Brandon Thompson   DT   Clemson


 Round 4


Brandon is a stout defensive tackle whose effort on every play is outstanding.  He has some quickness out of his stance and will take up blockers so others on defense can make plays.  At the college level, Brandon can play as a nose tackle in a 3-4 defense or as a run stuffing tackle in a 4-3 defense. He looks to be an excellent teammate and very coachable.  Brandon's most redeeming quality is that he plays hard on every play, which is what you need from a defensive tackle more than anything else.



My biggest concern in the way Brandon plays right now is that he doesn't move his feet well, so he loses his balance and is on the ground way to much.  I watched six plays of the game against Maryland and he was on the ground for three of them before a tackle was made or a whistle was blown.  He lacks lateral agility to stay with blocks and he does not use his hands very well at all to stand his man up look for the RB through the hole before he sheds the blocker to make a tackle.  He has the strength to change the line of scrimmage, but lacks just about everything else to make a play.  He lunges into his opponent using his shoulders and then, of course, he is off balance and falls to the ground.  In his defense, I like this kid's attitude and effort, which are both much desired skills for a defensive tackle to have at the next level.



As of this writing, Brandon is being rated very high in this draft.  In my opinion, he is a developmental defensive tackle who might be able to handle playing nose tackle at the NFL level in a 3-4, but he will have to improve his balance, foot speed and lateral agility to be impactful at that position.  That means for the next level he is strictly a rotation DT in a 4-3 defense who will have to come out in passing down situations.  Brandon has a lot to learn about the defensive tackle position for the next level.  He has to learn better leverage, balance, use of his hands and down and distance situations.  He will have to learn how to read offensive lineman to understand how they are going to block him and to get a better jump off the ball.  Brandon will also have to learn that pushing with his shoulders is not the way to defeat a double team at the next level.  You defeat the double team at the NFL level with good hand usage and leverage.  I like Brandon as a developmental player, but I'm not convinced he is an impact player and worthy of being considered as a first round talent.  First round talent defensive linemen, to me, have to be able to rush the passer, stop the run, play in a 1-gap or 2-gap defense and have much better overall agility than Brandon has right now.  With his attitude and his effort Brandon can become a solid defense tackle for the team that drafts him; however, at this point, I don't see an impact player for the NFL level.  If your team runs a 4-3 defense, I would think later in the draft you will be glad Brandon is available to select.  



 The BS Detector 

 Drew Boylhart   DEC /11