Footballs flew inside Lucas Oil Stadium, steaks flew off menus and information flew all around Indianapolis.
The NFL combine is over and the wait is on. Free agency begins March 18. The Draft begins April 23.
Here are 10 things The Post learned from conversations with agents, scouts, coaches and executives at the combine:
1. The debate inside the Giants over Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons – worthy of the No. 4 pick? – could be one of the most hotly contested in years. Simmons played 100 or more snaps at five different defensive positions in 2019.
“Every position is critical to have versatility,” coach Joe Judge said, “because it’s all going to change both by scheme and by need.”
Judge’s words echo Bill Belichick’s philosophy. But sources in rival organizations believe the Giants front office still is of the mindset that “position-less players” are too difficult to maximize when a stud is needed at No. 4.
2. Great debate still rages on Giants quarterback Daniel Jones’ future.
Some insiders believe he was “just OK” as a rookie, with an 87.7 rating, 3,024 passing yards, 24 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a league-high 18 fumbles.
One team with a multiple-time Pro Bowl quarterback in his prime included Jones on its draft board last April because of the thought he might quickly grow to beat out the starter. The same team remains very high on Jones.
The Giants privately remain fully committed to Jones despite the way Judge and Dave Gettleman dodged questions. The belief is his fumbling problem is easily correctable and the quiet way he handled adversity – a nine-game losing streak, turnovers, the awkward dynamic with Eli Manning – was perfect for a pressure-cooker.
Take the Giants out of the Tom Brady sweepstakes. They were never in it.
3. Expect the Giants to prioritize cornerback in free agency one year after mistakenly failing to do so, sources said.
Even with the possibility Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah will be available at No. 4, the Giants understand the need to add a veteran. There is optimism things clicked for DeAndre Baker – one of three first-round picks in 2019 – late in his rookie season. Other teams are not sure he has NFL cornerback speed.
The Giants’ pitch to free agent Byron Jones could include offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, Jones’ head coach with the Cowboys for the last five seasons. James Bradberry (Panthers) is another coveted option.
4. After fulfilling a dream by playing together in the NFL the last two seasons (like in high school and at Rutgers), the McCourty twins are letting teams know they are not a package deal in 2020, sources said.
Devin is a free agent, and Jason could be available if the Patriots make him a cap casualty ($1.75 million dead cap).
Devin, who makes his offseason home about 15 miles from MetLife Stadium, is a better fit for the Judge-led Giants. Jason is a better fit for the safety-full Jets.
5. Free agent Markus Golden lost his greatest ally when Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher was fired. They previously worked together with the Cardinals.
A source described how Bettcher “stood on a table” to convince Gettleman to look past injury history and two correlated unproductive seasons to sign Golden to a one-year, $4.75 million (bonus included) deal.
Golden (10 sacks) is expected to test the market. Bettcher is out of the NFL for now.
6. The Jets have a difficult decision to make with the No. 11 pick: Protection for Sam Darnold or a weapon for Darnold? Especially if it is their fourth-ranked offensive linemen versus their top receiver.
“What’s best available and what are our options?” coach Adam Gase said. “You just don’t know until you get there.”
The depth of the wide receiver class – scouts say there will be impact rookies available into the third day of the Draft – could swing the Jets. They could be the fourth team selecting offensive line, so the difficult decision might be made for them between Tristan Wirfs, Andrew Thomas, Mekhi Becton and Jedrick Wills.
7. In 2018, the Browns believed Baker Mayfield’s swagger was just right for turning around a hapless franchise. On the other side of Ohio, the Bengals are looking at Joe Burrow as a savior as long as he sticks to his word of not refusing to play in Cincinnati.
“Baker was cocky, but Joe is confident,” one NFC executive who interviewed both at the Combine said. “There’s a big difference.”
8. The Chiefs could lose both their coordinators next offseason.
Eric Bieniemy is overdue for his shot, and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will be pushed as a top second-chance candidate barring a disastrous season. He was 10-38 in three seasons with the Rams (2009-11), after winning a Super Bowl coordinating the Giants.
9. Free agent Jadeveon Clowney’s salary is rising and his injury history is becoming less concerning every time an elite pass-rusher is ticketed for a franchise/transition tag. It is creating concern for teams that the second-tier pass-rusher market will be overinflated, too, in a year when the Draft is short on edge rushers.
10. The search for the next Patrick Mahomes or Lamar Jackson – an athletic quarterback who can make the improbable happen – is a big win for Utah State’s Jordan Love.
Two former NFL head coaches specializing in quarterbacks shared their growing infatuation with the 6-foot-4 Love, whose arm strength is more Mahomes than Jackson.