Caleb Williams, Rome Odunze featured in Giants’ newest ‘Hard Knocks’ episode

Caleb Williams, Rome Odunze featured in Giants’ newest ‘Hard Knocks’ episode originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

On the newest episode of the Giants’ version of “Hard Knocks,” the NFL Scouting Combine was the main focus.

At the combine, the Giants spoke to a handful of rookies, including BearsCaleb Williams and Rome Odunze.

Of Williams, the Giants spoke highly of his competitive nature. But they expressed concern about his attitude; specifically, not handling the media after losing to UCLA during the 2023 season.

“Just seeing how he dealt with that adversity,” Blaise Bell, a Giants area scout said. “(He) refused to talk to the media after UCLA. Obviously, coming out of our market, that’s a no-no. But other than that, everything checks. The guy is a competitor, loves ball, locked in.”

When meeting with the Giants in their suite at Lucas Oil Stadium, Williams impressed with his knowledge of X’s and O’s. Head coach Brian Daboll asked Williams if he had to run one passing play for the entirety of a single game, which one would he choose?

The Bears quarterback drew up an empty-set pass play with a bevy of options. He drew up a fade route, stick and deep corner routes while explaining his ability to pass the ball on the back shoulder of a receiver and rifle it in between defenders.

Daboll appeared impressed, as he related the concept to his Jets days coaching Brett Favre. Then, Favre rifled bullets at his receivers downfield through a narrow window.

The Giants were impressed with Williams. But they didn’t appear to give him the time of day, likely because they knew the Bears would ultimately draft him with the No. 1 pick in the draft — which they did.

As for Odunze, the Giants were infatuated with him. He was one of the few top receivers to compete at the NFL Combine, participating in drills and running the 40-yard dash.

“You need to tell me every time Odunze’s up if I’m not paying attention,” GM Joe Schoen said.

Odunze was on the Giants’ radar ahead of the draft. They appeared to be debating between trading up and drafting a quarterback, or sticking with the No. 6 pick and landing a wide receiver.

When they opted for the latter, the Giants certainly had Odunze on their minds.

“Alpha,” Hannah Burnett, a college area scout, said of Odunze. “He’s gonna be a high-energy guy. He can take over a room, just kinda getting a feel for that personality. This kid is smart, tough, dependable, everything you want.”

During his meeting with the Giants, Odunze was friendly and respectful. He mentioned his trademark versatility on the field but also mentioned his ability to lift a locker room.

The Giants were impressed, but they were more in love with LSU receiver Malik Nabers, who they ultimately took with the No. 6 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. They played a part in helping Odunze fall to the Bears at No. 9.

They, and certainly, the Falcons …

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