Giants general manager Joe Schoen answers questions at the Quest Diagnostics...

Giants general manager Joe Schoen answers questions at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, N.J. on Jan 26. Credit: Noah K. Murray

INDIANAPOLIS — It’s become vogue for some to downplay the value of the Combine or even eschew it altogether, but new Giants general manager Joe Schoen isn’t one to let this opportunity to spend time with draft prospects flitter by for himself or his coaches. In fact, having those two entities together in the same space – coaches and potential players – is part of the appeal of this annual week.

Front office folks have been grinding away on evaluations for months but coaches are only now starting to catch up in that process and the Combine is one of the best ways to do that, Schoen said.

"Sometimes we throw some soft tosses maybe to the coaches — ‘Hey, this guy’s pretty good’ — and they pay a little bit more attention to those guys at the Combine and now you get them on board," Schoen said. "We have the players we like and then some of our job is how do we navigate it to get the coaches to where we are? This is the start of that process."

Not all that happens at the Combine is a surprise to general managers, Schoen admitted.

"Some of the players we interview, we may know they’re great kids and then they come in and they blow it out of the water and the coach is like, ‘Yeah, I like that guy,’ " he said. "Well, that’s part of the plan too, to get them to where you want them to be. I think it’s very important for our coaching staff to be here and I’m glad they’re so immersed in the process and they’re excited to help us out from the coaching staff side."

There is also plenty to learn as a general manager, too. Schoen, who has said in the past that most draft errors come from missing on the person rather than the player, said having those face-to-face meetings with prospects is an essential part of the selection process that will culminate in April.

"That’s part of the reason I’m excited to be here," he said. "We went through two weeks of meetings in February and I was around some of the players at the Senior Bowl. But there are some players I just haven’t been around. I haven’t talked to them. I haven’t had an interaction with them. The fact that we’re back here at the Combine, we get those 45 interviews, we get them for 20 minutes, it’s been a great opportunity to get in front of the kids and talk to them and really get to know them. I think that’s really important. We’ll continue to do that through March and April as it leads up to the draft. That’s definitely a priority of mine to get around as many players as I can."

And get his coaches around them as well.

"When a coaching staff and a personnel staff are aligned on a pick," he said, "I think those are sometimes your best picks and they’re also the type of people you want in the building."

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