The NFL scouting combine kicks off in Indianapolis on Tuesday, with more than 300 college football players, and more than a thousand agents joining GMs, coaches, scouts, doctors, executives from every NFL team. Here's what to watch for with the Giants -- and what the Giants will be watching -- over the next week:
What They're Watching
Their eyes will surely be on the quarterback drills because the biggest determination they need to make this offseason is whether they believe there's a franchise quarterback sitting at the top of the draft. Their future could rest on that decision.
But they'll of course be watching more than that. They'll look at other potential choices at No. 2, most notably running back Saquon Barkley. And you know new GM Dave Gettleman will be front and center watching his "Hog Mollies" when the offensive linemen do their drills.
The top three quarterbacks - USC's Sam Darold, UCLA's Josh Rosen, and Wyoming's Josh Allen - will be on center stage for them. Penn State RB Saquon Barkley might be the most exciting player in the draft, and the Giants will keep an eye on him, too. N.C. State DE Bradley Chubb is the best defensive player in the draft. But given their need for O-line help, they'll surely study Notre Dame G Quenton Nelson, the best lineman in this class.
Either Gettleman or Assistant GM Kevin Abrams will likely sit down and talk to the agents representing the key free agents on their roster. They will surely, at least, gauge the price of G Justin Pugh, LB Devon Kennard, and LB Jonathan Casillas - three free agents they'd like to retain at the right price.
If they're interested, they probably could even lock up quick deals with G D.J. Fluker and RB Orleans Darkwa. Center Weston Richburg probably won't be back, but they'll probably check his price out, too.
There are a few Giants who are on the salary cap bubble, but could remain on the roster at a reduced salary. These might involve ultimatums more than talks, but the process could begin this week. Salary cut candidates include CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie ($6.48 million) and G John Jerry ($3.05 million).
No Tampering (wink, wink)
No official talks are allowed until March 12, of course, but by the end of the combine, the Giants will absolutely know where they stand with Panthers guard Andrew Norwell -- perhaps the top interior lineman on the market.
If he doesn't get the franchise tab, the Giants are expected to be interested. He could end up getting a deal worth $12 million per year, maybe with $25 million guaranteed - in line with, or perhaps exceeding the top guards in the game.
Meet the Press
Pat Shurmur is scheduled to hold a press conference on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., and Gettleman will follow at 9:45 a.m. They're not likely to reveal a draft or free-agent strategy, but here are a few of the topics that are expected to come up and key questions they might be asked:
- Can Eli Apple remain a Giant? Gettleman has met with him. Presumably Shurmur has spoken to him. He's a pariah in his own locker room. Do they think he needs a change of scenery?
- Do they have any more thoughts on QB Davis Webb? So far, they've said they know mostly nothing about him. If they've learned more, that could be the key to whether they take a QB at No. 2.
- How is Odell Beckham Jr.'s rehab going? They'll say "fine," at least, and maybe "great" because that's how it always is this time of year. But details remain scarce, other than a hint on social media that Beckham doesn't plan to play in any preseason game.
- Will their defense play a 4-3 or 3-4? Shurmur hasn't spoken since defensive coordinator James Bettcher was hired. He ran a 3-4 in Arizona, but the Giants have been a 4-3 team. A scheme change, to some extent, seems likely and that would mean some player changes, too.