Marc Ross, the Giants' Vice President of Player Evaluation, breaks down the team's scouting process:
The NFL Scouting Combine is an intense week-long job interview, allowing 330 college prospects a chance to impress NFL personnel in advance of April's NFL Draft.
From the 40-yard dash to medical exams to individual sit-down interviews with clubs, it's a grueling process, but one all players go through in an effort to move up the draft boards of each NFL team.
Long before a single bench press rep goes up at Lucas Oil Stadium, scouts from all 32 clubs spend months getting to know the next crop of players. The scouts are the ones putting in the early legwork – traveling across the country to talk to college coaches and watch practices, games and pro days.
"First impressions are when we have the interviews at night and just sit down with them," said Marc Ross, the Giants' Vice President of Player Evaluation. "I've seen them play and heard what the coaches have to say about them, but the important thing for me is to look at them eye to eye, talk to them, see what kind of personality they have and see how they respond to certain questions we have for them."
Each team is allowed to hold a private, 15-minute interview with up to 60 players during the combine. It's a vital step in determining if a particular prospect is ready for the next level.
"I remember Sterling [Shepard] was really impressive in the interview we had here," Ross said. "Eli Apple killed it out here on the floor moving around and was kind of one of those 'wow' guys. Darian Thompson was excellent in the interview and was one of the smartest guys that we've had that we interviewed."
Evaluating college prospects is an imperfect science. It's one thing to identify a top overall pick like Peyton or Eli Manning. It's harder to find those diamonds in the rough - hidden gems like Joe Montana (1979 - 72nd overall) and Tom Brady (2000 - 199th overall) who flew under the radar.
Ross says these days it's become harder to find those types of players, even as more attention gets paid to measurables like hand size, wingspan and vertical leap than ever before.
"You always have those guys you want to be under the radar," said Ross. "There's really no sleepers anymore because everybody knows everybody. There are definitely people that you like more than others and if they go blow out a 40-yard dash, then it's, 'alright, forget about it.' Hopefully we can keep a couple of them hidden still."
Other News & Notes:
• This year's combine marks the second for Ben McAdoo as the head coach of the Giants. McAdoo addressed the media in Indianapolis on Wednesday for the first since the conclusion of the Giants' 2016 season.
"I think that the medical part of things is huge," McAdoo said during his presser. "That is the most important thing. Seeing how guys carry themselves, how they do in the interview process. Really just meeting them for the first time. Seeing them move around a little bit, you can take some notes there. If it is not a guy that was on your radar to begin with, if you see a guy move around and you like the way that he moves around then you can go watch his tape a little bit more and a little more closely and see what you may have."
"Ben has been excellent," added Ross. "We kind of hang out here together all the time. I just sit and talk to him and go over each player with him. Ben and I are kind of working hand in hand and it's been fun. He has a really nice perspective on how we do things and a lot of respect for the scouts and our whole department."
• On-field workouts were finally underway on Friday, as offensive linemen, running backs and specialists all hit the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium. Quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends had media availability and bench press. On-field workouts end on Monday when defensive backs take the field. NFL Network will have wall-to-wall coverage all weekend long.
View the best photos of the day from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.