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Draft season begins at 2019 Senior Bowl

Senior-Bowl

For one week every year, the center of the football world is 150 miles from the closest NFL stadium.

Welcome to Mobile, Alabama, home of the Senior Bowl.

The 70th edition of the college showcase game will be played Saturday, Jan. 26, but the real work gets done during the week of practices, where NFL coaches, general managers and scouts gather to watch the top outgoing players in college football. In keeping with tradition, NFL staffs will coach the North and South squads. Jon Gruden's Raiders will coach the North while Kyle Shanahan's 49ers lead the South.

Last year, three of the Giants' six draft picks were selected to the Senior Bowl: guard Will Hernandez, defensive tackle B.J. Hill, and quarterback Kyle Lauletta, who was named the game's MVP. Seventeen former Senior Bowlers were named to the 2019 Pro Bowl. The Giants hold the sixth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, which takes place April 25-27 in Nashville.

"We tried to build this a lot like an NFL personnel department, really," first-year Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy said on "Senior Bowl Live" in partnership with Yahoo! Sports. "We cut the country up into five areas. I took the Southeast, and we had four veteran scouts. It's the first time we've really had four veteran scouts on the road. They've got 69 years of experience between the four of them, so we were hitting games every week, watching tape all week. We put the board together, and then the week of Thanksgiving I got on calls with 17 teams in the league and just went down the board – basically, 'Here's who we've invited, here's the next group of guys we want to invite, and here's our cut line. … Who do you guys want to see?' Because we're trying to build this for them. This is the NFL's game. We're trying to get the rosters for them. So the input from the teams was a huge part of it."

As is always the case around draft season, much of the focus will be on the quarterbacks. This year's crop of Senior Bowl invitees includes eight players at the position, four on each team. The North Team quarterbacks are Drew Lock (Missouri), Trace McSorley (Penn State), Ryan Finley (N.C. State), and Daniel Jones (Duke). The South's are Tyree Jackson (Buffalo), Will Grier (West Virginia), Jarrett Stidham (Auburn), and Gardner Minshew (Washington State). Last year's game featured No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen, who was taken at No. 7.

"This class, from top to bottom, it's a really, really good group," Nagy said. "Talking to my friends in the league, when you just look at the senior class … they all bring something to the table. When you talk to teams, you can basically shake them up and take names out of a hat and they're going to come up with a different order. Everyone's kind of got a different guy they're locked in on during the week. So it's really going to be a fun process for the league to come down to see these guys throwing in drills one after the other and who can build that momentum through the week."

Our Giants.com crew will be there for the week, so stay tuned for practice reports, player media sessions, and what the draft analysts are saying. Here is what you need to know about the 2019 Senior Bowl:

MEDIA DAY: Tuesday, Jan. 22. All players are scheduled to be in attendance, as well as both head coaches.

ROSTERS: The Senior Bowl rosters feature the nation's top senior collegiate football players and NFL draft prospects on teams representing the North and South. Only college seniors and fourth-year junior graduates are eligible for the game. Fourth-year junior graduates must have graduated by the December prior to the game to be eligible.

PRACTICE SCHEDULE (all times Eastern):

Tuesday
2:30 pm – 4:00 pm (SOUTH)
4:30 pm – 6:00 pm (NORTH)

Wednesday
1:30 pm – 3:30 pm (NORTH)
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm (SOUTH)

Thursday
1:30 pm – 3:30 pm (NORTH)
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm (SOUTH)

GAME: Saturday, Jan. 26

TIME: 2:30pm

LOCATION: Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama

TELEVISION: NFL Network

Photos of Giants who played in college football's annual showcase of top seniors declaring for the draft

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