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Giants send four to Villanova offensive lineman Ben Ijalana's pro day

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Giants send four to Villanova offensive lineman Ben Ijalana's pro day

Post  Big_Pete on Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:47 pm

Giants send four to Villanova offensive lineman Ben Ijalana's pro day

Published: Wednesday, April 06, 2011, 5:18 PM Updated: Wednesday, April 06, 2011, 5:52 PM
Mike Garafolo/The Star-Ledger By Mike Garafolo/The Star-Ledger The Star-Ledger

The Giants sent four talent evaluators to the pro day for Villanova offensive lineman Ben Ijalana (71), shown here blocking during a game last season.

There's a reason nearly every mock draft you can read these days has the Giants taking an offensive lineman with the 19th overall pick: it's a glaring need and the team is heavily investigating those options.

The latest example came today when the Giants sent four sets of eyes count em, four to Villanova for offensive lineman Ben Ijalana's pro day. The four in attendance were: director of college scouting Marc Ross, scout Chris Pettit, offensive line coach Pat Flaherty and assistant offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr.

The evidence of those in attendance comes courtesy of a photo gallery on Villanova's website. Bicknell is in the first photo running a drill with Ijalana. Pettit is the Giants' scout in the gray jacket in a number of pictures. Flaherty is on the left side of photo No. 41. And Ross is the one rocking the snazzy gray sweater in a bunch of pics.

That's a pretty strong contingent for the Giants right there. Since Ijalana played at the FCS level and didn't participate in the Senior Bowl or the scouting combine because of hernia surgery, they probably want all the information they can get on him. (Maybe they should check out ZBerm's story, too.)

Ijalana, who played tackle in college but is seen by many as an NFL guard, is projected to be selected in the second round. There's some noise he could even go late in the first round, but most are thinking he goes a tad later. From the sound of things, the Giants' selecting him at 19 would be very high, though perhaps they consider him an option if they slide up in the second round.

The offensive linemen being tied to the Giants at 19 are Florida center Mike Pouncey and Boston College tackle Anthony Castonzo. Pouncey met with Giants representatives individually at his pro day and Flaherty worked out Castonzo at BC's pro day. Indications are that both players are on the Giants' radar, but we'll see if Pouncey makes it to them.

In any event, it's pretty clear the Giants are intent on fortifying their offensive line in the early rounds later this month. Not that it should be a surprise to anyone. Even noted draft expert Tom Coughlin put that one out there on a silver platter for you recently when he identified center as a position of need.

* * * *

Elsewhere, it should be noted Ross attended Virginia CB Ras-I Dowling's workout earlier this week. Dowling was a first-round talent until an injury-plagued 2010 season lowered his stock a bit. In recent years, the Giants have jumped on a few talented players who slipped because of injury concerns.

Dowling apparently performed well at his workout, running in the 4.3s, vertical jumping 38" and chalking up 19 reps on the bench.

* * * *

Finally, I know you want to know who's coming to East Rutherford for pre-draft visits. How do I know you want to know? Because I want to know. And as always, the Giants are putting the fear of the Almighty into agents, so the info on their visits isn't flowing as freely as it is for other teams. I'll try my best to find out some names, as it's a decent indicator for players they're interested in drafting.

When (and if) I know those names, you will too. Trust me.

In the meantime, don't confuse on-campus meetings with visits to the Timex facility. And remember, any and all players who were born, or went to college, in the area can visit without counting against the 30, so their presence isn't necessarily an indication of high interest.

For more Giants coverage, follow Mike Garafolo on Twitter at
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