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You can call them red flags, off-field questions or character concerns, but in a new age of increased awareness and punishment for crimes away from the field, NFL teams are hyperfocused on the character side of scouting.

In my talks with agents, scouts, personnel directors and general managers this year, there has been one common theme: recruit and/or draft the most talented players who are good people.

With the Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers and Minnesota Vikings—not to mention the NFL office—going through terrible public-relations nightmares, thanks to off-field issues, the background and integrity of every draft prospect will be weighed more than ever in the upcoming class.

That doesn't mean that every anonymous scout quote we see between now and the draft deserves merit. There are times when a competing agent or even NFL teams will spread false or exaggerated information with the hopes of moving a player down the board.

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The NFL draft has become a 365-day-a-year job for those who cover it, but for many fans, the draft doesn't become reality until January or February. That is, unless your favorite NFL team is struggling. Then you start pinning your hopes on the draft-eligible college players and talking about "next year."

So what about next year? Following what many, myself included, called the deepest draft in decades, how does the 2015 class stack up?

That's the purpose of this article—to educate and excite the fans who don't pay as much attention to that great bridge between college football and the NFL. If you find yourself wanting to know more about the NFL draft but haven't paid much attention to it during the season until now, this is for you.

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As I sat in our Bleacher Report New York studio Monday morning, our production assistant sat with his laptop and an intense look on his face. "What are you doing?" asked our host, Adam Lefkoe. "Looking at mock drafts for the Giants, man. We suck" was his reply. 

Love it or hate it, it's draft season for many fans across the country this week. And that's who the Scouting Notebook is for.

This week we'll talk a lot about Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston and what the future holds for Robert Griffin III in the NFL. We'll also take a close look at my top-ranked defensive tackle in the country. So if you're like our PA Gabe, this is for you.


Jameis Winston is in the news again, and this time it's due to a suspension after the Heisman Trophy winner stood on a table in the student union and yelled comments better not printed here. Deadspin has the full report (NSFW) for those interested.

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When summer turns to fall, you can bet that NFL scouts are filling out the seats in college press boxes and film rooms as preparation for the upcoming NFL draft begins. The process is the same here at Bleacher Report, as all eyes on Saturdays are looking for the next great NFL draft prospect.

Which players are standouts at their respective position already? Many know the obvious names like Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston, but what about the lesser-known players worthy of a draft pick at each position? In this very early watch list, we'll take a look at the top 10 players at each position and include their overall ranking if inside the Top 100.

Please note, underclassmen are included only if they are a top-75 player in the 2015 draft class. Per NFL rules, a college player must be three years removed from their high school graduation to be draft eligible. That means redshirt sophomore, juniors and seniors are included here.

USA Today

The new college football season kicked off over Labor Day weekend, and it did not disappoint. With draft-eligible players all over the country taking the field and preparing for Week 2, it's time to start focusing on player evaluations for the upcoming 2015 NFL draft.


 The top-rated senior in the country just might be Texas A&M tackle Cedric Ogbuehi. Two teams I spoke to this week had him rated atop their preseason board.

 Christian Hackenberg isn't draft-eligible until 2016, but that hasn't stopped NFL teams from sneaking peeks at his tape. The comparisons to Andrew Luck are already starting around the NFL.

 Two high-level scouts both pointed out the play of Miami (Fla.) linebacker Denzel Perryman this week, and there's no denying the Hurricane dominated Week 1. Perryman ranks as my top inside linebacker for the 2015 draft.

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The 2015 NFL draft is months away from being on the minds of most NFL fans—unless you're a fan of the Oakland Raiders, then you're probably honed in on the upcoming draft class—but it's never too early to do a mock draft.

Early-September mock drafts should be looked at as such: entertaining, informative and not predictive of where players will be drafted in the next year's draft. An early mock draft is like a power-rankings article—this is where the players rank right now with a hint of where they're expected to be drafted. 

When I sit down to write a mock draft in September, I'm hoping to show readers where teams have needs and which talented players in college football fit those needs based on my preseason rankings. Much can, and will, change between now and the 2015 draft, but this is a first look at which players are trending as future first-rounders.

For this mock draft, and all early mocks, I'm using a draft order based on Odds Shark's futures bets. Take the Super Bowl odds, reverse them and you have the draft order.

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There is something great about walking outside on an August morning and feeling that dew in the grass, the hint of another hot day in the air, and knowing, with every bone in your body, that football season is just around the corner.

With the 2014 college football season kicking off this weekend, it's time to dust off the Scouting Notebook and start our weekly look at the upcoming 2015 NFL draft. This weekly feature (every Friday) will be published as a complete resource on rumors, news, notes, insights and analysis surrounding the 2015 draft class.

Let's get started.


- Let's kick things off with a great quote I received this week from a top-level AFC scout: "(The) key is to not miss on under-the-radar seniors this time of year. Plenty of time to evaluate the juniors." 

- Speaking of the senior class, everyone loves a sleeper, and NFL scouts are raving about quarterback Bryan Bennett from Southeastern Louisiana. The former Oregon player was a backup to Darron Thomas and Marcus Mariota but started for the Lions in 2013. At 6'3", 205 pounds, he has the athleticism and arm teams want at the next level.

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The 2015 NFL draft class projects to be a strong one on the backs of players such as Marcus Mariota (QB, Oregon), Brett Hundley (QB, UCLA), Jameis Winston (QB, FSU) and Brandon Scherff (OT, Iowa), but what about the defense?

That's where USC's Leonard Williams comes in. The 6'4", 300-pound junior has the talent, size, athleticism and production that NFL scouts will go crazy for. That's why he comes into the season as my top-ranked defensive player among all draft-eligible juniors and seniors.

What makes him so good?


Positional Versatility

The NFL is becoming more about versatility and how many different roles you can play on defense, and Williams fits that style perfectly.

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Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller took home the last two Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year awards, but now his 2014 season is over. He is dealing with an injury to the same shoulder that ended his 2013 season prematurely. 

Miller has already said he intends to return for the 2015 season in Columbus, which would represent his last chance to convince NFL teams of his potential.

It's worth wondering, is Miller an NFL-style quarterback?

The Ohio State system, made famous by Urban Meyer at Utah and Florida, asks the quarterback to be a heavy runner, and Miller has done that. In his three years as Ohio State's starter, Miller ran the ball (557 times) almost as often as he passed it (666 attempts).

USA Today

Every football fan in the country knows about Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, but out at UCLA there is another quarterback making a run at becoming the No. 1 prospect in the 2015 draft. The NFL knows about Brett Hundley, and fans should too.


The Tale of the Tape

6'3", 227 lbs

53 touchdowns, 20 interceptions (career)

320 career rushes



Many college quarterbacks are spending their Saturdays throwing checkdowns and bubble screens, but not at UCLA. The Bruins offense asks Hundley to move the ball down the field. The quarterback in this system must read the field, find the best option and deliver passes at varying levels. That's great for showcasing Hundley's accuracy and understanding of space.