Scouting the “Scouts”: Evaluating Some of the Top Media-Based NFL Draft Evaluators

2013 NFL DraftIn the most unique “niche” in sports media, the NFL Draft “community” is an ever-growing group of evaluators, mock drafters, and NFL fans. I’ve had the privilege of being able both heavily involved in the NFL Draft media as well as converse and/or meet some of the best and the brightest in the “draft media”. 

In an attempt to give these talented non-NFL evaluators their credit as well as give fans of the draft a chance to learn about their favorite follows, I’ve tried to give each evaluator some background info. I consider myself friends of all the guys mentioned on here, and ALL of their opinions should be held in high regard. I haven't included some "top media" because you likely either already know them AND/OR I haven't had the ability to interact/meet them myself.

That all being said, here are my scouting reports on the guys providing YOU with scouting reports this draft season.

 

Josh Norris, Rotoworld (@JoshNorris)
What an IDIOT: Chandler Jones Not Worth a Top 50 pick
What a GENIUS: Lavonte David as 1st Rounder; Conductor of #TeamTannehill

Scouting Report
Went from Rams intern to Chad Reuter assistant to Rotoworld/NFL.com star, Josh is known for #TeamTannehill, fighting with Chandler Jones’s family, and giving Zach Brown the nickname “Pillow Hands”. Awesome guy to hang out with, hard worker, and as a “high ceiling” as an NFL Draft evaluator. He’ll talk to you about Arthur Brown and Jonathan Cyprien for days, and for good reason.
 

Dane Brugler, CBS Sports (@dpbrugler)
What an IDIOT: Thought Von Miller wouldn’t have success in 4-3 defense
What a GENIUS: Major Clay Matthews supporter in 2009

Scouting Report
Co-pilot for the CBS NFL Draft coverage, he’s got a handful of sources and a boatload of NFL Draft knowledge. Though maybe not as vocal as other NFL Draft media, I’ve seen firsthand why Dane is one of the best in the business.  Be sure to get a copy of his FREE NFL Draft Guide on twitter. Also, he’s been one of the founders (with me) of #TeamNassib before the rest of the NFL Draft media caught up. And if Eric Fisher goes 1st overall, he’ll be the one saying “I told you so.”

 
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report (@nfldraftscout)
What an IDIOT: On Vince Young – “Best QB Prospect since [John] Elway”
What a GENIUS: Von Miller #2 Overall Player in 2011
 
Scouting Report
From New Era Scouting to ushering in a “new era” of Bleacher Report (see what I did there?), Matt Miller has gone from just another internet draft guy to major media quicker than anyone could have imagined. Somehow though, he’s still managed to be a really cool guy, and one of the twitter fans and others in the media can talk to normally over a beer. Don’t be afraid to pass on ESPN’s coverage for Miller and Bleacher Report’s coverage on draft day.
 

Cecil Lammey, ESPN Denver/FootballGuys.com (@CecilLammey)
What an IDIOT: Dan LeFevour as 2010 #2 QB
What a GENIUS: Michael Turner as #2 RB in 2004; Arian Foster as early to mid-rounder in 2009

Scouting Report
Although he’s a host of a Denver radio show, he’s still an NFL Draft diehard and junkie at heart. My go-to-guy on both Denver and “out of football” scouting (cc: @Andrew_Garda), he’s at every all-star event, knows every top prospect, and makes NFL Draft scouting more fun than it probably should be.
 

Josh Liskiewitz, GM Jr (@JoshLiskiewitz)
What an IDIOT: Top 15 Grade on Oklahoma CB Reggie Smith; Brian Brohm Supporter
What a GENIUS: OT Duane Brown as a mid-1st rounder; Rolando McClain a 4th round grade.

Scouting Report
Known for his outside-the-box evaluations on twitter and to the public, Josh doesn’t do it for the publicity (though he could use another thousand or two followers). He’s highly respected by his co-worker Russ Lande, which speaks volumes to his abilities as a scout. He’s the guy who called Tyler Bray the “Honey Badger quarterback, because he doesn’t give a *** if his receiver’s open”. Also, he’ll be voting Sylvester Williams as a 2014 Pro Bowler the day after the draft.
 

 
James Christensen, NE Patriots Draft (@NEPatriotsDraft)
What an IDIOT: Bruce Irvin barely a Top 100 player; Anti-Von Miller
What a GENIUS: Doug Martin with similar grade to Trent Richardson

Scouting Report
Leader at of the “Team Draft Site” network, James turned NEPatriotsDraft.com into double digit sites into one of the most unique networks for NFL and NFL Draft fans. He’s turned NEPD into the Von Miller of football websites: Versatile, talented, and a unique skill set. Also, he’s the king of the UDFA period after the draft.


Mike Loyko, NE Patriots Draft (@NEPD_Loyko)
What an IDIOT: Not a fan of Russell Wilson, not an NFL starter.
What a GENIUS: Chris Johnson as a Top 8 overall grade in 2008.

Scouting Report
Part of James’s team at NEPD, Loyko has been a key piece to their success as well as being a part of many other Draft-focused endeavors, such as working with the guys at RosterWatch.com for their video coverage and publishing his own NFL Draft Guide. While we rarely agree on prospects it seems, he’s one of my favorites to argue with in the draft community. He’s the leader of the Robert Woods fan club this year.


Ben Albright, NFL Draft Monsters (@NFLDraftMonsters
What an IDIOT: Brian Brohm will be a 10-year Pro Bowler.
What a GENIUS: Russell Wilson is worth a 1st round grade.

Scouting Report
As outspoken as you’ll find on the internet, Albright has become known for his “search and destroy” tactics for those in the media that he doesn’t feel deserve national recognition, which is entertaining to follow in his own right. And then on the field, he’s developed brashness as a quarterback evaluator, backed up by his success of Russell Wilson and Andy Dalton’s reports. We’ll see if Matt Barkley makes him pay this year, and if this “Brett Smith” from Wyoming ever pans out in 2014/2015. Not only a great evaluator, Ben’s a blast to talk football and hang out with.

 

Eric Stoner, Rotoworld (@ECStoner)
What an IDIOT: Julio Jones not a “special talent”
What a GENIUS: Navarro Bowman/Brandon Spikes > Rolando McClain in 2010 NFL Draft.

Scouting Report
While I haven’t gotten the chance to meet Eric (yet), he’s one of the more entertaining NFL Draft evaluators out there. A combination of a talented (and through) evaluator and a hopeless Jaguars fan (poor Eric and @AlfieBCC), he’s both highly insightful and very witty. Along with Josh Norris, he’ll talk your ear off about Arthur Brown, and he thinks Geno Smith is the football-version of Kobe Bryant (I hope he’s right).

 

Alen Dumonjic, Rotoworld/The Sideline View (@Dumonjic_Alen)
What an IDIOT: Larry English and Jerry Hughes supporter.
What a GENIUS: Stevie Brown as NFL starter.

Scouting Report
I haven’t gotten the privilege of meeting Alen yet, but the man’s work is everywhere on the internet yet consistently unique and fresh. One of the best on-line in his ability to diagram and dissect schemes/concepts for the common fan, Alen is at Rotoworld, Sideline View, The Score, and Bleacher Report (so far). 

 

Joe Goodberry, Cincy Jungle (@JoeGoodberry)
What an IDIOT: Blaine Gabbert as the #1 quarterback in 2011 Draft.
What a GENIUS: Big fan of Torrey Smith and Bernard Pierce.
 
Scouting Report
It’s a general theory in the NFL Draft community that a historically bad NFL team will have the best NFL Draft fan-bases, and unfortunately Joe may fit that description. A Bengals fan (and writer for the best Bengals site, CincyJungle.com), Joe is one of the most in-depth and honest evaluators on the internet. He can certainly be counted on for just more than Bengals insights.
 

Ryan Lownes, Bleacher Report (@RyanLownes)
What an IDIOT: “Finally a safe pick for Oakland”On Rolando McClain to Raiders
What a GENIUS: Cam Newton’s a stud, Blaine Gabbert’s a dud.

Scouting Report
A soon to be Ohio University graduate, Ryan’s opinion has been reserved to mostly twitter until recently, when he jumped on with Bleacher Report for some scouting report duty. Quietly one of the more respected names in  the draft media by his peers, Ryan has been on twitter every night for his #NFLDraft32in32.

 

Alex Brown, Optimum Scouting (@ABXXV25)
What an IDIOT:  Missouri’s Dominique Hamilton as an early-mid rounder (went undrafted)
What a GENIUS: Darryl Richardson (Rams current starter) with an early-mid round grade.

Scouting Report
Alex has been with OS since 2011, and he’s already made a major impact in the quality of work we are able to do. I was told by many in the draft community of how impressive he’s been this year when they met him at the Senior Bowl/Texas vs. Nation game this year. Because he covers the SEC/Big 12 and the numerous projects OS had this year, I probably talk to him more than most of my family members, so I can vouch for his commitment, work ethic, and football IQ.
 

Mark Dulgerian, Optimum Scouting (@MarkDulgerianOS)
What an IDIOT: Mark Sanchez is a franchise quarterback; Clay Matthews as a mid-rounder.
What a GENIUS: Alterraun Verner/Mason Foster as plus NFL starters

Scouting Report
Mark’s been with Optimum Scouting since 2009, so it’s safe to say he’s a trusted source of mine, as he should be for all of those looking for NFL Draft content. Based out in San Diego, Mark’s been an influential part of the OS team since we began to get more and more projects as a company. Efficient, decisive, and consistent in his evaluations, Mark will be starting to tweet (and write) more next year, as I continue to insist he let the rest of the internet enjoy his scouting insights.

 
Quick Bullets on Other Top Media
-Also on the OS Staff is Jared Counterman, Chad Dinkins, and Dovonte Edwards. Jared has been a great person to interact with in the past, and I’m thoroughly excited to continue to work with his already respected opinion on the internet. Chad’s been an outstanding addition to the team, covering the Mountain West and WAC for us, and Dovonte (former NFL player who intercepted Brett Farve on MNF) has provided a unique perspective on the evaluation process.

-A good friend of mine in the draft community will be leaving in Matt Elder, who formerly ran BuffaloBillsDraft.com. While he’s leaving the mainstream draft community, I’ll still be looking forward to getting his take on small schoolers each and every year. I know I speak for many on twitter when I wish him well in his career.

-Joe Everett of RookieDraft.com is a guy I always seek out during the All-Star games, and is easily one of the funniest individuals I talk with during the draft circuit in January. Hard-working guy, his interviews are clutch, and he’s one of the view who stood through a downpour at a 2012 Shrine Game practice.

-Though I haven’t formerly met them, I enjoy following Dan Kadar (@MockingTheDraft), Sigmund Bloom (@sigmundbloom), and Steve Palazzolo (@StevePalazzolo). Dan’s been heading up MtD forever and built it into a must-stop for Draft Fans. Sigmund runs The Audible podcast and loves the NFL Draft discussion as much as any. Steve’s a former baseball pitcher turned 6’10 ProFootballFocus guru. Quite a crew.

-I have had the privilege of meeting (though I hope to talk more with in the future) The Sideline View’s Lance Zierlin, National Football Post’s Russ Lande, Rookie Scouting Portfolio’s Matt Waldman, and DraftBreakdown.com featured man “Aaron Aloysius”. Lance is as plugged in to the NFL as you’ll find close to the draft, as well as being an elite radio host and talent evaluator. Lande’s always a busy man during the draft process, and now has a new gig as the Montreal Allouettes Director of Scouting. Waldman puts out a must-buy publication every year, and is a fountain of scouting (both prospects and general technique) knowledge. And Aaron and the rest of the DB team are an invaluable resource for the “draft community”.

-Though I couldn’t get them for comment, I’ve personally met and enjoy the opinions of the following draft gurus: Chris Kouffman (Sun-Sentinal)  Ian Kenyon (Bleacher Report) and Shawn Zobel (Draft Headquarters).

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