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5 biggest questions heading into the NFL Combine

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  1. How do the big names perform?**

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First, let's start with who the big names are at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine, which runs Feb. 17-23 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Of the roughly 300 NFL hopefuls expected to participate, DE Leonard Williams (USC), LB Randy Gregory (Nebraska), WR Kevin White (West Virginia), WR Amari Cooper (Alabama), NT Danny Shelton (Washington), and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks Jameis Winston (FSU) and Marcus Mariota (Oregon) are just some of the top prospects likely to hear their names on the first day of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Holding the ninth pick, the Giants stand in the top 10 of the draft order for the first time since 2004 and are in the market for the best prospect available. Below is a better look at the top invitees, according to NFL.com:

Quarterbacks
Brett Hundley, UCLA
Marcus Mariota, Oregon
Jameis Winston, Florida State

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Check out photos of the key WRs invited to the 2015 NFL Combine

Running backs**
Tevin Coleman, Indiana
Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
Todd Gurley, Georgia

Wide receivers
Amari Cooper, Alabama
DeVante Parker, Louisville
Jaelen Strong, Arizona State
Kevin White, West Virginia

Tight ends
Maxx Williams, Minnesota
Clive Walford, Miami (Fla.)

Offensive linemen
T.J. Clemmings (OT), Pittsburgh
La'el Collins (OT), LSU
Andrus Peat (OT), Stanford
Brandon Scherff (OT), Iowa

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Check out photos of the key offensive linemen at the 2015 NFL Combine

Defensive linemen**
Dante Fowler (DE), Florida
Randy Gregory (DE), Nebraska
Shane Ray (DE), Missouri
Danny Shelton (NT), Washington
Leonard Williams (DT), USC

Linebackers
Paul Dawson (ILB), TCU
Benardrick McKinney (ILB), Mississippi State
Shaq Thompson (OLB), Washington

Defensive backs
Jalen Collins (CB), LSU
Landon Collins (FS), Alabama
Trae Waynes (CB), Michigan State
P.J. Williams (CB), Florida State

*2. Whose draft stock rises? Whose falls?*

The evaluation process neither begins nor ends at the NFL Scouting Combine. Scouts log countless miles throughout the year to scope talent across the country and beyond. The combine, like pro days and other draft checkpoints between the college season and selection day, is a chance for the front office to confirm what the scouts saw on the road and check in to see if anything changed between then and now. From a prospect's viewpoint, it's an opportunity to improve that report through drills and interviews. But, as we've seen before, the opposite can also happen.

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  1. Who comes out of nowhere?**

It happens at least once per year. A relatively unknown player turns people's heads with a freakish performance in one of the drills. Last time it was Dri Archer, a running back out of Kent State whose 4.26 40-yard dash time came two-hundredths of a second shy of Chris Johnson's combine record, which he set in 2008. Archer improved his stock and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round just a few months later.

4. Who's not there?

Right now there is at least one future impact player of the NFL out there not preparing himself for the combine in Indianapolis and instead is banking on his pro dray. From Victor Cruz of the New York Giants to recent Super Bowl XLIX hero Malcolm Butler of the New England Patriots, the NFL is full of players not invited to the annual combine who go on to do great things. Who slips through the cracks this time?* *

5. What's the latest from Giants camp?

Including head coach Tom Coughlin and general manager Jerry Reese, the Giants' top decision-makers migrate to the Hoosier State with the rest of the NFL community. And that includes the media. Coughlin, Reese, and others will address reporters about the state of the team as March 10, the date when the new league year and free agency begin, looms less than a month away. Let's see what they have to say about prospects, pending free agents, and everything in between. Giants.com will be there, so stay tuned.

Check out photos of Giants from past NFL Combines

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