It’s that time of year again, the pre-draft period, when your favorite NFL blogs overflow with the opinions of former scouts, wannabe scouts, critics of scouts, girls that have dated scouts, and every other scout except Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird. Many of these people do outstanding work, but there’s only so much of it one can stomach. In an effort to bring a little variety to the melange of player reports, I’ve asked a few former NFL players to give their opinions on some of this year’s prospects. I call them my Stable of Bros, and you will read them because I’ll go Incognito on you if you don’t. Also, I figure they’ll have a slightly different perspective. Cool, right?
My first Bro Scout is Drew Hodgdon. He lives in Chicago and he’s awesome. He was a center for several years with the Texans. He survived on guile, scrappiness, and a tempered scorn for defensive tackles. Drew knows his stuff. I used to make him take extra reps against me in practice because he did such a good job of exploiting my weaknesses. Hard to say that with a straight face, since I had zero weaknesses (You don’t have access to film, right?). Drew’s got an eye for this stuff and knows what he’s talking about. He’ll be doing a player a day until he quits or at least until his form starts to suffer.
Travis Swanson: Arkansas, C
• For a center that was utilized largely in an outside run game that called on him to pull and move in space, he sports an atypical 6’5 310lb frame. Swanson moves fluidly and naturally in the open field for an interior lineman, relying heavily on his range and athleticism.
• Having had plenty of opportunities to hone his pass protection skills at Arkansas, Swanson is a proven keystone upfront. He combines great spacial awareness and effective punches to maintain a distinct pocket for the QB.
• Arkansas offensive style gave Swanson limited exposure to snaps under center and immediate run blocking combination reps. He may struggle in a more traditional pro style offense. Lowering his pads off his first step and driving more vertically with either guard to the second level could prove to be a steep learning curve initially.
Prefers being the Center of attention..
Sometimes an insurance policy is as attractive to a scout as any other metric. In a sports league that is prolific for injuring its players, a prospect like Swanson who has proven competence at center and the physical tools to play guard if needed, the right team could pounce on him in the draft ahead of most prognosticators schedule.
– Drew Hodgdon
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