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"Finding Giants" ... NFL Network series about NYG scouts (1 Viewer)

Raider Nation

Devil's Advocate
Don't know if anyone else caught the premiere, but it was awesome. Tonight was part 1 of 4.


Here is the story:

John Mara sounded alive and well on the phone Monday, so the first question was obvious: Why did a guy who once said the Giants would appear on "Hard Knocks" over his dead body green-light "Finding Giants," a series built on an un-Giants-like level of access, including video and (gasp!) audio from their draft room?

Mara credited the persistence of producer Philip Michelson, who conceived the four-part series that premieres on NFL Network at 9 Tuesday night, and also the warm feelings John's father, the late co-owner Wellington, had for scouts.

"That was a huge part of it," said Mara, the team's president. "His favorite people in the organization were always scouts. He enjoyed spending time with them and being in draft meetings. I think he always considered himself an old-time scout."

The series follows Giants scouts through the yearlong cycle leading up to the 2014 draft as they scour North America in search of talent -- a lonely, often tedious job that inevitably puts strains on families.

But their work is the heartbeat of an organization, especially in the form of late-round picks and undrafted players.

Exhibit A: tight end Larry Donnell, whom the Giants signed as a free agent in March 2012, developed on their practice squad, then scored three touchdowns in the first half in Thursday night's win.

It will take time before we know how many players found on "Finding Giants" pay off, but the series shows intriguing behind-the-scenes moments that set the stage.

We hear team officials drool over wide receiver Odell Beckham's speed at the scouting combine, project Weston Richburg for starting center duty during an all-star game and debate the merits of taking safety Nat Berhe on the final day of the draft.

The show is not about players, it is about scouts, and it is an eye-opener. Initially Mara had to convince general manager Jerry Reese it was a good idea, and some scouts initially were wary, too. That did not last long. "Some of our scouts were pretty enthusiastic," Mara said, laughing. "They think they're going to be up for Emmy Awards . . . They enjoyed it, and it was fun for the rest of us to watch them in that setting and tease them about it."
Interesting, when does it air?

I like the Giants ability to regularly have some no name produce. There's only a handful of franchises that do this but with years of playing FF I'm convinced this is doable in the real world; only a small percentage of players get drafted, a very tiny percentage at some positions and it all just makes me figure it's quite possible.

Episode 3 aired tonight:


During the NFL season, the scouts stay in the background.

As we've learned in Finding Giants -- which aired its third installment Thursday on NFL Network -- being on the periphery doesn't mean time off. Far from it. The team's talent evaluators spend the fall and early winter traveling across the country conducting an unending search for hidden treasure.

As scout Steve Malin put it in Episode 2, these guys aren't paid to uncover Andrew Luck. Their task is to find the next Tom Brady.

The profile rises once the NFL season comes to an end, however, as the work put in by the scouts becomes paramount to the operation. College all-star season rolls into the combine, which sets the stage for the NFL draft.

"These days you have to get players to start for you in the draft," explained Chris Mara, the New York Giants' senior vice president of player personnel. "You don't have time to develop them. And especially us, we're going to have a big roster turnover this year so we're going to have to get some starters out of this draft."

The pressure is on and nobody wants to get outworked. The draft is coming.

Some other takeaways from Episode 3:

» The episode does a great job illustrating just how much coverage it takes to stay in step with the other 31 teams. At one point during college all-star season, half of the Giants' evaluation staff is on the West Coast and the other half is in Florida.

» Malin described the trait the Giants believe they were missing as a team in 2013: "We gotta get tougher. We gotta get more physical. So that's what I'm looking for: tough guys."

» "There's two guys right there that could start for us," says VP of player evaluation Marc Ross from the bleachers at the Senior Bowl. "The center and left tackle can start for us right now." That center turned out to be Weston Richburg, whom the Giants drafted in the second round a few months later.

» Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff could empathize with a Giants organization trying to regroup after a lost season. "I've had some good talks with (Giants GM) Jerry (Reese), just talking about the ups and downs of a tough season," he says to Giants scout Ryan Jones. "You may adjust a little. It's good for all of us to take a good humble look at ourselves across the board."

» Scout Term Of The Week: Stuck In Mud -- To be slow-footed, plodding, generally unremarkable in fluidity and explosion

» Tyler Starr, who pulled at the heart strings in the season finale of Hard Knocks, has a cameo here talking with Mara at the East-West Shrine Game.

» I'll take the scouts' word for it and make sure to hit up J. Rodgers BBQ if I ever find myself in Mobile.

Catch the replay of Episode 3 of "Finding Giants" on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET, only on NFL Network. If you want more, NFL NOW Plus will offer viewers a full six-episode, "director's cut" edition of Finding Giants after the show wraps its NFL Network run on Oct. 21.

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