dstep24 wrote:I've talked to several scouts about a few of the small-school prospects and while they like Bryant's size, length and explosiveness, most see him as a UDFA who needs to earn the respect of coaches by not being stupid first. Then they'll look at the football player more closely.
I like you because we scout independently and agree 99% of the time- which I can only say for maybe two other people (Scottemojo and Matt Waldman from football outsiders). Our brains must be wired very similarly. So don't take this as a slam, but I feel very differently than you do on Bryant.
I get that there are obvious concerns. But consider these two players:
Player A: 35.5" arms, 6'5", 266, 4.82 forty
Player B: 35.5" arms, 6'4", 262, 4.82 forty (NFLdraftscout's estimate)
Player B is of course Armonty Bryant. Player A is Chandler Jones, a first round pick who finished with 6 sacks as a rookie and has the upside of a 10+ sack a year player.
Now, it's hard to tell because of level of competition, but I expect Bryant to test better in agility drills than Jones did. Jones never wowed me last year when I broke down his game compilations, and quite frankly I think 90% of the reason he went in round 1 was because of his measurables- particularly his rare arm length.
Point being, Bryant has 1st round measurables, and if he tests very well, it could be argued that he is among the most physically gifted DEs in the draft.
Now you have level of competition concerns, to which I say I have very little. He physically dominated his competition and his measurables and quickness suggest he has a lot of dominance to spare. Guys that look like they are barely edging by weak competition worry me. Those who demolish weak competition worry me much less. Bryant also dominated at the Texas vs. Nation competition against division I players, which helps further dismiss competition concerns.
Then you have the character concerns. NFL GM's often view draft picks as "business decisions", and if you ran a business you'd probably hesitate making a make or break move on a person, no matter how talented, that has a history with drugs, and drug dealing certainly seems much worse. Bruce Irvin was once involved in drug dealing, but that was years before his draft, and wasn't on the field. Where most NFL FO's see these things in black and white terms, ours tends to be forgiving of "mistakes" so long as the person has a good heart and will "protect the team." A cancer like Titus Young probably scares Pete Carroll much more than a former drug dealer.
The business decision aspect could cause Bryant to be a late rounder, or possibly UDFA- but it does not change the fact that his talent is extraordinary. His situation reminds me a little of Brandon Marshall, a 6'4" 230 pound monster who had 210 yards and 3 TDs in his final college game, but wasn't taken until the late 4th because of character concerns. Sure, the "risk" aspect may have changed Marshall's value that weekend, but it never changed how talented he was. Janoris Jenkins was another player I thought was a no doubter elite talent and I thought a lot of teams made a mistake passing on him despite his risk. Like Marshall, Jenkin's sordid past did not change his talent level. It's important to remember that and not fall into the trap of reflexively thinking that "lower draft stock = less talent."
Last year, I thought Russell Wilson was the 3rd best QB prospect in the NFL draft, and I wouldn't have hesitated to draft him at #12 if I had to
. I was not fooled by the height excuse. Even still, I graded Wilson as a 3rd rounder because I felt that taking him in the first 60 picks would almost certainly be unnecessary. I feel the same way about Bryant. To me, he's maybe the #1 DE in the draft in terms of physical talent, but I probably wouldn't draft him until at least the 3rd, because I don't expect him to go before then.
I would also never let what actual NFL scouts think affect my judgment very much when it comes to any "outside the box" material. Scouts are notorious for being inside the box thinkers, and it was recently revealed that John Schneider's own scouting department was strongly against him drafting Russell Wilson, even in the 3rd round. John Schneider didn't have a scouting background, and was more of an outside the box thinker. For which all Seahawks fans should be eternally grateful.
Finally, regarding speed. Bryant is expected to run in the 4.8 type range. He looks quicker than that to me- so we'll see- but most DEs with his size tend to be a bit slower. Will that cause Seattle to rule him out? Pete Carroll talked about speed at pass rusher ad nauseum last year. Bruce Irvin was the fastest pass rusher in the draft. All fair points. But Raheem Brock ran a 4.73 forty at his combine. Chris Clemons (as a 236 pound LB) ran a 4.68. Robert Mathis (whom Pete has made references to) ran a 4.67. Pete gushed about Courtney Upshaw last year despite a weak 40 time, as reported by one of his close friends and backed up by two other sources. Speed is very important to Pete, but there is evidence to suggest that it might not be a deal breaker.
Further, this just isn't a great year for speed DE's. Mingo is the only one who I think has a realistic shot at running a sub 4.5, and he'd be redundant with Bruce Irvin being a superior version of the same player and already occupying the specialist role. If Irvin looked primed to take over the every down LEO role, that would be one thing, but that seems far from the case. This means that if Pete wants to upgrade the pass rush, he's going to almost certainly have to look at guys that run in the 4.6 to 4.8 range.
I should add that my opinions are not necessarily tailored to Seattle's needs. For example, I am a huge fan of John Simon even though he's very unlikely to fit Seattle (he's tailor made for a physical 3-4 team that utilizes slow OLB's like Baltimore or Pittsburgh). I just think Bryant is a tremendous talent. Whether Seattle deems him a fit is a whole different discussion.