Brandon has an excellent size-speed ratio to play any one of the LB positions. He shows a great burst and is a good tackler. He has the athletic abilities to cover on passing downs and the toughness and strength to take on an offensive lineman, shed him and make a tackle. Brandon shows leadership abilities that need refining. His burst to the play is outstanding and his ability to make a big play at an important point in a game for a MLB is what sets him apart from most in this draft.
NEEDS TO IMPROVE
Right now on the field it looks to me like Brandon is slow to react to plays, but because of his speed and quickness, he is able to recover. At the next level, this will be a big problem. With all the time playing MLB, he still takes bad angles, runs himself out of plays and prefers not to take on a block because he would rather make the big play. For me, character is still an issue. I'm not fooled by the "asking for a bigger suspension" thing. Brandon obviously has street smarts and is smart enough to know how to market himself to the NFL. It's a good way to suggest to people (who question his character) that he has turned the page. Personally, I'm not fooled.
In my opinion, Brandon needs to be in a defensive system that will allow him to flow to the play and not take on blockers if you make him your MLB. I think he would be a better OLB than a MLB at the next level, but I don't think others feel that way. Talent is talent and Brandon has a ton of pure talent. However, at this point of his career, I have not seen an improvement in the mental part of his play from year to year. That's why I suggest you draft him and change him over to the OLB position. At the OLB position, he can learn to react quickly and have fewer responsibilities. He can rush the passer, drop back in zone coverage and even cover a TE man-to-man. But playing him in the middle right now will make him easy to block because he hesitates -- his reaction is slow and he will be fooled big time with play action. Make him your MLB in a few years, but his LTI will be quicker at the OLB position in the NFL. You know me - I expect my top draft picks to get on the field and impact right away and this much talent should not be wasted playing a position that will lessen his impact just because he played that position in college. For me, I'm not convinced that Brandon has the work ethic and instincts to be a MLB in the NFL right now. Maybe in the future, but not right now. Because of his talent, everything has come easy to him. That is obvious to me in his play on the field; that does not mean he can't be an outstanding LB for the team that drafts him. He just needs to mature and football has to become as important to him as his personal pride is. Right now, Brandon speaks of team play but his play on the field speaks differently. So play him at a position where his play will speak for itself. Make him an OLB.
Drew Boylhart 11/09