SiriusXM NFL Radio’s Gil Brandt and Mark Dominik answered questions from the media Monday about the 2021 NFL Draft and the needs of different teams around the league.
Brandt, of course, was the Vice President of Player Personnel for the Dallas Cowboys from 1960-1989. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor.
Dominik worked in a NFL front office role for 20 seasons, 19 of them with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, first as a pro personnel assistant and scout, then as the team’s Director of Scouting, and ultimately as the franchise’s general manager.
Brandt and Dominik did not address the New York Giants directly, but they did speak to some issues that could impact the Giants in the draft, such as evaluating players who opted out last season.
Like most teams in the league, the Giants are interested in players at the top of the draft board who did not play last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For these players, there is a certain layer of added risk due to the extended time away from the playing field.
“I understand the overall scope of why they’ve decided to opt out, stories from family members to how the conference handled COVID-19,” Dominik said. “I want to hear why a player made that decision and then validate it with some background research just to make sure that the player wants to, and can, play.”
Brandt talked specifically about Northwestern OT Rashawn Slater, a player who is certainly on the Giants’ radar.
“When you talk about Slater who opted out at Northwestern, you go back to his junior year two years ago when he played so well,” Brandt said, believing there should not be added cause for concern.
“I think the lack of a combine has resulted in some of the better Pro Days we have ever had,” Brandt continued. “I think the league did a great job making sure every place was covered, that everybody had the results the next day and that everyone had access to information they needed.”
Brandt also acknowledged the downside to the lack of an NFL Combine this offseason.
“The biggest problem I have with it is, for example, at Ohio State the field is very fast. But at other places they run on a soft turf. How fast would a player be on Northwestern’s softer turf? That’s the only question I have about this whole thing. But I do think that you can draft just as well.”
Penn State edge rusher Jayson Oweh is one of the players who had a strong Pro Day performance. His numbers are below:
- 40: 4.36-4.39
- Vertical jump: 39.5
- Broad jump: 134
- Short shuttle: 4.15
- 3-cone: 6.84.
But Oweh’s major point of weakness is that he did not recored and sacks last season. Brandt does not think this statistic, or lack thereof, is overly concerning.
“I think if he plays like he thinks he can, I think he’s a guy who can be a really strong rusher,” Brandt said. “For a guy to run under 4.5 and weight 257 pounds, that’s pretty good.”
Brandt also highlighted Miami rusher Jaelen Phillips, saying that he could be the best edge rusher in the draft.
“He has had three concussions and some off-the-field problems but if you can take a chance on him, he could prove worth it.”