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Prospect Reviews: Clemson Vs. Florida State


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Players I was paying the most attention to:

Clemson:

#98 Brandon Thompson, DT, 6'2" 310 lbs, #15 overall prospect

#40 Andre Branch, DE, 6'4" 260 lbs, #108 overall prospect

Florida State:

#49 Brandon Jenkins DE 6'3 265 lbs #16 overall prospect

#27 Xavier Rhodes, CB, 6'1" 215 lbs, #35 overall prospect

#13 Nigel Bradham, OLB, 6'2" 240 lbs, #110 overall prospect

Brandon Thompson is probably the top NT in the draft. If we go DL in the first round then this is who I'd pick unless Josh Chapman of Alabama has a great year. I'll be watching the Arkansas vs. Alabama game when I get the replay recorded so I'll be able to watch Chapman closely in that game. Back to Brandon Thompson, he lined up almost exclusively at NT and was constantly pushing the pocket. There were also several instances on running plays where the OL blocking him tried to turn him one way or another so the RB could run behind them but Thompson was able to prevent the OL from redirecting him. He has a great burst off the line and uses his hands very well to slap way blockers and get around them. He'd definitely be a great pick-up and would probably win the starting spot from Mookie Johnson with Mookie providing a very solid backup. Thompson also did a very good job of stunting and then making a play and of all the DT's I've watched so far he does the best job of following and trying to run down a play once it passes by him. This was the biggest issue I saw with guys like Devon Still and Alameda Ta'amu, though with Ta'amu part of this is due to his bulk not allowing him the speed to even try to catch the play from behind.

If there's one thing Thompson could work on it's doing a better job of keeping his balance. He did a good job most of the game but there were a few plays where he got off balance and then shoved to the ground by the OL blocking him.

I haven't been able to watch Andre Branch much because I'm paying more attention to Thompson due to DT being a bigger need for us than DE. I did pay more attention to Branch later in the game. He seems to have a good combination of speed and strength. IMO he would be a better every down DE than Freeney or Mathis. He's not an elite pass rusher like Freeney and Mathis are but he's still a good one, and he'd be much better against the run because he doesn't overpursue upfield or spin himself out of the plays. He does a good job of containing the edge.

Brandon Jenkins has a great first step but he's small and regularly gets held up at the LOS.

Nigel Bradham is impressive. Great speed and coverage ability and he's a very sure tackler. When he's on the opposite side of the play, he takes good angles and uses his hands very well to keep from being engaged by a blocker. This allows him to continue flowing down the line to be in a position to make a play if necessary. If he winds up in the 4th round he could be a great pickup and could compete with Conner for starting WILL position. One thing Bradham did an excellent job at was playing contain. If there were 1 or 2 other defenders in front of him going for the ball carrier, then Bradham intentionally took a wider angle so he would be in the right position in case the other defender(s) missed the tackle.

Bradham did get flagged once for pass interference. he was in man coverage on Clemson's TE (who is currently projected as a late 1st to early 2nd round pick...so a pretty good TE) and was in excellent position...he just gave a little too much of a push off when he turned to look for the ball.

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Told ya. Told ya back in one your threads look out for Brandon Thompson. haha

lol...yes you did. The main reason I'd never mentioned his name was because, even with the scouting reports I've read on him I couldn't tell if he was an UT or NT. After watching it was clear he is the NT and a very good one. :)

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It would do wonderful things for our already improving D-line to add a disruptive, strong NT like Thompson. AJ just isn't cutting it.

I agree that we definitely need another disruptive force, but honestly I have been very pleased with Johnson's play so far this year. He may not be the best we could do as a starter, but considering he was a 5th round pick I think he's playing above expectations. It's still early in the season but I'll be very interested to see how he plays as the season wears on. At the very worst though, we bring in a top level NT talent and Johnson provides an excellent backup. :)

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