Though Mara typically likes to keep his business behind closed doors, he pulled back the curtains for NFL Network's Finding Giants series, which details the lives of a few Giants scouts. It just so happens that Mara's team is heading into a game Sunday in which four of the owner's 2014 draft picks could be starting. Three -- Weston Richburg, Andre Williams and Odell Beckham -- will play a very significant role.
We caught up with Mara to talk about his thoughts on the series, how soon he knew Beckham was the first-round pick and which scout is the breakout star of the series:
ATNFL: I know you're more cautious in your evaluations, but you might have four of your first six picks in the 2014 draft starting on Sunday, and all of them are playing extremely well. How's that for timing now that Finding Giants is on the air?
MARA: Well, the timing is very good, that's for sure. And of course, there's also a big difference when you draft 12th as opposed to in the late 20s or 32, you're going to get, as a general rule, the opportunity to acquire better players. And so far, these guys have worked out, but again, we're only five games into the season. As Bill Parcells said, let's not get their bust ready for Canton just yet.
ATNFL: It must be hard not to when looking at Beckham, though, who was a central figure in Finding Giants. He had quite a debut last Sunday. What were your thoughts on his game, and what did you remember about the scouts seeing him at the combine? To me, that is one of the cooler scenes in Finding Giants.
MARA: It was nice to see him contribute like that. To think about what may lie ahead in the future, it is exciting. We'll see what happens. Around the combine, we had kind of earmarked Odell as our guy. I try not to get too excited, it's happened a number of times in the past where a guy we've earmarked gets picked, but yeah, I had watched some LSU games myself. I knew who he was myself. It was a pretty uniform evaluation, he had some special talents. We were really pleased that he was still there.
ATNFL: How early do you know who your guy is? In Finding Giants, we see the thousands of hours of legwork throughout the season, but when is it boiled down to one dream candidate?
MARA: I'll start talking to Marc Ross (the director of scouting) after the first of the year to get his impressions of guys and (general manager) Jerry Reese also. Before the draft, I had a pretty good idea that he was going to be our guy if he was still there. You always have a plan B and a plan C, it doesn't always work out that way. Often times he ends up not being there, but we were lucky he was.
ATNFL: When I spoke to Beckham before the draft, he didn't think he would go as high as No. 12. One of the feelings I get from the scouts in Finding Giants is that they're very much in the wind, to the point where maybe even the player doesn't know he'll be picked.
MARA: You have to be that way. You don't want other teams to know who you like. You always run the risk of someone trading up ahead of you. We knew a lot of teams liked Odell for obvious reasons, so you have to keep that very close to the vest.
ATNFL:What was your favorite part of the series?
MARA: I liked the family scenes, but I think my favorite was one of the first shows and all the scouts were getting training to use their iPads, and Joe Collins asked our IT director: "What's this Safari thing, anyway?"
ATNFL: Joe has just about all of the funniest scenes in the documentary. You're going to have to pay him more now. He might be looking for his own spinoff.
MARA: He's a big star now. Believe me, I gave him a lot of grief. I gave them all a lot of grief. They were paying special attention to how they comb their hair. Believe me, they all knew they were on camera.