INDIANAPOLIS — Giants co-owner John Mara said Tuesday that he is “skeptical” a change will be made to the NFL’s instant replay during the offseason.
Mara, a member of the league’s competition committee, made his comments to reporters during a break from the committee meetings, believing a replay change would not have enough support from owners. Any rules modification requires a minimum of 24 of the league’s 32 owners.
NFL owners and coaches on the competition committee will continue discussions on modifications to instant replay and a variety of other topics. Discussions on instant replay stem from the missed pass interference call late in the Saints-Rams NFC Championship Game. Penalties are not currently a part of the replay challenge system, but there is increasing sentiment — especially among fans and some coaches — to allow coaches to challenge penalties and non-calls.
Despite the outcry after the Rams’ win, competition committee members, as well as commissioner Roger Goodell, have expressed skepticism about including penalties in the replay system. While discussions will continue in the coming weeks, it appears unlikely owners will have enough support to pass a significant change.
Meanwhile, college players will take center stage at the scouting combine, which starts on Wednesday, also in Indianapolis.General managers, scouts and coaches will begin the process of determining which draft-eligible prospects will fit best with which teams. More than 300 players will be weighed, measured and examined through a variety of drills and tests.
With last year’s quarterback-rich draft, in which five passers were taken in the first round, there figure to be fewer quarterbacks taken this year. But there will be plenty of debate about reigning Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray, who had a terrific season at Oklahoma after replacing 2018 Heisman winner Baker Mayfield, last year’s No. 1 overall pick. But Murray’s 5-10, 195-pound build will be a hot topic in the evaluation process and could determine whether he’s a top-10 pick or a first-rounder at all.
Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who has been connected to the Giants now that they are in the market for an eventual replacement for Eli Manning, is much more of a prototypical quarterback who almost certainly will be a first-round pick. And possibly a very high one.
But it’s defensive players — especially along the line — who could dominate the upper echelon of the draft. That starts with Ohio State edge rusher Nick Bosa, but there are plenty of other pass rushers and linemen ready to make the jump, including defensive tackles Quinnen Williams of Alabama, Ed Oliver of Houston, and Christian Wilkins of Clemson and pass rushers Clelin Ferrell of Clemson, Zach Allen of Boston College and Josh Allen of Kentucky.
The Jets and Giants may have their eye on some of the same prospects, particularly on defense. It will be the Jets who get the first crack with the third overall pick, while the Giants have the sixth choice. Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan took care of the all-important quarterback question last year by moving up to draft USC star Sam Darnold. He’s now desperate to add a pass rusher and can select into the strength of this year’s draft.
With Giants GM Dave Gettleman opting for Penn State running back Saquon Barkley at No. 2 overall last year, and with Manning showing signs of slowing down, quarterback might be his top priority But Gettleman needs to be convinced about any of this year’s prospects, and it’s uncertain at this point whether he’s ready to use his top pick either on Murray or Haskins.