Senior Bowl scouting helped Giants Draft

Posted May 1, 2013

The Giants drafted two players, Justin Pugh and Ryan Nassib, who performed well at the 2013 Senior Bowl

For NFL evaluators, everything is a piece of the puzzle in the draft process. In 2013, the Senior Bowl proved to be a big one.

Of the 254 players selected last weekend, 94 played in college football’s all-star game in Mobile, Ala., including two of the Giants’ latest picks. That’s 37 percent of the 2013 class that benefited from accepting the invitation to play in late January and the most since 2002 produced 96. And while showcase games tend to be nothing more than an exhibition in other sports and levels, the Senior Bowl is part of the audition in college football.

Look no further than offensive tackle Justin Pugh and quarterback Ryan Nassib, whom the Giants took in the first and fourth rounds, respectively. One of Pugh’s main assets is his versatility, but what made the Giants so confident that he could play multiple positions?

“He did it at the Senior Bowl,” said Marc Ross, the Giants’ director of college scouting. “He played a bunch of different positions at practice and during the game. And then his intelligence, he had one of the higher test scores this year. Just talking to him, communicating with him at the combine, it will be an easy transition for him.”

Meanwhile, Nassib’s intangibles grabbed the Giants’ attention at the Senior Bowl. Six quarterbacks participated in the game, and all six were drafted.

“I look at guys who are leaders and winners and raise the level of their team and when they’re on the field they have a presence about them and some moxie to them,” Ross said after the draft. “Those are the attributes to me that stood out with him. I saw him play twice this year when USC played here and then up in the snow in the bowl game up in Yankee Stadium. Then at the Senior Bowl. This guy just has a presence about him around his team, and then at the Senior Bowl around guys he didn’t know. Those are the winning attributes for me that I look for in quarterbacks.”

Following are numbers on the Senior Bowl’s impact on the draft:

94: Total players drafted – most since 2002 (96)
10: Players selected in first round (of other 22 selected, 15 were non-Seniors, 2 were Seniors who couldn’t play in Senior Bowl because of injury during season)
30: Number of NFL teams (out of 32) that took at least 2 Senior Bowlers
16: 1st-round pick the Bills used on QB E.J. Manuel, the only QB picked in 1st round
13: Number of overall No. 1 draft picks to come from the Senior Bowl, counting this year.
7: Senior Bowlers selected by Baltimore, more than any other team (every team took at least one Senior Bowl player)
3: Players selected in top-5 (1. Eric Fisher, 4. Lane Johnson, 5. Ziggy Ansah)
1: Eric Fisher goes No. 1 (first Senior Bowler since Carson Palmer in 2003)