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Wide receiver group should look ‘like a basketball team,’ says Senior Bowl boss

Jim Nagy discusses players in the draft who could help the Giants on the ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 04 Reese’s Senior Bowl
Stanford wide receiver Michael Wilson at the Senior Bowl.
Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New York Giants have work to do in order to upgrade their receiving talent. They should consider building it “like a basketball team,” Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy said on Wednesday’s ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast.

“I think the smart teams still do value size. I think you just look at the two Super Bowl teams. I actually heard both general managers in the lead-up to the Super Bowl talking about how they built their receiver room out like a basketball team, just having a bunch of varying skill sets within that group. If you don’t have a big size receiver I think every team should have that guy.”

Nagy mentioned Elijah Higgins of Stanford, who measured 6-foot-2⅝, 228 pounds at the Senior Bowl, as a player who fit that profile.

Higgins is currently considered a late-round draft prospect, currently No. 226 on the NFL Mock Draft Database Consensus Big Board. Nagy said Higgins had a “great week” at the Senior Bowl and is one of the players who should light up the NFL Scouting Combine.

“He’s going to run super fast,” said Nagy, an NFL scout for 18 years before taking over the Senior Bowl. “In terms of size/speed combination at the skill positions he’s going to be one of the top two or three guys in this year’s draft. I think you want a guy like that.

“There’s going to be answers. There’s going to be big players in this draft, and I think it would be smart for Daniel Jones to get a guy like that.”

Nagy on other wide receivers who stood out during Senior Bowl week:

Michael Wilson, Stanford — Nagy said there was “no better” week than the one had in Mobile by Wilson.

“Most teams were in that fifth round range for Michael Wilson. There is no chance he’s getting there. I think he’s going to go on Day 2 now.

“Man, did he have a good week. He’s a really polished guy. One thing we knew about him is he was an A+ character guy. Everyone at Stanford and everyone from the NFL said, Jim, you’ve gotta bring this dude [to the Senior Bowl]. He’s off the charts character for a wide receiver. Then he comes down here and not only the character, the talent really took over.”

Wilson measured 6-1, 216 pounds at the Senior Bowl, so he would fit into that bigger-bodied wide receiver type Nagy believes the Giants could use.

Tank Dell, Houston — Nagy said the 163-pound Dell “had two really good days of practice” and “was almost uncoverable” from the slot.

Jayden Reed, Michigan State — Nagy called Reed “a guy that helped himself” during Senior Bowl week.

“You can’t just evaluate the receiver off the stat sheet. Michigan State had some issues on offense moving the football this year,” Nagy said. “We’ve had him on Day 2 for the last two years. We think he’s a second- or third-round receiver. You didn’t hear a lot of buzz about him from the media standpoint until last week. He just looked really dynamic.”

Andrei Iosivas, Princeton — “He’s going to be a star of the Combine being the NCAA Heptathlon champion. Two-time winner of that,” Nagy said. “I thought he had a nice week, as well.”

Iosivas measured 6-2⅞, 212 pounds at the Senior Bowl. That makes him another player who fits in the bigger-bodied category.

Nagy on Daniel Jones

Everyone who follows the Giants remembers former GM Dave Gettleman falling in “full bloom love” with Jones at the 2019 Senior Bowl. It has taken a while for everyone else to see the version of Jones Gettleman thought existed when he made Jones the No. 6 overall pick in that 2019 NFL Draft.

“I’m happy for Daniel first and foremost. I’ve been a big fan of his. I liked the pick when they made it,” Nagy said.

“A lot has been made over the last few years, especially you hear a lot of talk in the media about fit, an organizational fit. You’ve gotta support your quarterback, and I don’t feel like the Giants did a great job of that. Way too much flux the first couple of years.”

Nagy on upgrading the center position

Nagy said the Giants “need to upgrade that interior so Daniel’s not facing so much gut pressure, like he has the last three or four years.”

The Giants already have several options at the guard spots, although more talent would obviously be welcomed there. What they don’t have is a long-term answer at center. A couple of players who were at the Senior Bowl are looked at as potential solutions.

John Michael Schmitz (Minnesota) — “John Michael Schmitz (Minnesota) right now is getting a lot of first-round love,” Nagy said. “There wasn’t a lot of that coming into the week. We had him as a Day 2 player. He had an awesome week.”

Steve Avila (TCU) — “He’ll probably go in the second round,” Nagy said.

Avila is 6-foot-3⅛, 332 pounds — massive for a center. He has extensive experience at both guard and center.

“I think he could play either. I’m of the mindset I think Steve would be a better guard,” Nagy said. “He’s a big man. One thing he would do — he would bring really unique size to that position.”

Nagy said both players are Day 1 NFL starters and “could start for a long, long time at center.”

You can also watch this episode on the Big Blue View YouTube channel.

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