The 2015 Scouting Combine has come and gone, and now more than ever the draft process gets into full swing.

When I was coming up as an evaluator, I was taught by former NFL GM Charley Casserly to never let the combine completely change your board. The idea, he told me, was to let the combine separate players with a similar grade at a position (like Kevin White and Amari Cooper) and to confirm what you saw on film. And if a player like Byron Jones or Chris Conley wows you before you've had a chance to do a film evaluation, you highlight them when you get home and start watching film again.

So that's what I do. As much as is possible, I try to mirror my process after what Casserly, former NFL GM Michael Lombardi and others taught me.

NFL teams are doing the same thing this week—revisiting scouting grades and updating reports with medical, interview and workout notes. The result for them, and me, is a new big board.


The 2015 Scouting Combine did much to validate what was seen on film, and there were also many cases of players putting on a performance that made you go home and recheck the tape. Vic Beasley, Chris Conley and Byron Jones are the three most notable names in that category.

But there's no time to sit back and reflect as the NFL draft train rolls on at 500 mph now until April 30, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers turn in their draft card with the No. 1 overall pick. 

I left Indianapolis convinced the Buccaneers already know who they will draft with that first pick. Who will it be? Find out in this brand new two-round mock draft.

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While you're reading this article, I'm packing my bags for the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, where I'll be covering the event for the fourth year. Combine week is a flurry of interviews, workouts and late-night talks with agents, scouts, coaches and general managers—for both players and media members. 

Before we get into combine week, here's what I'm hearing around the league and a look at an updated Round 1 mock draft pre-combine.


— This is a draft article, but first a very credible rumor that will affect the draft: I'm told the New York Jets plan to roll out the red carpet for Demaryius Thomas if he doesn't receive the franchise tag from the Denver Broncos. 

— After seeing Dorial Green-Beckham in person before the Super Bowl, I started asking NFL scouts what they've heard about his year at Oklahoma. As one Southwest scout assigned to Oklahoma told me, "He's completely turned his life around. Big brother moved in, whipped his ass and took control. He's on the straight-and-narrow since leaving Mizzou."

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The NFL Scouting Combine is just over one week away, and with it, the draft will see a major shakeup. It's time for one last look at my Top 300 big board before Indianapolis.

NFL teams have a system that I've followed in my work, and it goes as follows: In the fall, I watch three games of any player in my database and either flag him as "undraftable" or assign a talent grade. I'll then revisit these players in the winter (after the NFL season ends) and update my notes and grades on the players while also including any juniors who declared for the draft. The next step in the process is to update players after the NFL Scouting Combine.

With the first big update of the year out of the way, here's a look at the Top 300 by position.

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Here we sit, just 11 days from the NFL Scouting Combine kicking off in Indianapolis and 12 weeks from the first round of the 2015 NFL draft. It's draft season, and every Friday the Scouting Notebook will serve as your one-stop shop for all things draft.



— As I reported earlier this week, West Virginia's Kevin White is now seen as the consensus top wide receiver in the 2015 class among teams I've spoken with.

— Who is the top running back in this class? To me it's Georgia's Todd Gurley, but NFL teams I spoke with this week feel Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon is right there with him and a potential top-15 pick in this class.

— There is a consensus that Minnesota's Maxx Williams is the top tight end in this class, but a surprise name came in via text this week for the No. 2 tight end: Oklahoma's Blake Bell. The former quarterback has impressed teams with his athleticism, footwork and toughness.


Anyone can do a one-round mock draft. Two rounds? That's tougher. Seven rounds? Well, this should be unique. 

Doing a seven-round mock draft in February is a bit crazy, as free agency and the draft process will ultimately change many things. But what's a mock draft if not unrealistically fun while also being informative about team needs and player values as they currently stand?

The thing about a mock draft is that it doesn't work as simply as most think. Say the San Francisco 49ers badly need a wide receiver in the first round. If no wide receiver of value is there at pick No. 15, though, they won't draft a player at that position. So keep that in mind while reading this mock draft—your favorite team's needs must be filled with value, not just connecting the dots between "top-ranked player and top-ranked need" regardless of value.

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The long wait is over. Senior Bowl week is here. After a week spent in sunny Mobile, Alabama, here are my notes from viewing practices and talking to players and scouts in attendance for the premier all-star game. 


— The Cleveland Browns were very interested in Ole Miss cornerback Senquez Golson, and I've spoken with sources close to both sides who say they've spent a lot of time with him this week.

— The San Francisco 49ers need cornerback help, and Texas' Quandre Diggs is high on their list, per a team source. 

— USC cornerback Josh Shaw had a good enough Shrine Game week that he was invited to Mobile for the Senior Bowl. My scouting sources tell me he's very coached up in interviews and isn't giving teams a real look at his personality and character.

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January 15 is a big day on the NFL calendar, as it's the day when all college underclassmen must declare for the upcoming NFL draft by. Technically, 11:59:59pm EST is the deadline, with an added 72 hours for those players who change their mind after declaring.

As of this writing, an incomplete list is available (there are always unreported declarations) and gives us a good picture of what this draft class looks like. And with NFL teams finally making hires at head coach and for coordinator spots, we can start to connect dots as to team fit and scheme for draft prospects.

And with the East-West Shrine Game ending and the Senior Bowl kicking off in four days, this week's "condensed" version of the Scouting Notebook is loaded with information. 


— With extended film study I planned to move Pitt tackle T.J. Clemmings up my board this week, so I reached out to an area scout for background info on him. Clemmings, the scout added, was a top prep basketball player with offers from Rutgers, Seton Hall and Rhode Island. He's also the owner of the most powerful punch this scout had seen in college football this season.

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The deadline for underclassmen to enter the NFL draft is one week away—January 15—and already the 2015 class is shaping up to be a good one. With each passing day, more information and more analysis comes in. That's what the Scouting Notebook is here for, to update you on all things NFL draft each Friday.

This week's article is jam-packed with news on seniors and underclassmen, a look at one hit and one miss from my evaluations, a two-round mock draft and 10 players moving up and down on my draft board this month.

Ready? Let's go.


— TCU linebacker Paul Dawson is shooting up my board the more I watch him, and in talking with one area scout responsible for Texas, I heard that Dawson really dominated to end the year. The same scout said they view him as a Round 2 player with room to rise.

— Former Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham comes with big off-field issues. I asked around this week and one very experienced general manager told me they view him as "undraftable" based on the legwork already done on his background.

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Draft season is here, with the first stage of the process complete now that the college football regular season is over and the first 20 picks of the NFL draft set. But let's not forget this is a long, arduous process, and it's just getting started.

The process of evaluating players for the NFL draft begins immediately after the last draft ends. For the 2015 class, I started in mid-May 2014 working on the top returning players. The general idea is to focus on the top seniors, but players like Marcus Mariota (QB, Oregon) and Jameis Winston (QB, FSU) meant also looking at the top underclassmen quarterbacks.

From mid-May until the games begin in late August, my work focuses purely on those seniors and top-level underclassmen. The process evolves once the college season begins, with more work being done on a team level as the search for NFL-caliber talent becomes more widespread. My goal in-season is to see each team three times and then highlight individually talented players on those teams three times by looking at their individual game film.

Now, once the season ends, is when the job gets crazy. With underclassmen flooding the draft class, that means going back to review those sophomores and juniors who weren't expected to declare in-season and getting a look at their skill set. And that's where I'm at now—trying to finish evaluations of the top seniors while adding in the declaring underclassmen.