The 10 Best Scouting Reports from National Mock Drafts

by | Apr 14, 2017 | NFL Draft

These Scouting Reports Should Inform Your Mock Draft. Now.

We’ve already made the announcement that we are partnering with Derek Whoolery from National Mock Drafts and that he is providing our top-100 rankings and scouting reports.

Now let’s look at why. Why him? Why his opinions and rankings and scouting reports?

Well, because they look like this.

Here are my ten favorite scouting reports from Derek at National Mock Drafts, as well as how I will use these scouting reports to inform my mock draft and win every mock draft contest.

Reuben Foster, ILB Alabama

He broke my grading scale! I reward players who have Elite traits. Earned an extra 8 points for having Elite Traits(A+) and 2 extra for having an A grade. Foster has worked his way up to earn the starting role at Alabama. Every year he improved and became the leader of the defense last season. Mainly played as the Mike in Alabama’s defense. A very muscular frame with NFL height and weight. Great A.A, very quick feet, balance is great, and a very explosive runner. Good Mental Processing, pre-snap he reads the offense and has a sense to which direction the ball is going. Easily reads whether it’s a run or pass. Elite Competitive Toughness, always aggressive player, will play through any injury possible, violent tackler, continues to drive his legs in a tackle. Great Play Speed, has the sideline to sideline ability. Immediately comes down hill when he sees the gap. He is too fast for the blockers. Great Play Strength, can break through the OL by using his pure strength, has “brick wall” strength won’t allow an extra yard. Elite Open Field Tackler, wraps up and always assures a tackle. Rarely misses a tackle. Fundamentally sound tackler. Great vs Outside Run, with his speed he can chase down any opponent, takes good pursuit angles not allowing a large gain. Good at Zone coverage, players who are average speed that come in his zone will not be able to separate from Foster. He reads the eyes of the QB well and adjusts correctly. Solid Man Coverage skills, Foster is a fast player, but when facing the Great speedy wide receivers, he will struggle a little. Covering other prospects, he will not have an issue with. There are rare times where he misjudges the eyes of the QB and turns into a large gain. Not always going to be healthy, did fight through a lot of injuries his final season at Bama. Overall, I believe that Foster is a prospect that is a rarity. It will be years till we see another player like Foster. Can easily go in the top 5 of this draft. He can play as a Mike, Will or Sam in a 4-3 system. He can also be used in a nickel package if needed. Under the right coaching staff Foster will be one of the best LBs in the league. #Alabama #NFL #NFLDraft #NMDscouting

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Let’s start with the top of the draft. Foster has been falling down draft boards lately, thanks only in small part to a weird argument with a medical technician at the combine. Talking with draft fans, the real reason he is slipping is because people don’t believe a MLB should be drafted that high, and they are afraid that he is not big enough or special enough to justify taking super early. Derek says he absolutely special enough to take early, and I agree with him. I took some flak for mocking him to San Francisco at pick 2 back on February 6th… maybe now I can feel good about pushing him up high again…?

Tim Williams, OLB Alabama

Played a mixture of 3-4 OLB and 4-3 DE at #Alabama . Mainly was a stand-up player coming off the edge. Long body, long arms, long legs. Slimmer frame, not much build. Great Athlete, a quick player, shows great flexibility in his hips, great lateral movement, outstanding explosiveness. Good mental Processing, a player who already knows his responsibilities when it comes to pass coverage, senses the direction of the play pre-snap. Great Competitive Toughness, puts up a tremendous fight to get a hit in the backfield, very aggressive play style, a fiery type of player. Great Play Speed, he is a player that will have offenses putting more focus on him, way too fast for OL to handle by themselves. Great Pass Rusher, with his great bend, speed and athletic ability he will always force pressure on a QB when coming off the edge. Has some quality moves as well, spin, stutter, and swim. Great Upfield Burst, his reaction time is extremely fast, he explodes off the edge with his pads low and ready to make a play. Good Pursuit, again speed helps, large tackling radius, able to catch fast RBs from sideline to sideline. Play Strength is not what you would like to see, struggled heavily vs strong opponents. Not going to be a run stopper by any means, he’s improved at setting the edge, but he has shown on multiple occasions that he does not have the strength to prevent any ground from being given. Hand Use will improve when he gets stronger, but as of now he has quick hands with not much pop. Placement could be a little bit better. Per, Williams failed many drug tests at Alabama. This is a major concern! More than one failed drug test will have any NFL team question whether Williams even cares about Football. Overall, I really like Williams, I believe on the field he can be a fantastic pass rusher. Would be perfect as a 3-4 OLB. I do expect him to fall in the draft, I’m just not sure how far. My prediction would be the back-half of the first round. I can see him becoming a starter very early in his career. #NMDscouting #NFLDraft

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Let’s stay in Alabama with another player he loves, Tim Williams. Before reading this scouting report, I was captain of the good ship Tim Williams Is A Weak Prospect. Now I am going to have to reconsider where his talent places him in the pass rush pecking order, and identify the teams who are willing to overlook his personal and playing time drawbacks. He could re-emerge as a late first-round option for teams who love rare speed on the edge.

Cam Robinson, OT Alabama

Three-year starter at Alabama. Shown to be in a man blocking system, though also played a little bit of zone. Very large player, great height and weight for the NFL, long arms, good build, broad waist, thick legs. Solid athletic ability, has some quickness to him, shown moments of explosion, but his balance must improve he is on the ground way too much, change of direction looks sloppy, not great laterally. Good competitive toughness, he’s a nasty player, plays aggressive, will help with a run block downfield. Shows he is a team guy. Great Play Strength, shows consistent strength, can handle his own vs strong competitors, great upper and lower body strength. Good Run Blocker, strength allows him to create lanes, first contact with defender will usually create movement. Needs to be more aware of situations, like when gap blocking he has shown on occasions that he will block the wrong assignment, doesn’t know what to do when the QB is scrambling, and he doesn’t adjust his assignment when his assignment is already out of the play/way. Not fast enough to be a combo blocker for a zone scheme, doesn’t react quick enough to transition from one block to the next. Struggles heavily with pure speed rushers, feet are not stable and is not fast enough laterally. Struggles with second level blocks, very difficult time trying to stay in front of responsibility. Fundamentally must improve, too many occasions he had his head down and butt up. Looked extremely bad vs Washington. Struggles to get his head across in gap blocking. Doesn’t quite reach his assignment when pulling, can misunderstand assignment. Hands need to be more consistent with timing, in run blocking hands are absent or they are incorrect placement-drawing flags. Overall, Robinson has a lot of cleaning up to do. Not only on the field, but off it. Was arrested preseason with marijuana and a handgun in the vehicle. Robinson needs to work on his fundamentals before becoming a starter in the league. I believe the best fit for him is a man blocking system, with very little zone blocking. #NMDscouting #NFLDraft

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Okay, just to make sure you don’t think he is a secret Bama Booster, here is one of the more interesting scouting reports of any player that I’ve seen all season. Cam Robinson, considered by many to be the best tackle (and definitely in the top-3) prospect in the draft, is a third round prospect without much scheme versatility. I know there is a lack of depth at the position. Will that cause a team to reach for him in the second or (dare I say) the first? Cam was left out of the first round in my most recent mock draft, and will definitely stay left out for the foreseeable future.

Forrest Lamp, OG Western Kentucky

4-year starting OT at Western Kentucky. Played in a zone blocking scheme. Mainly at LT. Large arms, arms are below average in length, good height, could add a little weight – maybe 10 pounds, thick lower body. Good Athletic Ability, shows good quickness, great balance and shows explosion out of his stance. Great Mental Processing, often aware on who to pick up in a blitzing situation, understands the correct position to be in to make a good block, times cuts correctly. Good Competitive Toughness, has some nasty to him, has consistent level of play, will make a diving attempt to prevent a tackle. Great Play Strength, dominated vs all edge rushers he faced, powerful upper body, can be a mauler, rarely loses, pancakes are common, won vs Alabama star DL Jonathan Allen. Great Run Blocking, Great job at angling blocks, uses the defender’s strength against them, creates a lot of movement. Good Gap Blocker, Good-great job at reaching blocks, able to get head across and does a good job of consistently winning. Good Combo blocker, great at transitioning from one block to the next, very aware on who to pick up in second level. Good use of hands, very strong hands, has good overall placement, keeps hands inside. Solid play speed, needs to improve with contacting 2nd level assignment. Could improve laterally. Pass Block will need work, struggles with first step especially vs speedy edge rushers, when a defender goes inside shoulder he will have trouble transitioning feet, later in games he will begin to lean forward setting himself up to miss a block. Hands could be better, sometimes he keeps his hands down and for too long, needs to be more consistent with making first contact – hard when arm length is below average. My biggest concern is that he will have to transition to guard and play much stronger opponents compared to the edge rushers. Is he capable of winning consistently inside? Overall, I believe Lamp can be a day 1 starter at OG. I think he will help especially in the run game in a zone scheme look. Some have compared him to Zack Martin, I’m not going to compare him to that high of caliber, but I can see where they are coming from. #NMDscouting #NFLDraft #NFL

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Let’s hop from an O-line prospect he does not like to his top rated prospect in the draft, Forrest Lamp! What makes his ranking so interesting to me is not that he views him as a first rounder, but that he is rated higher than Garett Bolles and Ryan Ramczyk. I don’t know the last time the top Guard prospect was drafted ahead of the top Tackle prospect, but that might happen this year. It should be noted that Lamp excelled at Tackle for Western Kentucky as well, but projects to most likely stay inside at the NFL level.

Patrick Mahomes, QB Texas Tech

Played since he was a freshman, in a very spread offense at #TexasTech . Ran 3 different plays under center, none required a 3 or 5 step drop. He averaged 49 pass attempts per game. You read that right. Ideal height and weight for an NFL QB, more muscular build than average QBs. Good athletic ability, shows quickness, with some acceleration, some balance as well. Great Competitive Toughness, shows a lot of emotion, believes he is the best, stays in game when dealing with nagging injuries, dives for the end zone. Good play speed, shows the ability to evade defenders, has some speed out in the open, could be a dual threat QB in the league. Good Play Strength, stronger than the average QB, has strong hands to be able to perform pump fakes, strong lower body. Great Arm Strength, ball speed is often good and fast, he has no problem slinging the ball 50 to 60 yards. Gets his strength from his baseball days. Short to intermediate range accuracy is good, often will be able to give the receivers a good chance of making the grab. Also, he is a good actor when it comes to the play action, had me fooled a couple times. Doesn’t have a great feel for where everyone is on the field, has absolute terrible pocket awareness. Likely will never be a pocket passer. Though he has shown that he does a good job of keeping his eyes down the field when on the run. Never called a play in the huddle. Decision Making is playground like, terrible decisions, throws intro triple coverage – even on first down, makes unnecessary throws, panics after the first read, will try to throw a ball across his body – across the field into a whole group of players to pick up maybe 5 yards. Lacks poise, leaves pocket too early, gets himself sacked, short arm throws when pressured. Deep Ball accuracy needs to be consistent, footwork constricts him, placement is an issue. Will throw off his backfoot. Arm motion is preventing arm strength. Overall, he’s RAW. Has some potential, but only if he has a great coaching staff. I know he will be drafted higher, but this is my grade. I see him in an offense that likes to air it out and use his arm to an advantage. #NMDscouting #NFLDraft

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Speaking of interesting pecking orders, how bout them QBs, huh? Mahomes is getting a lot of first round buzz, but according to the scouting report, he should join Cam Robinson in being drafted in the third. Yes, teams do reach for QBs, but I think we should at least stop talking about him going to Arizona at 13. Considering the talent that will be available at that pick and the poor scores Mahomes received in some categories that are very important to being a pro quarterback, we should think about him as a late first round prospect at best, and most likely a trade target.

Joe Mathis, OLB Washington

Played since he was a freshman at Washington, played a little inside as a 3-4 DE, but last year he was primarily a 3-4 OLB. Size is about what you would want for an EDGE rusher. Has a lot of lower body build along with upper body, arms seem to meet the average length. Good athletic ability, great quickness, great balance, has some explosion, and solid agility. Solid Mental Processing, has a good sense of knowing the direction of the play, quick to understand whether it is a pass or run, and recognizes screens very quickly. ELITE competitive toughness, he is a true warrior to say the least, very aggressive play style, his mission is to eliminate any potential threat, he will play through injury, will never stop until the job is done. Good Play Speed, can be put out in space, has a good level of acceleration and overall speed. Good Play Strength, can overpower OL (Recommend watch vs Stanford), uses a great deal of leverage when making contact. Great Pass Rusher, has incredible bend, does a fantastic job of translating speed to power, has some moves to get to the QB, good use of hands will allow him to create a lot of pressure. Hands are quick and strong, has great placement, keeps hands inside. Good pursuit, does not give up on the play despite the distance, has good enough speed to catch some players in intermediate ranges. Not a smooth runner, but it’s not a huge concern. Not really a run stuffer, there are times where he makes a fantastic play with his good use of hands, but it’s unlikely he will be a consistent run stuffer. Not always out on the field, was rotation. Coming off a broken foot and had to miss the back half of his senior season. He has not played in an entire season in his collegiate career. His 3pt stance is a little odd. I prefer him as a stand up. Overall, I think Mathis would be perfect as a 3-4 OLB. May start out as role player. Will work to become starter. Durability will concern some teams which will bring him down the draft board, but I think he can be a steal when he shows his warrior mindset on the field. #NMDscouting #NFLDraft

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How about some pass rushers we haven’t heard as much about? Leading the group is an interesting report on injured Washington edge rusher, Joe Mathis. He was a nightmare for quarterbacks until his season was cut short by a foot injury. Yet he’s been conspicuously left out of all first round chatter. If I’m looking for some contrarian plays for late round prospects, I would start with players like Joe Mathis and our next interesting prospect…

Tyus Bowser, OLB Houston

Surprised me! Played basketball and football at the University of Houston. Played mainly as the weakside 3-4 OLB. In 8 games of his senior season he racked up 8.5 sacks. Very long arms, has good height and solid weight. Slimmer frame, built more for finesse than power. Great Athletic Ability, a ton of quickness, shows explosive ability, great change of direction, hips are good in fluidity, good level of balance as well. Good Mental Processing, mid play has shown multiple occasions where he will adjust his assignment quickly once the play is diagnosed, reacts well when a ball is on the ground. Great Competitive Toughness, has some aggression, consistent level of play in every game, steps up in the big night games, determined to get in the backfield, rare to see him give up. Great Play speed, good level of open space speed, shows a great level of acceleration, great pursuit, can be given more responsibility with his type of speed. Great upfield burst, in his very quick first step he can cover a large amount of ground, he must always be blocked or he will make a big play in the backfield. Great Pass rusher, pure speed rusher, has good leverage, shows bend ability, doesn’t go too far upfield, can translate a good amount level of speed to power. Solid Play strength, he will struggle vs the much larger OL, will struggle with shedding blocks from those players. However, he is quite capable of dealing with the average size OL. Not really known for his run stopping ability, just needs to be more dominant, not really going to blow up a play or really take on blocks well. Hand use needs to be better at the snap, hands are not as fast as feet, though he shows some good ability to use his chop. Still learning coverages and tends to stare at QB and lose track of surroundings. Needs to finish the job when rushing the passer, could have had many more sacks. Got in a fight with a teammate that forced him to miss a month because of an orbital fracture. Overall, Bowser has a LOT of potential as being a dominant 3-4 OLB. I believe teams will want him mainly for his edge rush ability. Do not judge him on his first year, but years to come. #NMDscouting #NFLDraft

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There is very little difference athletically between Tyus Bowser and Hasaan Reddick, yet Reddick is getting a lot of top-15 love, whereas Bowser is a blip at the end of the first round on maybe 1 out of every 20 mock drafts you find online. These ultra-athletic pass rushers are exactly the kinds of players that can surprise at the end of a round, when most mock draft contest entrants are playing it safe with the prospects they secretly hate, but feel pressured into including in the first round because of popular consensus. Look for Bowser to sneak in there.

Tre’Davious White, CB LSU

4-year starter at #LSU. Played a mixture of zone coverage, and press man. Was mainly the LCB his senior season. Has average arm length, hands are small, he is undersized with height and weight. Has Good Athletic Ability, shows quickness and explosive movements. Good Competitive Toughness, a player who played through minor injuries, plays with swagger, likes to get in the mind of the receiver, aggressive decision making. Good Play Speed, able to maintain with average speed receivers, has good range. Great in zone coverage, does a great job of reading the eyes of the QB, reacts well to a throw in the flat, adjusts his coverage to have a better attempt to make a play. Good open field tackler, does a good job of tackling with the body and wrapping up, especially vs bigger opponents. Good Ball Skills, really stepped it up this season with a career high of 14 PD, he was much better at having a feel for when to jump a route or just being in the right place. For a four-year starter, I expected more awareness. He gets fooled easily by good route runners, does not read screens to well, I believe he will guess at times when covering a talented receiver. In special teams, he has shown many occasions where he does not understand when to call a fair catch. Will need to get stronger, he will struggle in press man vs the much stronger WRs, not going to be a big hitter. For Run Support, he needs to come down hill and not be afraid to go in a pile. Though he has shown that he understands he has outside contain. Needs to work on his back pedal and his transition to full sprint, badly. Should not be a press man corner, struggles when a WR tries to go inside. Though when in off-man he has shown ability to maintain with WRs across the field. Overall, I believe White is a system cover corner. Should not play press man at the next level. I believe he could help in special teams, but teams may have to be cautious. I believe his size may move him to nickel corner and I believe that would be a great fit for him. #NMDscouting #NFLdraft

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You know who has been getting a lot of love lately, and I can’t figure out why? Tre’Davious White. His combine was mediocre at best, and now, for no reason, he is considered by many to be the second ranked CB in the class. Whichever scout started listing him at the top and had everyone follow needs to be identified. Because that person has some influence. I did not understand the love, and neither does National Mock Drafts. I will happily keep him off my first round mock.

Chidobe Awuzie, CB Colorado

4-year starter at Colorado. Played a mixture of outside and nickel corner. Little undersized, long arms, slim legs, but has some bulk, good weight for his size. Good Athletic Ability, shows explosive uphill speed, shows good agility and balance. Solid Mental Processing, does a great job at reading the eyes of the QB and solid job at transitioning responsibilities mid play. Solid Competitive Toughness, played through a groin injury in his final collegiate game, showing that he cares about football. Great play speed, phenomenal job of reacting to plays, especially plays that occur in the flat. Able to change assignments and still make a play on the ball. Great recovery speed, has enough speed to be an effective corner rusher. Solid Man Coverage skills, able to maintain with majority of receivers on the short to intermediate routes. Good in zone coverage, much better reaction for making a play, good job of understanding his assignment. Good Open Field Tackler, tackles high, wraps up well, most often will bring down the opponent. Great Run Support, understands when to come downhill and when to set outside contain. Good Ball Skills, shows the ability to make a play on the ball, long arms help in this category, hands are good and will likely make an INT if the throw is catchable. Not that strong of a corner, which limits on only being a nickel corner in the league. Needs to be a little more aggressive, has a lot of “patty-cake” type of plays, needs to be more consistent when helping on a play across the field. Struggles vs Great to Elite speed receivers. Needs to improve back pedal footwork and transitioning to full sprint. Needs to time his jumps better when making a play on the ball. Overall, I believe Awuzie could be a perfect nickel corner in the league. May not see a lot of playing time in the beginning, but he can be a player who can make a big play or two each game. #NFL #NFLDraft #Colorado #NMDscouting

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You know who’s pretty good, but not really all that great? Awuzie. He’s not bad… but probably not a first round prospect. Yet the NFL invited him to attend the draft. What does that mean? Do they secretly think/know that he will be a first rounder? Or do they know that he won’t be one, and relish the drama of having someone at the draft that they know will fall? It’s hard to speculate on that, but according to this scouting report, it’s the latter. I am sure once the NFL announced he would attend, people started looking for ways to fit him into their first round mock draft. Resist the urge! Read the scouting report to see why!

Joe Mixon, RB Oklahoma

Played in a spread offense at Oklahoma, where he split carries with bruiser back Samaje Perine. Every run came out of shotgun or pistol. Taller back with a good level of weight, has good build for both upper and lower body. Hand size and Arm length look average. Great Athletic Ability, very quick player, great change of direction, explosion, and balance. Good Competitive Toughness, fights for extra yards, has the playmaker mindset, always determined to get in the endzone. Great Play Speed, very elusive player, incredible acceleration, has a great ability of shifting gears – including downshifting. Good vision with the ability to create, one of those players that can create a very big play from nothing. Uses his vision best out in space. Elite Burst, explodes when he sees his gap, will reach his top speed at the LOS, if he has a clear path he will likely score no matter the distance. Great in the passing game, Great Hands, can be used as a deep threat, can be put in the slot, catches away from his body, adjusts well to the ball. Solid Mental Processing, looks lost at times when his first gap is closed, likes to dance in the backfield which can help at times, but it can also result in a big loss – especially in Goal Line situations. Solid Play Strength, not really known for his strength, not going to move a pile or truck a LB. Doesn’t often play behind his pads, he breaks tackles by having great core strength and maintaining his balance. Solid Blocker, patient and capable of blocking average sized opponents, but don’t rely on him one on one with a good DE. Struggles to consistently see cut back lane. Domestic Violence will prevent him from going early in the draft, besides the Domestic Violence, Mixon’s character alone is a concern. Overall, Mixon is a great football player, in a zone blocking scheme he would be a day one starter. His terrible decision has taken him off many teams’ boards. #NMDscouting #NFLDRAFT

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Last but not least is my favorite RB in the entire class and Derek Whoolery’s 11th ranked prospect overall, Joe Mixon. Seeing him agree with me on Mixon’s skillset made me feel a lot better about my personal ranking of him. But it also presented a big dilemma. I think he is an elite player, and so does NMD. But that video. So what do we do? Before, it was easy to leave him off a first round mock, when I was one of so few who truly loved him as a player. But now? What’s the difference between taking a risk on a PR nightmare in the 1st or the 5th round? It’s still a PR nightmare. So some team will take him at some point in the draft. Why not the first? Think about how incredible he would be behind that Oakland O-line. Learning how to be a standup member of a community from The Man himself, Marshawn Lynch. Just… imagine. I’m not saying it will happen, or that I will mock Mixon to Oakland… but now, thanks to Derek and this scouting report… I have to think about it.

photo: Aaron Doster, USA TODAY Sports