More is better.
That is the approach this year-old Giants front office and coaching staff takes to the process of roster building. There are 30 coaching staffs in the NFL finished with everything that goes into planning for a game, as only the Super Bowl-bound Eagles and Chiefs are still in action. For most of the other teams, this is a time to give the coaching staff some much-deserved time off after the grind of a long season.
The Giants are not one of those teams. That is why Brian Daboll and the majority of his coaching staff — including defensive coordinator Wink Martindale and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka — are here this week, getting what Daboll calls a “jump-start’’ on their preparation for the 2023 NFL Draft.
“I just like to come because it’s the initial part of the draft process for me,’’ Daboll told The Post on Thursday. “I haven’t been looking at college players so I like to come down here, it’s a chance to get your eyes on some guys out there on the practice field and also meet with some guys in meetings.
“You’re trying to build your team throughout the entire year. It’s important to be down here, you’ve got however many guys you get the chance to watch practice for a few hours each day and get to talk to some of ’em at night. I think it’s a good start.’’
It is a start that many coaching staffs do not prioritize. There is far too much for Daboll and his assistants to do during the season to add college scouting into the mix. Many head coaches and their staffs use the scouting combine in Indianapolis — set for the last week in February — as the first opportunity to size up draft prospects in person. Daboll and his staff will be a step ahead by then.
“I’m grateful Dabes loves the process and invests in it,’’ general manager Joe Schoen said at the Senior Bowl. “As we go through it, whether it’s bringing guys in on 30s [private visits at the Giants facility], private workouts and the combine, if I can get Dabes, Kafka and Wink in front of 50, 55 prospects here and then 45 at the combine and our 30 visits, by the time at the end of it the head coach has had exposure to basically our whole draft board.
“When you’re aligned, the personnel staff and the coaching staff, on players and the smart, tough, dependable that we’re looking at that also have ability, those are the best decisions you’re gonna make.’’
For the Senior Bowl practice sessions, Schoen said he tries to get his eyes on every player but hones in on specific position groups each day. On Tuesday, he focused on the quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs, which also allowed him to evaluate the defensive backs, as they went against the running backs and wide receivers in passing drills. The next day, Schoen wanted to pay specific attention to the offensive and defensive lines.
The work does not stop once the players leave the field. The Giants met with players in the allotted interview windows — 6:45 p.m. until 11 p.m. — in 15-minute increments, meeting with four players at a time. In order to maximize how many coaches interact with as many players as possible, when the four players arrive they are spread out and put in front of Daboll or a specific coach or coordinator. After a certain time, a horn sounds and the players rotate to a different coach or coordinator. The scouts are also part of this interview formula.
“Our coaches get the football, how smart are they, what do they know?’’ Schoen said. “Our scouts get more of the ‘Hey, you were arrested’ or tell me about your family,’ kind of the scout information.’’
Another reason Daboll sees value in spending time at the Senior Bowl is that he gets to interact with team scouts who are on assignment during the season and rarely at the Giants facility.
“It’s good to be able to talk to those guys and get some perspective on the guys coming out,’’ Daboll said. “I like the whole process, from now until the draft. You’d certainly like to keep playing but this is the next part of it. Just trying to make our team as good as we can make it.’’