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'Finding Giants': Time for scouts to take the stage

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


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As we've learned in Finding Giants -- which airing its third installment tonight at 9 ET 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.

Be sure to catch the latest episode of "Finding Giants" tonight at 9 ET 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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