2015 NFL Draft: Brandon Thorn’s Weekly Scouting Journal Debut
Welcome to my weekly journal everyone! My name is Brandon Thorn and I have been writing for several blogs/websites for about six years (off and on due to breaks for military deployments). I have been a scout even longer, just didn’t realize it until I went to the 2009 Senior Bowl and got a taste of life as a scout. I wrote an in-depth report on all the events, practices, and the game. Since then I have been hooked and have been doing positional rankings, big boards, and mock drafts ever since (I will be attending the 2015 Senior Bowl as well).
My dream is to get an opportunity with an NFL franchise and eventually become an NFL scout, then work my way up the ranks. I currently intern for a pro indoor football team out of Ft. Collins, CO called the Colorado Ice. I do various assignments for them and am enjoying every minute of it. I also recently completed the ‘Football GM & Scouting’ course through Sports Management Worldwide, which honed my skills as a scout and gave me the opportunity to pick the brains of people like John Wooten, Russ Lande, and Mark Dominik.
If there is one thing I strive to do in writing for this website it is to bring some more notoriety here, because honestly it is one of the best kept secrets on the internet (particularly for football scouts). I plan on doing that by providing for you, the reader, a comprehensive, well-researched, and enjoyable read. Without further ado, welcome to my first entry and here’s to many more in the future!
Top 5 Positional Rankings
My feature piece of the journal. Here I will begin with my initial top 5 at every position of seniors as well as underclassman who are likely to and have already declared for the 2015 NFL Draft. I will update this list each week as I get further along in my film study. What will separate this journal from others is the scouting reports that I have/will be doing for each player on my list. The format has been used by various NFL teams and will be where I get to defend my rankings through the in-depth evaluations I am working on daily.
I rank prospects not based off of their college position, but where I feel they will/should play in the NFL.
THE * MEANS I HAVE A COMPLETED REPORT ON THE PROSPECT.
THESE WILL BE POSTED ON THE TFE HOMEPAGE PERIODICALLY AS WELL AS LINKED TO THE PLAYER’S NAME.THESE RANKINGS ARE BASED SOLELY OFF OF MY EVALUATION OF THEIR TAPE (WHICH IS INCOMPLETE) AND TO HOW THEY PROJECT IN THE NFL ON THE FIELD. I WON’T GET INTO OFF-FIELD, CHARACTER TYPE OF ISSUES BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH ACCESS TO FEEL COMFORTABLE EVALUATING THAT SIDE OF THE EQUATION.
THIS IS A VERY PRELIMINARY LIST AS MY FILM STUDY IS STILL IN THE EARLY STAGES. EXPECT A LOT OF MOVEMENT LEADING UP TO THE DRAFT, PARTICULARLY IN THE MIDDLE-TO-END RANKINGS.
- QB Jameis Winston – FSU – 6-4/227
- Edge – Randy Gregory – Nebraska – 6-6/245
- DL – Leonard Williams – USC – 6-5/300
- QB Marcus Mariota – Oregon – 6-4/215
- RB Melvin Gordon – Wisconsin – 6-1/207
- RB Todd Gurley – Georgia – 6-1/232
- WR DeVante Parker – Louisville – 6-3/209
- WR Amari Cooper – Alabama – 6-1/202
- S Landon Collins – Alabama – 6-0/215
- OT La’el Collins – LSU – 6-5/315
- Edge – Dante Fowler Jr. – Florida – 6-3/261
- Edge – Alvin “Bud” Dupree – Kentucky – 6-4/264
- WR Kevin White – West Virginia – 6-3/210
- Edge – Shane Ray – Missouri – 6-3/245
- DL DeForest Buckner – Oregon – 6-7/286
- OT Ereck Flowers – Miami – 6-6/322
- OT Ronnie Stanley – Notre Dame – 6-5/315
- Edge – Vic Beasley – Clemson – 6-3/235
- CB Marcus Peters – Washington – 6-0/198
- Edge Eli Harold – Virginia – 6-4/235
- OT Andrus Peat – Stanford – 6-7/312
- OT/OG Brandon Scherff – Iowa – 6-5/315
- OT Cedric Ogbuehi – Texas A&M – 6-5/305
- ILB Benardrick McKinney – Mississippi State – 6-5/249
- CB Tre Waynes – Michigan State – 6-1/183
- LB Eric Kendricks – UCLA – 6-0/230
- LB Shaq Thompson – Washington – 6-1/228
- ILB Denzel Perryman – Miami – 6-0/242
- RB Ameer Abdullah – Nebraska – 5-9/195
- WR Jalen Strong – Arizona State – 6-4/205
- Edge Hau’oli Kikaha – Washington – 6-3/246
- TE Maxx Williams – Minnesota – 6-4/254
- RB Tevin Coleman – Indiana – 6-1/210
- S Gerod Holliman – Louisville – 6-0/201
- CB P.J. Williams – FSU – 6-0/196
- DT Malcolm Brown – Texas – 6-2/320
- DT Eddie Goldman – FSU – 6-4/314
- NT Danny Shelton – Washington – 6-2/339
- DT Michael Bennett – Ohio State – 6-2/288
- T.J. Yeldon – Alabama – 6-2/218
- LB/Edge – Eric Striker – Oklahoma – 6-0/221
- RB Duke Johnson – Miami – 5-9/206
- QB Brett Hundley – UCLA – 6-3/227
- WR Devin Funchess – Michigan – 6-5/230
- C Cameron Erving – FSU – 6-6/310
- WR Sammie Coates – Auburn – 6-2/216
- RB Jay Ajayi – Boise State – 6-0/215
- CB Jalen Collins – LSU – 6-2/195
- CB Alex Carter – Stanford – 6-0/200
- DL Sheldon Day – Notre Dame – 6-2/290
- DL Mario Edwards Jr. – FSU – 6-3/294
2015 NFL Mock Draft
I will have my initial 1-round edition in the following edition of the journal. I plan on doing a 2-3 round mock draft as I continue to dive into this year’s crop of prospects so expect that in the near future as well.
Reminisce With Me
Here I will go back in football history (NFL or college) to give a brief nugget related the NFL Draft, NFL Combine, about a certain player, or team. My goal is to keep it short and sweet or in simpler words; interesting.
Random fact of the day: Star Lotulelei was the 57th ranked defensive end in the state of Utah coming out of high school & was 6-4 245 pounds. He’s now 6-2 320 pounds. Not only did he put on an incredible 75 pounds and become a first-round draft pick, he somehow shrank 2 inches.
New England Patriots LB Jamie Collins had a 11-7 broad jump at the 2013 NFL Combine, which is the best measurement for any position in Combine history. The world record for a broad jump is 12’2, set by a Norwegian in 1968. This is an incredible statistic about Collins, particularly because he set this record at 6-3 250 pounds, which is nothing short of miraculous. The broad jump is a measure of hip/leg explosion and is a valuable piece of the puzzle in football evaluation, especially for certain positions.
Another Combine drill that is especially valuable to lower body explosion is the vertical leap, which Collins posted a 41.5 inch mark in. While these things aren’t as valuable as game-film, they are a good indicator of what a player’s athletic limitations and abilities on a football field are. New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick wants players to have a niche that fit into a particular scheme which is why the Patriots often find value in players nobody else wants.
Collins is also a former defensive back who switched to linebacker his sophomore year in college, so his coverage skills were fairly advanced. Belichick is constantly ahead of the curve in creating mismatches and countering attempted mismatches. With the evolution of the tight end position (something Belichick had a large role in) becoming more common across the league, the need to match-up with them has become a pressing issue. The issue is defensive backs have the speed to stay with these tight ends, but lack the size. While linebackers typically have the size but lack the speed/quickness. The solution has been to find players who have a little of both.
Collins represented the best of both worlds and has quickly become one of the best coverage linebackers in pro football, guarding tight ends, receivers, and backs out of the backfield. This should dispel some of the notion that the Combine is meaningless, because certain drills for certain positions can be very telling in what their capabilities and limitations are when placed in a certain role.
Player Comp of the Week
Not only are these players nearly identical in size (Fowler 6-3 261, Ingram 6-2 265) and frame, they both offer a very similar set of skills. Both of them have the ability to play in multiple schemes and in various alignments. Fowler primarily plays as a LDE or RDE in the team’s 3-3-5 look but also stands up as an OLB on the edge. He has also excelled as an ILB where he gets to utilize his impressive first-step, overall quickness, and snap anticipation. Both players offer excellent versatility and will be used very similarly in the pro game.
You can talk to Brandon Thorn about all things NFL DRAFT via Twitter @OneDayGM.