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Will Giants be blown away at combine, like they were with Saquon?

INDIANAPOLIS — Before Giants general manager Dave Gettleman addresses several topics Wednesday, coach Pat Shurmur will take to the podium to speak with the media at the NFL Scouting Combine. In his first public comments since the end of the season, it will be interesting to hear what Shurmur took out of his first year with the Giants and how he believes he can improve the roster.

At this time a year ago, Shurmur was just getting acquainted with the front office and had virtually no firsthand experience with the players he inherited. He and the entire Giants contingent headed to last year’s combine owning the No. 2-overall pick in the draft, where there were a handful of legitimate first-round quarterback prospects and a 37-year-old incumbent, Eli Manning, coming off a 3-13 season.

By the time the week was over and the Giants left the combine, they were certain the prize of the draft, in their eyes, was not a quarterback, but Saquon Barkley, a player at a position — running back — that always triggers great debate in terms of how high they should be taken in any given draft, given the ability to find talent at running back in the later rounds.

Barkley put on a show at the 2018 combine, both on the field and off it, and the Giants were concerned he was so impressive that the Browns might actually take him with the No. 1 pick. The Giants eventually got their man, and Barkley did not disappoint, on the field or off it.

Gettleman and Shurmur have no buyers’ remorse for taking Barkley when they did.

This year, with the No. 6 pick, the Giants will spend the week studying and meeting with prospects at practically every position. Gettleman is not a big believer in using combine workouts to boost the draft evaluation of a player, cognizant what an athlete does in shorts and a T-shirt is only a slim portion of the total package. These players have all been thoroughly studied by the scouting department, with weekly reports streaking into the team office. Gettleman revamped some of the procedures his scouts must follow in order to grade a player. It is a broad characterization, but Gettleman’s overlying view is always bigger is better, whenever possible.

Gettleman’s first draft running the show for the Giants provided Shurmur with three starters: Barkley, left guard Will Hernandez and defensive tackle B.J. Hill. All are slated to start in 2019. Linebacker Lorenzo Carter — like Hill, a third-round pick — showed promise as a pass rusher and edge defender and is a big part of the plan moving forward. The other two members of the 2018 rookie class, quarterback Kyle Lauletta and defensive tackle R.J. McIntosh, did not see much action last season, based on Shurmur’s decision (in the case of Lauletta) and injury (McIntosh).

Expect to hear the Giants linked with all sorts of players this week. There will be meetings with quarterbacks, of course, and those always generate the greatest intrigue and lead to the most rampant speculation. So, when words comes in that the Giants set up a meeting with Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State, it will be news, even though everyone involved understands this is a fact-finding mission and not an indication of interest from team to player.

One year into the new regime, Gettleman and the scouts have a better idea what Shurmur is looking for in a draft prospect. Shurmur has a better sense of what he has on the roster and what he needs. There is much work to be done for a franchise that has been outside looking in at the playoffs six of the past seven years.

The Giants hired Everett Withers as the new defensive backs coach.

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