5 players to watch as Giants scout prospects at NFL Combine

5 players to watch as Giants scout prospects at NFL Combine

The Giants aren’t often the talk of the annual NFL Combine in Indianapolis, but this year, holding the No. 2 pick in April’s draft with a new GM and head coach, they will drive a lot of the conversation from their pivotal pick position.

The last time the Giants drafted in the Top 5, Ernie Accorsi selected QB Philip Rivers fourth overall in 2004 out of N.C. State and traded him in a package for San Diego’s top pick, QB Eli Manning out of Ole Miss. The last time the Giants drafted in the Top 2, George Young selected a linebacker out of North Carolina named Lawrence Taylor.

So new GM Dave Gettleman faces pressure from the past and present to hit with his prized pick. But simultaneously he must fill needs throughout a roster that slipped to a 3-13 record in 2017. So here are five players to watch in Indy as the Giants scout prospects, including Top 5 talents and intriguing players at other positions of need.

Not Released (NR)

Saquon Barkley can do it all out of the backfield and would immediately upgrade the Giants offense.

(Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

SAQUON BARKLEY, RB, PENN STATE (5-11, 223 pounds)

The Bronx-born Barkley has displayed moves that remind people of Barry Sanders. He has power, with tree trunk legs like Ray Rice. He is considered the total package: an adept runner, receiver, pass-blocker and kick returner. And the Giants offense, with Eli Manning back as starter, need reliability and depth in the backfield, teamed with Wayne Gallman, to complement the talent of Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram on the outside. Orleans Darkwa had a strong 2017 but is a free agent. Paul Perkins is a question mark. Gettleman last year did draft Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey eighth overall for Carolina last spring, so he’s not against picking a running back high. On the other hand, there are other intriguing backs in this draft, too, such as LSU’s Derrius Guice, USC’s Ronald Jones II, and Georgia’s Sony Michel and Nick Chubb. Plus, so many teams could fall in love with Barkley that, if Cleveland picks a quarterback at No. 1 overall, the Giants could bring in a huge haul in a trade down with a team that wants Barkley. And the Giants could still get a player they want in the top 10.

JOSH ROSEN, QB, UCLA (6-4, 218 pounds)

Rosen has an injury history and an outspoken personality that rubs some people the wrong way, but in my mind, if the Giants draft Manning’s successor with their No. 2 overall pick, Rosen is the most likely quarterback they’ll choose. Frankly, you can stack up the analytics, projections, mobilities and big-play capabilities of the top prospects all you want — and those factors are important — but to me, the eye test still matters. It’s the test of, when you watch someone play, how much better does he make others around him? How ready does he appear for the NFL level? How confident are you that the throws he’s making now are throws he’ll continue to hit at the next level? In my mind, Rosen’s confidence, abilities and delivery — how he throws the ball — combine to make him the guy. USC’s Sam Darnold, Wyoming’s Josh Allen, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson all are exciting players, but Darnold’s decision-making and delivery concern me; I think Allen might be overhyped because his Wyoming coach, Craig Bohl, also coached Carson Wentz at North Dakota State; Mayfield’s bravado and height (6-1) might get him in trouble in the NFL and New York. I love Jackson, too, actually, but I think he could be had with a trade down.

Mike McGlinchey

Mike McGlinchey

(Robin Alam/AP)

MIKE McGLINCHEY, OT, NOTRE DAME (6-8, 312 pounds)

Look for Gettleman possibly to trade from the early second round into the late first to address another area of need. Teams do this not only to prevent another team from drafting their guy but to have that player under control for the first five years of his contract rather than just the first four (only first-round picks come with a fifth-year option on rookie contracts). McGlinchey, a high-character offensive tackle and Fighting Irish captain, would be exactly the type of player Gettleman would make such a trade to acquire, and is exactly the type of person the Giants want on their team. McGlinchey, the cousin of Falcons QB Matt Ryan, is athletic and thrived in a run-heavy Notre Dame offense alongside left guard Quenton Nelson, who could be a Top 10 pick and also would be a candidate as a Giants pick if they traded down from No. 2. There are other “hog-mollies,” as Gettleman calls the big men up front, that might appeal to the Giants, such as 6-8, 360-pound Oklahoma tackle Orlando Brown. And keep an eye on this position regardless, because Gettleman said it himself: fixing the offensive line this offseason is priority No. 1.

Rashaan Evans

Rashaan Evans

(Jacob Kupferman/AP)

RASHAAN EVANS, LB, ALABAMA (6-3, 234 pounds)

New defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s greatest personnel area of need is linebacker. Landon Collins already has shown the Giants the upside of drafting a Crimson Tide standout (two straight Pro Bowls, first-team All-Pro in 2016) in the second round. Evans is long and fast, can go sideline-to-sideline, played strong on the inside for Alabama this past season, and is called an “ideal inside linebacker fit for a blitz-happy 3-4 unit” in his NFL Draft profile. And what do you know? That’s the type of scheme Bettcher runs. Evans had to bide his time behind studs like Reuben Foster at ’Bama, and there are concerns about his durability due to a nagging groin injury last season, but he was second-team All-SEC in 2017 with 74 tackles, 13 for a loss, six sacks and three pass breakups. And outside of the offensive line, honestly, linebacker is probably the Giants’ greatest need.

MINKAH FITZPATRICK, DB, ALABAMA (6-1, 201 pounds)

The Giants might blow up their secondary this offseason (i.e. trade Eli Apple, with decisions to make on Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie). I know Gettleman is focused on the big men up front and the Giants have other needs, but if the Giants trade down from No. 2, at some point in the top-10, Fitzpatrick is going to be the obvious best player available on the board. And Gettleman has promised to draft the best player available when the Giants are on the clock. It would be a homecoming, too: Fitzpatrick hails from Old Bridge, N.J., and played his high school ball at St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City. There are questions about whether Fitzpatrick actually could be a shutdown corner in the NFL, but he is considered versatile enough to play corner or safety, and the Giants’ secondary did just rank 31st of 32 NFL teams in 2017 in pass yards allowed per game (252.4). So don’t rule it out. And if it isn’t Fitzpatrick in the first round, look at names like Isaiah Oliver (Colorado) and Jaire Alexander (Louisville) later on. But yes, again, a nod to the talent Nick Saban recruits and develops. Plus, as the Giants likely lock up Collins for the long-term, there’s nothing that would make their defensive leader happier than teaming with another Tide star.

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Giants star Odell Beckham says he won’t play in the preseason

Giants star Odell Beckham says he won’t play in the preseason

Odell Beckham Jr. says he won’t play a single snap in the 2018 preseason.

A Giants fan named Stan Hardter @stanbryan81 tweeted at Beckham on Friday night: “Zero preseason snaps please.” And Beckham answered Saturday morning with a short but clear tweet:

“0,” Beckham replied from his @OBJ_3 account.

So was this a promise or a threat? It’s hard to believe this been endorsed by the team this early. And if it had been, wouldn’t the Giants be announcing it, not OBJ himself?

Beckham obviously has good reason to avoid the preseason. Last Aug. 21, he suffered a brutal high left ankle sprain on a dangerous low hit by Browns safety Briean Boddy-Calhoun in the second quarter of a Monday Night Football preseason game in Cleveland. The injury sidelined Beckham for the Giants’ season-opening loss in Dallas, and he eventually broke the same ankle in a Week 5 home loss to the L.A. Chargers.

Still, it’s unlikely Beckham and new head coach Pat Shurmur already have discussed Beckham sitting out the preseason, mid-rehab for Beckham and mid-negotiation for the Giants and Beckham’s agent on a contract extension. Even if they did, presumably Shurmur would not want Beckham airing organizational plans for the world to see.

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) walks off the field after a preseason NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Friday, Aug. 11, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) walks off the field after a preseason NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Friday, Aug. 11, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

(Julio Cortez/AP)

And more importantly, if the Giants and Beckham’s agent don’t agree to a long-term contract extension this offseason, Beckham could hold out — and would be warranted in doing so — entering the fifth and final year of his rookie contract. So his statement that he won’t play in the preseason has to be considered a possible threat within that narrative, a line drawn in the sand of who dictates terms when it comes to OBJ’s career.

On top of all that, team president John Mara stressed when Shurmur was hired that Beckham needed to speak with the new coach about “how we’re gonna act.” Their meeting went well by all accounts, but is publicly announcing playing time plans on Twitter within Shurmur’s new code of Giant ethics? I wouldn’t think so.

Beckham, 25, also is coming off ankle surgery, so the Giants of course at some point are going to want to see him prove he can play at full strength. That’s not saying they have to put him in harm’s way in a preseason game necessarily, but they certainly wouldn’t seem to be in a position to guarantee him anything in the way of playing time at this point, when new GM Dave Gettleman is only just getting started in his roster reconstruction.

Anyway, buckle up. If Beckham is now publicly dictating terms on his playing time, then this could become the first public shot fired in negotiations not only on a new contract but on how Beckham will behave once he signs one.

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Odell Beckham can look to buddy Landry in Giants contract talks

Odell Beckham can look to buddy Landry in Giants contract talks

Odell Beckham Jr. was drafted 12th overall out of LSU by the Giants in 2014. His best friend and Tigers teammate, Jarvis Landry, was drafted 63rd overall in the second round by the Miami Dolphins that same weekend.

But as of this moment, after the Dolphins placed the franchise tag on Landry for the 2018 season on Tuesday, Landry is scheduled to make about $16.2 million if he signs the tender, almost double Beckham’s 2018 salary of $8.4 million.

Beckham no doubt is thrilled that his friend Landry is cashing in, either by signing that one-year tender or negotiating a long-term deal with the Dolphins or another team once he’s traded.

But OBJ also is competitive and seeking his own due this offseason on a contract extension, while also trying to avoid the franchise-tag cycle, which doesn’t provide long-term security.

Odell Beckham (left) and Jarvis Landry are both due big-time raises as two of the NFL's top wide receivers.

Odell Beckham (left) and Jarvis Landry are both due big-time raises as two of the NFL’s top wide receivers.

(Lynne Sladky/AP)

Beckham already is underpaid, and Landry’s scheduled 2018 salary only reinforces that fact. Because while Landry is an excellent possession receiver — his 400 receptions are the most ever by an NFL receiver in the first four years of a career — Landry is not the player Beckham is.

So how did this 2018 salary imbalance happen? It’s about the NFL’s contract structures.

The Giants had the ability, since Beckham was a first-round pick, to exercise a fifth-year option on top of his four-year base rookie deal. The Giants exercised that $8.4 million option last spring for the 2018 season, keeping Beckham under control for an extra season in exchange for a large increase in salary (Beckham had made only about $4.5 million combined in base salary in his first four years, per overthecap.com). Beckham’s $8.4 million salary becomes fully guaranteed on March 14, the first day of the new league year, yet doesn’t preclude the Giants and Beckham from negotiating a long-term deal thereafter that increases that salary.

But Landry, as a second-round pick, came with no fifth-year option. After four years in the league, he was due to hit unrestricted free agency this offseason unless the Dolphins signed him to a new deal or applied the franchise tag. So Miami used the franchise tag, even though it essentially pays a player a one-year salary equal to the average of the top five salaries at that position the previous year.

And that’s how, as Beckham seeks a mega-extension from the Giants, he suddenly finds his best college buddy Landry pretty much tied with Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins for the second-highest annual salary in 2018 at wide receiver ($16.2) behind only Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown ($17 million).

Now, Landry is in his own predicament, too. The Dolphins have said Landry’s reported asking price of $14.5 million per year on a four-year, $58 million extension is too high, per the Miami Herald. So while Landry could make great money for one year in Miami in 2018, he might only get the long-term security he’s looking for via trade.

Beckham won’t be jealous of Landry, either way. On the contrary, Beckham wants to raise the earning power of everyone around him, not just himself, with his next contract. He is fiercely loyal to close friends such as Landry, and there’s no doubt the 2014 LSU wide receiver class should be proud of what it’s accomplished already in the NFL.

But while Beckham theoretically could play next season on his $8.4 million fifth-year option salary, he’d wind up in the same position next spring that Landry is in now. That is, he’d be watching the Giants franchise tag him for a big 2019 number and keeping him under control without giving him a long-term deal.

The point here is simple: good for Landry that he’s getting paid no matter what in 2018. But if Landry is worth $16.2 million to a team next season, Beckham is worth at least $20 million.

JULY 28, 2017, FILE PHOTO

Beckham.

(Julio Cortez/AP)

WILL GIANTS DRAFT ANOTHER RECEIVER?

Speaking of wide receivers, is it possible Giants GM Dave Gettleman will either draft or make a high-priority free-agent signing at this position, despite already having Beckham, Sterling Shepard and tight end Evan Engram?

Twice now this offseason, Giants defensive players publicly have pinpointed wide receiver as a primary position of need given how badly the offense struggled when Beckham, Shepard and Brandon Marshall all got hurt in 2017.

On Jan. 3 on ESPN’s “First Take,” strong safety Landon Collins said of the No. 2 overall pick in the draft: “Probably get some help at wide receiver. Get Odell, Brandon Marshall and Sterling and Eli (Manning) some more options.”

Then on Tuesday on FOX’s “Undisputed,” Damon Harrison’s defense of Manning included this rationale: “He lost his top three receivers for a good portion of the season. We get those guys back, (and) hopefully they bring in some other guys so that depth isn’t that much of a factor if we were to lose somebody.”

Interesting, right? The problem is Alabama’s Calvin Ridley is the only receiver being talked about in a draft crop not getting much hype. And the free-agent class doesn’t jump off the page either: names like Terrelle Pryor, Mike Wallace, Sammy Watkins and Danny Amendola are the most attractive. One mid-level name I’d watch? Cardinals free agent Jaron Brown, 28. Might be an affordable, good fit.

The Giants’ Marshall, 33, though, while under contract for 2018, is an obvious candidate to be a cap casualty this offseason coming off disappointing play when healthy early last fall. The Giants could save more than $5 million by cutting him, absorbing a dead money hit of only $1 million, by releasing him, per overthecap.com.

So it’s not out of the question that the Giants will need to add a playmaker here. But the team has plenty of greater needs at other positions, too: offensive line, linebacker, running back and pass rusher (depth) to name only a few.

And they could satisfy this need in other ways, too: like improving the tight end depth of pass catchers to complement the versatile Engram and Rhett Ellison (the Daily News has reported the Giants showing interest in late-round tight end talent such as Mississippi State’s Jordan Thomas and Minnesota State University Moorhead’s Damon Gibson).

But clearly, players from the Giants’ 31st-ranked defense in 2017 felt depth receivers such as Roger Lewis and Tavarres King weren’t good enough last season.

ROSTER MOVES

The Giants on Thursday waived LB Deontae Skinner, a limited special teams contributor. So far this offseason, Gettleman has released 2017 Week 1 starting right tackle Bobby Hart (who since has signed with the Bengals), waived DE Ishaq Williams with a failed physical designation last week, re-signed depth offensive lineman John Greco (who played for Pat Shurmur in Cleveland in 2011-12), and waived Skinner.

Tags:
nfl
new york giants
odell beckham jr.
jarvis landry

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Eli Manning ‘can’t play forever,’ says ex-Giants exec Marc Ross

Eli Manning ‘can’t play forever,’ says ex-Giants exec Marc Ross

Giants fans don’t want to hear this, but Marc Ross said it anyway Thursday: Eli Manning “can’t play forever.”

Ross, the former Giants VP of player evaluation, tried his best to steer clear of discussing Manning’s December benching when asked about it on ESPN’s NFL Live Thursday afternoon. And it’s obviously a sensitive subject: Ross was fired less than a month after the Manning drama cost both GM Jerry Reese and coach Ben McAdoo their jobs.

Marc Ross says the Giants have to realize that Eli Manning simply 'can't play forever.'

Marc Ross says the Giants have to realize that Eli Manning simply ‘can’t play forever.’

(Rob Carr/Getty Images)

But Ross was candid about how, even if the Giants could have handled Manning’s situation differently in 2017, this is an issue that’s not going away for new GM Dave Gettleman and coach Pat Shurmur in the coming years.

“He’s a two-time Super Bowl MVP, his pictures are all throughout the building, everybody loves the guy. We saw what happened last year when it didn’t go his way,” Ross said, alluding to how Manning cried, refused to start a Dec. 4 game in Oakland knowing he’d come out at halftime, and asked the team to issue a press release announcing the move. “And it’s gonna at some point have to happen again. Now how will it be handled the next time? But he can’t play forever. So we’ll see what happens next time.”

The issue of how much longer Manning, 37, will play is coming to the forefront again with the Giants holding the No. 2 overall pick in the draft in position to draft Manning’s successor if they’re not sure Davis Webb is the guy.

The Giants want to find Eli Manning's successor, and they aren't convinced that Davis Webb is the guy.

The Giants want to find Eli Manning’s successor, and they aren’t convinced that Davis Webb is the guy.

(Bill Kostroun/AP)

Manning has only two years left on his current contract, and last season, regardless of the myriad injuries to his top receivers, Manning played poorly, missing throws and making some bad and costly decisions.

Giants president John Mara, after signing off on the move away from Manning, has made clear that the new plan is to go back to Manning in 2018. And both Gettleman and Shurmur appealed to Mara and the Giants in part because they shared that pro-Manning view. But the Manning timelines seem to be getting carried away.

Surrounding Manning with a healthy Odell Beckham Jr., more weapons and a better line to make one more run at it in 2018 — two at most through 2019 — is one thing.

But on Wednesday, ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr., suggested the Giants might draft Penn State RB Saquon Barkley No. 2 overall to continue building around Manning for approximately “the next three-to-five years.”

That doesn’t seem realistic.

Ross was reticent to go into more detail, but even when first asked about Manning, he made reference to an upcoming decision for the new regime on the face of the franchise QB.

“I was on the road scouting at the time, so I’m not talking about it. I’m gonna leave that one alone,” Ross said with a smile about the benching of Manning. “But I think it was something that had been talked about and discussed, and in hindsight it could have been handled differently; some people say it could have, some people said maybe not. It happened, Eli’s still a major presence there … and they just have to decide going forward what to do with that situation.”

Ross had a few more noteworthy insights that Giants fans should hear:

Ross on when he knew the Giants season was going to get bad:

“Actually the Eagles game, the third game of the season. You know we went to Dallas the opening game, we usually play well down there, we played bad. Then we come back Monday night, we’re honoring the ’07 Super Bowl team, we play bad again. And then the third week we go down to Philly, start out playing bad and then we start rolling in the second half like, ‘Alright, this is turning our season around;’ then that rookie kicks a 61-yard field goal and it just felt like this is not gonna be right — and it just felt like the Eagles are gonna be magical and we were having a rough year. And it kinda just kept spiraling from there. A lot of emotions, a lot of turmoil and just to lose a good friend and mentor in Jerry Reese, and Ben McAdoo I got close to. People gotta realize these are real people with families.”

Ross on whether Beckham will be back healthy in 2018:

Marc Ross believes Odell Beckham Jr. will return 'better than ever.'

Marc Ross believes Odell Beckham Jr. will return ‘better than ever.’

(Bill Kostroun/AP)

“I think Odell will be back better than ever, just (because of) the type of drive he has. I’ve been around some gifted guys. He might be the most gifted player I’ve ever been around. And his passion, his desire will make himself become better than he was before.”

Ross on how he thinks Shurmur will fare as head coach:

“Pat, I used to work with Pat in Philly back in the day. I think he has the personality and demeanor to get it done.”

Ross worked as a Bills national college scout from 2004-06 before joining the Giants as director of college scouting in 2007, a position he held through 2012 before a promotion to VP of player evaluation. He then ran the Giants’ drafts and therefore was responsible for the drafting of talent such as Odell Beckham Jr., Landon Collins, Sterling Shepard, Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Pugh.

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Former Giants VP Marc Ross gives his take on top-5 QBs in draft

Former Giants VP Marc Ross gives his take on top-5 QBs in draft

Marc Ross, the Giants’ recently-fired VP of player evaluation, made an informative cameo on ESPN’s NFL Live Thursday afternoon. And though he is no longer a part of Giants brass, Ross did spend this past fall and winter scouting college quarterbacks for an organization that now holds the No. 2 overall pick in April’s draft.

So it’s noteworthy what Ross reported back to former GM Jerry Reese and the Giants on the top prospects that new GM Dave Gettleman is now evaluating. Here, then, are Ross’ full and interesting opinions of the top-five QBs available in the draft, starting with throwing some cold water on the big-armed kid from Wyoming:

MANDATORY CREDIT; KTVB 7 OUT

Marc Ross doesn’t believe Josh Allen is the way to go at QB.

(Darin Oswald/AP)

On Josh Allen, Wyoming:

“Josh Allen, everybody keeps talking about he looks the part and he can throw the ball, but there’s a lot more to being a successful NFL quarterback than looking like you’re an NFL quarterback and throwing the ball. Josh Allen to me has a problem with his feel for the game, his pocket poise, his accuracy, and all those are key components of being successful in the NFL. And he did it at a very low level of competition against some bad defenses. So for him not to have dominant performances is a big worry.

Marc Ross believes Sam Darnold can overcome his turnover issues.

Marc Ross believes Sam Darnold can overcome his turnover issues.

(Carlos Osorio/AP)

“Accuracy is one of those things when you see guys who were not accurate in college, they may get a little bit better, but not tremendously better. Through footwork and through mechanics you can get better at it. But him, he just doesn’t have those traits that overcompensate for not having the accuracy and lack of feel for the game. He had a lot of bad filmwork: 10 completions, 11 completions, 12 completions where he just didn’t go out and dominate teams at that level.”

Baker Mayfield is Marc Ross' 'favorite guy' of the quarterbacks in the draft.

Baker Mayfield is Marc Ross’ ‘favorite guy’ of the quarterbacks in the draft.

(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

On Sam Darnold, USC:

“Sam coming into the year, was anointed because of what he did in the bowl game the year before, and rightly so. That was one of the best performances you could see against Penn State. This year he had some struggles. He started off bad with the turnovers, kind of righted the ship throughout the season, still had USC winning, and then he kinda had a bad game at the end there. But he’s got play-making ability like few do, he’s got excellent football character, but he does have the turnovers, both interceptions and fumbles. So he’s got to definitely work on that, and that will be hard to overcome for him, but he’s the type of guy that will do it. And he needs to just be more poised in the pocket, he gets a little too jumpy in there. With his playmaking ability, he tries to do too much with that, as well.”

Josh Rosen's injury history is a concern.

Josh Rosen’s injury history is a concern.

(Mark J. Terrill/AP)

On Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma:

“Baker’s my favorite guy of these guys. To me just, Baker, he has it. When you look at the franchise winning quarterbacks in the NFL, the things that Baker does, he’s a winner, he’s super productive, he dominated at the highest level, not just in his conference but against Georgia and Ohio State with tons of NFL players on the defense. I mean he has a great command, great poise and great feel. So I would take my shot with Baker, a guy that’s done it at the highest level. He may have the height (issue) and those kind of things, but he’s just a big-time playmaker.”

Lamar Jackson's athleticism at the QB position drew comparisons to Michael Vick.

Lamar Jackson’s athleticism at the QB position drew comparisons to Michael Vick.

(Chuck Burton/AP)

Size give you pause? “Of course it does, but I think it’s been proven that (with) height is not a direct correlation between being a good NFL quarterback. And of course there are exceptions, the Russell Wilson’s and Drew Brees’ of the world and he’ll have that to overcome, but the other things that he does, the intangibles off the field, the leadership, the toughness, I just think he’s a special type of player.”

On Josh Rosen, UCLA:

“I think when you look at Josh Rosen, if you’ve got 7-on-7, I mean this guy’s a perfect 7-on-7 quarterback. It gets messy in there and he’s shown he takes a lot of sacks and he’s been injured both years. So that’s a concern for a pocket passer who’s been injured. But if you just want a guy to get up there and throw it and sling it, he’s your guy. The leadership questions off the field, there may be some of those issues that crop up throughout the draft process, so that will have to be well-investigated by the teams.”

On Lamar Jackson, Louisville:

“I love Lamar Jackson. I think it’s unfair to him to just try to throw him away as a wide receiver. I don’t think that’s inspired thinking. With Lamar, you talk about a guy who did improve, I was actually at his very first game at Louisville when they played down at the Chik-Fil-A game in Atlanta and he got in the game and there was another guy starting and it was like, wow, look at this guy, I mean he’s all over the place. But he’s gotten better and better each year. He does sit in the pocket, he can read defenses, he’s very poised, he can deliver on time. The offense they run there, he takes a lot of shots down field, so he’s not running some dink-and-dunk system. He runs pro concepts with what he does. I think everything gets overshadowed because he is just such a dynamic athlete and runner — one of a kind, besides (Michael) Vick, this guy. But he has developed tremendously and he’s going to keep getting better as a passer.”

Ross worked as a Bills national college scout from 2004-06 before joining the Giants as director of college scouting in 2007, a position he held through 2012 before a promotion to VP of player evaluation. He then ran the Giants’ drafts and therefore was responsible for the drafting of talent such as Odell Beckham Jr., Landon Collins, Sterling Shepard, Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Pugh.

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