Ole Miss for a talented Eli before, and Moore could further add to the deep wide receiver room the Giants now boast.