Ali Marpet turning heads at the NFL Combine

He's not exactly a household name, but Ali Marpet has been making waves at the NFL's Scouting Combine this week and the Hobart College grad could be jumping up the Giants draft board.

The New York Giants have many needs looking ahead to the 2015 NFL Draft. Of those needs, addressing the massive holes along the offensive line might require the greatest attention.

Fortunately for the G-Men, there are once again a number of talented offensive linemen to be had in this year’s class. Of those who have been garnering more attention recently is small-school prospect Ali Marpet, who has catapulted up draft boards and says he wants to be picked by the Giants.

Marpet, a 6-foot-3, 307-pound lineman from Hobart College in Geneva, N.Y., lit up the Combine in Indianapolis, clocking the fastest 40-yard dash time for an offensive linemen (4.98 seconds) and ranked as one of the best performers in the three-cone drill (7.33 seconds) and the 20-yard shuttle (4.47 seconds).

He compared himself to Eagles offensive lineman Jason Kelce, citing himself as "an explosive, quick, aggressive player" during an interview on the NFL Network. His combine numbers certainly support that assessment. Factor in a superb week during the Senior Bowl and suddenly, Marpet has the look of a first-round prospect.

Might the Giants be willing to take him at No. 9? I wouldn’t count on it, but that doesn’t mean they might not be willing to hold off on taking an offensive lineman until the third or fourth round, if they believe Marpet will still be available to them.

Many of the top draft pundits in the country have the Giants taking an offensive lineman with their first-round pick. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has them slated to take Iowa’s Brandon Scherff for the second mock in a row, believing he makes the most sense for them with the ninth pick.

However, Scherff projects as a guard in the NFL, and there are plenty of talented interior linemen to be had throughout the draft. Unless Scherff is a surefire All-Pro, game-changing guard, I don’t see the point in taking him with the ninth pick.

When you’re picking in the top 10, you want to add someone who is going to make a dramatic impact to the team’s success on the field. Odell Beckham Jr. was a top-10 talent the Giants got with the 12th pick last year, and they would be wise to look for someone of similar value at another position of need (perhaps defensive end Shane Ray, safety Landon Collins or wideout Kevin White).

Marpet compares well with Scherff on paper and on the gamefilm. Granted, his competition in college was far inferior to that of Scherff, he shows a similar skill set and is obviously athletic enough to fulfill all the Giants would require from a guard in their current offensive scheme.

By all accounts, the only question looming over Marpet’s potential is whether or not he can excel against capable competition. In that department, Scherff is obviously a proven asset, having played in the Big Ten Conference. When considering the cost to attain either’s services, though, Marpet gains an obvious edge because the Giants are far more likely to be willing to risk a third or fourth rounder on an interior lineman while spending their first two picks on players in positions that will have a greater immediate impact on the team’s performance.

The Giants have had success building their offensive line through the later rounds of the draft (see: David Diehl). If they feel Marpet is a capable NFL starter, they could be wise to pass on Scherff and wait till the middle rounds to land the Division III prospect.

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