OCJeff Faine (Notre Dame) was officially measured at the Combine as 6'3", 303lb's but didn't workout there. Unlike some other players who made scouts wait for their efforts he didn't disappoint at his Pro Day, proving extremely athletic for a lineman at any position, clocking in the 4.9 range over 40 yards and showing great explosion in the vertical jump as well as the quickness needed to change directions (and thus make multiple blocks on plays). He does need to tone down the aggression a little in the same way last year's top OC prospect LeCharles Bentley did in the NFL on his way to All-Rookie honours – like Bentley he drew too many PF's for roughness in college – but he looks assured of a high rating amongst all NFL teams. In another era (the George Young era) he would have rated very highly on our boards but with Ernie Accorsi at GM, the likelihood of the Giants drafting an interior OL in the 1st round seems much reduced though I'd say he would definitely merit the 25th selection overall. If he lasts into the 2nd round, some lucky team got a bargain!
Studying the play of Bruce Nelson (Iowa) against Penn State, I came away both impressed with his performance and certain that his versatility combined with his height, intelligence, quick feet and athleticism would appeal to the Giants. He did a very nice job of getting to the second level to block LB's on running plays, got up the field and was able to adjust in space to make blocks for screens and was pretty much exemplary in his pass protection whether one-on-one or helping out. I wouldn't say that he was a dominant player overall – certainly he would appear to be a better pass protector than run blocker, especially straight ahead where he did allow a little too much penetration at times – but he's a very good prospect who looks like he's capable of stepping straight in as a rookie.
At the Pro Day workout, he gave a good account of himself clocking in the 5.2 range but he needs a bit of work in the weight room as he only managed 20 reps on the bench press. I think he stands a good chance of selection towards the back end of the 2nd/early 3rd round, and he may be a potential target of the Giants depending on how the chips fall on the day. Certainly, I'd hope they could get someone rated a little higher with their 2nd selection due to other teams drafting players at positions the Giants don't need help at, thus letting someone they rate highly ‘slip' down to them. If he were to be rated the highest on their board when they pick I wouldn't be downhearted by his selection. I'm not sure whether he'll be a pro OG or OC though.
The Giants were amongst the teams represented at the recent Pro Day where Dan Koppen (Boston College) worked out though they may have been checking up more on DL Antonio Garay as the big OC only did the position drills having worked out in full at the Combine. I'd love to have him but I'm not sure the Giants would be willing to spend a 3rd round pick on him – even though I think he'd be just about worthy of selection at that point – and can't see him lasting to us at the bottom end of the 4th round when he would represent better ‘value'.
OGEric Steinbach (Iowa) continued to prove why he rates as the top OG on every team's boards when I saw him alongside Nelson in the Penn State game. He pretty much dominated both of the highly regarded PSU duo throughout the contest able to keep them at the line of scrimmage on passing downs and either stay in front of them to help stretch running plays wide or turn his man on plays between the tackles. He also did an excellent job of getting into the LB's downfield, sustaining his blocks and finishing the play. While it's more likely that he will be drafted as an OLT, his ability to play Guard at such a high level will minimise the risk associated with converting him to Tackle and encourage a team to spend a top 20 pick on him.
The ‘stock' of Derrick Dockery (Texas) appears to be slipping as the draft approaches as teams worry about whether or not he is a ‘self-starter' after appearing ‘sluggish' at the Combine and allegedly not interviewing well. I can't answer those questions for sure – only the NFL teams interviewing him and his Texas coaches know for sure – but turning up at a slimmed down 338lb's at the Pro Day after being 347lb's at the Combine indicate to me that his off-season habits may not be an issue. He then went on to improve on most of his scores at the Combine so must have been in better shape overall having improved his conditioning as so many other draftee's do in a training program. I like the guy, I'm just not sure whether he meets the Giants requirements for intelligence (at the Combine his Wonderlic score of 13 may have raised some flags) or footwork in sliding around to pick up stunts. I'm also not sure whether he rates as a better OT or OG prospect as I never really got to see him at ORT as much as expected in the Longhorns games I viewed. Regardless, I can't see any way he lasts beyond the 3rd round and I still rate him as a late 2nd round pick.
Watching Montrae Holland (Florida State) against Georgia, while it's clear he won't be winning any beautiful body contests, it's also apparent that he is a pretty good player, more than capable of holding his own in the NFL and probably of starting at some point as a rookie. He did a pretty good job when matched up with the highly-rated – and I thought in this game, disappointing – Jonathon Sullivan, really only beaten on a couple of plays despite being one-on-one most of the time he faced him. He was also able to release off of blocks to get into the LB's and make blocks up the field on screens and razzle-dazzle plays. I'd expect him to be taken towards the mid-late 3rd round and that may be a little too early for the Giants as the fact that he's a ‘pure' Guard would mean he gets marked down slightly when the final ratings are put on the board.
After being more than a little amazed at the athleticism showed by Todd Williams (Florida State) at the Combine workouts, I said I'd check out his play against Georgia and re-evaluate him accordingly because if he could block players with the size/speed of the Bulldwags front seven, he could likely do so in the NFL. The fact that the Giants may have some interest in him – he was one of the players the team worked out individually a couple of weeks ago – hastened my need to watch the game to see whether I missed something!
While I wasn't expecting much from him against the talented Georgia front seven having been disappointed with his play and shape against Louisville, he turned in an extremely good performance at Guard, switching between the left and right frequently. He looked a lot less flabby than he had in the previous game I'd seen – I'd say a lot closer to the 340lb's he was at the Combine than the 360lb's he'd appeared to be early in the season – and he was able to pretty much dominate everyone including Jonathon Sullivan who lined over him at the snap using his size and strength to stop them in their tracks on the pass rush or neutralize then turn them out on running plays consistently. On pretty much every play, once he got his hands on his opponent, the battle was won. He also showed that ‘mean streak' I love to see in a lineman, punishing his guy at the end of the play without going overboard with the aggression and drawing flags.
On the downside, I had specifically wanted to see if he could pull and lead plays, get into LB's in the running game and get downfield on screen passes – all things the Giants ask of their linemen – but FSU didn't ask him to get into the LB's and the speed he showed on the Combine track wasn't evident at any stage as he rarely ventured more than a few yards up the field. Also, while he was very good in pass protection against guys lined up right over him, he never really had to pick up defenders flying across his face frequently and one notable time he was asked to, he didn't move his feet or make much of an effort to get across and block his man so his QB got hit in the pocket. It wasn't the one-on-one's he'd had trouble with in the Louisville game either so that raises a few questions as to whether he has the instincts to pick up the many stunts and blitzes the NFL has to offer.
I'll see him really for the first time at ORT in the East-West game which is where his ‘stock' really first started to elevate. I'm not sure where the Giants would play him if they drafted him but, off of this game, despite my concerns over his ability to pick up on stunts and his obviously fluctuating weight, he could be the big in-line blocker at the RG position the Giants had in Ron Stone. The player himself says he will disappointed if he's not drafted by the end of the 3rd round and, on this performance and his Combine efforts, he stands a good chance of being chosen at around that point, maybe even by the Giants. If he looks like a better OT than OG at the East-West game, he could go even higher.
Marques Ogden (Howard) apparently attended the Hula Bowl, a game I haven't seen yet. Reports from Ourlad's Guides on his play at the practices there suggest that he is a pretty solid prospect despite coming from a lower level of competition and that his best spot in the NFL may be at Guard. At his workout, he did pretty well comparing favourably with other players of similar size though he needs plenty of work in the weight room (just 17 reps on the bench press). Certainly, he fits the Giants size and athletic requirements and he may be one of the players they have eyes on amongst the draft eligible OL's because of his versatility in being able to play anywhere along the line.
Scott Tercero (California) did a pretty good job against Washington State's solid DT tandem of Rien Long and Jeremey Williams when I studied his play for the first time. At 6'4" and 303lb's he has good but not great size for the position. He did a nice job of short pulling and trapping, showing good power (pan-caked Long on more than one occasion) and looking smooth on the move, able to adjust to defensive movement to make his block and stay on his feet most of the time. He also did a nice job in pass protection, helping out team-mates when uncovered and doing a pretty good job most of the time when one-on-one (though Long beat him for a hit late in the game that led to the INT to seal defeat). As far as I'm aware, he is a pure OG, he is likely to be marked down by the Giants for a lack of versatility. He looks to me like a guy with some developmental prospects who should be taken in the middle of the second day.