College football fans can rejoice now that the season is back, and the NFL will follow suit this week.
Meanwhile, it's never too early to think about the NFL Draft. As scouts hit the road to evaluate tomorrow's NFL stars, Jim Nagy, the executive director of the Senior Bowl, is hard at work putting together a list of players to invite to Mobile, Ala., in February. Nagy, a former NFL scout who was part of four Super Bowl championship teams, recently joined the "Draft Season" podcast to discuss how the 2024 draft is shaping up and also share his thoughts on the Giants' rookies.
It's always entertaining to see the draft generate a deep range of talented players across various positions every year. In the 2019 draft, for example, there was a significant number of defensive line prospects available, with many of them being highly touted by teams looking to bolster their defense. Alternatively, the 2020 class was characterized by a group of exceptionally skilled receivers, with no fewer than six of them being selected in the first round alone. As the process begins once again, Nagy shared what he believes are the deepest positions of the 2024 draft class.
"I like this cornerback group," Nagy said. "I really think there are some good players there. I think there's some unproven running backs that have talent, but now they're going to be in more prominent roles. I know Georgia has got a couple guys on this year's list, and they were behind Kenny McIntosh, who played in our game last year, so there are some guys that have something to prove but running back and corner are usually our two spots where it's pretty junior heavy position groups."
Of course, the college football landscape is undergoing major changes, and Nagy touched on which programs have done the best recently in the transfer portal.
"I would have to start with Florida State," Nagy said. "Mike Norvell has done an excellent job in the portal. They got a guy like Jaheim Bell from South Carolina. He's kind of a pass-catching F tight end, size-wise we've got him on the board right now at fullback. He could maybe do some fullback stuff. He's been a running back at South Carolina, so he's got that body type. Michigan's done a nice job. They've actually convinced a couple offensive linemen to come there even though they were already loaded on the offensive line, but there's some good players. Ohio State's always going to be loaded. They do a great job in recruiting and developing their guys, and they've got a lot of high-end guys, too, and overall that's another school. We've got a bunch of Ohio State guys at the top of the board."
As Nagy evaluates the next class of rookies, the 18-year scouting veteran took some time to provide his take on a pair of Giants rookies who both participated in the 2023 Senior Bowl – center John Michael Schmitz and running back Eric Gray.
"I think John Michael Schmitz is equipped to come in and play at a pretty good level right away," Nagy said. "You're plugging him in at center, and there's a lot on the center. The nice thing is he's got a super smart quarterback in Daniel Jones who knows what he's doing, but he's not going to have to carry the load by himself. I think Schmitz is used to being a center. I heard the Giants offensive line coach (Bobby Johnson) talk about that a little bit, they've been playing guys there that are good players, and have done a decent job in there for them, but they haven't had a guy that's a center. And that's what Schmitz is. So, I think he'll play at a pretty good level for a rookie center.
"Eric Gray, I think that they knew they were really excited to get him where they got him in the fifth or sixth round. I know Joe Schoen and I were going back and forth a little bit about that during the draft, and I know he was he was pumped. They were kind of staring him in the face like they didn't think they would be, so you know going back and watching some of these offensive lineman from Oklahoma over the summer, you kind of forget how good some of these guys were. I'm watching and was like, how did Eric Gray last until the fifth round? Guys like Eric Gray shouldn't last in the fifth round. Comparatively at other positions he's a way better player as a running back than other guys at their positions were in the fifth round, so he'll be a good change-of-pace back. The one thing he can do is make people miss and do it really well, so in the pass and run game put the ball in his hands he can create and so he's a really good complementary back."
View photos of the Giants' 2023 rookie class in action during training camp and preseason.