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Bucky Brooks

Bucky Brooks


Drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the 1994 NFL Draft, Bucky Brooks played for five different teams (Buffalo, Jacksonville, Green Bay, Kansas City and Oakland) in five NFL seasons. After his playing career was over in 1999, Brooks joined the Seattle Seahawks' pro personnel department as a regional college scout. He served in the same capacity for the Carolina Panthers from 2003 to 2007, before joining CNNSI.com as a football analyst. He joined NFL Media in 2009.


November

The Green Bay Packers have bounced back from a disappointing 1-2 start to re-emerge as legitimate title contenders. The team has a balanced, explosive offense and a playmaking defense -- all the components needed to make a deep postseason run. With a... more

When scouts are assigned to evaluate the top prospects within their region, it is important to schedule multiple visits to the school to get an accurate gauge on the development of the player during his final season. While it is hard to shake the initial... more

Whenever scouts convene for draft meetings to discuss the top prospects in college football, general managers and coaches will ask evaluators to provide a pro comparison for each player. Although the comparison is loosely based on similar physical... more

In the spirit of the Salute to Service campaign , former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks spotlights players who are poised to have hero-like performances for their respective teams in Week 12: Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns Matchup: at Atlanta... more

When considering contenders for Coach of the Year, voters should take a long, hard look at Andy Reid -- and appreciate the work he has done in Kansas City. While there are plenty of deserving candidates, including Arizona Cardinals head man Bruce Arians,... more

Is it the talent or the system? That's the question scouts will wrestle with when they take a long, hard look at Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon during the pre-draft process. Despite shattering the single-game rushing record with a 408-yard effort against... more

When Texas A&M announced that star offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi was moving from left tackle to right tackle prior to last week's Auburn game, I immediately thought it was an admission by the Aggies' coaching staff that the senior standout was unable to... more

In the spirit of the Salute to Service campaign , former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks spotlights players who are poised to have hero-like performances for their respective teams in Week 11: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers Matchup: vs.... more

The Detroit Lions are sitting atop the NFC North and firmly entrenched in the race for the top seed in the conference. While we've grown accustomed to seeing the Lions fade down the stretch, the All-22 Coaches Film reveals a team that's rounding into... more

Bob DeChiara / USA Today Sports Louisville safety Gerod Holliman leads the nation with 13 interceptions. The changing dynamics of the NFL game have made the safety position one of the marquee spots on defense. Fueled by the desire to slow... more

Elaine Thompson/Associated Press Star CB Marcus Peters faces a big decision after being dismissed from the Washington football team. The changing climate of the NFL makes it tough for scouts and general managers to bring prospects with... more

In this installment of "Bucky's Best," former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks provides "Bucky's Beasts" -- the guys who are poised to produce spectacular numbers in Week 10: Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers Matchup: at New York Jets, Sunday,... more

The New England Patriots have been anointed AFC heavyweights following their impressive dismantling of the Denver Broncos , but Bill Belichick's bunch might not even be the best team in the AFC East. The Miami Dolphins (5-3), who beat the Pats in Week 1 ,... more

Richard Shiro / Associated Press Tennessee QB Josh Dobbs showed off his versatility in Saturday's 45-42 overtime win over South Carolina. NFL evaluators are always searching for the next potential franchise quarterback. Whether it is a senior... more

October

In his weekly Bucky's Best series, former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks identifies the must-see matchups of the weekend in college football. Most intriguing matchup TCU QB Trevone Boykin vs. West Virginia DC Tony Gibson It's not a coincidence the... more

In this installment of "Bucky's Best," former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks highlights the can't-miss matchups to watch in Week 9 : Broncos' receiving corps vs. Patriots' defensive backs Denver Broncos at New England Patriots, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET,... more

We've reached the midpoint of the 2014 NFL season -- and it's time to highlight players who are operating at an MVP level. Rather than focus on the candidates for the NFL MVP award, however, I thought I'd broaden the discussion by singling out the top... more

We've reached the midpoint of the season -- which means it's time to highlight players who are operating at an MVP level. Rather than focus on the candidates for the NFL MVP award, however, I thought I'd broaden the discussion by singling out the top... more

Elaine Thompson/Associated Press Washington's Shaq Thompson is the rare college player who can impact a game on both offense and defense. Whenever a blue-chip player is capable of making contributions on both sides of the ball, scouts... more

In his weekly Bucky's Best series, former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks identifies the must-see matchups of the weekend in college football. Best matchup in the trenches Clemson DE/OLB Vic Beasley vs. Syracuse OT Sean Hickey There is no question in... more

In this installment of "Bucky's Best," former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks highlights the can't-miss matchups to watch in Week 8 : Brandon Marshall/Alshon Jeffery vs. Darrelle Revis/Brandon Browner Chicago Bears at New England Patriots, Sunday, 1... more

The Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals square off Sunday in a midseason heavyweight battle between two 5-1 teams. This game pits one of the league's most explosive offenses against a stellar defensive unit that has played surprisingly well despite... more

With the recent devaluation of running backs in the draft and free agency, many observers have fallen prey to the narrative that the NFL is a "quarterback-driven league," failing to see how the presence of a dominant playmaker in the backfield alleviates... more

John David Mercer/USA TODAY There's a lot not to like about Jameis Winston, but his on-field play in big moments is not one of them. For all of the negative attention that Florida State QB Jameis Winston's off-field behavior has attracted... more

In his weekly Bucky's Best series, former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks identifies the must-see matchups of the weekend in college football. Most intriguing matchup Florida State QB Jameis Winston vs. Notre Dame QB Everett Golson The swirl of... more

In this installment of "Bucky's Best," former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks highlights the can't-miss matchups to watch in Week 7 : Cam Newton vs. Julius Peppers/Clay Matthews Carolina Panthers at Green Bay Packers, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox The... more

The Cleveland Browns are quietly emerging as legitimate playoff contenders behind a punishing offense spearheaded by a wily veteran and a tough running game. Following their dominant win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, I thought it was time to figure out... more

Matt Cashore/USA Today Sports Notre Dame's Everett Golson will benefit from NFL teams becoming more accepting of smaller quarterbacks. The success of the Russell Wilson experiment in Seattle could pave the way for Notre Dame's Everett Golson... more

Associated Press Sooners CB Zack Sanchez made big plays on Saturday, while Mizzou QB Maty Mauk tossed four picks in a loss. With Week 7 of college football in the books, it's time to take note of who saw their stock rise and fall based on the... more

In his weekly Bucky's Best series, former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks identifies the must-see matchups of the weekend in college football. Most anticipated matchup in NFL circles Oregon QB Marcus Mariota vs. UCLA QB Brent Hundley This matchup... more

Georgia running back Todd Gurley has been suspended indefinitely by the University of Georgia Athletic Association as the star junior is being investigated for an alleged violation of NCAA rules . ¬Ľ Manziel showing support for Gurley The 2014... more

In this installment of "Bucky's Best," former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks highlights the can't-miss matchups to watch in Week 6 : Dez Bryant vs. Richard Sherman Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox Bryant has... more

When the New York Giants selected Odell Beckham Jr. with the 12th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, I believed it was the perfect marriage of prospect and scheme. The 5-foot-11, 198-pound receiver was one of the most explosive players in college... more

What's wrong with the Philadelphia Eagles' offense? That's the question many observers are asking after watching Chip Kelly's unit struggle over the past two weeks. Despite sporting a 4-1 record and scoring 30-plus points four times, the Eagles'... more

Jim Lytle/Associated Press Mississippi State's dual-threat QB Dak Prescott is emerging as a top Heisman contender. Traditionalists might not like the way the quarterback position is evolving in college football, but the presence of a... more

AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace turned in a steller performance in leading the Rebels over Alabama on Saturday. With Week 6 of college football in the books, it's time to take note of who saw their stock rise and fall based... more

After a slow start to the season, the New York Giants caught the attention of the football world with a pair of resounding wins over the Houston Texans and Washington Redskins. The stellar play of Eli Manning combined with the emergence of an unheralded... more

In his weekly Bucky's Best series, former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks identifies the must-see matchups of the weekend in college football. Best WR-DB matchup Alabama WR Amari Cooper vs. Ole Miss DB Tony Conner Credit Alabama offensive coordinator... more

EUGENE, Ore. -- There is nothing like having the opportunity to watch a franchise quarterback play in a big game with championship implications. The atmosphere mirrors the pressurized environment of playing in a prime-time game at the next level. Thus, I... more

In this installment of Bucky's Best, former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks highlights the can't-miss matchups to watch in Week 5: DeMarco Murray vs. Brian Cushing Houston Texans at Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS The transformation of... more

September

We've reached the quarter mark of the 2014 NFL season -- and this is the perfect time to recognize the standouts from the first four weeks. While things will certainly change going forward, and while it's true that the six teams with a Week 4 bye have... more

The pass-centric nature of the NFL makes it imperative for a dominant defense to feature elite pass rushers off the edges. Defensive coordinators constantly stress the importance of being able to disrupt the rhythm of the quarterback in personnel... more

Nati Harnik/Associated Press Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah scored three touchdowns in the Huskers' win over Illinois. With Week 5 of college football in the books, it's time to take note of who saw their stock rise and fall based on... more

In his weekly Bucky's Best series, former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks identifies the must-see matchups of the weekend in college football. Best matchup in the trenches Arkansas DE Trey Flowers vs. Texas A&M OT Cedric Ogbuehi Flowers intrigues... more

Rick Scuteri/Associated Press UCLA's Brett Hundley bounced back with a big effort vs. Arizona State in his return from injury. TEMPE, Ariz. -- Franchise quarterbacks must display the mental and physical toughness to perform when they are not... more

In his weekly "Bucky's Best" series, former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks highlights the can't-miss matchups you need to watch. Most favorable offensive matchup LeSean McCoy/Darren Sproles vs. 49ers' linebackers Philadelphia Eagles at San... more

In past seasons, Jason Garrett's Dallas Cowboys have favored a pass-centric approach on offense. While it certainly made sense to rely on a Pro Bowl quarterback (Tony Romo) and a talented set of receivers (headlined by Dez Bryant), this game plan didn't... more

James Guillory/USA Today Sports East Carolina quarterback Shane Carden is on the radar of NFL scouts. With Week 4 of college football in the books, it's time to take note of who saw their stock rise and fall based on the weekend's action.... more

Gerald Herbert/Associated Press Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott is gaining momentum after leading the Bulldogs to an upset win over LSU. When I scouted for the Carolina Panthers from 2003-2007, I was required to give every player a critical... more

In his weekly Bucky's Best series, former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks identifies the must-see matchups of the weekend in college football. Most favorable offensive matchup Texas A&M QB Kenny Hill vs. SMU defense The sophomore sensation has... more

Nick Marshall isn't a legitimate NFL quarterback prospect, but that doesn't mean he is incapable of leading the Auburn Tigers into the College Football Playoff as the director of one of college football's most explosive offenses. After watching the... more

In his weekly "Bucky's Best" series, former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks highlights the can't-miss matchups you need to watch. Most favorable offensive matchup Chris Johnson/Chris Ivory vs. Bears' run defense Chicago Bears at New York Jets,... more

How did the Chargers crack the code? That's the question I asked myself after witnessing the San Diego Chargers' 30-21 win over the Seattle Seahawks from my press box seat in Qualcomm Stadium. While I wasn't completely surprised the Chargers were able... more

Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press QB Brett Hundley played an active role on the sideline after exiting the Bruins' win over Texas with an elbow injury. The college football season is only three weeks old, but scouts are already completing their... more

John Raoux/Associated Press Florida wide receiver Demarcus Robinson racked up 216 yards on 15 receptions vs. Kentucky. With Week 3 of college football in the books, it is time to take note of who saw their stock rise and fall based on the... more

In his weekly Bucky's Best series, former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks identifies the must-see matchups of the weekend in college football. Most intriguing matchup Georgia RB Todd Gurley vs. South Carolina defense The Heisman Trophy front-runner... more

In his weekly Bucky's Best series, former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks highlights the can't-miss matchups to watch. Most favorable offensive matchup Peyton Manning vs. Chiefs' defense Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET,... more

The NFL boasts some of the best and brightest minds in football, but that doesn't mean the pro game isn't influenced by what high school and college teams are doing. The savviest coaches will borrow ideas from their brethren at the lower levels,... more

Ryan Kang/Associated Press Oregon QB Marcus Mariota put on an impressive performance in leading the Ducks over Michigan State on Saturday. When I started my career as a scout in 2000 with the Seattle Seahawks, I was advised by my college... more

Elaine Thompson/Associated Press Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson was productive on both defense and offense on Saturday. With Week 2 of college football in the books, it's time to take note of who saw their stock rise and fall based on... more

USA Today Sports Stanford offensive tackle Andrus Peat will be tested by USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams on Saturday. For all of the things that I love about watching football, I'm most fascinated by the chess match that takes place on... more

There is nothing like watching the chess match that ensues each week in the NFL. From observing the way crafty coaches implement exotic schemes to exploit mismatches to watching a pair of blue-chip players duke it out against each other, I've learned... more

If the quarterback position is viewed as the most important in football, then the backup should receive special attention in the team-building process. After all, the second-string quarterback is just a play away from having to step into the spotlight and... more

AP Photo/Nati Harnik Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah is one of several running backs changing the perception of the RB position. Don't believe the hype suggesting the running back position is devalued in football. While the recent results of the... more

August

Jeremy Brevard / USA TODAY Sports Kenny Hill was every bit as efficient running Texas A&M's offense as his predecessor. Johnny who? That's what the college football world is likely saying after watching Texas A&M QB Kenny Hill put on a... more

Eugene Tanner/Associated Press USC CB Josh Shaw's draft stock is under review after he lied about saving his drowning nephew. When Josh Shaw misled USC officials with a fabricated story about rescuing his drowning nephew from a pool, he not... more

Since Sean Payton's arrival in 2006, the New Orleans Saints consistently have fielded one of the most explosive offenses in football. But this year's edition promises to be the most dynamic and versatile unit I've seen under his direction. Now, I... more

Since Sean Payton's arrival in 2006, the New Orleans Saints consistently have fielded one of the most explosive offenses in football. But this year's edition might be the most dynamic and versatile unit I've seen under his direction. Now I know... more

When Mike Pettine announced his decision regarding the Cleveland Browns' quarterback competition Wednesday morning, I was surprised to see the first-year coach name Brian Hoyer the starter . Although I anticipated the veteran having the first crack at the... more

Players to watch: QB RB WR OT Pass rushers Defensive backs Doug Benc / Associated Press Jameis Winston might have a hard time in 2014 replicating the level of success he enjoyed in 2013. NFL scouts are already looking to... more

Players to watch: QB RB WR OT Pass rushers Defensive backs Ifo Ekpre-Olomu's skill set makes him the top defensive back to watch heading into the 2014 season. The pass-centric nature of the NFL game has scouts scouring... more

Players to watch: QB RB WR OT Pass rushers Defensive backs Texas A&M's Cedric Ogbuehi is one of the most intriguing offensive tackles in college football. The pass-happy nature of the NFL has turned talented offensive... more

Players to watch: QB RB WR OT Pass rushers Defensive backs Dave Martin / Associated Press Amari Cooper will be under close watch this fall as NFL teams continue to monitor potential future game changers. The wide-open... more

Players to watch: QB RB WR OT Pass rushers Defensive backs John Bazemore / Associated Press The next "Beast Mode"? Todd Gurley's game is reminiscent to that of Seattle's Marshawn Lynch. The devaluation of the running back... more

The Seattle Seahawks are poised to make a run at a second straight Super Bowl title, but this time around, the offense could play a much bigger role. The expanded playbook that this team has put on display in the preseason leads me to believe the unit... more

Jay LaPrete/Associated Press Ohio State QB Braxton Miller will miss the 2014 season after suffering a shoulder injury in practice. When the news broke about Ohio State QB Braxton Miller missing 2014 due to a season-ending shoulder injury, I... more

The Seattle Seahawks are poised to make a run at a second straight Super Bowl title, but this time around, the offense could play a much bigger role. The expanded playbook that this team has put on display in the preseason leads me to believe the unit... more

Scouts are already looking to the future to identify potential franchise quarterbacks in the collegiate ranks. Although it's way too early for speculation about what quarterbacks will become blue-chip players at the next level, evaluators are studying tape and making notes on the guys that will garner significant interest over the next few seasons.

This is a preseason version of my Quarterback Tracker, which will let you know what quarterbacks to watch this fall. Remember, this isn't a 2015 draft preview list, but a compilation of college quarterbacks already generating interest in scouting rooms across the league.

» CFB 24/7: Complete college football coverage... more

AP Photo/Ben Liebenberg Florida State QB Jameis Winston enters 2014 as the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. "I want winners!" The quote from former San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary effectively sums up the attitude that NFL... more

Tempo. That's the word buzzing around the NFL in 2014. Hoping to duplicate the success of fast-paced attacks run by teams like the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints, several... more

Julio Cortez/Associated Press Florida State QB Jameis Winston will enter the 2014 season as a favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. I've been around the NFL long enough to know that capturing the Heisman Trophy doesn't ensure success at the... more

Joe Raymond / Associated Press Everett Golson is back in the Irish's starting lineup after missing the entire 2013 season due to a suspension. When Everett Golson returned to Notre Dame after sitting out the 2013 season due to an academic... more

For all the talk about today's NFL being governed by quarterback play, the surest way to consistently compete for the Lombardi Trophy is to field an elite defense that smothers opponents and creates scoring chances off turnovers. This has long been the... more

When I worked as a scout for the Carolina Panthers in the mid-2000s, then-coach John Fox would break up the season into quarters and set a goal to achieve a 3-1 record in each to ensure a playoff berth. While it's probably surprising to hear losses... more

The best defensive coordinators in the NFL are willing to step outside of the box to develop effective strategies for defending the hottest offensive trends. From crafting exotic zone-blitz schemes to using a variety of unique personnel packages to... more

Rankings: 1-5 6-10 11-15 16-20 21-25 Gerald Herbert / Associated Press T.J. Yeldon appears to be the next big-time Crimson Tide back primed to make the leap from college to the pros. When I was a scout in the NFL for the... more

Rankings: 1-5 6-10 11-15 16-20 21-25 Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press USC's Leonard Williams will enter the 2014 season at full health after playing through an injury last season. 6. Ohio State Buckeyes Players to... more

Rankings: 1-5 6-10 11-15 16-20 21-25 AP Photo/Victor Calzada Quarterback Brett Hundley has indicated this will be his final season at UCLA. 11. UCLA Bruins Players to watch: QB Brett Hundley, LB/RB Myles Jack, DT Ellis... more

Whenever the "elite quarterback" discussion crops up in NFL circles, the same four names top the marquee. Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees represent the Mount Rushmore of quarterbacking in today's game, based on remarkable... more

Rankings: 1-5 6-10 11-15 16-20 21-25 Aaron M. Sprecher/NFL Texas A&M's Cedric Ogbuehi is among college football's top offensive tackles. 16. South Carolina Gamecocks Take a look ahead to the 2014 college football season... more

Rankings: 1-5 6-10 11-15 16-20 21-25 Rick Scuteri / Associated Press Arizona State's Jaelen Strong is showing he has the potential to be a No. 1 wide receiver at the next level. 21. Missouri Tigers Players to watch:... more

July

The Baltimore Ravens fielded a scattershot offense in 2013 -- and, not coincidentally, they missed the playoffs, despite having won the Super Bowl one season earlier. Now, with new coordinator Gary Kubiak taking the reins, the unit could be poised for a... more

Michael Conroy/Associated Press Ohio State's Braxton Miller needs to show great improvement in the passing game to prove he's an NFL prospect at QB. I would never question Urban Meyer's football knowledge or his evaluation skills based on his... more

Don Ryan / Associated Press Improvement in two critical areas could have Brett Hundley rapidly rising up draft boards. Whenever a college coach with strong NFL ties suggests that one of his players has the goods to be a star at the next level... more

There's nothing like playing in the NFL. I proudly say that after spending five seasons in the league as a wide receiver/defensive back/kick returner with five different teams. Although I didn't earn Pro Bowl recognition, I had the opportunity to... more

Chuck Burton / Associated Press Jameis Winston's playing style and collegiate offensive scheme are different from that of Cam Newton. When I worked as a scout for the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers, I would frequently ask prospects... more

Whenever I speak to a young player trying to make his mark in the NFL, I advise him to find a Pro Bowler with similar skills and attempt to copy his career blueprint. I'm aware that most youngsters already model their games after the elite talents at... more

When I was a defensive back for the Jacksonville Jaguars, I asked our defensive coordinator, Dick Jauron, a straightforward question: What is the key to building a dominant defense in the NFL? After pondering my question for a few minutes, Jauron told... more

The NFL's aerial evolution over the past decade has changed the way defensive coordinators build their secondaries. Teams are placing a greater emphasis on adding athletic playmakers with versatile skill sets. While those traits have†always†been coveted... more

When I stepped onto the practice field adjacent to Arrowhead Stadium in 1997, I had no idea that my Kansas City Chiefs teammate Tony Gonzalez was on the verge of revolutionizing the tight end position in the NFL. While I was well aware of Gonzalez's... more

Is he clutch? That's the question I repeatedly asked myself while evaluating quarterbacks during my time as a scout with the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers. For all of the physical attributes needed to thrive at the position, the ability to... more

The recent rise of the running-back-by-committee approach in the NFL has led to speculation that the position has been devalued in meeting rooms around the league -- a theory that was further advanced when no backs were selected in the first round of each... more

The pass-centric nature of the NFL has turned left tackle into one of the marquee positions in football. Coaches and scouts place a high priority on keeping the quarterback upright, allowing him to comfortably make plays from the pocket. Thus, NFL... more

In this series, Bucky Brooks identifies the NFL's top 10 players within unique, skill-based categories. Hands and ball skills Whereas many evaluators place tremendous emphasis on speed, athleticism and agility when assessing pass catchers, to... more

There's nothing that makes me cringe more than hearing any cornerback with a little skill touted as a "shutdown corner." While I certainly appreciate observers recognizing the benefits of having a guy who can shut down an entire side of the field, the... more

When I stepped into the NFL as a rookie receiver with the Buffalo Bills in 1994, I had the opportunity to watch Andre Reed put on a daily clinic with his exceptional skills as a pass catcher. Observing the future Hall of Famer refine his craft on... more

Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports Clemson DE Vic Beasley returns for his senior season as one of college football's top pass rushers. When I was a scout for the Carolina Panthers, I was encouraged to value speed and athleticism as core traits for... more

David Butler II / USA TODAY Sports QB Bryce Petty must show he is more than a product of the Baylor system. Is it the talent or the system? That's the question NFL scouts routinely wrestle with when evaluating quarterbacks directing... more

Football might be the ultimate team sport, but the NFL is dominated by larger-than-life talents -- those players who, through sheer force of skill and personality, seem able to single-handedly drive their squads. A player like that can become everything... more

Football might be the ultimate team sport, but the NFL is dominated by larger-than-life talents -- those players who, through sheer force of skill and personality, seem able to single-handedly drive their squads. A player like that can become everything... more

David Zalubowski/Associated Press Oregon's Ifo Ekpre-Olomu enters his senior season as one of the top defenders in college football. The pass-happy nature of the NFL has led scouts and coaches to search high and low for shutdown corners.... more

Football might be the ultimate team sport, but the NFL is dominated by larger-than-life talents -- those players who, through sheer force of skill and personality, seem able to single-handedly drive their squads. A player like that can become everything... more

June

Football might be the ultimate team sport, but the NFL is dominated by larger-than-life talents -- those players who, through sheer force of skill and personality, seem able to single-handedly drive their squads. A player like that can become everything... more

Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper has the ability to become a No. 1 receiver in the NFL. Whenever a young player makes key contributions for a national championship contender, NFL scouts tend to pay closer attention to his development... more

Football might be the ultimate team sport, but the NFL is dominated by larger-than-life talents -- those players who, through sheer force of skill and personality, seem able to single-handedly drive their squads. A player like that can become everything... more

Football might be the ultimate team sport, but the NFL is dominated by larger-than-life talents -- those players who, through sheer force of skill and personality, seem able to single-handedly drive their squads. A player like that can become everything... more

Football might be the ultimate team sport, but the NFL is dominated by larger-than-life talents -- those players who, through sheer force of skill and personality, seem able to single-handedly drive their squads. A player like that can become everything... more

USC junior defensive lineman Leonard Williams has flashed potential but still has room for improvement. Whenever a respected college coach touts a young player as a potential impact player at the next level, NFL scouts take notice,... more

Bucky Brooks identifies the face of each NFL franchise, as well as the next player in line to take up the mantle.†Click on each division for the complete breakdown. NFC North ¬Ľ Chicago Bears: †Will their next franchise leader be a defender, too?... more

Football might be the ultimate team sport, but the NFL is dominated by larger-than-life talents -- those players who, through sheer force of skill and personality, seem able to single-handedly drive their squads. A player like that can become everything... more

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press Utah State QB Chuckie Keeton is looking to bounce back from a 2013 season-ending knee injury. The copycat nature of the NFL will lead coaches and scouts to search for the next big thing at the collegiate... more

Ben Liebenberg / NFL Jameis Winston can confirm to NFL teams that he has desirable off-the-field intangibles by getting his degree. It's been widely assumed in media circles that Florida State QB Jameis Winston will declare for the 2015 NFL... more

Michael Conroy / Associated Press Melvin Gordon averaged nearly eight yards per carry while rushing for 1,609 yards for the Badgers in 2013. A few weeks ago, I wrote that I expect the devaluation of the running back position to end in the... more

When I played for the Oakland Raiders in the late 1990s, defensive coordinator Willie Shaw told us that the pass rush is far more important than the coverage in the NFL. He believed disrupting the timing and rhythm of the quarterback was paramount to... more

I've been around a lot of NFL offensive coordinators during my time as a player and scout, and I've seen that the best play callers have a keen understanding of how to build around their best players. When I played for the Green Bay Packers, I... more

Jameis Winston's uneven performance vs. Miami was a minor blemish on an otherwise outstanding 2013 season. Whenever a first-year quarterback guides his team to the national championship and claims the Heisman Trophy , scouts take notice. This... more

I remember how, back in my scouting days with the Carolina Panthers, team officials raved about Julius Peppers' impact on the franchise as a young player. The 2002 Defensive Rookie of the Year notched 12 sacks during his debut season, providing a... more

It takes three full years to evaluate a draft class, so it's time to take a long, hard look at the 2011 NFL Draft . Of course, various situations and circumstances greatly affected the impact several players made on their respective teams, but excuses... more

When the St. Louis Rams hired Gregg Williams as their new defensive coordinator in January, offensive coaches around the NFL immediately took notice. This appears to be the perfect marriage of coach and personnel, the type of development that could make... more

May

Players to watch: QB RB WR OT Pass rushers Defensive backs Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press Leonard Williams has flashed the potential to be a premier pass rusher at the next level. The quickest way to improve a defense... more

When I played with the Green Bay Packers in the mid-1990s, I watched Brett Favre take the NFL by storm with a receiving corps that featured several playmakers on the perimeter (Robert Brooks, Antonio Freeman and Andre Rison), including a dynamic 1-2 punch... more

The Pittsburgh Steelers' failure to make the postseason the past two seasons largely can be blamed on a defense that has looked old and slow at critical moments. Despite the team's attempts to add young, talented defenders in prior drafts, the patchwork... more

The common denominator among the NFL's elite is the presence of a franchise quarterback under center. Teams with blue-chip signal-callers routinely find themselves in the Super Bowl hunt, while those without established QBs struggle to win consistently in... more

When Bucky Brooks graded all 32 teams for their 2014 NFL Draft hauls, he identified seven whose exceptional rookie classes were worthy of an "A" mark. Here's what he had to say about the teams that stood out from the rest (click on team names for full... more

It's obviously way too early to completely tear apart any team's draft class, but it is fair to say some hauls are less inspiring than others. In grading out the 2014 NFL Draft , Bucky Brooks found that six teams deserved "C" marks for one reason or... more

Bucky Brooks is performing a division-by-division assessment of the 2014 NFL Draft, spotlighting notable picks and handing out grades for each team. You'll find the NFC West evaluation below; click here for other divisional breakdowns. The most... more

Bucky Brooks is performing a division-by-division assessment of the 2014 NFL Draft, spotlighting notable picks and handing out grades for each team. You'll find the AFC West evaluation below; click here for other divisional breakdowns . John Elway has... more

Bucky Brooks is performing a division-by-division assessment of the 2014 NFL Draft , spotlighting notable picks and handing out grades for each team. You'll find the NFC East evaluation below; click here for other divisions . After being regarded as a... more

Bucky Brooks is performing a division-by-division assessment of the 2014 NFL Draft, spotlighting notable picks and handing out grades for each team. You'll find the AFC East evaluation below; click here for other divisional breakdowns . Brandt:... more

Bucky Brooks is performing a division-by-division assessment of the 2014 NFL Draft , spotlighting notable picks and handing out grades for each team. You'll find the NFC South evaluation below; click here for other divisional breakdowns . The... more

Bucky Brooks is performing a division-by-division assessment of the 2014 NFL Draft , spotlighting notable picks and handing out grades for each team. You'll find the AFC South evaluation below; click here for other divisional breakdowns . Schein:... more

Bucky Brooks is performing a division-by-division assessment of the 2014 NFL Draft , spotlighting notable picks and handing out grades for each team. Seven teams earned "A" grades †for their draft hauls, while six teams received†"C" marks . Click on each... more

Bucky Brooks is performing a division-by-division assessment of the 2014 NFL Draft , spotlighting notable picks and handing out grades for each team. You'll find the NFC North evaluation below; click here for other divisional breakdowns . The... more

Bucky Brooks is performing a division-by-division assessment of the 2014 NFL Draft , spotlighting notable picks and handing out grades for each team. You'll find the AFC North evaluation below; click here for other divisional breakdowns . The... more

The first day of the 2014 NFL Draft was full of surprises, with several unheralded prospects sneaking into the first round. Although scouts are prepared for every scenario on draft day, the opportunity to sit back and reassess the options heading into Day... more

It's hard to know what to believe in the days leading up the 2014 NFL Draft . General managers and scouts are floating smokescreens and misinformation to the public to keep opposing decision makers guessing on draft day. How to watch the NFL draft... more

The key to draft-day success is correctly identifying and selecting prospects at the appropriate value. Although keen observers routinely acknowledge the inexact science of this process, bombing on early selections can set a franchise back for years.... more

Pass rushers are always coveted at a premium on draft day. General managers and scouts spend countless hours poring over game tape looking for disruptive edge players with the speed, power and burst to pummel quarterbacks in the backfield. While... more

Picks Nos. 1-8 Picks Nos. 9-16 Picks Nos. 17-24 Picks Nos. 25-32 NFL.com Illustration MOCK DRAFTS: Bucky Brooks 6.0 | Daniel Jeremiah 6.0 | Charles Davis 6.0 | Mock Draft Central Every NFL team has to prepare for the... more

In advance of the 2014 NFL Draft, Bucky Brooks is examining the best team fits for one high-profile prospect each week . Today, he takes on Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr . PREVIOUS: Jadeveon Clowney | Sammy Watkins | Blake Bortles | Justin... more

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Team-by-team Position-by-position Quarterbacks Round 1 (overall pick No. 3) Jacksonville Jaguars: Johnny Manziel , Texas A&M Round 1 (5) Oakland Raiders: Blake Bortles , UCF Round 1 (26)... more

Picks Nos. 1-8 Picks Nos. 9-16 Picks Nos. 17-24 Picks Nos. 25-32 NFL.com Illustration MOCK DRAFTS: Bucky Brooks 6.0 | Daniel Jeremiah 6.0 | Charles Davis 6.0 | Mock Draft Central Every NFL team has to prepare for the... more

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Team-by-team Position-by-position Arizona Cardinals Round 1 (overall pick No. 20): Dee Ford , DE, Auburn Round 2 (52): Stephon Tuitt , DE, Notre Dame Round 3 (84): Tom Savage , QB, Pittsburgh... more

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Team-by-team Position-by-position The 2014 NFL Draft is a week away, so teams are putting the finishing touches on their draft boards and going through the possible scenarios that could occur on draft... more

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Team-by-team Position-by-position 65. Houston Texans: Troy Niklas , TE, Notre Dame Bill O'Brien's experience utilizing double tight end sets in New England could lead him to take a big, athletic... more

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Team-by-team Position-by-position 33. Houston Texans: AJ McCarron , QB, Alabama The Texans have all of the offensive weapons needed to be a force in the AFC, so they simply need a quarterback with... more

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Team-by-team Position-by-position 101. Houston Texans: Nevin Lawson , CB, Utah State 102. Washington Redskins: Walt Aikens , CB, Liberty 103. Atlanta Falcons: Craig Loston , SS, LSU 104.... more

April

The collection of prospects who will be available in the 2014 NFL Draft is widely considered one of the most talented in recent memory. Of course, for the sake of perspective, similar things were said about the 2011 and 2012 classes, which yielded Cam... more

Picks Nos. 1-8 Picks Nos. 9-16 Picks Nos. 17-24 Picks Nos. 25-32 NFL.com Illustration MOCK DRAFTS: Bucky Brooks 6.0 | Daniel Jeremiah 6.0 | Charles Davis 6.0 | Mock Draft Central Every NFL team has to prepare for the... more

In advance of the 2014 NFL Draft, Bucky Brooks is examining the best team fits for one high-profile prospect each week . Today, he takes on Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans . PREVIOUS: Jadeveon Clowney | Sammy Watkins | Blake Bortles | Justin... more

¬Ľ More draft do-overs: 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2008 | 2010 | 2012 It might take three years to determine whether a player can cut the mustard in the NFL, but that shouldn't discourage evaluators from making strong assertions about a player's... more

The devaluation of running backs in the NFL draft has spawned a narrative that the position is no longer vital to offensive success. However, as we saw throughout the 2013 postseason , the presence of an effective ground game is essential to winning in... more

Picks Nos. 1-8 Picks Nos. 9-16 Picks Nos. 17-24 Picks Nos. 25-32 NFL.com Illustration MOCK DRAFTS: Bucky Brooks 6.0 | Daniel Jeremiah 6.0 | Charles Davis 6.0 | Mock Draft Central Every NFL team has to prepare for the... more

In advance of the 2014 NFL Draft, Bucky Brooks is examining the best team fits for one high-profile prospect each week . Today, he takes on Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald . PREVIOUS: Jadeveon Clowney | Sammy Watkins | Blake Bortles |... more

¬Ľ More draft do-overs: 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2008 | 2010 There's nothing like looking back at a previous draft armed with knowledge and perspective on how each prospect developed. While it's unfair to the decision makers who ultimately pulled the... more

The draft is less than a month away, but scouts are still working hard to put the finishing touches on draft boards across the league. With team visits, private workouts and background searches nearly completed, we can begin to make solid assertions on... more

When I worked as a scout for the Seattle Seahawks, my college scouting director -- Scot McCloughan, who went on to become general manager of the San Francisco 49ers before returning to Seattle as a senior personnel executive -- told me in pre-draft... more

In advance of the 2014 NFL Draft, Bucky Brooks is examining the best team fits for one high-profile prospect each week . Today, he takes on LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham . PREVIOUS: Jadeveon Clowney | Sammy Watkins | Blake Bortles | Justin Gilbert... more

¬Ľ More draft do-overs: 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2008 There's nothing like looking back at a draft armed with information and insight on how players and teams have developed since that point. In 2010, the debate at the top of the board centered on the... more

The 2014 NFL Draft is as deep and talented as any collection of prospects that I've evaluated in my 20-plus years around the league. Although the conversation centers around the top prospects on the board, it's the unheralded players surging up the... more

One of the biggest factors in a successful draft selection is finding a player that ideally fits a team's respective scheme. While talent and mental makeup are also critical factors, the perfect mesh between prospect and scheme can produce remarkable... more

The Heisman Trophy is awarded annually to "the most outstanding player in college football," but receiving the honor doesn't guarantee success at the next level. In fact, history suggests the winner, despite an impressive collegiate résumé, is unlikely... more

What's up with the buzz surrounding quarterback Tom Savage ? That's the question that I've been wrestling with since my colleague, Gil Brandt, began to rave about the potential of the Pittsburgh standout last fall. The wily evaluator likened Savage... more

The trade market on draft day is driven by supply and demand at a particular position. Teams will assign value to every player in the draft, but place a bullseye on the players viewed as "tipping points" at each position. Although these players might not... more

In advance of the 2014 NFL Draft, Bucky Brooks is examining the best team fits for one high-profile prospect each week . Today, he takes on North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron . PREVIOUS: Jadeveon Clowney | Sammy Watkins | Blake Bortles | Justin... more

¬Ľ More draft do-overs: 2003 | 2004 | 2005 There's nothing like looking back at a draft to see where the coaches and scouts got it right or wrong with their evaluations. Although evaluators don't have the benefit of hindsight when making selections... more

I've said before that Jadeveon Clowney is the most talented defensive end prospect that I've seen in my 20-plus years around the NFL. He validated that opinion with his sensational workout at South Carolina's pro day Wednesday. Measuring 6-foot-5... more

March

¬Ľ Bucky Brooks' previous Big Board The pre-draft process is almost over, with pro days set to wrap up in a few weeks. As a result, scouts and coaches are spending extra time in the film room to see if the production and performance displayed on tape... more

In today's pass-happy NFL, it's imperative for general managers and coaches to stockpile multiple receiving threats on the perimeter. League rules restricting contact on pass catchers down the field make it nearly impossible for defenses to stop... more

The NFL draft is similar to the stock market, with the value of prospects fluctuating because of workouts, film evaluation and market analysis. General managers, coaches and scouts are closely monitoring the quarterbacks in the 2014 class, in particular,... more

In advance of the 2014 NFL Draft, Bucky Brooks is examining the best team fits for one high-profile prospect each week . Today, he takes on Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. PREVIOUS: Jadeveon Clowney | Sammy Watkins | Blake Bortles | Justin... more

Johnny Manziel yelled "Boom" after firing a 60-yard bomb to Mike Evans to cap an epic pro-day workout Thursday, and his enthusiastic outburst symbolizes the hammer that he might have dropped on the rest of the 2014 QB class with his spectacular showing... more

¬Ľ More draft do-overs: 2003 | 2004 There's nothing like reviewing previous drafts to see where NFL evaluators got it right or wrong on draft day. Although there are several factors that determine whether a prospect plays up to expectations, it's a... more

The increasingly pass-centric nature of the NFL has rendered running backs second-class citizens in most offenses. Though complementing a stout defense with a strong running game remains the blueprint for winning a Super Bowl title, the fascination with... more

In advance of the 2014 NFL Draft, Bucky Brooks is examining the best team fits for one high-profile prospect each week . Today, he takes on Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. PREVIOUS: Jadeveon Clowney | Sammy Watkins | Blake Bortles | Justin... more

¬Ľ More draft do-overs: 2003 There's nothing like looking back at a previous draft to see where scouts got it right or wrong in a given year. Here, I want take a stab at the 2004 NFL Draft armed with the knowledge of how each player in the class... more

Teddy Bridgewater finally put his talents on the display in front of a host of NFL general managers, coaches and scouts Monday at his pro day , and the performance was underwhelming to say the least . The consensus top-ranked quarterback in most... more

"Defense wins championships." During my time as a scout with the Carolina Panthers, I routinely heard John Fox recite this familiar adage in personnel meetings. He constantly stressed the importance of playing tough, physical defense. Battista:... more

In advance of the 2014 NFL Draft, Bucky Brooks is examining the best team fits for one high-profile prospect each week . Today, he takes on Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. PREVIOUS: Jadeveon Clowney | Sammy Watkins | Blake Bortles | Justin Gilbert... more

In today's passing league, wide receivers are marquee players in free agency. Teams are willing to pay top dollar for pass catchers with blue-chip characteristics -- guys who can help maximize a franchise quarterback. Perusing the 2014 free-agent class,... more

In advance of the 2014 NFL Draft, Bucky Brooks is examining the best team fits for one high-profile prospect each week . Today, he takes on Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack. PRIOR INSTALLMENTS: Jadeveon Clowney | Sammy Watkins | Blake Bortles | Justin... more

Brooks: Best fits for top prospects In advance of the 2014 NFL†Draft, Bucky Brooks is examining potential landing spots for high-profile players in this class. READ The 2014 NFL Scouting Combine is in the books, but several prospects still have... more

February

Drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the 1994 NFL Draft, Bucky Brooks played for five different teams (Buffalo, Jacksonville, Green Bay, Kansas City and Oakland) in five NFL seasons. After his playing career was over in 1999, Brooks joined... more

In advance of the 2014 NFL Draft, Bucky Brooks is examining the best team fits for one high-profile prospect each week . Today, he takes on Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert. PRIOR INSTALLMENTS: Jadeveon Clowney | Sammy Watkins | Blake Bortles... more

¬Ľ Bucky Brooks' initial 2014 NFL Draft big board The NFL Scouting Combine is in the books, with coaches and scouts leaving Indianapolis with a better feel for the 2014 NFL Draft class following exhaustive interviews and workouts with top... more

PRIOR WORKOUT GROUPS' WINNERS AND LOSERS: OL, TE | QB, RB, WR | DL, LB INDIANAPOLIS -- The final day of the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine put the spotlight on defensive backs. While this group might lack the sizzle of some of the DB classes of years... more

INDIANAPOLIS -- After a full weekend of offensive workouts, the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine shifted to the other side of the ball on Monday, with defensive linemen and linebackers hitting the Lucas Oil Stadium turf. Who stood out in the on-field action? My... more

INDIANAPOLIS -- The second day of on-field workouts at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine featured the glamour positions: quarterback, running back and wide receiver (a high-interest group, to say the least). Here are my thoughts on the prospects who stood... more

INDIANAPOLIS -- The first day of workouts at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine is in the books. While a number of prospects sent their stocks soaring up the charts, a few players now will need to make amends for poor performances during their pro day workouts... more

In advance of the 2014 NFL†Draft, Bucky Brooks is examining the best team fit for one high-profile prospect each week. Derek Carr With NFL bloodlines, as well as an enticing combination of arm talent and athleticism, this quarterback has what... more

In advance of the 2014 NFL Draft, Bucky Brooks is examining the best team fits for one high-profile prospect each week. Today, he takes on Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles. Past installments cover Jadeveon Clowney and Sammy Watkins . It's... more

The NFL Scouting Combine is viewed as a glorified track meet by some observers, but scouts and coaches view the event as a four-day job interview. Personnel men will bombard top prospects with a variety of questions to assess their background profile and... more

The NFL Scouting Combine ranks as the marquee pre-draft event on the calendar of every scout and personnel man in the league. Evaluators anxiously await the performances of top prospects to see if their physical dimensions, athleticism and football... more

In advance of the 2014 NFL†Draft, Bucky Brooks is examining the best team fits for one high-profile prospect each week. Click here for the debut subject of this series, Jadeveon Clowney. As for today's installment ... With the prominence of the... more

There is a direct correlation between quarterback play and winning games in the NFL. Teams with elite quarterbacks or superb game managers routinely find their way to the winner's circle, while others struggle to compete at a high level. Although there... more

The NFL has taken to the air in†recent years, with offensive coordinators exploiting favorable rules restricting defensive contact†with receivers downfield. Although the risk of turning the ball over or having a negative play increases†the more... more

The conclusion of the Super Bowl officially kicks off the 2014 NFL Draft season. Teams are currently huddled up in pre-NFL Scouting Combine meetings attempting to set their initial draft boards. Coaches and scouts are discussing their fall reports and... more

Positional top 5 rankings: QB RB WR TE OT OG-C DT DE OLB ILB CB S The 2014 quarterback class doesn't have a sure bet at the position, but features a pair of intriguing franchise quarterback possibilities in Teddy... more

Jadeveon Clowney certainly hasn't lacked for attention over the past few years. College football observers lauded Clowney's every move during his sophomore year at South Carolina. NFL scouts and coaches were anything but bashful in projecting his talent... more

The NFL has always been viewed as a copycat league, with coaches and scouts quick to adopt and implement strategies from successful organizations. From schematic innovations like the zone-read offense and Pistol formation to the tweaking of game-day... more

Defense wins championships. That's what coaches have been preaching for decades, but the transformation of the NFL into a passing league has led many observers to speculate that championships are won on the strength of a quarterback directing a... more

January

The Reese's Senior Bowl wrapped up over the weekend, but the analysis continues in draft rooms around the NFL. Scouts and coaches will discuss the performances of each player in meetings, with an all-star game grade issued based on their play in practices... more

The storyline heading into Super Bowl XLVIII is the NFL's No. 1 offense battling the No. 1 defense for the Lombardi Trophy. While that matchup certainly looms large, I believe the game likely will be decided by the other showdown: the Seattle Seahawks'... more

The Reese's Senior Bowl is viewed as the crown jewel of the college all-star season. NFL coaches and scouts scour the tape of this contest to determine which prospects have the skills to emerge as difference makers at the next level. Here are a few guys... more

The Reese's Senior Bowl is regarded as the crown jewel of the college all-star season, with elite prospects dotting the rosters at every position. Given the importance scouts place on the performance of players in highly competitive matchups, the practice... more

The fourth day of workouts at the Reese's Senior Bowl represents the final dress rehearsal for both squads. Players are finally comfortable with the playbook and their respective roles within the scheme. Additionally, coaches are increasingly comfortable... more

The third day of workouts at the Senior Bowl are viewed as the most important practices of the week. Players are finally comfortable with their teammates and the playbook, leading to better performance on the field. In addition, the players have a better... more

The second day of workouts at the Senior Bowl are typically more enjoyable to watch because prospects are beginning to get comfortable with the playbook and their surroundings. The speed and tempo of drills draws closer to an NFL pace, with prospects... more

The Super Bowl XLVIII matchup between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks pits the NFL's No. 1 offense against the league's top defense. Denver has steamrolled over elite defenses throughout the season, but the Seahawks' D presents a unique... more

It's been 20 years since I walked into Ladd-Peeples Stadium hoping to prove to NFL scouts that I was one of the top players in the 1994 draft. I eagerly accepted my invitation to the Senior Bowl with that thought in mind, but I remember the self-doubt... more

Christopher Hanewinckel / USA Today Sports Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy Garoppolo has been impressive at East-West Shrine Game practices. The East-West Shrine Game is still a few days away, but scouts have already seen enough from the top... more

Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today Sports Arizona CB Shaquille Richardson has impressed scouts with his size, speed and coverage skills this week. The third day of practices at the East-West Shrine Game provided scouts with plenty of opportunities... more

Positional top 5 rankings: QB RB WR TE OT OG-C DT DE OLB ILB CB S It's hard to find a safety capable of thumping against the run, while displaying the range, instincts and awareness to thrive as a centerfielder... more

Positional top 5 rankings: QB RB WR TE OT OG-C DT DE OLB ILB CB S The transformation of the NFL into a passing league makes it imperative for defenses to feature long, rangy athletes on the perimeter. The 2014 class... more

Positional top 5 rankings: QB RB WR TE OT OG-C DT DE OLB ILB CB S It's hard to find linebackers capable of playing against the run and pass in the box. The 2014 class, however, features a number of playmakers with... more

Positional top 5 rankings: QB RB WR TE OT OG-C DT DE OLB ILB CB S The increased utilization of hybrid 3-4 defenses has made outside linebacker a marquee position in the draft. Coaches and scouts love hybrid players... more

Positional top 5 rankings: QB RB WR TE OT OG-C DT DE OLB ILB CB S The top defenses in football traditionally feature standouts at the defensive tackle spot. Coaches search for big-bodied studs with strength, power... more

Positional top 5 rankings: QB RB WR TE OT OG-C DT DE OLB ILB CB S NFL coaches and executives place a premium on acquiring elite pass rushers to offset the brilliant quarterback play dominating the league today.... more

Positional top 5 rankings: QB RB WR TE OT OG-C DT DE OLB ILB CB S Here are my top five interior offensive linemen prospects for the 2014 NFL Draft: 1. Xavier Su'a-Filo , UCLA The most intriguing prospect at the... more

Positional top 5 rankings: QB RB WR TE OT OG-C DT DE OLB ILB CB S The collection of offensive tackles in the 2014 class might be the deepest and most talented group NFL scouts have seen in about a decade. There are... more

Positional top 5 rankings: QB RB WR TE OT OG-C DT DE OLB ILB CB S The tight-end position has become the focal point of the passing game for several NFL teams. Part of that is because of the superior athleticism of... more

Positional top 5 rankings: QB RB WR TE OT OG-C DT DE OLB ILB CB S The league rules banishing excessive contact on the perimeter have encouraged more NFL offensive coordinators to put the ball in the air to take... more

Positional top 5 rankings: QB RB WR TE OT OG-C DT DE OLB ILB CB S The running back position is devalued in the draft, but a look at the teams seriously competing for the Super Bowl title suggests the position remains... more

Ron Chenoy / USA Today Sports San Jose State CB Bene Benwikere's cover skills and instincts have impressed scouts at the Shrine Game workouts. A driving rainstorm led to alternative workouts at the East-West Shrine Game on Tuesday, but scouts... more

The NFL frequently is described as "a quarterback league," but the winning game plans from this postseason remind us that relying on a strong ground game -- fueled by a workhorse runner or a collection of backs -- remains a critical component of playoff... more

Bradley Leeb / USA Today Sports Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy Garoppolo had an FCS-best 5,050 passing yards with 53 TDs and nine interceptions. The East-West Shrine Game is one of the marquee events on the calendar of NFL scouts. Evaluators... more

The Seattle Seahawks have been considered a legitimate Super Bowl contender all season, but it was a resounding†34-7 win over the New Orleans Saints in Week 13 that prompted many to tout the team as the best in football. The Saints are unquestionably one... more

Ben Liebenberg / NFL Jameis Winston rebounded from a lackluster first half to rally the Seminoles to the national championship. The mark of a great player isn't how well he performs when things are going well, but the championship traits that... more

Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press Michigan State QB Connor Cook impressed Bucky Brooks with his poise and accuracy against Stanford in the Rose Bowl. The 100th Rose Bowl was considered the marquee matchup of the bowl season by several scouts... more

The term "franchise quarterback" is loosely applied in the football world, but there are only a few signal callers that fit the criteria when scouts break down their games. These quarterback prospects are transcendent stars who exhibit the critical traits... more

December

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has announced his intention to apply for early entry into the 2014 NFL Draft. His latest on-field performance in the Chick fil-A Bowl gave a hint as to his potential at the next level. NFL evaluators pay close... more

The Green Bay Packers enter the NFC playoffs with an 8-7-1 record, but opposing defensive coordinators are shaking in their boots at the prospect of defending one of the most explosive offenses in football. While the naysayers will suggest that the... more

Jesse Johnson / USA TODAY Sports DT Ra'Shede Hageman gets a national showcase when Minnesota plays Syracuse in the Texas Bowl. The top general managers and coaches in the NFL understand that the league is not only about player acquisition,... more

The Dallas Cowboys shocked the NFL world with their dismantling of the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 7 . The much-maligned defense held the Eagles -- second in the league in scoring -- to just three points, leaving coach Chip Kelly searching for answers... more

Otto Kitsinger/Associated Press Buffalo LB Khalil Mack recorded six tackles in the Bulls' Famous Idaho Potato Bowl loss. Scouting prospects from small schools is one of the biggest challenges NFL scouts encounter. While evaluators can... more

Reinhold Matay/Associated Press UCF QB Blake Bortles is a buzzy prospect at the moment, but he may take time to develop in the NFL. The draft is nearly six months away, but the hype machine is already in overdrive building up prospects into... more

It's amazing how quickly things can turn around in the NFL. A talented unit can struggle for weeks, before finding a rhythm that sparks a deep postseason run. It happened last season for the Baltimore Ravens under the direction of quarterback Joe Flacco... more

Don Ryan / Associated Press Another season of college ball could make Marcus Mariota into the ultimate weapon in the pocket. The hunt for a quarterback is an on-going exercise in NFL draft rooms. Wily evaluators constantly monitor the college... more

AP Photo/Gus Ruelas Utah cornerback Keith McGill has the size and athleticism to intrigue NFL teams. It's not a secret that the NFL is a copycat league, with general managers, coaches and scouts prone to copy the traits of the league's most... more

Associated Press NFL scouts were paying attention when Jimmy Garoppolo and Terrance West faced off in the FCS playoffs last weekend. The NFL is a league built on players from big schools, but that doesn't mean general managers and scouts... more

The 2014 draft has been touted as one of the deepest and most talented collection of prospects that NFL scouts have seen in some time. Naturally, most of the attention has focused on a group of quarterbacks that show the potential to develop into... more

The Kansas City Chiefs have enjoyed a spectacular turnaround season, sparked in part by a rejuvenated offense that recently has found its stride. Critics scoff at the notion of an Alex Smith-led attack striking fear in the hearts of defenses. Tell that to... more

The Heisman Trophy award is presented annually to the most outstanding player in college football. While some of the award winners have enjoyed distinguished careers in the NFL , there have been a number of Heisman Trophy winners who have failed to make... more

Brandt Brooks Davis Jeremiah Goodbread Greenspan Huguenin NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks names his 2013 college football All-American and picks for the season's major awards: Award picks Heisman Trophy: Jameis Winston,... more

The New England Patriots were rounding into form as true Super Bowl contenders ... before Rob Gronkowski suffered a season-ending injury . Popular opinion suggests such a substantial setback -- losing one of the best position players in football -- could... more

Ranking the bowl teams: 1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 Bucky Brooks ranks all the college bowl teams based on the quality of their NFL prospects. Ranking the bowl games Because college football apparently needs 35... more

Ranking the bowl teams: 1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 Bucky Brooks ranks all the college bowl teams based on the quality of their NFL prospects. Ranking the bowl games Because college football apparently needs 35... more

Ranking the bowl teams: 1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 Bucky Brooks ranks all the college bowl teams based on the quality of their NFL prospects. Ranking the bowl games Because college football apparently needs 35... more

Ranking the bowl teams: 1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 Bucky Brooks ranks all the college bowl teams based on the quality of their NFL prospects. Ranking the bowl games Because college football apparently needs 35... more

Ranking the bowl teams: 1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 Bucky Brooks ranks all the college bowl teams based on the quality of their NFL prospects. Ranking the bowl games Because college football apparently needs 35... more

Ranking the bowl teams: 1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 Bucky Brooks ranks all the college bowl teams based on the quality of their NFL prospects. Ranking the bowl games Because college football apparently needs 35... more

Ranking the bowl teams: 1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 Bucky Brooks ranks all the college bowl teams based on the quality of their NFL prospects. Ranking the bowl games Because college football apparently needs 35... more

Michael Conroy / Associated Press Ohio State QB Braxton Miller showed off his skills as a runner vs. Michigan State but struggled in the passing game. There's nothing like watching prospects perform in a big game with significant... more

Jordan Lynch probably†will†fall short in his quest to win the Heisman Trophy, but he is certainly one of the best college players that I've seen step between the lines in the last 20 years. The Northern Illinois standout is a quintessential playmaker at... more

The college football regular season is nearing its conclusion, but the quarterback race continues to heat up with the top quarterbacks putting it down over the past few weeks. From Jameis Winston cementing his status as the Heisman Trophy frontrunner to... more

The Chicago Bears were expected to vie for the NFC title with a vastly improved offense complementing a suffocating defense that had traditionally ranked among the NFL's best. While the offense has lived up to the billing in coach Marc Trestman's first... more

Tony Ding/Associated Press Ohio State's Carlos Hyde is among the top RB prospects in the 2014 draft class. Ohio State's Carlos Hyde continues to build a strong case to be one of the top running backs selected in the 2014 draft. The 6-foot,... more

Tony Ding/Associated Press Ohio State QB Braxton Miller entered the season as a top Heisman Trophy candidate. Braxton Miller is not ready for the NFL. That's not a slight to the considerable talent, athleticism and potential that the... more

November

The college football season is nearing an end, but the race for the top spot in my quarterback rankings is still in flux. The disappointing performances of Marcus Mariota, Johnny Manziel and Bryce Petty have paved the way for unheralded Derek Carr to make... more

Johnny Manziel might've lost out on his bid for his second consecutive Heisman Trophy award with his disappointing performance against LSU , but don't expect the showing to significantly impact his value in the eyes of NFL evaluators. The redshirt... more

The Pittsburgh Steelers got off to a woeful start this season, but they've shown signs of life in recent weeks. Mike Tomlin's troops have reeled off five wins in their last seven games and rejoined a pack of AFC playoff contenders hoping to catch fire... more

Bill Wippert / Associated Press Boston College RB Andre Williams went from 584 rushing yards last season to over 2,000 as a senior. Is Andre Williams a one-year wonder? That's the question NFL scouts are pondering after watching the Boston... more

The 2014 draft class is expected to feature one of the deepest quarterback pools in recent history. In fact, there has been speculation in NFL circles that the reason E.J. Manuel was the only quarterback selected in the first round of the 2013 draft was... more

The college football season is nearing its end, but scouts are just beginning to dig into the top quarterback prospects to see if their games are ideally suited to the next level. Evaluators are paying close attention to performances in rivalry games to... more

Christopher Jackson / Associated Press West Virginia RB Charles Sims has rushed for 943 yards and nine TDs and also has 43 receptions. The reported devaluation of the running back position has, in my opinion, been greatly exaggerated.... more

Can the New York Giants go from worst to first in less than two months? That's the question running rampant in New York on the heels of a four-game winning streak that has the G-Men just 1¬Ĺ games behind the NFC East-leading Philadelphia Eagles --... more

Charles LeClaire / USA Today Sports Pittsburgh DL Aaron Donald leads the nation with 22.5 tackles for loss and also has 10 sacks. The copycat nature of the NFL leads scouts to search for prospects with characteristics similar to those of the... more

Tony Avelar / Associated Press Oregon State WR Brandin Cooks leads the FBS in receptions and receiving yards and is second in receiving TDs. Who is the best wide receiver in the Pac-12? If you polled general managers and scouts before the... more

The NFL's transformation into a passing league has made it imperative for every offense to prominently feature a dynamic pass catcher in the game plan. With league rules restricting significant contact in the defensive backfield, receivers with explosive... more

Associated Press Wisconsin RBs Melvin Gordon and James White have each rushed for 11 touchdowns this season. Melvin Gordon and James White could change the perception of the Wisconsin running back in NFL circles. For years, NFL scouts have... more

USA TODAY Sports Stanford LBs Trent Murphy and Shayne Skov dominated in the Cardinal's win over Oregon. Shayne Skov and Trent Murphy were already household names in the Pac-12 conference, but the NFL world has been buzzing about the duo in... more

As we enter the 12th week of the college football season, the cream is starting to rise to the top in the quarterback rankings. Jameis Winston, Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and AJ McCarron have set themselves apart from the pack with their steady... more

Entering this season, the San Francisco 49ers were expected to contend for a Super Bowl title. In addition to a stout defense, Jim Harbaugh's team was supposed to feature a dynamic offense with a rising star at quarterback. However, the 49ers have... more

Dave Martin/Associated Press Alabama's AJ McCarron will attract attention from NFL teams in search of a QB with winning traits. AJ McCarron has earned the dreaded "game manager" label from skeptics clouded by his modest individual statistics... more

Jadeveon Clowney is the best defensive prospect to ever step between the lines, right? That was the buzz that dominated football conversations after Clowney obliterated Michigan's Vincent Smith with a hit that made every highlight reel for the next six... more

The college football season is reaching the tipping point, with several big games on the docket over the next few weeks. The performances of the quarterbacks is often the deciding factor in these matchups, providing evaluators with plenty of chances to... more

Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP Mike†McCoy spent four seasons with the Denver Broncos before becoming head coach of the San Diego Chargers. Whenever a player or coach faces a former team, he has the opportunity to take advantage of the secrets and... more

Chuck Burton/Associated Press Florida State running back James Wilder, Jr. is just one of the many weapons Jameis Winston has at his disposal. For all of the attention Jameis Winston has received as the key to Florida State's re-emergence as... more

Stew Milne / Associated Press Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch ranks fourth in the FCS with 1,150 rushing yards. If an NFL offensive coordinator wants to add an explosive element to his game plan next season, I would suggest taking a long,... more

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun has scored three touchdowns this season. The NFL is such a copycat league that scouts are always comparing current prospects to former pros. This is especially true... more

Whenever a cornerback is labeled "nickel" corner in the scouting process, some observers view it as a slight to a prospect's game. However, defensive coaches consider it the most difficult position to fill, based on the tremendous challenges associated... more

October

As the 2013 college football season enters its 10th week of play, we are starting to see some of the top quarterbacks separate from the pack with their performances. Marcus Mariota, Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston have emerged as the frontrunners... more

It goes without saying that Calvin Johnson, who shattered Jerry Rice's NFL single-season record for receiving yards in 2012 (1,964, breaking the old mark of 1,848), should be considered the best receiver in the league today. Some might even suggest... more

Nick Lucero / NFL Pedestrian performances in back-to-back losses have dropped the NFL draft stock of UCLA's Brett Hundley. In his weekly Scout's Take notebook, former NFL scout Bucky Brooks takes a look at the biggest developments in college... more

In every draft, there are a handful of players that earn the "risk-reward" designation on draft boards across the league. These guys exhibit tremendous athletic potential on the field but are beset with character flaws and behavioral issues that lead... more

The college football season is just nine weeks old, but I've never seen better quarterback play at this level. Now, I know traditionalists will likely disagree with my assertion, but signal callers across the country are putting up ridiculous... more

They're back! That's what the NFL world is saying about the Carolina Panthers, who have reeled off three wins in four games to insert themselves into the playoff conversation . Carolina (3-3) has reached the .500 mark by exhibiting a level of... more

AP Photo/Gerry Broome North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron could have a major impact on an offense once he gets to the NFL. In his weekly Scout's Take notebook, former NFL scout Bucky Brooks takes a look at the biggest developments in college... more

For years, the Wizard of Westwood moniker has belonged to John Wooden, but the revival of UCLA's football program under the direction of Brett Hundley should prompt Bruins fans to affix the nickname to the young superstar quarterback. The redshirt... more

The College Football 24/7 Quarterback Tracker is supposed to focus on the best-performing quarterbacks in the college game, but I can't avoid speculating about the pro potential of the outstanding collection of quarterbacks playing on Saturdays.... more

Robert Griffin III's highly anticipated return at the outset of this season was supposed to trigger an inspired NFC East title defense from the Washington Redskins. However, the second-year pro has struggled to find his rhythm, and the Redskins' offense... more

In his weekly Scout's Take notebook, former NFL scout Bucky Brooks takes a look at the biggest developments in college football and how the NFL community is reacting to them. Last week's nationally televised game between Rutgers and Teddy... more

The quickest way to transform the fortunes of an NFL franchise is to draft a transcendent star quarterback. History is littered with examples of superstar quarterbacks orchestrating impressive turnarounds for struggling franchises, particularly those... more

The college football season is at the midway point, and we are starting to see the cream rise to the top in the quarterback tracker rankings. Led by Johnny Manziel, Tajh Boyd and Teddy Bridgewater, the headliners of a deep and talented collection of... more

With Michael Vick's hamstring injury, Nick Foles is expected to step into the starting quarterback role for the Philadelphia Eagles' road game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . This news has led to speculation that coach Chip Kelly might be forced to... more

Phil Sears / Associated Press Jameis Winston's ability to extend plays only adds to his repertoire of dynamic skills. In his weekly Scout's Take notebook, former NFL scout Bucky Brooks takes a look at the biggest developments in college... more

Raj Mehta / USA TODAY Sports Ohio State's Bradley Roby has been criticized for his performance against Wiscosnin WR Jared Abbrederis. The sophistication of the NFL passing game enables savvy offensive coordinators to exploit mismatches on the... more

There's nothing like watching top players duke it out in a big game with national championship implications on the line. While it is probably a bit of an exaggeration to suggest either LSU or Georgia as a legitimate national title contender, there is no... more

In his weekly Scout's Take notebook, former NFL scout Bucky Brooks takes a look at the biggest developments in college football and how the NFL community is reacting to them. The college football world has been buzzing following USC's dismissal of... more

The Cleveland Browns seemingly raised the white flag on the 2013 season when they shipped Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts a couple of weeks ago following an 0-2 start. Most observers, myself included, believed the rest of this year could be a... more

September

The changing nature of the football landscape has led offensive coordinators to covet quarterbacks with a combination of arm talent, athleticism and savvy. The top quarterbacks at every level have the ability to torment the defense with their arm and... more

Who says coaching doesn't matter? I hope that LSU fans have a better appreciation for quality coaching after watching new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron work his magic with Zach Mettenberger. The former NFL head coach and offensive coordinator has... more

This week's list doesn't feature major surprises at the top of the board, but a few unheralded signal callers crack the lineup with Missouri's James Franklin and Ohio State's Kenny Guiton earning distinction. While most expected Franklin to enjoy a... more

If you thought the Indianapolis Colts were one-year wonders -- based on their 2012 storybook ride into the playoffs -- you thought wrong. We're witnessing the emergence of a new bully in the AFC. Fresh off a statement win over the San Francisco... more

Gerald Herbert/Associated Press LSU running back Jeremy Hill has off-field issues, but there's no doubting his ability on the field. The classic, downhill running back is on the verge of extinction in college football, but that only makes NFL... more

David J. Phillip / Associated Press Texas A&M WR Mike Evans dismantled the Alabama defense in the Aggies' loss last weekend. The college football world tuned in to watch AJ McCarron and Johnny Manziel shoot it out when Alabama visited Texas... more

This week's list features a bit of a surprise at the top of the board, with Oregon's Marcus Mariota supplanting Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater at the No. 1 spot. Although Bridgewater has continued to play at a high level early in the season, Mariota's... more

The AFC West was expected to be one of the weakest divisions in the NFL, but the surprising emergence of the Kansas City Chiefs as a playoff contender threatens to debunk that notion. The Chiefs have dispatched a pair of opponents in impressive fashion,... more

Prior to Alabama's highly anticipated matchup against Texas A&M last week, I believed quarterback AJ McCarron to be much more than a game manager (I wrote about it here , here and here ). My viewpoint remains the same after watching McCarron's impressive... more

When Johnny Manziel and AJ McCarron take the field in one of the biggest games of the college football season, NFL scouts will spend most of the day comparing and contrasting their impressive games. While each guy brings a set of skills that is conducive... more

The college football season is only three weeks old, but quarterbacks are already making strong statements about their talent and potential with their play on the field. Last week, Michigan's Devin Gardner had a coming out party in the Wolverines' 41-30... more

Now this is the Reggie Bush I expected would rip up the NFL from the get-go. Racking up 191 total yards on 25 touches in the Detroit Lions' 34-24 win over the Minnesota Vikings , Bush was sensational as a runner/receiver on the fast track at Ford... more

When I was an NFL scout, there was nothing like watching a prospect play in a big game to determine if he had the goods to play at the next level. After witnessing Michigan's Devin Gardner's performance against Notre Dame Saturday night, I'm convinced he... more

Lynne Sladky / Associated Press In just a little over one season, Duke Johnson has established himself as one of the nation's top running backs. The University of Miami has featured some of the top running backs in college football history,... more

The advent of social media has made life tougher on scouts since top prospects are touted as sure bets based on a flash on a highlight reel. However, there are rare instances where a prospect lives up to billing, which is why NFL evaluators are smitten... more

The Green Bay Packers made a concerted effort to revamp their running game when they selected a pair of running backs, Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin, in the 2013 NFL Draft. I believe this infusion of talent in the backfield, particularly Lacy, could... more

AP Photo / Eric Gay While Johnny Manziel's antics rub some the wrong way, there have been many star NFL QBs with similar on-field swagger. I might be the one dissenting voice in the room, but I believe the criticism of Manziel's behavior in... more

August

When Georgia visits Death Valley on Saturday to take on Clemson, a host of NFL executives and scouts will pay close attention to what unfolds on the field. While both teams have a number of NFL-caliber playmakers running around on both sides of the ball,... more

We might be hours away from kickoff of the 2013 college football season, but NFL scouts have been researching a deep and talented pool of quarterbacks for some time now. In fact, the depth of the next few QB classes is so impressive I believe it was the... more

The start of the college football season signals the beginning of a fact-finding mission for NFL scouts. Most will enter the fall with a host of questions surrounding the top prospects in the country, with the answers ultimately determining which guys... more

Preseason football is not an accurate predictor of regular-season success, but you certainly can track trends that will appear on the field when the real action commences. In the 2013 preseason, I see more and more teams turning to no-huddle offense and... more

For all of the attention Brian Kelly receives for his offensive wizardry, it has been his commitment to building a powerhouse defensive line that has keyed Notre Dame's return to prominence. Of course, we have always heard coaches wax poetic about... more

The six-game suspension of All-Pro linebacker Von Miller will force the Denver Broncos to alter their approach on both sides of the ball. This development not only impacts the philosophies and schemes devised by John Fox and his coaching staff, but it... more

As a young scout for the Seattle Seahawks, I learned from wily defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes that playmakers are valued at a premium on defense. He repeatedly told me defenders with a proven track record of delivering game-changing plays should be held... more

Uh-oh! That was the collective reaction of defensive coordinators around the NFL when the New England Patriots' offense rolled in their preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. Of course, preseason performances are not always reliable... more

The proliferation of the spread offense (and read-option) in football has led college and NFL defensive coordinators to covet multidimensional linebackers with exceptional athleticism and playmaking skills. Ideally, edge players in hybrid 3-4/4-3... more

The preseason is all about finding answers to the burning questions that dominated the offseason. Coaches are assessing schemes to see if they'll be effective in game action, while scouts are checking out players to see if the biggest roster holes have... more

Which cornerback is the most dangerous defender: Marcus Roberson or Loucheiz Purifoy ? That's the dilemma SEC quarterbacks will face on a weekly basis when deciding which of the Florida Gators' ultra-talented cornerbacks should be targeted in the... more

To field a legitimate contender in today's NFL, a head coach must first focus on building a team capable of competing with the heavyweights in the division. In the NFC South, that means having a squad that can match the firepower of the Atlanta Falcons... more

A few weeks ago, I created a bit of a stir when I touted Miami's Stephen Morris as arguably the most talented quarterback in college football . My proclamation came after witnessing Morris light it up at the Manning Passing Academy in workouts. The... more

The running back position has been devalued in the NFL, but coaches will still find a role for runners who exhibit game-changing skills. One player who will prompt evaluators to reassess their thoughts on the position is Arizona junior Ka'Deem Carey. Of... more

July

With the Chicago Bears, it has always been about defense. From George Halas' heyday to the reincarnation of the "Monsters of the Midway" under Mike Ditka, this organization has always leaned on its defense to spearhead championship pursuits. This... more

Who is the best player in college football? When I posed that question to several players at Pac-12 Media Day last week, I expected to hear the names Jadeveon Clowney or Johnny Manziel. But the most common name mentioned was Marqise Lee. Of course, I'm... more

There is little doubt that quarterback play ultimately determines which teams emerge as contenders in the NFL. Teams with top-notch quarterbacks typically remain in the hunt, while all others tend to fall by the wayside. Given that premise, I thought... more

The impressive pro debuts of Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson have changed the way the NFL views dual-threat quarterbacks. Instead of casting aside mobile playmakers in favor of traditional pocket passers, teams are... more

Does character really matter? A question that has garnered a lot of attention over the years in NFL war rooms around draft season -- when college prospects are being scrutinized beyond the playing field -- has become a big discussion point more... more

Who's on the spot in 2013? On Monday, I identified one player on each AFC team . Now it's time to spotlight the NFC representatives. Some are green, some are seasoned vets, but all of the players listed below head into the 2013 campaign facing a great... more

With training camps opening across the NFL this week, players are beginning the final push for the 2013 campaign. While everyone is under the microscope at the dawn of a new season, some guys demand more attention than others. Below, you'll find one... more

In my NFL career, I was fortunate enough to play on the same teams as three Hall of Fame defensive ends (Derrick Thomas , Reggie White and Bruce Smith ), but I've never seen a young edge rusher with the talent and potential of South Carolina's Jadeveon... more

After taking some time to dig into the 2012 college game tape and have a few conversations with my scouting buddies around the NFL, I came up with a list of 10 unheralded prospects to watch in the fall.... more

The ink is barely dry on the 2013 NFL Draft sheets, but already scouts are looking ahead to the 2014 NFL Draft. While it is too early to make hard assessments on the depth and talent of the overall class, it appears teams looking for quarterbacks, skill players and pass rushers will have plenty of options at their disposal next year. Here is an early look at the top draft-eligible prospects scouts will study over the summer to prep for another intriguing fall of college football.... more

The changing dynamics of the NFL these days have led title contenders to rely on explosive offenses rather than shutdown defenses. Teams lucky enough to land an elite quarterback often build around the talents of their marquee star. From... more

THIBODAUX, La. -- When I was a young scout with the Seattle Seahawks, I remember then-coach Mike Holmgren and Ted Thompson (who was in the Seahawks' front office at the time) stressing the importance of evaluating quarterbacks in person. Extensive... more

The toughest job for an offensive play caller is designing a system that maximizes the talents of the roster, particularly those of the quarterback. The task is more difficult when the team is heading into training camp without a clear-cut starter at the... more

In the NFL, quarterbacks ultimately are judged by their ability to bring home the brass ring. Signal-callers who nab the ultimate prize reside among the legends of the game, while their unsuccessful counterparts routinely get cast aside among the... more

It happens every fall. A player bursts onto the scene, makes a big play or helps his team win a pivotal game, and the collective football world celebrates his arrival as a true difference maker in the NFL. Let's get ahead of the curve! In advance of the... more

It happens every fall. A player bursts onto the scene, makes a big play or helps his team win a pivotal game, and the collective football world celebrates his arrival as a true difference maker in the NFL. Let's get ahead of the curve! In advance of the... more

It happens every fall. A player bursts onto the scene, makes a big play or helps his team win a pivotal game, and the collective football world celebrates his arrival as a true difference maker in the NFL. Let's get ahead of the curve! In advance of the... more

It happens every fall. A player bursts onto the scene, makes a big play or helps his team win a pivotal game, and the collective football world celebrates his arrival as a true difference maker in the NFL. Let's get ahead of the curve! In advance of the... more

It happens every fall. A player bursts onto the scene, makes a big play or helps his team win a pivotal game, and the collective football world celebrates his arrival as a true difference maker in the NFL. Let's get ahead of the curve! In advance of the... more

June

It happens every fall. A player bursts onto the scene, makes a big play or helps his team win a pivotal game, and the collective football world celebrates his arrival as a true difference maker in the NFL. Let's get ahead of the curve! In advance of the... more

It happens every fall. A player bursts onto the scene, makes a big play or helps his team win a pivotal game, and the collective football world celebrates his arrival as a true difference maker in the NFL. Let's get ahead of the curve! In advance of the... more

It happens every fall. A player bursts onto the scene, makes a big play or helps his team win a pivotal game, and the collective football world celebrates his arrival as a true difference maker in the NFL. Let's get ahead of the curve! In advance of the... more

It happens every fall. A player bursts onto the scene, makes a big play or helps his team win a pivotal game, and the collective football world celebrates his arrival as a true difference maker in the NFL. Let's get ahead of the curve! In advance of the... more

To maintain a championship-caliber roster, NFL executives and coaches must routinely evaluate their personnel and establish a hierarchy at each position. These determinations impact which guys are re-signed in free agency and how teams feature players in... more

If you live by the blitz, then you die by the blitz. Those words are uttered frequently in defensive meeting rooms across the NFL. They also capture the disposition of Rex Ryan heading into a make-or-break year with the New York Jets. Instant Debate:... more

The need to diversify the passing game to combat Tampa 2 coverage has made the slot receiver a valuable weapon for offensive coordinators around the NFL. Astute play callers frequently align their top receiver in the slot to take advantage of favorable... more

Does the play caller really matter? Breer: Who's really in charge? When it comes to building an NFL roster, hierarchies vary from team to team. Albert Breer reveals all 32 power structures. More ... In the NFL, there's no doubt about it: The... more

The New England Patriots have owned the AFC East for the better part of a decade, but this could be the year the Miami Dolphins supplant Tom Brady and Co. atop the division. Jeff Ireland and Joe Philbin have assembled an offense with the potential to... more

It goes without saying that drafting is an inexact science. Despite spending countless hours poring over tape, conducting interviews and scrutinizing workouts, scouts often are unable to definitively project a prospect's pro potential. Schein:... more

JaMarcus Russell might be the biggest flop in NFL history, but I'm certain he will be on an NFL roster in 2013. I know that statement will draw the ire of Raider Nation, based on Russell's disastrous tenure in Oakland, but he is too young (27) and too... more

"It's now or never!" That's the common refrain uttered in meeting rooms across the NFL when general managers, coaches and scouts convene to discuss the fates of former top picks who are underperforming. As a rule, teams will give first-round picks at... more

General managers and scouts will often give top draft picks three seasons of playing time before making definitive judgments about their abilities. This is to allow blue-chip prospects enough time to hone their skills and fully maximize their immense... more

May

The Cleveland Browns' offense has been short on surprises in recent years. The unit has finished among the NFL's worst in each of the past three seasons, ranking a dismal 25th in total offense (and averaging just 18.9 points per game) in 2012. Such woes... more

The devaluation of the running back position has been fueled by the belief among NFL coaches and scouts that talented runners can be identified at any stage of the draft. From Terrell Davis to Willie Parker, teams have routinely discovered gems in the... more

Which quarterback would you want to lead your franchise over the next 10 years: Andrew Luck or Colin Kaepernick? That's the question I posed on Twitter a few days ago to see if NFL fans preferred a traditional quarterback or a dual-threat playmaker.... more

The pre-draft evaluation process can be unkind to prospects without exceptional athletic attributes. The emphasis on workouts in shorts and shirts means quality football players with a perceived lack of explosiveness can be overlooked. However, talented... more

The process of building a Super Bowl champion starts with constructing a team that has the capacity to win a division. Top 100 Players of 2013 Make sure you vote for the Top 100 players of 2013. Voting ends May 31. Get your vote in. More ... As... more

Matt Barkley could be the next Tom Brady and should be the Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback of the future. Brandt: Ready-to-go rookies Gil Brandt looks beyond the prospects picked in Round 1 to find nine rookies in a position to make an immediate... more

Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel won the Heisman Trophy in 2012, but his pro potential remains very much up in the air. Johnny Manziel, better known as "Johnny Football," might be the best player in college... more

As the dust settles following the 2013 NFL Draft, Bucky Brooks is taking a division-by-division look at how each team fared, handing out grades and highlighting notable picks. He tackles the NFC West below. Click here for other divisions. The arms... more

As the dust settles following the 2013 NFL Draft, Bucky Brooks is taking a division-by-division look at how each team fared, handing out grades and highlighting notable picks. He tackles the AFC West below. Click here for other divisions. Peyton... more

As the dust settles following the 2013 NFL Draft, Bucky Brooks is taking a division-by-division look at how each team fared, handing out grades and highlighting notable picks. He tackles the AFC South below. Click here for other divisions. The... more

As the dust settles following the 2013 NFL Draft, Bucky Brooks is taking a division-by-division look at how each team fared, handing out grades and highlighting notable picks. He tackles the NFC South below. Click here for other divisions. The... more

As the dust settles following the 2013 NFL Draft, Bucky Brooks is taking a division-by-division look at how each team fared, handing out grades and highlighting notable picks. He tackles the AFC North below. Click here for other divisions. The... more

As the dust settles following the 2013 NFL Draft, Bucky Brooks is taking a division-by-division look at how each team fared, handing out grades and highlighting notable picks. He tackles the NFC North below. Click here for other divisions. Jeremiah:... more

April

Now that the 2013 NFL Draft is over, it's time to take stock of how each team fared. Bucky Brooks takes a division-by-division look, assigning grades and highlighting notable picks. AFC East ¬Ľ Buffalo Bills: Putting their faith in draft-day... more

As the dust settles following the 2013 NFL Draft, Bucky Brooks is taking a division-by-division look at how each team fared, handing out grades and highlighting notable picks. He tackles the NFC East below. Click here for other divisions. The NFC... more

As the dust settles following the 2013 NFL Draft, Bucky Brooks is taking a division-by-division look at how each team fared, handing out grades and highlighting notable picks. He tackles the AFC East below. Click here for other divisions. The New... more

Associated Press Teddy Bridgewater, Jadeveon Clowney and Marqise Lee (from left to right) demand attention at the college level. The ink is barely dry on the 2013 NFL Draft sheets, but already scouts are looking ahead to the 2014 NFL Draft.... more

If you ask any current or former NFL scout how long it takes to determine the quality of a draft class, they will quickly suggest waiting at least three years. However, in the age of instant gratification/analysis, we are effusive in praise and... more

Associated Press Despite his USC pedigree, Matt Barkley went untouched through the first three rounds of the draft. † Astute evaluators can find quality players at every stage of the draft, which makes Day 3 an important one in the minds of... more

NEW YORK -- The first round of the 2013 NFL Draft was full of surprises, which left several blue-chip prospects on the board heading into the second day of the event. From Geno Smith and Matt Barkley to Tank Carradine and Manti Te'o , several Pro... more

The days leading up to the NFL draft are nerve-racking for general managers and scouts. In addition to researching and evaluating all of the players in the draft, teams have worked through all of the possible scenarios to come up with a game plan for... more

The 2013 NFL Draft has been lauded for the depth and talent in the second/third-round range. Executives have openly discussed the minimal differences between the 10th-ranked player and those ranked in the 40s. This assessment has not only led many... more

NFL executives and scouts have characterized the 2013 NFL Draft class as one that lacks superstar talent at the top of the board but is littered with quality prospects down the line. John Elway, Denver Broncos' executive vice president of football... more

I've always wondered how different the NFL draft would be if it were conducted immediately after the regular season. Evaluators would make draft decisions based solely on grades compiled from film study, avoiding the influence of spectacular workouts... more

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The 2013 NFL Super Regional Combine at Cowboys Stadium was a showcase event for the underrated and overlooked prospects in this year's draft class. These players -- many of whom hail from small schools and have obscure backgrounds --... more

It really takes three seasons to accurately grade a draft class, but at this point, the 2011 NFL Draft looks like one of the most talent-laden crops in NFL history. From top to bottom, the draft produced numerous game changers with the potential to... more

Which Nnamdi Asomugha will show up in San Francisco? That's the question scouts around the NFL are mulling over, with the three-time Pro Bowler agreeing to a one-year deal (worth up to $3 million) with the two-time reigning NFC West champions. A... more

Kevin Terrell/Associated Press Kevin†Kolb's numbers actually weren't that bad with the Arizona Cardinals, but his injury history remains a concern. The Buffalo Bills and veteran quarterback Kevin Kolb have agreed to a two-year contract worth... more

March

The end of the pro day circuit signals the beginning of pre-draft meetings for most organizations around the league. Scouts convene at team facilities for the next few weeks to put the finishing touches on the draft board prior to April's event. Although... more

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Tyrann Mathieu was considered one of the top defenders in college football until a series of off-the-field incidents prematurely ended his career at LSU. Mathieu's character concerns dominated the discussion about him in the ensuing... more

Associated Press Alex Smith, Ed Reed and Elvis Dumervil (from left to right) promise to make noise with their new teams in 2013. The key to building a consistent winner in the NFL is drafting and developing your own talent. While the top... more

Rick Osentoski/Associated Press Jay†Cutler is not a run-first quarterback, but his athleticism is a good fit for the Chicago Bears' revamped offense. Marc Trestman set the football world abuzz when he announced his plans to incorporate the... more

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Mike Glennon is a franchise quarterback. That statement certainly will draw the ire of evaluators with a lesser opinion of the North Carolina State product, but my experience in the NFL as a player and scout leads me to believe Glennon... more

The Seattle Seahawks have climbed into the ranks of the NFL's elite by stockpiling top-notch playmakers on both sides of the ball. Coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have been daring and courageous in their pursuit of blue-chip talent;... more

Associated Press Wes Welker (left) has eclipsed 100 catches in five of the last six years, but Danny Amendola is four years younger. Wes Welker's exit from the New England Patriots for greener pastures with the Denver Broncos sent shockwaves... more

The Buffalo Bills' decision to drop quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will certainly alter the team's approach heading into the 2013 NFL Draft. General manager Buddy Nix has gone on the record with his desire to find a franchise quarterback this year . Nix... more

Associated Press Wide receivers Mike†Wallace (left) and Greg†Jennings are poised to strike it rich when free agency begins. The transformation of the NFL into a passing league has turned receivers into marquee players on the free-agent market.... more

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Is Ryan Nassib really a franchise quarterback? Breer: 2013 QB class unsettled Think Geno Smith is a lock to be the first QB drafted? Think again. Albert Breer says others still have time to climb. More ... That's the question... more

Production or potential? That's the question scouts must address when assessing Dion Jordan . With a spectacular performance at the NFL Scouting Combine, the former Oregon standout proved himself to be one of the top athletes in the 2013 NFL Draft.... more

The process of building a draft board is exhaustive, with scouts and coaches picking apart game tape and workouts to determine which prospects are worthy of high grades. Although scouts are taught to base their evaluations primarily on game tape, the... more

Shhhh! I'm about to let you in on a little secret that is circulating through scouting circles following the NFL Scouting Combine: Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell is the best running back in the 2013 NFL Draft, and it's not even close. Now, I know... more

February

INDIANAPOLIS -- Scouts and coaches will tell you that most evaluators leave the NFL Scouting Combine with more questions than answers after watching top prospects work out for four days in Indianapolis. With a little bit of time to reflect on the... more

INDIANAPOLIS -- The 2013 NFL Scouting Combine has officially concluded, but scouts are still talking about the impressive collection of defensive backs that was on the field Tuesday. Evaluators saw several standout performances that certainly enhanced the... more

INDIANAPOLIS -- The third day of workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine featured defensive linemen and linebackers. Most observers have cited the front seven as one of the strengths of the draft, and scouts were paying close attention to the standouts of... more

Michael Conroy/Associated Press Quarterback Tyler Bray threw 34 touchdown passes (to 12 interceptions) during his final season at Tennessee. INDIANAPOLIS -- Tyler Bray might be the most gifted passer in the 2013 NFL Draft, but teams haven't... more

INDIANAPOLIS -- Who is Cordarrelle Patterson ? That might be the question on the minds of casual NFL draft observers after seeing the Tennessee wide receiver's name posted at the top of the charts , but scouts and coaches can't stop raving about the... more

Associated Press West Virginia quarterback Geno†Smith (left) offers a similar game to former No. 1 overall pick Sam†Bradford. The 2013 NFL Scouting Combine is on the horizon, which means evaluators are working around the clock to finish up... more

Ben Liebenberg/NFL Manti Te'o hopes, in the eyes of NFL evaluators, his on-field play overshadows the recent girlfriend hoax incident. Manti Te'o was considered one of the crown jewels of the 2013 NFL Draft class following a spectacular regular... more

USA TODAY Sports/Associated Press SMU's Margus Hunt (left) and BYU's Ezekiel Ansah are both new to football, but their versatility entices scouts. The biggest challenge when it comes to evaluating college players is accurately projecting their... more

The NFL Scouting Combine is a proving ground for NFL hopefuls, but most of the work is done behind closed doors. Prospects must convince general managers, scouts and coaches they can handle the rigors of the pro game by delivering impressive answers in... more

Thomas Campbell /USA TODAY Sports Luke Joeckel is one of the top prospects in the draft, with most expecting the tackle to make an instant impact. Offensive tackles have always been valued at a premium, but with the NFL's recent transformation... more

At the conclusion of Super Bowl XLVII, coaches and scouts across the NFL immediately turned their attention to the 2013 NFL Draft . Team officials are busy at work this week putting together their initial draft boards heading into the NFL Scouting Combine... more

At the conclusion of Super Bowl XLVII, coaches and scouts across the NFL immediately turned their attention to the 2013 NFL Draft. Team officials are busy this week putting together their initial draft boards ahead of the NFL Scouting Combine. While much... more

The copycat nature of the NFL prompts executives and coaches to closely study the reigning Super Bowl champions each year for insight on how to claim future Lombardi Trophies. Following their 34-31 victory in Super Bowl XLVII, the Baltimore Ravens have... more

January

When Jim Caldwell replaced Cam Cameron as the Baltimore Ravens' offensive coordinator following a Week 14 loss to the Washington Redskins , few were expecting the first-time play caller to resurrect an offense that had struggled to find an identity... more

The best coaches in the NFL understand that their teams must evolve over the course of the season, to maximize the strengths of their personnel. The evolution of the San Francisco 49ers' offense has resulted in the clever postseason utilization of the... more

The 2013 draft class has been described as a group devoid of star power at the quarterback position. In fact, cynics have suggested that none of the quarterbacks in this year's class will be able to match the immediate impact and production of recent... more

MOBILE, Ala. -- The first few practices at the Senior Bowl are routinely marred by inconsistent play from top prospects, due to the anxiety of performing in a stadium full of scouts, coaches and general managers. Evaluators certainly understand the... more

Associated Press N.C. State quarterback Mike Glennon (left) and BYU pass rusher Ezekiel Ansah could shoot up draft boards. The Senior Bowl (Sat., 4 p.m. ET, NFL Network) is the premier game on the college football all-star circuit. NFL scouts... more

The Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers have traveled an arduous path to Super Bowl XLVII. The Ravens, who are chasing the second Super Bowl title in franchise history, battled through a spate of defensive injuries while the offense forged an... more

The NFC Championship Game features quite a matchup: the high-powered offense of the Atlanta Falcons taking on a San Francisco 49ers defense that is regarded as one of the best in the NFL. While traditionalists still believe that defense wins... more

TAMPA, Fla. -- Don't expect Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein to embrace a move to another position in the NFL. "I know I'm a quarterback," the highly decorated playmaker emphatically told me during an interview for an upcoming episode of the... more

Now, that we've reached the Jan. 15 deadline for underclassmen to declare for the 2013 NFL Draft, scouts are working hard to put together draft boards that accurately reflect the available talent in this year's class. Although each team's draft rankings... more

The East-West Shrine Game (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, NFL Network) is a must-see stop on the college all-star circuit because it routinely showcases some of the sleeper prospects with the potential to become difference-makers at the next level. At last... more

We're down to the final four teams in the NFL playoffs, and there isn't a clear-cut favorite to take home the Lombardi Trophy. Each team can advance to Super Bowl XLVII if it's able to play on its own terms on Championship Sunday -- something that is... more

The selection of the Pro Bowl roster is akin to a popularity contest in high school, with established names taking precedence over the performance and production of unheralded players. The All-Pro team, on the other hand, is a true representation of... more

Wild Card Weekend is history, and now it's time for the top-seeded teams in the AFC and NFC to enter the playoff fray. The stakes couldn't be higher in the divisional round, with the right to play on Championship Sunday on the line. Let's take a closer... more

There's nothing like watching playoff football at this time of the year. Coaches and players approach the game with a renewed sense of urgency; with a spot in the conference championship game on the line, it's "win or go home." Given the level of parity... more

NFL/US Presswire Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o (left) and Alabama guard Chance Warmack both project as first-rounders in April. The BCS Championship Game is always a must-see event for NFL scouts because it routinely features the best... more

Associated Press Wild-card opponents Marshawn†Lynch (left) and Alfred†Morris are two of the NFL's most punishing running backs. Who says the running back position has been devalued? That certainly is not the opinion of most playoff... more

Associated Press/NFL/US Presswire Geno Smith, Matt Barkley and Mike Glennon (left to right) could be the first three quarterbacks selected in April. It's not a coincidence that the majority of coaches and general managers who were displaced... more

December

Associated Press Wisconsin's Montee Ball (left) and Stanford's Stepfan Taylor are two of the top running backs in college football. Last week, I took a look at many of the top college football prospects getting a chance to shine on the stage... more

What's wrong with the San Francisco 49ers' defense? That's the question likely running rampant through the minds of offensive coordinators around the NFL after seeing the Niners surrender 30-plus points in back-to-back games against the New England... more

US Presswire/Associated Press West Virginia's Geno Smith (left) is the top QB on most draft boards, but N.C. State's Mike Glennon is rising. Late-December bowl games provide NFL scouts with several opportunities to see top prospects duke it out... more

The Dallas Cowboys are coming off a heartbreaking loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 16, but I believe their offense is rounding into postseason form heading into a massive NFC East showdown with the Washington Redskins. In fact, I'm convinced that... more

The Seattle Seahawks are arguably the hottest team in the NFL behind an offense that has exploded over the past few weeks. Led by Russell Wilson, the unit has posted 50 points in consecutive games and evolved into one of the more difficult offenses to... more

Associated Press/US Presswire UCLA's Johnathan Franklin, Baylor's Terrance Williams and Duke's Sean Renfree (left to right) merit NFL attention. The beginning of the college bowl season represents a fascinating time for NFL scouts. Evaluators... more

Associated Press Denver Broncos linebacker Von†Miller (left) and San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon†Smith are wreaking havoc on foes. The seismic shift that turned the NFL into a passing league has made it imperative that elite defenses feature... more

Incredible. That's the only word that aptly describes Adrian Peterson's performance with the Minnesota Vikings this season, still less than a year removed from major knee surgery. Adrian†Peterson The four-time Pro Bowler has been sensational... more

The college football regular season is in the books, and all the attention now turns to the bowl games. Bucky Brooks takes the opportunity to re-order his top 25 players who are at least three years removed from high school. (*Denotes non-senior)... more

The Cincinnati Bengals (7-6) venture into Lincoln Financial Field to take on the Philadelphia Eagles (4-9) in a Thursday night battle on NFL Network (8:20 p.m. ET). Nick†Foles The Bengals are trying to rebound from a disappointing loss to the... more

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh surprised the football world on Monday when he fired Cam Cameron with just three games remaining in the regular season and promoted Jim Caldwell to take over as offensive coordinator. While the timing certainly... more

The Houston Texans have become a juggernaut this season, but they face a crucial test on Monday night when they visit the New England Patriots . Can the new kids on the block hang with a perennial AFC power, or will the Pats prove they're still the... more

On Saturday, I will join millions of viewers watching the Heisman Trophy award presentation (8 p.m. ET, ESPN) to see which player the voters have anointed as the best in college football. Although I don't have an official vote for the honor, after... more

How do you stop the pistol offense? Robert†Griffin III That's the question defensive coordinators around the NFL should pitch to their college colleagues prior to facing the Washington Redskins. Fueled by the arrival of Robert Griffin III,... more

When it comes to the Denver Broncos (9-3) and Oakland Raiders (3-9), throw out the records. These bitter AFC West rivals, who square off on NFL Network on Thursday night (8:20 p.m. ET), hate each other, and the fuel of emotions has helped spark a few... more

The rest of the NFL might not want to hear this, but the New England Patriots' offense is built to win the Super Bowl this year. Already the league's most prolific offense in terms of scoring and yardage , the unit is designed to create problems... more

Ben Liebenberg/NFL Highly productive running back Montee Ball has helped guide Wisconsin to three straight Rose Bowl appearances. Montee Ball might not hear his name called on the first day of the 2013 NFL Draft, but he will be an impact... more

November

John Bazemore/Associated Press Georgia junior Jarvis Jones has 10.5 sacks this season heading into Saturday's SEC title game against Alabama. Football scouts quickly will tell you that the Southeastern Conference is a hotbed for NFL talent. The... more

What is Jim Harbaugh doing in San Francisco? That's a question some folks are asking after the San Francisco 49ers head coach named Colin Kaepernick the starter, despite the healthy return of Alex Smith. In making the decision, Harbaugh opts for a... more

It's not often that a regular-season game creates the atmosphere of a playoff contest, but the Thursday night battle between the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints (8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network) has the potential to turn into an epic affair. The... more

Mike Roemer/Associated Press The Packers' Aaron†Rodgers (left) and the Bears' Jay†Cutler are both dealing with leaky offensive lines. † The battle for supremacy in the NFC North should be one of the most compelling to watch over the final... more

Tim Heitman/US Presswire Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones has thrown 120 touchdown passes (along with 50 interceptions) in four years. Landry Jones is the biggest enigma in the 2013 quarterback class. The Oklahoma senior is arguably the most... more

Melina Vastola/US Presswire Defensive end Cornellius "Tank" Carradine leads the ACC with 10.5 sacks and leads Florida State with 69 tackles. The college football season is winding down, but scouts are just starting to narrow their focus on the... more

The Week 12 schedule begins with a three-course football feast on Thanksgiving Day. Here are the key questions and my predicted outcomes for Thursday's games: Houston Texans (9-1) at Detroit Lions (4-6) 12:30 p.m. ET, CBS Can Matthew†Stafford pick... more

Ben Liebenberg/NFL.com USC quarterback Matt Barkley has struggled to make his mark in his final season of college football. When Matt Barkley returned to USC for his senior year, it was likely with visions of bagging a national championship and... more

Alix Drawec/NFL Utah DT Star Lotulelei has the physical dimensions (6-foot-4, 325 pounds) and athleticism scouts salivate over. Is Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei worthy of the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft? That's the... more

The final month of college football's regular season provides NFL scouts with several matchups that ultimately will determine the draft fate of some of the top prospects in this year's draft class. While most evaluators will not admit to being swayed... more

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4) have crept back into the NFC playoff picture behind an explosive offense this franchise hasn't since the days of Doug Williams, Ricky Bell and Jimmie Giles. Jeremiah: Who has the edge? Nick†Fairley vs. Jeff Saturday.... more

Thursday night's AFC East showdown between the Miami Dolphins (4-5) and Buffalo Bills (3-6) is shaping up to be something of an elimination game on NFL Network (8:20 p.m. ET). While both teams have been competitive at times this season, a lack of... more

Drew Brees is one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, but the New Orleans Saints are better when the running game is the foundation of their offensive game plan. Drew†Brees I'm sure fans of the perennial Pro Bowler will take umbrage with... more

John David Mercer/US Presswire Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel is a do-everything quarterback who represents the cutting edge of the position. † "Johnny Football" is the wave of the future at the quarterback position. Traditional NFL... more

The college football season is past the midway point, but scouts are just beginning to form strong opinions on NFL hopefuls based on their performances in big games against conference rivals. When I was scouting for the Carolina Panthers and Seattle... more

The 1985 Chicago Bears have been the standard for defensive domination in the NFL for almost three decades, but watching Lovie Smith's troops terrorize the league in the first half of the 2012 campaign, there might be a challenger to the throne. The... more

The battle between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts does not offer the winner AFC South supremacy, but it's still a big game for both teams. The Colts (5-3) have reeled off three straight wins and are looking to remain in the playoff hunt... more

Associated Press Peyton†Manning's Broncos, Jay†Cutler's Bears and Russell†Wilson's Seahawks are gunning for football's top prize. † The NFL season has hit the halfway point, yet there isn't a clear-cut favorite in either conference. In... more

Ben Liebenberg/NFL Kenjon Barner guided Oregon to a thrilling 62-51 win over USC, piling up 321 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Is it the system or the player? That's the question scouts must address when assessing the pro potential of... more

The final college football season for top NFL prospects is a roller coaster ride. The preseason hype surrounding a player's potential is routinely followed by harsh criticism that seemingly sends his stock tumbling down the charts. Part of the... more

October

Before the season started, the midseason matchup between the Kansas City†Chiefs and San Diego†Chargers seemed like it might have playoff implications. Instead, both AFC West rivals are looking to get their seasons back on track. The Chargers (3-4)... more

Uh oh! That's what defensive coordinators around the NFL are uttering after watching Peyton Manning find his groove as the quarterback of the Denver Broncos. The four-time MVP has been on a sensational run over the past five games, completing 68.5... more

Bob Donnan/US Presswire N.C. State QB Mike Glennon's stock is rising after a prolific performance in a narrow loss to North Carolina. Mike Glennon might be the best quarterback available in the 2013 NFL Draft. I know that statement will... more

Dave Martin/Associated Press Quarterback Aaron Murray has thrown at least two touchdown passes in six of Georgia's seven games this season. There is nothing better than watching top prospects square off in big games in the month of October.... more

The Minnesota Vikings have emerged as early contenders in the NFC, but a showdown with the Tampa Bay†Buccaneers on NFL Network's Thursday Night Football (8:20 p.m. ET) will give the nation a chance to see what this team is all about. Propelled by the... more

Defense still wins championships in the NFL. That's why the Minnesota Vikings shouldn't be dismissed as viable contenders in the NFC. A defense that has traditionally ranked among the best in the league has not only regained its swagger, but is... more

The college football season has reached its midpoint, and NFL scouts have begun their grades on players. Find out which college players have stood out so far. (*Denotes underclassmen.) http://www.nfl.com/podcast/nfl-draft-tracker-podcast... more

The Carolina Panthers' decision to dismiss general manager Marty Hurney on Monday certainly caught me by surprise, but I see it as the first of many moves owner Jerry Richardson will make in an attempt to turn around a franchise that has fallen on hard... more

RG3 for MVP? As absurd as that question would have appeared prior to the season, given Robert Griffin III's rookie status on the Washington Redskins, the spectacular performance from the No. 2 overall pick over the first six weeks of the season has... more

There certainly will be no love lost when the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers meet in a battle for NFC West supremacy. The Seahawks (4-2) enter the game riding the momentum of a thrilling victory over the New England Patriots, while the 49ers... more

"U MAD BRO?" That was the caption on a picture tweeted out by Richard Sherman that depicts the Seattle cornerback taunting Tom Brady after the Seahawks' 24-23 victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday. While this certainly isn't a shining... more

Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press Linebacker Manti Te'o played an integral role in Notre Dame's thrilling overtime defeat of Stanford on Saturday. Manti Te'o is the best defensive player in college football, and it's not even close. While fans of... more

Margaret Bowles/Associated Press Undrafted free-agent rookie Brandon†Bolden averages a robust 5.6 yards per carry for the New England Patriots. The New England Patriots continue to field one of the NFL's most explosive offenses, but the unit... more

The Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2) travel to Nashville to take on the Tennessee Titans (1-4) in what promises to be a hard-hitting affair. Although these two teams hold a combined record of 3-6 entering this game, the Steelers know this is an opportunity to... more

Harrison: Week 6 Power Rankings With five weeks in the books, the league hierarchy still is taking shape. Elliot Harrison updates his pecking order. More ... The San Francisco 49ers were widely considered to be the top team in the NFC prior to... more

Tim Heitman/US Presswire West Virginia's Geno Smith stood tall against Alex Okafor and the rest of Texas' stout defense on Saturday. AUSTIN, Texas -- Geno Smith is the real deal. That opinion should certainly not surprise anyone who read the... more

NFL/Associated Press USC's Matt Barkley (left) and West Virginia's Geno Smith both display the tools necessary to succeed in the NFL. When USC Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley faltered on the national stage against the Stanford Cardinal, he not... more

The St. Louis Rams (2-2) welcome the Arizona Cardinals (4-0) to the Edward Jones Dome for a pivotal NFC West battle (8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network). The Cardinals are one of three unbeaten teams in the NFL, and they have created quite the buzz with a... more

The Minnesota Vikings have been one of the NFL's biggest surprises during the early part of the season. A team expected to finish in the cellar of the NFC North has jumped out to a 3-1 start and sits tied atop the division with the Chicago Bears. With... more

US Presswire South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore (left) and Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell are two multi-talented running backs. Don't believe the hype about the extinction of the running back. Although the NFL has become a passing league... more

September

What's wrong with Michael Vick? That question likely is running rampant through Philadelphia Eagles headquarters after seeing Vick suffer through a miserable three-game stint to start the season. The 10th-year pro is only completing 55.2 percent... more

Jennifer Stewart/US PRESSWIRE The Arizona Cardinals rank second in the NFL with 12 sacks, including five of Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael†Vick. Does the NFL's top defense reside in the desert? Jeremiah: Birds of a feather? The Cardinals... more

The Baltimore Ravens are set to host the Cleveland Browns in an intriguing AFC North matchup on Thursday Night Football (8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network). This game might appear decidedly lopsided on paper, but the bitter historical rivalry between these... more

Melina Vastola/US Presswire Already known for his physical talents, E.J. Manuel has faced questions about his big-game ability. † Is E.J. Manuel a franchise quarterback? That was the question circulating throughout the scouting community... more

Steven Bisig/US Presswire Powerful defensive lineman Red†Bryant is an integral piece in the Seattle Seahawks' highly versatile front seven. The Seattle Seahawks quietly are emerging as a playoff contender behind one of the NFL's top defenses.... more

The Carolina Panthers host the New York Giants in a critical NFC showdown on Thursday Night Football (8:20 p.m ET, NFL Network). This Week 3 game obviously doesn't have immediate playoff implications, but its winner goes over .500 and gets in position to... more

It's about time. That's what Buffalo Bills executives and coaches are likely saying after watching running back C.J. Spiller emerge as the NFL's most explosive player in the early goings of this season. Harrison: Week 3 Power Rankings Who's on the... more

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press Senior quarterback Matt Barkley and the USC Trojans were upset by Stanford in Palo Alto on Saturday night. PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Matt Barkley is still the best quarterback prospect in the 2013 draft class,... more

Robert Griffin III's scintillating debut gave the Washington Redskins an upset win over the New Orleans Saints and earned the rookie quarterback NFL Offensive Player of the Week honors. But coach Mike Shanahan and his offensive coordinator (and son) Kyle... more

The Green Bay Packers host the rival Chicago Bears †on Thursday Night Football (8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network). This is a pivotal early-season matchup in the NFC North. The Packers (0-1) are coming off a disheartening home loss to the San Francisco 49ers --... more

The seismic shift of NFL offenses from the ground to the air has led some to dismiss the Super Bowl prospects of the San Francisco 49ers, due to concerns about their "old school" attack. But after watching the Niners take down the Green Bay Packers 30-22... more

L.G. Patterson/Associated Press Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones flashed his unique skill set in Georgia's 41-20 trouncing of Missouri on Saturday. "He may be the best defensive player in American." That's Georgia coach Mark Richt on outside... more

The news of the collective bargaining agreement appeals panel overturning the NFL's suspensions of four players for their involvement in the New Orleans Saints' "bounty" program could change the short- and long-term plans of multiple teams for the 2012... more

Matt Slocum/Associated Press Jason†Babin thoroughly enjoyed Juan†Castillo's scheme last season, racking up 18 sacks for the Philadelphia Eagles. When Andy Reid made the surprising decision to appoint longtime offensive line coach Juan Castillo... more

Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy has been hailed in some circles as one of the brightest offensive minds in football following his outstanding work with Tim Tebow in 2011. McCoy implemented a zone-read offense built upon principles utilized... more

US Presswire Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert has the size, speed and general athleticism to make a mark in the pass-happy NFL. † The evolution of the passing game in the NFL is transforming the tight end position. Teams are searching for... more

August

Jeff Gentner/Associated Press West Virginia's Geno Smith is a do-it-all quarterback with a shot at winning the Heisman Trophy this season. † The chase for the Heisman Trophy is similar to a NASCAR race, with candidates' reputations... more

Associated Press/US Presswire Darrelle†Revis, Ray†Rice and DeMarcus†Ware (from left to right) make an unparalleled impact every Sunday. NFL executives form contingency plans to deal with the loss of key players during portions of the season,... more

Most NFL coaches treat the third preseason game as the final dress rehearsal for the regular season. From extensive game planning to extended action for the first stringers, Week 3 provides a glimpse into the potential of teams and players across the... more

Most NFL executives would never admit to making a roster decision based solely on a single performance in August, but Week 3 games in the preseason certainly carry significance in the evaluation process. Coaches approach these exhibition contests like a... more

When the Miami Dolphins announced Monday that Ryan Tannehill will be their starting quarterback in Week 1, they became the fourth NFL team to give the top job to a rookie signal-caller. Tannehill will join the Indianapolis Colts' Andrew Luck, the... more

Joe Nicholson/US Presswire Matt†Flynn (right) seems to be the Seattle Seahawks' top dog at quarterback, but Russell†Wilson's not far behind. Earn everything. The Seattle Seahawks have this saying plastered at the opening of the tunnel... more

A report that the San Francisco 49ers will likely limit Randy Moss' playing time to 20-25 snaps per game created quite a buzz in league circles. Most observers have a tough time envisioning a team desperate for a No. 1 receiver limiting the playing time... more

Chuck Burton/Associated Press The tag team of running backs DeAngelo†Williams (left) and Jonathan†Stewart helps carry the Carolina†Panthers. † The Carolina Panthers are investing heavily in their running backs, even while most NFL teams are... more

Mark Duncan/Associated Press Cleveland Browns rookie running back Trent†Richardson has gone under the knife twice in the past six months. One of the jobs of a general manager is to put together contingency plans to handle the injury setbacks... more

Twelve teams kicked off Week 1 of the preseason on Thursday night. The remaining 20 clubs take the field Friday through Monday. Here is a quick primer for all 10 games: FRIDAY New York Jets at Cincinnati Bengals What to watch for: Tim... more

NFL.com has dispatched several writers to report on the 32 training camps. Bucky Brooks details his visit with the Seattle Seahawks. (Click here for the complete archive of Training Camp Reports. ) WHERE IS NFL.COM? The Seahawks are holding... more

NFL.com has dispatched several writers to report on the 32 training camps. Bucky Brooks details his visit with the Oakland Raiders. (Click here for the complete archive of Training Camp Reports. ) WHERE IS NFL.COM? The Raiders host training camp... more

NFL.com has dispatched several writers to report on the 32 training camps. Bucky Brooks details his visit with the Arizona Cardinals. (Click here for the complete archive of Training Camp Reports .) WHERE IS NFL.COM? The Cardinals hosted a night... more

NFL.com has dispatched several writers to report on the 32 training camps over the next few weeks. Bucky Brooks details his visit with the Kansas City Chiefs. (Click here for the complete archive of Training Camp Reports .) WHERE IS NFL.COM? The... more

Bill Nichols/Associated Press This offseason the Kansas City Chiefs added one of the fastest players in the NFL, cornerback Stanford Routt.   The track speed at the Olympic Games always leaves people in awe, but NFL fans get to see that kind... more

NFL.com has dispatched several writers to report on the 32 training camps over the next few weeks. Bucky Brooks details his visit with the Jacksonville Jaguars. (Click here for the complete archive of Training Camp Reports .) WHERE IS NFL.COM? The... more

Wade Payne/Associated Press Tennessee Titans rookie linebacker Zach Brown has been a world-class athlete throughout his football career.   The Summer Olympics are supposed to be the ultimate athletic showcase, but not all of the world's... more

July

Some might think the New Orleans Saints' offense is going to take a step back without suspended coach Sean Payton at the controls. But as I see it, nothing could be further from the truth. The offense will flourish with offensive coordinator Pete... more

Associated Press Asante Samuel (left) is a top playmaker in zone coverage, while Nnamdi Asomugha excels playing man-to-man.   In today's NFL, is it better to have a ball hawk or a lockdown defender as your No. 1 cornerback? That was the... more

Tom DiPace/Associated Press The Tennessee Titans will miss receiver Kenny Britt if he's suspended, but they have other offensive options.   The Tennessee Titans were likely putting together contingency plans for receiver Kenny Britt, who is... more

Rich Addicks/Associated Press While Matt Hasselbeck (left) enjoyed some fine performances last season, Jake Locker showed great promise.   Do you pick the winner of a quarterback competition based on production or potential? That is the... more

Associated Press Darren Sproles (left) replaced Reggie Bush in New Orleans, but both players enjoyed a productive 2011 campaign.   The devaluation of the running back position has been greatly exaggerated. In fact, I would suggest that... more

Tony Tribble/Associated Press While C.J. Spiller (left) is a promising young back, 31-year-old Fred Jackson has produced at a high level.   Chan Gailey created quite a stir when he suggested the Buffalo Bills could split carries between... more

Who is the better No. 1 receiver: Vincent Jackson or Brandon Marshall? That's the question several front office executives grappled with during the offseason while assessing two of the NFL's top receivers on the open market (Jackson as an unrestricted... more

Stephen Morton/Associated Press Connor Barwin enjoyed a breakthrough season in his third year with the Texans, piling up 11.5 sacks in 2011.   Wade Phillips might fall short as a head coach, but there is no denying his greatness as a... more

Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco? That's a question I would like to ask coaches and scouts if we could re-do the 2008 NFL Draft . Both quarterbacks have been outstanding players for their respective franchises and are on the verge of joining the ranks of the... more

June

Mark J. Rebilas/US Presswire Kevin Kolb (left) and John Skelton will go head-to-head for the starting job at Arizona Cardinals training camp.   Kevin Kolb or John Skelton? That's the biggest question in the mind of Arizona Cardinals coach... more

US Presswire Chargers head coach Norv Turner (left) and Eagles boss Andy Reid are both coming off disappointing 8-8 seasons.   How do you measure a coach's greatness? In the NFL, coaches are judged solely on their ability to win the Super... more

The recent revelation of a trade request by the Minnesota Vikings' Percy Harvin has put the spotlight squarely on one of the NFL's most explosive multi-purpose weapons. While most have focused on Harvin himself, the swirl of attention prompted me to... more

Tom DiPace/Associated Press Versatile defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson displayed an ability to wreak havoc as a rookie last season.   The New York Jets have been one of the top defenses in the NFL under Rex Ryan, utilizing a 3-4 scheme... more

The proliferation of the passing game in the NFL has led to a renaissance of the tight end position. Teams are building passing games around the talents of big, athletic pass catchers over the middle of the field. The results have been spectacular. Last... more

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers were on the verge of capturing the NFC crown a season ago, but a scattershot offense kept them from reaching their potential. San Francisco ranked 26th in total offense and 29th in passing offense. However,... more

Matt Ludtke/Associated Press The Packers' defense had no answer for Ahmad Bradshaw and Co. in the Giants' 37-20 playoff triumph in Green Bay.   The Green Bay Packers' championship aspirations went up in smoke a season ago behind a faltering... more

Ask any defensive coordinator in the NFL what it takes to build a championship unit and he'll stress the importance of being strong down the middle. This is nothing new. The premise of featuring blue chip players at defensive tackle, middle linebacker... more

Associated Press New Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter (left) should help Matt Ryan become a truly elite quarterback.   The Atlanta Falcons have been on the verge of title contention over the past few seasons, but an underachieving... more

Associated Press Ray Rice (left) and Matt Forte have both rushed for more than 4,000 yards in their first four years in the NFL. The running back position has been devalued around the NFL, but there are still a handful of runners capable of putting... more

In the NFL, coaches will spend time in the film room studying the schemes of the most productive teams from the previous season to see if there is a tactic that can be copied and implemented into their respective playbooks. Given the success of the New... more

May

Charles LeClaire/US Presswire New offensive coordinator Todd Haley should help point the Steelers' attack in the right direction. The installation of Todd Haley as the Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive coordinator has concerned some about the... more

The proliferation of the passing game in the NFL has made it imperative for defenses to feature at least one dominant pass rusher along the front line. In most cases, coaches would prefer that their top defender align at defensive end to create immediate... more

In the NFL, coaches and scouts refuse to use injuries as an excuse for lackluster performances on the field. However, it is apparent that teams are negatively impacted when top players leave the field for extended absences. Just look at the disappointing... more

Associated Press While Eli Manning (left) has a pair of Super Bowl rings, Tony Romo boasts the raw skills evaluators salivate over. Editor's Note: On Thursday, former NFL wide receiver Amani Toomer made headlines when he told SirusXM NFL Radio that... more

Ben Liebenberg/NFL Wes Welker has produced some unbelievable numbers in his Patriots tenure, but how much of it is the system? Wes Welker is one of the most prolific pass catchers in NFL history, but the New England Patriots would be wise to not... more

US Presswire Tom Brady, Charles Woodson and Ray Lewis (from left to right) continue to play at an elite level well into their 30s. At a time when most players nearing the age of 30 are being run out of the NFL, a handful of wily veterans will... more

Evan Pinkus/Associated Press Mark Sanchez threw a career-high 26 touchdown passes last season, but turned the ball over 26 times, as well. Mark Sanchez is entering his fourth season as the New York Jets' starting quarterback, and it is certainly a... more

The proliferation of the passing game in the NFL has made it imperative to have a No. 1 receiver on the roster to compete with the elite teams in the league. The lead receiver is now the second-most important offensive position in the game (behind... more

The Baltimore Ravens might be without the services of reigning Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs for the entire 2012 campaign, but I don't expect their defense to experience a drop-off. In fact, I believe the Ravens will continue to rank as one... more

The more things change, the more they stay the same. That's what opponents will soon realize after facing Andrew Luck and a rebuilt Indianapolis Colts offense that is eerily similar to the unit that dominated the AFC for more than a decade. Although... more

NFL.com analysts Bucky Brooks and Chad Reuter are handing out grades for every team following the 2012 NFL Draft . Click the team name to see each team's entire class. Denver Broncos: C+ John Elway and John Fox have enjoyed an outstanding... more

NFL.com analysts Bucky Brooks and Chad Reuter are handing out grades for every team following the 2012 NFL Draft . Click the team name to see each team's entire class. Houston Texans: B- Rick Smith used the draft to accentuate an already potent... more

Mark J. Rebilas/US Presswire Jonathan Vilma has been suspended for the entire 2012 season for his role in the Saints' bounty program. The fallout from the New Orleans Saints' participation in the bounty program threatens to wreck their 2012 season.... more

NFL.com analysts Bucky Brooks and Chad Reuter are handing out grades for every team following the 2012 NFL Draft . Click the team name to see each team's entire class. Baltimore Ravens: B+ Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta come away with another... more

NFL.com analysts Bucky Brooks and Chad Reuter are handing out grades for every team following the 2012 NFL Draft . Click the team name to see each team's entire class. Buffalo Bills: B- Buddy Nix has done a good job of rebuilding the roster in... more

April

Ben Liebenberg/NFL As a junior last season at USC, Matt Barkley threw for 3,528 yards with 39 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Matt Barkley will be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. That is my expectation after conducting a... more

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press USC's Robert Woods is one of the nation's top receiver prospects heading into the 2012 college season. With the 2012 NFL Draft in the books, scouts are already casting their eyes toward next year's crop of talent.... more

It is fairly unrealistic to judge a draft class immediately after the event, but it's never too early to speculate about which teams enjoyed successful weekends. From the New England Patriots retooling a suspect defense with exceptional playmakers in... more

We've reached Day 3 of the 2012 NFL Draft, and there are still a few intriguing names on the board. While all of these players are not "blue-chip" quality, they possess a few attributes that could allow them to enjoy success at the next level. After... more

The second day of the 2012 NFL Draft will provide teams with plenty of quality talent, but savvy evaluators must find a way to work up the charts to nab an overlooked blue-chip prospect. Based on Thursday night's events, here is I how envision the second... more

The days leading up to the NFL draft are always full of interesting rumors, myths and misinformation. The endless speculation is designed to create panic and uncertainty from decision makers who have specifically targeted prospects to add to their... more

The draft is only hours away, so teams around the league are diligently putting the final touches on their respective draft boards. General managers and personnel directors are running through various trade scenarios and mock drafts to prepare for every... more

I've often wondered how different the NFL draft would look if it was conducted closer to the conclusion of college football's regular season. Scouts would have to base their opinions solely off game tape and avoid the influence of the NFL Scouting... more

It is not a coincidence the NFL's perennial title contenders are also the teams that routinely walk away with the best draft classes. Teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers and New York Giants are... more

In the NFL, it takes about three years to fully evaluate a draft class. Coaches and scouts understand that it takes some time for some players to acclimate to the speed, intensity and tempo of the pro game. In addition, it takes some players more time to... more

It is fascinating to look back at previous drafts to track the progress of highly regarded prospects. While some of the early-round selections have started to make their mark as elite players, others have struggled finding their way in the league. As... more

It's amazing how quickly things change in the scouting world when it comes to evaluating prospects. Players see their draft stock fluctuate up and down like a roller coaster based on performances at postseason bowl games, the NFL Scouting Combine and... more

The 2012 NFL Draft is less than a month away, so scouts are meeting around the clock to put the finishing touches on draft boards as pro days come to a close. Although team visits, private workouts and medical evaluations could alter the landscape... more

March

There are a few schools lauded in the scouting community for their ability to consistently develop pro-caliber players, and Alabama has been at the top of the list since Nick Saban arrived in 2007. The former NFL head coach runs his program like a pro... more

It's a foregone conclusion that Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III will be the first two quarterbacks to come off the board on draft day following their spectacular pro-day performances a week ago. The workouts confirmed scouts' opinions on each prospect... more

The New York Jets' surprising acquisition of Tim Tebow has been the subject of much debate since the news broke Wednesday. After a few days to reflect, I wanted to see how those close to the parties involved believe the move will impact the franchise. I... more

Ben Liebenberg/NFL The Jets saw for themselves the impact Tim Tebow can make in a Week 11 loss to the Broncos last November. Uh-oh! That's what defensive coaches around the NFL should be saying after getting wind of the finally consummated trade... more

The Indianapolis Colts seemingly have made a decision about the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft , with Andrew Luck appearing to be a lock for the selection. However, a number of scouts have yet to see Luck throw in person and he must answer a few... more

After limited participation in the NFL Scouting Combine , Robert Griffin III will unveil his talents for the world to see at Baylor's Pro Day on Wednesday. Scouts and coaches will be in attendance to see if the Heisman Trophy winner lives up the hype.... more

The Denver Broncos' acquisition of Peyton Manning certainly has placed the team among the ranks of the AFC elite. The offense should become one of the most explosive units in the league, and Manning's thumbprint undoubtedly will be on the game plan,... more

The Buffalo Bills made a huge splash in free agency with their signing of Mario Williams , but the move instantly spawned a series questions for evaluators across the league. Here are three questions that stood out in my mind when I saw the signing come... more

The Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions fielded offensive juggernauts a season ago, but the most explosive offense in the NFC North in 2012 will reside in Chicago. Oh, I know that statement will appear to be a knee-jerk response to the blockbuster trade... more

Brian Spurlock/US Presswire Peyton Manning, who turns 36 later this month, has turned the ball over more frequently in recent seasons. Peyton Manning has been on the market for almost a week, and four teams are in hot pursuit of his services.... more

Free agency will start Tuesday afternoon, and there is plenty of talent set to hit the open market. From explosive pass catchers to elite pass rushers, teams have many options to fill the voids on their respective rosters. In fact, there is so much... more

Michael Conroy/AP LSU's Michael Brockers was a hot commodity in January, but a lackluster combine definitely hurt his draft stock. The NFL Scouting Combine is a major factor in the evaluation process, but scouts place a greater emphasis on pro day... more

Dave Martin/AP Stephen Hill put on quite a show in Indianapolis, running a 4.36 40-yard dash and excelling in receiver drills. Who is Stephen Hill? That's one of the biggest questions floating around in scouting circles after the former Georgia... more

The news of the New Orleans Saints operating a "bounty" program from 2009 to 2011 under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has created quite a stir since the news broke Friday, but I will let you in on a dirty little secret: The practice is commonplace... more

February

INDIANAPOLIS -- The final day of workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine provided scouts with an opportunity to see several of the top prospects display their immense talent and potential. Here are a few of the notable standouts in my mind ... (Click on... more

The third day of workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine provided scouts with an opportunity to see several of the top prospects display their immense talent and potential. Here are a few of the notable standouts in my mind ...  (Click on prospect's... more

The second day of workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine provided scouts with an opportunity to see several of the top prospects display their immense talent and potential. Here are a few of the notable standouts in my mind: (Click on prospect's name to... more

The first day of workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine provided scouts with an opportunity to see several of the top prospects display their immense talent and potential. Here are a few of the notable standouts in my mind: (Click on prospect's name to... more

INDIANAPOLIS -- The copycat nature of the NFL is routinely revealed on draft day. Teams will attempt to duplicate the success of their rivals by acquiring players with characteristics and skills that are prevalent in the game's biggest stars. Last... more

INDIANAPOLIS -- The NFL officially determined the final 2012 NFL Draft order on Friday morning with coin flips between the Miami Dolphins and Carolina Panthers, as well as the Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks. The Dolphins (8th overall pick) and... more

INDIANAPOLIS -- The NFL Scouting Combine lacks the appeal of a competitive game, but fans can still glean valuable information from watching prospects work out in shorts. Here are some of the players your favorite team will study at Lucas Oil Stadium:... more

Tony Gutierrez/US Presswire The trade market for Robert Griffin III will be affected by the results of Friday's draft tiebreaker coin flips. INDIANAPOLIS -- On Friday morning, the NFL will conduct a series of coin tosses to determine the final... more

With the NFL's aerial explosion in recent years, scouts and coaches are scrambling to find big, athletic defenders in the secondary to match up with these basketball types at receiver that are ruling the league. Teams are eschewing diminutive corners in... more

The evolution of the passing game in the NFL has forced coaches and scouts to alter the job description for linebackers. Teams are intent on identifying disruptive playmakers with the speed and quickness to harass the passer, while also possessing the... more

The flurry of offensive production during the regular season appeared to de-emphasize the importance of defensive football in the minds of many, but the New York Giants' unexpected title run will lead some franchises to focus once again on that side of... more

The headlines and attention typically heads in the direction of skill players, but championship teams are built around a collection of stalwarts along the offensive line. Teams capable of controlling the line of scrimmage are able to impose their will... more

As the NFL shifts to a league built upon the pass, more teams are seeking explosive playmakers at wide receiver and tight end to create mismatches in space. In the 2012 NFL Draft class, there are several intriguing options at both positions, with... more

The evolution of the NFL into a passing league has seemingly devalued the running back position, but the 2012 NFL Draft class features several prospects capable of impacting the game as runners or receivers out of the backfield. Brooks: Value pick... more

The 2012 NFL Draft class is loaded at the quarterback position, with Stanford's Andrew Luck and Baylor's Robert Griffin III pegged as can't-miss prospects at the top of the board. Both are elite-caliber playmakers capable of reversing the fortunes of... more

Alabama safety Mark Barron has undergone double hernia surgery and will miss the NFL Scouting Combine , according to several reports Friday. While his initial prognosis is reportedly good following the surgery, Barron's draft status could take a hit... more

Dave Martin/AP Trent Richardson finished third in Heisman Trophy voting after his 1,679-yard, 21-TD season for Alabama. Trent Richardson might be the best player in the draft, but the running back from Alabama is not assured of being a top-10 pick.... more

Andrew Luck is presumed to be the No. 1 overall pick after being hailed by scouts across the league as the most pro-ready prospect to enter the NFL draft since Peyton Manning. However, the prospect generating the most buzz heading into the NFL Scouting... more

The NFL has always been a copycat league. Franchises routinely examine the blueprints of Super Bowl champions to see if there are elements that can be replicated for desired results. This is especially true when a team wins multiple titles in a short span... more

INDIANAPOLIS -- Who says coaching doesn't matter? Not anyone who watched Tom Coughlin and Kevin Gilbride put together a brilliant offensive game plan that keyed the New York Giants' victory in Super Bowl XLVI . From the clever utilization of... more

INDIANAPOLIS -- In guiding the New England Patriots and New York Giants to Super Bowl XLVI, Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin have been able to solve the pressing issues for their respective teams. Although some woes came on the offensive side of the ball,... more

January

INDIANAPOLIS -- Five years ago, Super Bowl XLII turned on the unexpected performance of David Tyree. The Giants' unheralded pass catcher tallied three receptions for 43 yards and a touchdown , but it was his improbable 32-yard catch over Rodney Harrison... more

INDIANAPOLIS -- The New York Giants and New England Patriots have advanced to Super Bowl XLVI due to their ability to identify and exploit favorable matchups on both sides of the ball. While both staffs will spend an inordinate amount of time coming up... more

The fourth day of Senior Bowl practice was moved inside on Thursday due to severe weather conditions. Although the walkthrough provided little in the way of evaluation, it gave me plenty of time to reflect on some of my observations from the week: ¬Ľ... more

The third day of practice at the Senior Bowl typically provides scouts with an opportunity to finally see prospects at their best. Players from both squads are finally comfortable in their new surroundings, and their gradual mastery of the playbook allows... more

MOBILE, Ala. -- To get an accurate assessment of a prospect's pro potential, you must evaluate his performance in pads. On the second day of Senior Bowl practice, Mike Shanahan and Leslie Frazier put their respective squads in pads and you could see... more

Tom Brady could collect his third NFL MVP award in the coming weeks, but Vince Wilfork is the reason the New England Patriots are headed to Super Bowl XLVI. The eighth-year pro was the most dominant defender on the field in the AFC Championship Game,... more

MOBILE, Ala. -- The Senior Bowl is the crown jewel of the college all-star circuit. The game annually showcases the top talent in a draft class, and the 2012 contest is certainly no different. Several of the top-rated prospects at their respective... more

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The fourth day of practice at the East-West Shrine Game marks the day when coaches shift their emphasis from providing evaluation opportunities to preparing for the game this weekend. While watching Bobby Ross and Brad Childress... more

Here are the players who could ultimately decide if their team will advance to Super Bowl XLVI : Ravens: Joe Flacco, QB It's not a secret that this game will be decided by the performance of Flacco. For all his accomplishments during his four-year... more

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The third day of practice at the East-West Shrine Game provided scouts with another opportunity to see the top prospects work out in pads. The pace and tempo of practice was certainly pro-like in nature, and you could see players... more

The Baltimore Ravens are on the cusp of a Super Bowl appearance behind a hard-hitting defense that routinely diffuses some of the league's most explosive offenses. However, the New England Patriots' high-octane offense poses unique challenges and... more

The second day of practice at the East-West Shrine Game (Saturday on NFL Network , 4 p.m. ET) provided scouts with the opportunity to see top prospects workout in pads. The change in practice attire doesn't appear significant on the surface, but the... more

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The East-West Shrine Game is scheduled for this weekend, so I had to pack my bags to head down to St. Petersburg to watch some of the this year's draft prospects square off in a series of competitive practices that will play a... more

Alix Drawec / NFL Andrew Luck has been under close watch by NFL teams for quite some time. As eyes begin to shift toward the 2012 NFL Draft in New York in late April, NFL.com draft analyst Bucky Brooks presents his top 50 prospects right now.... more

As eyes begin to shift toward the 2012 NFL Draft in New York in late April, NFL.com draft analyst Bucky Brooks presents his top 10 prospects right now.... more

Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers, WR: The 49ers have relied on their ground attack to keep games close, but the Saints' potent offense could trigger a shootout. Crabtree has shown explosive potential when given opportunities, so Alex Smith could... more

If the adage about defenses winning championships still holds true, the New York Giants have more than a puncher's chance at capturing the Lombardi Trophy in a few weeks. Led by a defensive unit that is starting to flex its muscles, the Giants are one... more

Associated Press Alabama's Courtney Upshaw (41) tackles LSU's Kenny Hilliard* during Monday's BCS title game. The opportunity to watch LSU and Alabama battle in the BCS Championship Game was an evaluator's dream. Both squads are loaded with future... more

Associated Press Alabama's Courtney Upshaw (41) tackles LSU's Kenny Hilliard (27) during Monday's BCS title game. For a talent evaluator, there is nothing like watching two squads loaded with NFL-caliber prospects square off in a high stakes battle... more

The San Francisco 49ers are a title contender behind a stifling defense that has suffocated some of the NFL's top offenses. But they face a tremendous challenge in a New Orleans Saints' offense that has been sizzling since the middle of the season.... more

US Presswire Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, left, finished second to Baylor's Robert Griffin III in the Heisman Trophy voting. The college bowl season provides scouts with another opportunity to assess the potential of top prospects in... more

Touted as one of the most dangerous playoff contenders going into the stretch, the Pittsburgh Steelers are reeling from the loss of running back Rashard Mendenhall as they head into the postseason. While most view his season-ending injury as... more

Chris Morrison/US Presswire Stanford QB Andrew Luck completed 27 of 31 passes for 347 yards and two touchdowns against Oklahoma State. GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As an evaluator, you love any opportunity to watch top prospects square off on a big stage.... more

In a league governed by quarterback play, scouts, coaches and general managers are always looking for the next big thing at the position. The league's next franchise quarterback might be Aaron Rodgers' backup in Green Bay. With Rodgers resting in the... more

December

Most of the attention going into games is on the stars, but lesser-known players often end up being the difference-makers. Here are a few players who could have a big impact in Week 17: Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos, WR: With the Broncos' playoff... more

Luc Leclerc / US Presswire Getting Tim Tebow under duress is a big key to keeping him from taking control of games. With Tim Tebow coming off the worst performance of his young career, I wanted to know if defensive coordinators around the... more

Jerome Miron / US Presswire Robert Griffin's performance in the Alamo Bowl could tell scouts a lot about his NFL potential.   With the college bowl season well under way, scouts have been tuning in closely to get one final look at the stars... more

It has only been one season, but the 2011 draft class might rank as the best crop of talent in NFL history. That's quite a statement considering it typically takes three years to evaluate player performance in scouting circles, but the remarkable play... more

After watching nearly an entire season of football, I'm convinced the Pittsburgh Steelers are the team to beat in the AFC. The Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots will certainly dispute that notion based on their regular season accomplishments,... more

Most of the attention going into games is on the stars, but lesser-known players often end up being the difference-makers. Here are a few players who could have a big impact in Week 16: Plaxico Burress, New York Jets, WR: The opportunity to knock his... more

Ben Liebenberg/NFL Quarterback Matt Barkley announced Thursday he will return to USC for his senior season next fall. Matt Barkley's bypassing of the 2012 NFL Draft might have cost him millions in the short term, but the decision to spend another... more

In a copycat league, coaches are not afraid to steal elements from successful game plans designed by their counterparts. And with the way Kansas City throttled Green Bay's offense in Sunday's 19-14 upset , defensive coordinators around the league are... more

The matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers could've been a preview for Super Bowl XLVI with both teams residing near the top of their respective conferences. After watching the 49ers come away with an impressive 20-3 win , here... more

US Presswire / Associated Press Calvin Johnson (left), Matthew Stafford (center) and Nate Burleson will be a bad matchup for any playoff team. OAKLAND -- The Detroit Lions are on the cusp of clinching their first postseason berth since 1999, and... more

Most of the attention going into games is on the stars, but lesser-known players often end up being the difference-makers. Here are a few players who could have a big impact in Week 15: Chris Harris and Jonathan Wilhite, Broncos, CBs: A spate of... more

Bucky Brooks recently shared his view on Coach of the Year , and why he thinks Denver's John Fox should win the award. Below, he shares his picks for the rest of the Associated Press' end-of-season awards, beginning with Defensive Player of the Year.... more

Who says coaching doesn't matter? Supporters in San Francisco and Houston certainly will attest to the value of an exceptional leader after watching their franchises claim division crowns despite facing difficult circumstances. For their work, Jim... more

Most of the attention going into games is on the stars, but lesser-known players often end up being the difference-makers. Here are a few players who could have a big impact in Week 14: Michael Griffin, S, Titans: Defensive coordinator Jerry Gray has... more

Scott Sewell/US Presswire Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill needs some work as a passer, but his athleticism helps set him apart. With the college football regular season wrapped up, NFL.com draft expert Bucky Brooks is rolling out his top 10 college... more

Mitch Stringer / US Presswire Notre Dame's Michael Floyd is viewed as one of the best pure pass catchers in all of college football. With the college football regular season wrapped up, NFL.com draft expert Bucky Brooks is rolling out his top 10... more

Mitch Stringer/US Presswire Virginia's Chase Minnifield has the pedigree (son of former NFLer) and talent to play corner at the next level. With the college football regular season wrapped up, NFL.com draft expert Bucky Brooks is rolling out his... more

Matt Cashore/US Presswire Boston College's Luke Kuechly led the nation with 191 tackles, averaging nearly 16 per game. With the college football regular season wrapped up, NFL.com draft expert Bucky Brooks is rolling out his top 10 college players... more

Kyle Terada/US Presswire Oregon's LaMichael James is a small, multi-purpose running back who thrives in the Ducks' spread offense. With the college football regular season wrapped up, NFL.com draft expert Bucky Brooks is rolling out his top 10... more

Tim Heitman/US Presswire North Carolina DE Quinton Coples had 7.5 sacks this season, after recording 10 as a junior. With the college football regular season wrapped up, NFL.com draft expert Bucky Brooks is rolling out his top 10 college players by... more

Ben Liebenberg/NFL Stanford guard David DeCastro is considered to be the best interior lineman in college football. With the college football regular season wrapped up, NFL.com draft expert Bucky Brooks is rolling out his top 10 college players by... more

Brian Spurlock/US Presswire Russell Wilson threw three TD passes in Wisconsin's win over Michigan State in the Big Ten title game. Each Monday throughout the college football season, NFL.com draft expert Bucky Brooks will share his notes and... more

Most of the attention going into games is on the stars, but lesser-known players often end up being the difference-makers. Here are a few players who could have a big impact in Week 13: Brandon Jacobs, Giants, RB: The Giants' bruising running back... more

November

Derrick E. Hingle/US Presswire With Drew Brees (left) and Devery Henderson, the Saints have the NFL's top-ranked passing attack.   If you're looking for the NFC team with the firepower to challenge the Packers for the crown, you might want to... more

Associated Press Stanford's Andrew Luck has the physical tools and leadership skills to be a great NFL quarterback.   Each Monday throughout the college football season, NFL.com draft expert Bucky Brooks has shared his notes and evaluations... more

Most of the attention going into games is on the stars, but lesser-known players often end up being the difference-makers. Here are a few players who could have a big impact in Week 12: Steve Smith, Riley Cooper and Jason Avant, Eagles, WRs: Vince... more

Tony Sparano will likely have a tough time retaining his job, but he's not going down without a fight. Miami's on a three-game winning streak behind an offense that's come alive as the unit has jelled down the stretch. Here are three contributing... more

Carlos Osorio/AP Lions RB Kevin Smith exploded for 201 total yards and three touchdowns against the Panthers in Week 11.   The Lions found an unlikely remedy for their offensive woes Sunday, turning to running back Kevin Smith in the middle... more

Associated Press Baylor's Robert Griffin III has showcased his passing and running skills from the QB position.   Each Monday throughout the college football season, NFL.com draft expert Bucky Brooks will share his notes and evaluations on... more

Most of the attention going into games is on the stars, but lesser-known players often end up being the difference-makers. Here are a few players who could have a great impact in Week 11 : Albert Haynesworth, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, DT: It is a shame... more

As the San Francisco 49ers sit at 8-1 and firmly atop the NFC West, Jim Harbaugh has touted Alex Smith as an elite quarterback. Although no one is ready to proclaim him as the next Joe Montana or Steve Young, the thought of Smith joining the ranks of the... more

The Texans were just starting to create a buzz as the top team in the AFC until a foot injury sidelined Matt Schaub for the remainder of the season and thrust Matt Leinart into the starting role. Although the team has overcome the loss of its top... more

Matt Strasen / US Presswire Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon, a junior, has the skills to make an immediate impact in the NFL.   Each Monday throughout the college football season, NFL.com draft expert Bucky Brooks will share his notes... more

Most of the attention going into games is on the stars, but lesser-known players often end up being the difference-makers. Here are a few players who could have a great impact in Week 10: Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas, Saints, RBs: The Saints are... more

Gary A. Vasquez / US Presswire Andrew Luck* is the best prospect in college football and could make some team very happy if he goes pro early.   The season is only at the halfway point, but some teams are already looking at the college game... more

In a league driven by the performance of the quarterback, the most successful coaches are adaptable and willing to cater their offensive systems to fit the skill set of the signal caller. In Denver, John Fox and his coaching staff are undergoing a... more

Marvin Gentry / US Presswire Alabama's Trent Richardson* was one of the few offensive players to make an impact in a defensive battle with LSU.   Each Monday throughout the college football season, NFL.com draft expert Bucky Brooks will share... more

Most of the attention going into games is on the stars, but lesser-known players often end up being the difference-makers. Here are a few players who could have a great impact in Week 9: Mario Manningham, Giants, WR: The potential absence of Hakeem... more

The Kansas City Chiefs were left for dead after a dreadful three-game losing streak to start the season. However, Todd Haley's crew has surged to the top of the AFC West behind a resurgent defense that has started to punch opponents in the mouth. After... more

Kirby Lee/US Presswire Opponents had to account for Vince Young (right) last year, and that opened up running lanes for Chris Johnson.   What is going on with Chris Johnson? That's the question everyone is asking with the NFL's most explosive... more

October

Associated Press North Carolina's Quinton Coples (90) is regarded as the top pass rusher in the country. Each Monday throughout the college football season, NFL.com draft expert Bucky Brooks will share his notes and evaluations on potential... more

Most of the attention going into games is on the stars, but lesser-known players often end up being the difference-makers. Here are a few players who could have a great impact in Week 8: Knowshon Moreno and Lance Ball, Broncos, RBs: The loss of Willis... more

If you haven't been paying attention to the NFC North, the Bears have awakened from their early season slumber and are quietly in position to make a run at a playoff berth. While most observers would point to the Bears' play on defense and special teams... more

Bucky Brooks, an NFL.com analyst since 2009, played in the NFL from 1994-99 and later worked as a regional college scout for NFL teams from 2000-07. CALABASAS, Calif. -- It is over. That's my opinion of Terrell Owens' career after watching him work... more

Gerry Broome/AP The Stanford offensive line has kept Andrew Luck clean this season, only allowing two sacks in seven games. Each Monday throughout the college football season, NFL.com draft expert Bucky Brooks will share his notes and... more

Most of the attention going into games is on the stars, but lesser-known players often end up being the difference-makers. Here are a few players who could have a great impact in Week 7: Corey Williams, Lions, DT: The challenge of stopping the Falcons'... more

Tim Heitman/US Presswire Jay Ratliff and the Cowboys are averaging 3.2 sacks per game, which ranks third in the NFL. The NFC East race is wide open. No one has emerged as the true leader, and each has had several issues during the first six... more

Associated Press Albert Haynesworth (left) is starting to make his presence felt in New England's surging defense. Don't look now, but the New England Patriots are starting to find their championship swagger on defense. That's right. The... more

Brett Davis / US Presswire Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill is new to playing quarterback, but he's shown the potential to be special. Each Monday throughout the college football season, NFL.com draft expert Bucky Brooks will share his notes and... more

Most of the attention going into games is on the stars, but lesser-known players often end up being the difference-makers. Here are a few players who could have a great impact in Week 6: Nate Solder, Patriots, OT: In Sunday's Cowboys-Patriots game ,... more

Associated Press With aggressive schemes and deft use of personnel, Mike Zimmer has built the NFL's top-ranked defense. Every week, Bucky Brooks will bring a scout's perspective to some of the hot topics around the league. Move over... more

Every week, Bucky Brooks will bring a scout's perspective to some of the hot topics around the league. With the Bills among the NFL's biggest surprises, one thing is becoming increasingly clear in Buffalo, the offense is built around the unique talents... more

Jason O. Watson / US Presswire Stanford QB Andrew Luck continues to impress with his play and ability to command the offense. Each Monday throughout the college football season, NFL.com draft expert Bucky Brooks will share his notes and... more

Jeff Hansch/US Presswire Bears tackle Chris Williams will have his hands full against the Lions pass rush on Monday night. Most of the attention going into games is on the stars, but lesser-known players often end up being the... more

Every week, Bucky Brooks will bring a scout's perspective to some of the hot topics around the league. If the Jets are serious about making a Super Bowl run, they must take the ball out of Mark Sanchez's hands. He's not ready to be the driving force... more

With a quarter of the NFL season in the books, it's time to take a look at how the awards races are shaping up: Most Valuable Player La Canfora: Titans legit at 3-1 There's something brewing in Tennessee, writes Jason La Canfora, who points out the... more

Gerald Herbert / Associated Press Tyrann Mathieu is making a name for himself as part of a strong cornerback tandem at LSU. Each Monday throughout the college football season, NFL.com draft expert Bucky Brooks will share his notes and... more

September

Ed Reinke/AP Rookie RB Kendall Hunter had nine carries and scored a touchdown against the Bengals in Week 3. Most of the attention going into games is on the stars, but lesser-known players often end up being the difference-makers. Here are a... more

Kim Klement/US Presswire Matt Ryan has been sacked 13 times this season, which ranks as the third-highest total in the league. The Falcons were expected to make a run at the Super Bowl after a few splashy moves in the offseason. However, they... more

Every Tuesday, Bucky Brooks will bring a scout's perspective to some of the hot topics around the league. Hue Jackson has turned Darren McFadden into the league's top runner. Fans of Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson will take umbrage with that... more

Ralph Freso / Associated Press Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict has become an intimidating force for opponents. Each Monday throughout the college football season, NFL.com draft expert Bucky Brooks will share his notes and evaluations... more

Chuck Cook/US Presswire Devery Henderson, who has two 100-yard games this season, faces the No. 1-ranked Texans pass defense. Most of the attention going into games is on the stars, but lesser-known players often end up being the... more

Mark J. Rebilas/US Presswire Panthers rookie Cam Newton has been sacked eight times in two games, which ranks fourth in the NFL. Cam Newton has been absolutely incredible passing for 400-plus yards in back-to-back games to start his NFL... more

Every Tuesday, Bucky Brooks will bring a scout's perspective to some of the hot topics around the league. Is Ben Tate about to Wally Pipp Arian Foster? It is hard to believe a player one season removed from winning the rushing title could have a... more

Associated Press USC junior Matt Barkley has completed 69 percent of his passes in three games this season, all Trojans victories. Each Monday throughout the college football season, NFL.com draft expert Bucky Brooks will share his notes and... more

Eric Hartline/US Presswire Casey Matthews will have to play big if the Eagles hope to slow down Atlanta's Michael Turner. Most of the attention going into games is on the stars, but lesser-known players often end up being the difference-makers.... more

Here are some of my observations after the first weekend of football. Patriots' two-headed monster at TE makes them tough to stop Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski have emerged as Tom Brady's most dangerous weapons behind their athleticism and... more

Tony Ding/Associated Press In his first two games this season, Notre Dame junior Michael Floyd has 25 catches for 313 yards and two touchdowns. Each Monday throughout the college football season, NFL.com draft expert Bucky Brooks will share... more

Some observations from the Green Bay Packers' 42-34 win Thursday night over the New Orleans Saints: ¬Ľ Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the game. It is crazy to make that statement after only one game, but the seventh-year pro has picked up... more

Rafael Suanes / US Presswire Lee Evans has added a new dimension to the Ravens' offense with his speed and vertical ability. The preseason is certainly not a true indicator of regular-season performance, but it does reveal certain things... more

Tim Heitman/US Presswire Kellen Moore is one of the best quarterbacks in college football, but his size could limit his pro potential. Each Monday throughout the college football season, NFL.com draft expert Bucky Brooks will share his notes... more

Steve Mitchell/US Presswire Stanford's Andrew Luck widely is considered to be the most NFL-ready quarterback in college right now. The first weekend of the college season sends NFL scouts across the country to evaluate the top prospects in... more

August

Here are my observations from watching the New Orleans Saints' 40-20 preseason win over the Oakland Raiders Sunday night: ¬Ľ Sean Payton has the Saints' offense rolling. The unit appeared in midseason form against the Raiders while amassing 514 yards... more

The third week of preseason represents a chance for starters play more. After watching nine games Saturday night, here are my observations: Matthew Stafford is lighting it up. He remains on fire after his impressive showing against the Patriots . He... more

The third weekend of preseason games represents a chance for starters to get off the sidelines and put on a show. These games provide a deeper look at how teams plan to use their stars and newly-signed veterans.  Three games in, one thing is for sure:... more

Here are some of my observations after watching the Thursday night's preseason games: ¬Ľ Cam Newton is a great athlete, but needs to make significant strides as a passer. There is no doubt the No.1 overall pick is one of the finest athletes to play... more

Tim Heitman/US Presswire Curtis Painter has struggled in the preseason for the Colts, with no touchdowns and one interception. To get a true gauge on how a team or player will perform during the regular season, focus on Week 3 of the... more

Here are my observations after watching the Giants beat the Bears 41-13 on Monday night: ¬Ľ The loss of Terrell Thomas significantly weakens the Giants defense. Thomas was unquestionably the team's top cornerback and the team lacks the depth to... more

Chuck Cook / US Presswire Terrelle Pryor will need to develop as a pocket passer to find success as an NFL quarterback. Terrelle Pryor is headed to Oakland to play quarterback after being selected by the Raiders in the third round of the... more

The second weekend of preseason football isn't necessarily just a dress rehearsal. The game plans crafted by coaches aren't as comprehensive as the ones used during the regular season, but they provide us with a glimpse at which teams and players have the... more

David J. Phillip / Associated Press Matt Schaub and the Houston Texans' offense are already on a roll like it's October. The second weekend of preseason football isn't necessarily just a dress rehearsal. The game plans crafted by coaches... more

The second week of the preseason allows coaches to get a better feel for their respective squads due to the extended play of their starters. Teams usually keep their first-teamers on the field until halftime to give their units plenty of time to establish... more

The second week of the preseason serves as a dress rehearsal for most teams since game-planning comes into play. Coaches spend more time preparing for their opponents, and their play-calling is designed to exploit weaknesses gleaned from their research.... more

The Pittsburgh Steelers reached the Super Bowl last season, largely because of the play of an experienced defense. But as quickly as things can change in NFL, a strength can become a point of contention. Fast forward to 2011 and a defense that now... more

Keith Srakocic / Associated press Mike Tomlin (right) is doing all he can to make sure the Steelers don't take a step back in 2011. Bucky Brooks recently visited Steelers camp in Latrobe, Pa. Here's what he saw. 1. Mike Tomlin doesn't want... more

Bucky Brooks recently visited Cowboys training camp in Arlington, Texas. Here's what he saw. Observation deck 1. Jason Garrett is rebuilding the Cowboys in the mold of the franchise's championship teams under Tom Landry and Jimmy Johnson. The new... more

The third night of preseason football continued to provide answers to some of the looming questions that dominated the offseason. While one game will certainly not serve as a definitive evaluation on a player, it does provide an opportunity to make... more

The second night of preseason action didn't provide us with many competitive games, but it did offer up a few answers to some of the looming offseason questions. Some players who were expected to deliver big results showed they were capable of handling... more

AP/US Presswire From left to right: Philip Rivers, Michael Vick and Ryan Mallett all threw touchdown passes in their preseason debuts. The first night of preseason football turned into a showcase for quarterbacks around the league. Teams... more

Matt York/ Associated Press Kevin Kolb was Arizona's prize offseason acquisition after the team struggled to find consistency at QB in 2010. The first weekend of the preseason is upon us, and it's full of interesting matchups --... more

Frank Victores/US Presswire The physical advantage some teams have over opponents could be nullified with new NFL practice restrictions. The recently signed collective bargaining agreement means more than labor peace for the next 10 years.... more

Mike McCarn / Associated Press Drafting Cam Newton (left) and re-signing Charles Johnson (right) have strengthened a young roster with talent. The Carolina Panthers' strategy to dole out big money to retain several of their free agents --... more

Kirby Lee / US Presswire Raiders offensive coordinator Al Saunders could very well elevate Jason Campbell to the next level. This is the year Jason Campbell becomes a franchise quarterback. While that statement will sound outlandish to... more

Eric Risberg / Associated Press First-year Raiders coach Hue Jackson is bringing a fundamentals-first approach to Raiders camp. Bucky Brooks recently visited Raiders camp in Napa, Calif. Here's what he saw. Observation deck 1. There is a buzz... more

Paul Sakuma/AP Quarterback Alex Smith went 3-7 as a starter in 2010 and is 19-31 overall in five seasons with the 49ers. Bucky Brooks recently visited 49ers camp in Santa Clara, Calif. Here's what he saw. Observation Deck 1. The 49ers look... more

Jeff Chiu / Associated Press Part of Jim Harbaugh's focus in his first year is grooming rookie QB Colin Kaepernick. SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The culture is changing in San Francisco under Jim Harbaugh. The quagmire of dysfunction that existed... more

Charles Rex Arbogast/ AP After Jay Cutler was sacked 52 times in 2010, improving the offensive line was a top concern for the Bears. Nobody was perfect in 2010, even the defending Super Bowl champion Packers. So how did teams improve... more

Andrew Mills/The Star-Ledger/US Presswire The Patriots' pass defense got shredded by the Jets' Santonio Holmes and other receivers last season. Nobody was perfect in 2010, even the defending AFC champion Steelers. So how did teams improve... more

The Eagles already had one of the best offenses in the league, but this offseason has allowed them to add to their embarrassment of riches. The collection of talent will soon make opponents realize this is the most explosive offense assembled in recent... more

The New York Giants have given Osi Umenyiora permission to seek a trade , but is there a market for a 29-year-old pass rusher coming off a season in which he recorded 11.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles? On the surface, there would appear to be a host of... more

July

The Indianapolis Colts paid big money to keep Peyton Manning, but the move was necessary to keep the team's title hopes afloat over the next few years. Debate: Does deal really help Colts? Our experts wonder if Peyton Manning 's new deal can allow... more

AP (From left to right) Plaxico Burress, Randy Moss and Braylon Edwards are all still available on the free agent market. Teams in need of a play-making wide receiver are weighing their options between Braylon Edwards, Randy Moss and Plaxico... more

Offensive coordinators around the NFL better hope Nnamdi Asomugha lands in either Houston or San Francisco, and not in New York with the Jets. The potential pairing with Darrelle Revis would make Rex Ryan's defense impenetrable and set the table for the... more

Tim Heitman/US Presswire Vince Young left Tennessee on a sour note, but the embattled QB could be a sweet steal for the right team. If it's true that one man's trash is another man's treasure, then there are plenty of gems suddenly available... more

AP After letting Matt Hasselbeck walk, the Seahawks will turn to Charlie Whitehurst or Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback. Has Pete Carroll lost his mind? That's the only explanation for the Seattle coach's belief that Charlie Whitehurst or... more

The glitz and glamour of free agency typically casts the spotlight on a few marquee names, but quality teams do a great job of identifying under-the-radar talents on the open market. Let's take a look at 10 unheralded players poised to make an impact.... more

Brett Favre should make another comeback. That's right. The quarterback, who's coming off the worst season of his illustrious NFL career, should grab the pads to make one final run at a Super Bowl. And he should do it with the Philadelphia Eagles.... more

US Presswire Randy Moss bounced around last season and, at 34, there's doubt about how much he has left to offer. The frenzied nature of free agency after the lockout is going to lead to several mistakes. Teams will rush to overpay for some... more

The loss of offseason work due to the lockout will challenge the planning and preparation of scouts and coaches, but teams with bulletproof blueprints and established rosters will enjoy a sizable advantage over their opponents when the regular season... more

In a typical year, the offseason is viewed as the time for teams to find answers to their quarterback questions. This year, however, the lockout has prevented several teams from properly assessing and addressing their respective situations. With the end... more

The lockout is set to end and the ensuing free agent frenzy will be unlike anything we have seen. While teams and players have diligently studied available options throughout the offseason, the pressure of nabbing the right guy -- and players choosing... more

If the Cardinals successfully pry Kevin Kolb from the Eagles, don't immediately pencil in Arizona as NFC West champions. When you consider Kolb's inexperience (seven career starts) and potential learning curve transitioning into Ken Whisenhunt's... more

Cary Edmondson/US Presswire Michael Crabtree needs to perform on a weekly basis if the 49ers are to go where they want to in 2011. Step your game up! That's what San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh should tell No. 1 receiver Michael... more

The Cowboys need a leader. That's the biggest issue on a franchise that boasts a roster that is the envy of the league. While everyone points to the Cowboys' porous secondary or their leaky offensive line for why the team underachieved a season ago, the... more

If John Fox is sticking to his preference of wanting a "gamer"  as his starting quarterback, then the decision over who should open the regular season under center for the Denver Broncos is a no-brainer. The answer is Tim Tebow. That's right. The... more

Matthew Emmons / US Presswire Michael Vick transformed himself from glorified third running back to legit pocket passer in 2010. Can he do it again? That's the question defensive coordinators around the league are asking as they ponder... more

Jonathan Brownfield / US Presswire Peyton Hillis could be poised for another huge season thanks to new coach Pat Shurmur. Peyton Hillis is not a one-year wonder. He is not a flash in the pan or a byproduct of being a star on a bad team.... more

Don Heupel / Associated Press Once a dominant force for the Chargers, Shawne Merriman has yet to appear in a game for the Bills. He's done. That's what scouts around the league are saying about linebacker Shawne Merriman after watching... more

Kerry Collins' surprising retirement Thursday will force the Tennessee Titans to alter their plans at quarterback. The team originally wanted to slowly groom Jake Locker , the eighth overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft , until he was ready to play, but... more

Reggie Wayne or Robert Mathis? With both players entering the final year of their contracts, that's the question Colts president Bill Polian is facing as he attempts to decide which veteran will give Indianapolis the best opportunity to make a sustained... more

Nnamdi Asomugha arguably is the best cornerback in the game, but most teams would be wise not to break the bank for his services when he hits the open market. Not that Asomugha isn't worthy of commanding top dollar as a shutdown corner, but there are... more

This is the year that Chad Henne blossoms into a franchise quarterback. At least that's what Miami Dolphins coach Tony Sparano hopes as he heads into a make-or-break season with Henne penciled in as his starting signal-caller. There were high... more

June

John Munson/US Presswire Tom Brady has had many reasons to celebrate during 11 NFL seasons. We've finally reached the conclusion of the NFL Network's "The Top 100: Players of 2011" series, as well as the end of my own list of the league's best... more

AP Robert Ayers, Andre Smith, Larry English and Aaron Maybin were top-20 picks who have failed to produce. It's now or never. That's what scouts across the league are saying about several members of the 2009 draft class. As a general rule,... more

Pay the man! That's my advice to the Tennessee Titans as star running back Chris Johnson contemplates a holdout prior to the 2011 season in an effort to land a new contract. It takes three years to figure out if a player can play in the NFL, and... more

Don't believe the hype. Even though Aaron Rodgers has put together an impressive résumé that includes a Super Bowl title and an MVP award, he is not in the same class with Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. In fact, he might not even be worthy... more

David Stluka / Associated Press Drew Brees' NFL career is highlighted by an MVP performance in Super Bowl XLIV. Just like the NFL Network's "The Top 100: Players of 2011" has attracted a lot of attention for the positioning of some of the... more

Mike Groll / Associated Press C.J. Spiller did not measure up to the hype that comes with being a ninth overall draft pick. NFL players make the biggest jump in their development from their first to second year in the league. Coaches and... more

Paul Jasienski / Associated Press Osi Umenyiora might put up big sack numbers, but his skill set isn't complete. Save the drama. That's what the New York Giants should tell Osi Umenyiora as he clamors for a lucrative contract extension.... more

David Drapkin / Associated Press Tiki Barber rushed for 1,000 or more yards in six of his final seven NFL seasons. Can a 36-year-old running back coming off a four-year layoff make a significant impact upon his return to the NFL? Yes.... more

As the NFL Network's "Top 100 Players of 2011" nears the top 20, the debate rages on about which players are the best at their respective positions. Last week, the conversation focused on Ray Lewis' ranking among the 31-40 best players in the game . As... more

Is it over? That's the question that comes to mind when viewing Vince Young's career prospects. Fueled by growing concerns about his character, work ethic and leadership ability, the Tennessee Titans are set to release or trade the sixth-year... more

Sharon Ellman / Associated Press Tony Romo's added dimension of athleticism makes him dangerous to defend. Hands down, the Dallas Cowboys have the best passing offense in the NFC East. In a division that features four of the league's top... more

NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks took questions from fans during his weekly chat on NFL.com. Even though he tackles the best questions during the chat, sometimes he feels the need to expand on some of his answers. Is Joe Flacco going to be the "franchise... more

Brett Davis / US Presswire Arian Foster went from obscurity to being considered one the NFL's top players after his dynamic 2010 campaign. As NFL Network's "Top 100 Players of 2011" heads into the top 30 (Sunday, at 8 p.m. ET.), the debates... more

David Butler II / US Presswire It was only one game, but Matt Flynn's performance in New England might have sealed his fate as a future starter. In a league that is predicated on the performance of quarterbacks, scouts and coaches are always... more

Greg Bartman / US Presswire Terrelle Pryor has several hurdles to leap over before he's ready to play in the NFL. Editor's note: This article was published in June, two months before Terrelle Pryor was ruled eligible for the supplemental... more

While hindsight is always 20/20, I wonder if scouts and coaches around the league would adjust their 2009 pre-draft quarterback rankings after watching Josh Freeman blossom into a star. Freeman has exceeded expectations and developed into a... more

Denny Medley / US Presswire Jamaal Charles finished second in the NFL with a career-high 1,467 yards rushing in 2010. The NFL Network's fantastic "Top 100 Players of 2011" series has sent my mind racing about the possibilities of putting... more

Once upon a time, a list that included Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Chad Ochocinco and Plaxico Burress would look like the top nominees on a Pro Bowl ballot. Times have changed, and the veteran quartet is looking for one last hurrah. On the... more

May

Out with the old, in with the new? That's what appears to be happening in Cincinnati. Carson Palmer is holding firm to his trade-me-or-retire stance and the Bengals drafted Andy Dalton with that in mind. Even if Palmer opted to return, he's... more

Plaxico Burress is due to be released from prison on June 6, and the league is buzzing about his possible destination when the free-agency period commences. While it would seem a two-year layoff and questions about Burress' age (33), character... more

Rob Grabowski / US Presswire Sam Shields had two interceptions in the NFC Championship, including the game-clincher. Each year, we see a few unheralded players grab the spotlight with their surprisingly spectacular play. While some have... more

The Redskins opened up a can of worms when they didn't take a quarterback in the draft and then coach Mike Shanahan spoke highly of the unknown John Beck . Having so much faith in Beck, who has only four career starts under his belt, made many... more

Kathy Willens / Associated Press Santonio Holmes' knack for coming up with the big play in crunch time would make him valuable to any offense. NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks solicited questions from fans on the NFL's Facebook page this week.... more

NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks solicited questions from fans on the NFL's Facebook page this week. After reviewing the submissions, he tackles the posts that grabbed his attention. What kind of impact will  Nick Fairley make next to Ndamukong Suh?... more

NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks solicited questions from fans on the NFL's Facebook page this week. After reviewing the submissions, he tackles the posts that grabbed his attention. What new (and possible rookie) coaches are you looking forward to seeing... more

NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks solicited questions from fans on the NFL's Facebook page this week. After reviewing the submissions, he tackles the posts that grabbed his attention. Should the Panthers open the 2011 season with Cam Newton as the starting... more

Beauty often rests in the eye of the beholder, but new coach Jim Harbaugh apparently sees something in Alex Smith that 49ers fans have missed over the past six years. On the surface, keeping Smith looks like a questionable move by a franchise... more

As hard as it is for coaches and scouts to admit their mistakes, the Saints seemingly acknowledged their error in expecting Reggie Bush to become a featured back by trading back into the first round to draft Mark Ingram . Although coach Sean... more

The Arizona Cardinals are only a quarterback away from reclaiming their lofty perch atop the NFC West. While most expected the team to address their biggest issue in the NFL draft, coach Ken Whisenhunt has seemingly set his sights on a trio of veterans... more

The Arizona Cardinals are only a quarterback away from reclaiming their lofty perch atop the NFC West. While most expected the team to address their biggest issue in the NFL draft, coach Ken Whisenhunt has seemingly set his sights on a trio of... more

Count me as one of the many surprised by Wade Phillips' decision to shift two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Mario Williams to outside linebacker in the Texans' new 3-4 defensive scheme. Although I've been around the league long enough to understand that... more

Charles Cherney / Associated Press Gabe Carimi (with offensive line coach Mike Tice) should help fortify a porous Bears front line. NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks recently handed out grades for each team for the 2011 NFL Draft. Here... more

NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks recently handed out grades for each team for the 2011 NFL Draft. Here are the teams that were at the top of the class, scoring higher marks than their peers for overall draft hauls. Patriots' draft picks Rd Sel.... more

NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks is handing out grades for each team following the 2011 NFL Draft . Check back daily as he breaks down each team, division by division. Broncos' draft picks Rd Sel. # Player Pos. School 1 2 Von Miller... more

NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks is handing out grades for each team following the 2011 NFL Draft . Check back daily as he breaks down each team, division by division. Ravens' draft picks Rd Sel. # Player Pos. School 1 27 Jimmy Smith... more

NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks is handing out grades for each team following the 2011 NFL Draft . Check back daily as he breaks down each team, division by division. Falcons' draft picks Rd Sel. # Player Pos. School 1 6 Julio Jones... more

NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks is handing out grades for each team following the 2011 NFL Draft . Check back daily as he breaks down each team, division by division. Texans' draft picks Rd Sel. # Player Pos. School 1 11 J.J. Watt... more

NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks is handing out grades for each team following the 2011 NFL Draft . Check back daily as he breaks down each team, division by division. Cowboys' draft picks Rd Sel. # Player Pos. School 1 9 Tyron Smith... more

Andrew Weber / US Presswire Getting Ryan Mallett in the third round was among the picks that helped the Pats earn praise for their draft. NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks is handing out grades for each team following the 2011 NFL Draft .... more

April

The last two drafts have given us Matthew Stafford and Sam Bradford, quarterbacks who were clear No. 1 overall choices. This year, there is no clear-cut No. 1, but there are so many teams desperate for a franchise-saving QB that some team -- or a... more

When I started working as a scout for the Seattle Seahawks in 2000, I had a memorable conversation with veteran secondary coach Dick Roach about what to look for when evaluating safeties. He started off by emphasizing the importance of football... more

I've long believed that cornerbacks are the best athletes in pro football. Although that statement would appear to be self-serving based on my brief career as a nickel corner, the premise actually arises from watching several of the game's best master... more

As a scout, you often compare prospects against current and former pros to provide coaches with perspective on their potential. Although these visual clues don't always bear out, they are an essential part of the scouting process. When looking at... more

I wrote earlier this week about how the evolution of the NFL passing game has prompted defensive coordinators to build their units around dynamic edge rushers in an attempt to impact opposing quarterbacks . Although it is true that the presence of one... more

The NFL's evolution into a passing league has altered the way that defensive coaches approach the draft. Rather than build their units under the premise of being strong in the middle, teams place greater emphasis on the edges in an attempt to impact... more

I will be the first to admit that evaluating prospects remains an inexact science. Although scouts spend countless hours in the film room poring over tape, you still can miss out on all-star caliber prospects despite having access to all the empirical... more

As the NFL continues to evolve into a passing league, the presence of a franchise-caliber offensive tackle has become a priority for every team. Teams are searching for stellar pass protectors on the edges capable of keeping rushers away from the... more

As a former NFL receiver and scout, I have a tendency to scrutinize prospective pass-catchers even more. The transition from college to the pros is difficult, and the successful players possess a core set of traits that translate well to the next level.... more

From my experiences as a player and scout, I have learned that elite running backs come in all sizes, shapes and styles. Although most teams would prefer the big, bruising back with explosive speed and big-play ability in the mold of Adrian Peterson ,... more

After spending 12 years in the NFL as a player and scout, I've learned that the evaluation of the quarterbacks is the most difficult of all positions. The position demands a unique set of mental and physical skills that are sometimes difficult to assess... more

March

Joshua S. Kelly / US Presswire Da'Quan Bowers had a monster 2010 season, but questions linger about his health and lack of previous production. The most difficult part of evaluating prospects for the draft is forecasting their future... more

The NFL is driven by the play of quarterbacks, and talent evaluators are always searching for franchise players. The early focus of this year's draft has been the ongoing battle between Missouri's Blaine Gabbert and Auburn's Cam Newton as the possible... more

Sean Gardner / Associated Press If selected No. 1 in the draft, Patrick Peterson would be the first cornerback ever selected in that spot. Each week, I field a lot of interesting questions during my weekly chat , but I'm unable to answer all... more

As scouts and coaches debate the proper order of prospects at a position, the conversation often turns into a discussion regarding a player's production vs. his potential. A player's production over the course of his collegiate career... more

Andrew Weber / US Presswire Ryan Mallett's stats in a pro-style offense give him first-round potential, but off-field issues could hurt his stock. NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks, a former scout for the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers, is... more

NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks, a former scout for the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers, is no stranger to the types of discussions taking place within team facilities in the weeks leading up to the NFL Draft. This is the first in a weekly series of... more

Now that we've reached the middle of the pro day season, it's a great time to unveil my first mock draft. Although teams are still in the early stages of setting their respective draft boards, the results of the NFL Scouting Combine, medical evaluations... more

Alix Drawec / NFL Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi is the self-proclaimed top tackle prospect in the 2011 draft. Football has always been won or lost in the trenches, so it is essential for contenders to stock their rosters full of big, physical... more

Darron Cummings / Associated Press Patrick Peterson is vying to be the first cornerback ever selected No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft. With the league becoming more passing-oriented, teams are looking for impact defenders capable of altering... more

Ben Liebenberg / NFL Given that he worked out with a fractured foot, Julio Jones performed admirably at the combine. As more teams turn to the passing game as the primary means for moving the ball, the need for acquiring pass catchers has... more

Ben Liebenberg / NFL.com Von Miller came to the combine as a top-rated prospect, and his work in Indianapolis only enhanced his stock. This year's draft class lacks depth at linebacker, but the talent at the top is as good as we have seen in... more

Brian Spurlock / US Presswire After sitting out the 2010 season due to a suspension, Robert Quinn was a bit rusty at the combine. The defensive line figures to dominate the early stages of the draft with as least 10 players carrying... more

Brian Spurlock / US Presswire Mark Ingram entered the combine as the top back and did enough to leave Indy with that distinction. This year's running back class isn't regarded as the deepest or most talented, but the NFL Scouting Combine... more

Brian Spurlock / US Presswire Despite not throwing at the combine, Blaine Gabbert still managed to impress scouts in Indianapolis. The NFL Scouting Combine represented an opportunity for a closely graded group of quarterbacks to separate... more

Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press Prince Amukamara proved he's fast enough to play corner in the NFL with his impressive effort at the combine. The final day of the NFL Scouting Combine provided Nebraska corner Prince Amukamara with an... more

February

INDIANAPOLIS -- After the offensive players took center stage at the NFL Scouting Combine over the weekend, Monday provided the defensive linemen and linebackers with a chance to boost their value. One of the prospects building a case to move up is... more

INDIANAPOLIS -- The second day of workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine provided plenty of opportunities for quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs to boost their value. The emphasis on the 40-yard dash appears to make the rest of the... more

INDIANAPOLIS -- The first day of workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine provided plenty of opportunities for offensive linemen and tight ends to boost their value in the eyes of evaluators. The emphasis on the 40-yard dash appears to make the rest of the... more

The NFL's transformation into a passing league has thrust defensive backs into the limelight. Defensive coordinators are desperate for shutdown corners and playmaking safeties. This year's class could appease some of the teams searching for... more

Linebackers have grown in prominence in recent years thanks to the expansion of the 3-4 defense around the league. Teams are looking for versatility from the position now more than ever. Linebackers that can rush the passer and drop into coverage are... more

From occupying multiple blockers to creating room for fast-flowing linebackers to generating a pass rush, the line is the most pivotal part of a defense. Given the importance of winning the line of scrimmage, coaches and scouts are scouring for... more

In the NFL, games are often won or lost up front, so identifying dominant offensive linemen is a priority for general managers, scouts and coaches. Offensive tackle is the marquee position, with left tackles valued at a premium. Teams are willing to... more

The NFL's transformation into a passing league has thrust pass-catchers into prominence over the past few seasons. Teams have increasingly relied on spread formations to exploit aggressive defenses, while also taking advantage of the favorable rules for... more

The NFL has quietly shifted away from the featured runner to a league that utilizes committee backfields that share the workload. The use of multiple backs has changed the way that scouts evaluate the position. Rather than search for the durable... more

The 2011 quarterback class features several intriguing possibilities, but lacks a definitive franchise player. Although Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton, Jake Locker and Ryan Mallett are possible first-round hopefuls, the leader of the pack has yet to be... more

SAN DIEGO -- Cam Newton 's private workout in front of a media contingent was absolutely sensational. Blog: Questions about Cam NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock says any questions surrounding Cam Newton's transition to the NFL aren't about his... more

Matthew Emmons / US Presswire Despite tremendous skills, scouts have concerns over Nick Fairley's salty on-field demeanor. With the start of the NFL Scouting Combine only two weeks away, scouts and coaches are in the midst of intense... more

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Defense wins championships. Proponents of offensive football will object to that sentiment, but the old adage continues to ring true when you watch games like Super Bowl XLV unfold. The Packers defeated the Steelers, 31-25, Sunday... more

In every Super Bowl there is an unheralded guy who plays a critical role in the outcome of the game. This X-factor, as we like to call them, could be one of the team's key starters, or it might be a backup player who rises to the occasion in a critical... more

A breakdown of Super Bowl XLV between the Steelers and Packers: Ben Roethlisberger continues to live up to his reputation as one of the NFL's top clutch players. Although his game is a little unconventional for a quarterback, he finds a way to... more

DALLAS -- Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers has probably spent countless hours in the film room poring over tape of the Pittsburgh Steelers in search of a solution for their dynamic offense. Although Capers likely focused his efforts on their... more

DALLAS -- Championship teams are driven by the play of their quarterback. From Joe Montana to Drew Brees, the list of Super Bowl winning quarterbacks features some of the position's top playmakers. It is often their sensational play down the... more

January

Dave Martin / Associated Press LB Von Miller put up monster numbers at Texas A&M and has only solidified his draft worth at the Senior Bowl. MOBILE, Ala. -- The bulk of the work has been completed at the Senior Bowl with the conclusion of... more

MOBILE, Ala. -- Here are my observations from Day 3 at the Senior Bowl: ¬Ľ Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan is the real deal as a pass rusher. He comes off the edge with an exceptional first step, and has the capability to turn speed into power on bull rushes.... more

Alix Drawec / NFL Von Miller could make a 3-4 base defensive team very happy at draft time. Here are some of my observations from the second day of workouts at the Senior Bowl: Senior Bowl on NFL Network: On Saturday, Jan. 29, top... more

MOBILE, Ala. -- The Senior Bowl is the marquee event of the college all-star bowl circuit, and scouts have descended upon Mobile in droves to see a deep and talented roster of top prospects display their skills this week. Senior Bowl on NFL... more

The beginning of the college all-star game circuit signifies the second phase of the evaluation process, but draft boards across the league have already started to take shape with the official release of the underclassmen list this week. While most... more

Mark Zerof / US Presswire Georgia's Akeem Dent has been the top linebacker at practice, ahead of Saturday's East-West Shrine Game. ORLANDO, Fla. -- The East-West Shrine Game practices have just about come to a close for the week, but several... more

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The East-West Shrine Game's practices have been under way for the past three days, and scouts are starting to make solid assessments on the players in attendance. While these instant evaluations aren't binding, they serve as a... more

The college all-star game circuit provides small-school prospects with opportunities to display their talents on a big stage. Their performances in these games are critical in their overall evaluations because scouts finally get to see these... more

In the NFL, it is frequently noted that you must have a franchise quarterback to make a serious run at the title. While there have been a few notable exceptions, a look at the list of Super Bowl winners features some of the game's best quarterbacks.... more

Bob Donnan / US Presswire Marvin Austin has flashed talent when he's been on the field, but will need to prove he can stay out of trouble. ORLANDO, Fla. -- The East-West Shrine Game has always been a proving ground for NFL prospects, and this... more

When the Seattle Seahawks entered the playoffs with a losing record, most expected Pete Carroll's troops be a one-and-done participant in the postseason. The team won only three of its final 10 regular-season games and looked like a flyweight heading... more

In the NFL, the difference between winning and losing is often a matter of ego. Coaches and players must be willing to sacrifice their individual agendas for the greater good of the team. As a player, this means playing in a selfless manner that... more

One of the fascinating aspects of playoff football is the chess match between play-callers. The subtle adjustments and tactics by coordinators often determine games, and those moves are particularly pivotal in rematches. In the wild-card game between... more

Gail Burton / Associated Press Ray Rice has been a part of a startling late-season offensive transformation in Baltimore. When the Baltimore Ravens substantially upgraded their offensive lineup with the additions of Anquan Boldin, Donte'... more

December

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press Charlie Whitehurst's performance on Sunday might determine who might win the NFC West title. When the Seattle Seahawks made the trade to acquire Charlie Whitehurst, many viewed the move as Pete Carroll... more

A breakdown of Sunday's NFC North showdown between the Bears and Packers: Jay Cutler has played exceptionally well while guiding the Bears to seven wins in their past eight games. He has tossed 16 touchdowns with only seven interceptions during... more

Orlin Wagner / Associated Press Matt Cassel's dramatically improved play is a big reason for the Chiefs' run to the postseason. If you're looking for a darkhorse to emerge out of the AFC, you might want to cast your eyes on the Kansas City... more

Alix Drawec / NFL Once thought of as a top QB prospect, Jake Locker's pro prospects have been hurt by a dismal 2010 season. The college bowl game season is under way, and scouts are jet-setting across the country trying to get one last look... more

Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press Iowa's Adrian Clayborn could be terrorizing NFL quarterbacks next season. Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa: Talented edge rusher with good athleticism; inconsistent motor, but has the potential to dominate when... more

A breakdown of Sunday's pivotal late-season showdown between the Giants and Packers at legendary Lambeau Field: Eli Manning has been maddeningly inconsistent for most of the year. While he ranks among league leaders with 28 touchdowns, his 25... more

As a scout, you look forward to rookies stepping on the field for the first time to see if they live up to the hype. No draft pick received more attention heading into the season than Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. While the first-round pick was used... more

It's funny how quickly things change in the NFL. A few weeks ago, the New York Jets were widely hailed as the team to beat in the AFC, but consecutive losses to the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins have cast serious doubts about their legitimacy... more

For those of you who have anointed the Falcons, Eagles or Giants as the team to beat in the NFC, you might want to consult with the New Orleans Saints before giving away the crown. The defending Super Bowl champions have quietly found their stride... more

Smart. Fast. Physical. Coaches across the league often utter those words when describing their ideal vision for their respective squads, but few teams embody that mantra like the Atlanta Falcons. The Dirty Birds have soared to the top of the NFC by... more

A breakdown of Sunday's inter-conference showdown between the Patriots and Bears: Tom Brady is playing like the league MVP while directing the Patriots' top-ranked offense. Though the unit has undergone a schematic transformation since Randy... more

Joe Howell / Associated Press Maurice Jones-Drew hit the century mark rushing for the fifth straight game to help keep the Jaguars in first place. After watching the Jacksonville Jaguars fail to reach the playoffs the past two years, coach... more

If you haven't been paying attention to the Kansas City Chiefs, then you are missing out on the emergence of one the league's great receivers. Dwayne Bowe is in the midst of a sensational streak, which has pushed him into rarefied air. He has a... more

November

It seems like déjà vu in San Diego with the Chargers making another late-season surge to climb back into contention. While most have attributed the team's turnaround to the MVP-caliber performance of Philip Rivers, defensive coordinator Ron Rivera... more

Michael Perez / Associated Press Michael Vick is hard to stop, but the Giants put more pressure than most on the elusive quarterback. After watching the Giants seemingly slow down the Eagles' high-powered attack, defensive coordinators... more

Paul Sakuma / Associated Press Since becoming the 49ers' starting QB, Troy Smith has added an explosive dimension to the offense. I don't know if the San Francisco 49ers can win the NFC West after an 0-5 start, but the insertion of Troy Smith... more

What if? That's the question Cowboys fans are surely asking after watching their team dismantle the New York Giants in Jason Garrett's debut. A team mired in the NFC East cellar finally looked like the championship contender that many expected prior... more

Tony Sparano's decision to pull the plug on the Chad Henne era might seem a bit premature, but the insertion of Chad Pennington was needed to reverse the Dolphins' offensive fortunes. Although Henne flashed immense potential during his 21-game run as... more

NFL.com's Bucky Brooks provides a breakdown of Thursday night's game between the Ravens and Falcons on NFL Network. Joe Flacco is on the verge of becoming an elite quarterback in only his third season. As a deadly accurate thrower with... more

While Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees typically dominate the discussion for the league's highest individual honor, the name that should be at the top of the MVP list is Philip Rivers. Of course, some would quickly dismiss Rivers from the... more

If you're looking for a dark horse to emerge as an AFC title contender, then you should cast your lot with the Tennessee Titans after their acquisition of Randy Moss this week. Moss adds an explosive element to an offense that already featured two of... more

Can you imagine Bill Belichick sitting Tom Brady with the game on the line? How about Jim Caldwell benching Peyton Manning in favor of Curtis Painter for a two-minute drill? I'm sure that's hard for anyone to imagine. Yet, that's the decision that... more

October

It has become an annual rite of passage to include Peyton Manning in the Most Valuable Player conversation, but this season the four-time winner will need to play at that level to keep the Colts afloat amid a host of injuries that could derail one of the... more

It appears Ben Roethlisberger has quickly shaken off the rust following a four-game suspension and is performing at a high level. Roethlisberger has guided his team to two victories, and has directed an offense that was pedestrian in his absence. Big... more

Every week, teams take to the field operating under the premise that on any given Sunday anything is possible, but the growing parity in the NFL is making the mantra a reality. Just take a look at the scores, and it is apparent that the margin between... more

The loss of a Hall of Fame-caliber player is not supposed to make a team better, but a quick look at the film of the New England Patriots' overtime win against the Baltimore Ravens is making me reconsider that opinion. Although trading Randy Moss... more

Paul Sancya / Associated Press Steve Spagnuolo and Sam Bradford are being recognized for helping the Rams become a legit NFC West contender. Worst to first? As crazy as that thought might have seemed for the St. Louis Rams prior to the... more

The return of Ben Roethlisberger has been touted around the league as the move that pushes the Steelers to the top of the title contenders. However, the way the Steelers incorporate him into a drastically altered offense could determine how far the team... more

Seth Wenig / Associated Press The Jets are known for their top-notch defense, but Mark Sanchez is playing his way into the MVP conversation. In a season where the league has been as topsy-turvy as ever, it has become increasingly difficult... more

It might seem odd that an offense littered with Pro Bowl players would lack direction, but it is obvious after the first quarter of the season that the Minnesota Vikings are suffering from an identity crisis. While Brad Childress continues to insist the... more

Joe Howell / Associated Press Kyle Orton has shaken his game-manger reputation this season, and is leading the league in passing. In Denver, the legend of John Elway casts a large shadow over the quarterback position. The Hall of Famer... more

September

Paul Spinelli / Associated Press Though his hard-nosed mentality has worked before, Tom Coughlin might be losing his team with it this season. It has been often stated that a team takes on the personality of its coach. But after watching... more

After watching his Kansas City Chiefs stumble to a 4-12 mark behind a scattershot offense, coach Todd Haley entered the offseason intent on adding playmakers. While most would prefer big, dynamic players in those roles, the Chiefs have discovered that... more

We're only six quarters into the second act of The Michael Vick Experience, but the reviews of the sequel have already exceeded the buzz of the original. While many expected Vick to provide an electrifying reel of highlight plays as the Eagles'... more

If you're looking for an interesting chess match to observe, you should cast your eyes on the Monday night battle between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears. Mike Martz and Dom Capers will match wits on the big stage, and the winner will have a... more

Tim Sharp / Associated Press The union of Jay Cutler, pictured, with Mike Martz has worked beautifully so far for the Bears. Lovie Smith spent most of the offseason urging his team to return to its Monster of the Midway roots, but the... more

There must be something in the water at the offices of the New England Patriots, because their trio of 30-something running backs has seemingly discovered a fountain of youth. Fred Taylor, Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk are defying conventional wisdom to... more

The NFL season is often viewed as a war of attrition, and two contenders are already dealing with injuries that threaten to ruin their postseason hopes. The New York Jets and Green Bay Packers just learned that Kris Jenkins and Ryan Grant are out for... more

Darrelle Revis' return has made the Jets' matchup with the Baltimore Ravens one of the most intriguing games to watch this season -- and it's only Week 1. Revis emerged as a dominant player in Rex Ryan's scheme a season ago, and his exceptional cover... more

The road to the Super Bowl is often littered with potholes that have the potential to derail championship seasons. We frequently hear coaches discuss how the loss of key personnel can prevent a team from fulfilling its promise, but legitimate... more

The Dallas Cowboys have been widely hailed as a contender, but a leaky offensive line is threatening to derail their chances. The unit has struggled mightily during the preseason, which has prevented one of the league's most explosive offenses from... more

August

Starting with these preseason predictions, Bucky Brooks will follow the top five candidates for the following awards on a weekly basis throughout the season: Most Valuable Player, Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive... more

Who says that the preseason doesn't matter? While many continue to debate the merits of games in August, it appears that more coaches are approaching these meaningless contests with a newfound urgency and focus. Coordinators are casting aside their... more

ANDERSON, Ind. -- Lost in the whirlwind of Peyton Manning's MVP season last year was the emergence of a defensive force in the AFC. Under the direction of new defensive coordinator Larry Coyer, the Indianapolis Colts quietly became one of the league's... more

Paul Sancya / Associated Press First-round pick Jahvid Best is the latest addition to an offense full of young talent in Detroit. ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Restore the Roar. That simple statement outlines the mission that motivates general... more

Morry Gash / Associated Press Donald Driver continues to be a dominant force at wide receiver, even at the age of 35. GREEN BAY, Wis. -- In Green Bay, the expectations seem to run a little higher than other destinations. The city... more

Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press If the Bears are going to make the playoffs, Tommie Harris and Julius Peppers must lead a defensive resurgence. BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- What's in a nickname? In coach Lovie Smith's mind, the Bears' legendary... more

Darrelle Revis' ongoing holdout has squelched some of the optimism around the New York Jets, but fans shouldn't fret about the possibility of a season without the team's top defender. Although the absence of the league's best cover man would weaken a... more

The surprising news surrounding Brett Favre has cast a cloud over Minneapolis, but seeming departure doesn't mean that the Vikings are out of title contention. Sure, the three-time MVP's presence would boost the team's Super Bowl hopes. He's... more

July

Just because the NFL continues to trend toward platoon backfields that doesn't mean employing the system is easy for coaches. Plenty of teams will still use the preseason to determine the pecking order of their running back rotation and how to maximize... more

Associated Press The Bills could have one of the top backfields with (left to right) Marshawn Lynch, C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. Bills coach Chan Gailey is not a historian, but the formula he is using to try to revive a dormant franchise... more

By refusing to carry the shoulder pads of teammate Roy Williams and participating in a time-honored rookie ritual in the opening days of training camp, Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant created quite a stir in NFL circles. Although the act of defiance... more

Earlier in the offseason, we took a look at some of the most intriguing quarterback battles in the league. Since that point, several teams have chosen their respective field leaders. Pittsburgh tabbed Byron Leftwich to be their interim starter... more

Don't expect the NFL's season-long suspension of Johnny Jolly to derail the Green Bay Packers' championship hopes. Although Jolly was a critical piece of the team's top-ranked run defense last season, the Packers are well-positioned to deal with his... more

Greg Trott / Associated Press The Chargers have made the playoffs every year since Philip Rivers became the starter in 2006. While the NFL continues to celebrate the life and innovations of the late Don Coryell, the San Diego Chargers continue... more

Gail Burton / Associated Press With new weapons in the passing game, QB Joe Flacco is under pressure to take Baltimore's offense to a new level. In Baltimore, the mantra has always been "defense wins championships." The franchise captured... more

After watching a mass exodus of talent in Arizona, onlookers have questioned whether the Cardinals can win a third straight NFC West crown. This offseason, defensive stalwarts Karlos Dansby and Antrel Rolle signed with other teams and receiver Anquan... more

June

The more things change, the more they stay the same. At least that is what Colts coach Jim Caldwell is hoping after officially turning his offense over to Clyde Christensen. Indianapolis' new offensive coordinator got a promotion from his post as... more

Brian Garfinkel / Associated Press Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott will play a critical role if the Eagles are to make another playoff run. After watching the Eagles light up the scoreboard behind a high-powered aerial attack last... more

It's not a coincidence that stars are a prominent feature of the NFL Shield, because the best teams in the league are keyed by the performances of their star players. These stars are expected to deliver impact plays on a weekly basis, and their ability... more

The Miami Dolphins have been regarded as a throwback bunch in recent years due to their ability to bludgeon opponents behind an old-school offense that is reminiscent of their glory days of the 1970s. Given the outstanding success that the offense has... more

Pete Carroll learned several lessons during his decade away from the NFL, but the most important thing he discovered was the power that good players have on the outcome of games. Superior talent at Southern Cal helped Carroll win over 83 percent of the... more

There are a handful of veterans that are running for their lives this season, but opposing defenders are the least of their concerns. A host of backs are attempting to elude the dreadful clutches of Father Time in the twilight of their respective... more

Conventional wisdom suggests that defenses are built from front to back, but the Kansas Chiefs are attempting to revive their dismal defense by restoring the proud tradition of their secondary. From the Emmitt Thomas -led units of the late 1960's to the... more

May

The desire to build a champion is the priority for every coach, but the task is seemingly impossible without the right quarterback. In Carolina, John Fox is hitching his title hopes -- and his job security -- on unheralded signal-caller Matt... more

In the NFL, the difference between the contenders and pretenders often depends on quarterback play. The presence of a legitimate playmaker at the position typically guarantees that a team will challenge for a playoff spot. Last season, 10 of the... more

Brian Urlacher took exception to the critical comments recently issued by Hall of Famer Gale Sayers , but the former Bears great was simply pointing out the elephant in the room. The Bears have been one of the league's biggest disappointments over the... more

The bright lights of the Big Apple have cast an intense spotlight on the latest version of the Jets defense in New York. By contrast, it has left the defense of the New York Giants in the shadows. Start with the bodacious proclamations of Rex Ryan, then... more

After watching prolific passing attacks rule the roost in the NFC West for decades, observers should ready themselves for a dramatic change this season. Fueled by a desire to return to old-school football, the division is undergoing a transformation.... more

In the NFL, coaches spend the entire offseason emphasizing the importance of getting off to a quick start when the regular season opens, but the suspensions of three prominent players, as well as the pending bans of two others, will make that an arduous... more

Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press Ohio State DT Cameron Heyward, son of the late Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, is among 2011's top draft prospects. The draft is barely in the books, but scouts have already turned their focus to next year's... more

The NFL has long been regarded as a quarterback-driven league, and the 2009 regular season further provided proof that having a quality triggerman is essential to reaching the postseason. Of the top 10 passers in the league (according to passer... more

The much-anticipated release of JaMarcus Russell concludes a disappointing three-year run in Oakland that appeared doomed from the start. The former No. 1 overall pick was selected by Oakland against the reported wishes of then head coach Lane Kiffin,... more

The first weekend after the draft is one of the most anticipated events of the offseason for NFL scouts and coaches because the majority of teams host a minicamp for their rookies over a three-day period. Although this series of practices represent only... more

April

NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks is handing out grades for each team following the 2010 NFL Draft . Check back daily as he breaks down each team, division by division. Cowboys' draft picks Rd Sel. # Player Pos. School 1 24 Dez... more

NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks is handing out grades for each team following the 2010 NFL Draft . Check back daily as he breaks down each team, division by division. Patriots' draft picks Rd Sel. # Player Pos. School 1 27... more

NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks is handing out grades for each team following the 2010 NFL Draft . Check back daily as he breaks down each team, division by division. Texans' draft picks Rd Sel. # Player Pos. School 1 20... more

NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks is handing out grades for each team following the 2010 NFL Draft . Check back daily as he breaks down each team, division by division. Buccaneers' draft picks Rd Sel. # Player Pos. School 1 3... more

NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks is handing out grades for each team following the 2010 NFL Draft . Check back daily as he breaks down each team, division by division. Vikings' draft picks Rd Sel. # Player Pos. School 2 34 Chris Cook... more

NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks is handing out grades for each team following the 2010 NFL Draft . Check back daily as he breaks down each team, division by division. Ravens' draft picks Rd Sel. # Player Pos. School 2 43 Sergio... more

¬Ľ Brooks' mock drafts: 1.0 | 2.0 | 3.0 | 4.0 | 5.0 Draft week is here, and teams have narrowed their focus on the prospects who are the best fits for their respective teams. Through exhaustive film study and countless war room debates,... more

On the eve of the 2010 NFL Draft, scouts and coaches are still trying to sort out the order at the top of the draft board. This year's draft class features outstanding talent at several positions, and the depth at those respective positions fuels heated... more

The start of the 2010 NFL Draft is less than a week away, and most of the draft boards throughout the league are set. However, scouts and coaches are still busy conducting mock draft scenarios to determine where some of the players that best fit their... more

Editor's note: This story was first published in mid-April. With the Raiders' release on Thursday of quarterback JaMarcus Russell, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft, the story has new relevance. Anyone in the NFL will tell you that it... more

The Brandon Marshall trade to the Miami Dolphins ups the ante in the AFC East. The move is the latest trade involving superstar receivers within the division, and it makes the competition tighter for the division title. Marshall, a two-time Pro Bowler... more

¬Ľ Brooks' mock drafts: 1.0 | 2.0 | 3.0 | 4.0 With the draft only a week away, teams have started to pinpoint the players likely to be available at their respective spots. General managers and scouts are running through various draft... more

The pro day circuit has officially ended, and teams are putting finishing touches on their respective draft boards based on the information that has been gathered on the spring tour. This information includes medical evaluations, background... more

Editor's note: Anyone in the NFL will tell you it takes three years to judge a draft. With that in mind, we asked analyst Bucky Brooks to take a look at how every NFL team fared over the last three years. In the fourth of a four-day series, he examines... more

Editor's note: Anyone in the NFL will tell you it takes three years to judge a draft. With that in mind, we asked analyst Bucky Brooks to take a look at how every NFL team fared over the last three years. In the fourth of a four-day series, he examines... more

Editor's note: Anyone in the NFL will tell you it takes three years to judge a draft. With that in mind, we asked analyst Bucky Brooks to take a look at how every NFL team fared over the last three years. In the third of a four-day series, he examines the... more

Editor's note: Anyone in the NFL will tell you it takes three years to judge a draft. With that in mind, we asked analyst Bucky Brooks to take a look at how every NFL team fared over the last three years. In the third of a four-day series, he examines the... more

Editor's note: Anyone in the NFL will tell you it takes three years to judge a draft. With that in mind, we asked analyst Bucky Brooks to take a look at how every NFL team fared over the last three years. In the second of a four-day series, he examines... more

Editor's note: Anyone in the NFL will tell you it takes three years to judge a draft. With that in mind, we asked analyst Bucky Brooks to take a look at how every NFL team fared over the last three years. In the first of a four-day series, he examines the... more

Editor's note: Anyone in the NFL will tell you it takes three years to judge a draft. With that in mind, we asked analyst Bucky Brooks to take a look at how every NFL team fared over the last three years. In the first of a four-day series, he examines the... more

¬Ľ Brooks' mock drafts: 1.0 | 2.0 | 3.0 The draft board is starting to crystallize with the conclusion of the pro days and individual workouts. Some players have solidified their spots in the first round with strong performances at their... more

March

The end of March typically signifies the conclusion of the pro day season and begins the final phase in the evaluation period. Scouts are heading back to their respective offices for meetings. The information they have gained from individual workouts... more

Michael Conroy / Associated Press Dorin Dickerson caught the eye of talent evaluators with a stellar performance at the combine. Scouts love the month of March because they get an opportunity to trek across the country in hopes of discovering... more

College pro days are coming to a close, but the evaluation process is not close to being done. Teams are scheduling visits and private workouts with the top prospects, and those one-on-one sessions could determine the fate of several draft... more

As the draft approaches, scouts and coaches are making the rounds to visit various college campuses for pro days. These workouts represent the final opportunity for some of these players to impress decision makers with their athleticism and overall... more

Phil Sandlin / Associated Press While Aaron Hernandez's off-field issues are a concern, his on-field abilities are intriguing to teams. The NFL Scouting Combine is the premier event of the scouting season, but scouts and coaches find immense... more

¬Ľ Brooks' mock drafts: 1.0 | 2.0 The NFL Draft is reminiscent of a board game. An unforeseen move can lead to a domino effect for the rest of the first round. In sizing up the most recent transactions across the league, it appears that the... more

Scouts are traveling to pro days all over the country trying to gather the latest information on the draft's top prospects. Although 90 percent of the evaluation process is complete, a breakthrough at a workout, or a surprising discovery of some... more

The 2010 NFL Draft is a little over a month away, and scouts are putting the finishing touches on their draft boards based on information gathered at pro days. While several of the draft's top prospects still have workouts pending, the top of the board... more

Paul Battaglia / Associated Press Cal running back Jahvid Best might have the speed and burst to eclipse the 2,000-yard mark in the NFL. As we inch closer to the 2010 NFL Draft , scouts are starting to uncover answers to the hard questions... more

After the first three days of free agency, it is apparent that a handful of teams have given themselves tremendous flexibility heading into the draft. Although these franchises have been reconstructed on the premise of building through the draft, their... more

The 2010 NFL Scouting Combine has concluded, and scouts are closely grading the performances of more than 300 draft hopefuls that participated in the event. Although scouts readily acknowledge that the premier event of the scouting season is only a... more

February

The NFL Scouting Combine is the premier event of the evaluation season, but several prospects are inexplicably turning down an opportunity to show their talents before a massive scouting contingent convening in Indianapolis. Although the decision to... more

As the calendar reaches the middle of February, front-office executives from several teams are furiously putting together plans to deal with their quarterback quandaries. While some of those dilemmas involve the impending departures of legendary signal... more

¬Ľ Previous mock drafts: 1.0 The NFL Scouting Combine is on the horizon, and front office executives are feverishly putting the finishing touches on their preliminary draft boards based on the performance of a few highly touted prospects at... more

¬Ľ Good, bad and ugly for non-playoff teams: AFC | NFC Now that Super Bowl XLIV has determined a NFL champion, this is the perfect time to reflect on the good, bad and ugly moments of the 12 playoff teams' seasons. Teams are listed in the... more

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Players have routinely proclaimed that the NFL is a "players' game," but after watching Super Bowl XLIV , it's clear that coaching makes the difference. The New Orleans Saints appeared overmatched for most of the opening 30... more

It happens almost every year. A relatively unknown player makes a play in the Super Bowl that turns out to be critical to his team's success. So who has a chance in Super Bowl XLIV to be this year's David Tyree (XLII), Deion Branch (XXXIX) or Dexter... more

The kicking game is often overlooked in pregame analysis, but this phase of the game could be the deciding factor in this matchup of explosive offenses. The hidden yardage gained in the field position battle will undoubtedly set up scoring... more

The presence of the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV has fueled speculation that the modern NFL game is all about offense. That statement would ring true during the initial analysis of this matchup, as the defensive... more

The hype surrounding Super Bowl XLIV has focused extensively on the offenses of the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints, as both sport prolific attacks capable of lighting up scoreboards. Given the offenses' penchant for dropping 40 points on... more

Part of the beauty of watching playoff football is observing the high-stakes chess match between opposing coaches. Savvy play-callers spend countless hours crafting creative game plans in order to effectively maneuver pieces around the board, and... more

January

For both of the participants in Super Bowl XLIV , their arrival in South Florida has been keyed by stellar performances from a handful of unsung playmakers. These X-factors emerged from their obscure roles as unheralded starters or reserves to provide... more

The 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl has undoubtedly morphed into the Tim Tebow Show, as scouts, coaches and fans have seemingly spent the entire week debating the merits of the former Heisman Trophy winner. The intense scrutiny is part of playing the... more

Ben Liebenberg / NFL.com Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty has earned the attention of NFL scouts. MOBILE, Ala. -- The fourth day of the 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl (on NFL Network , 4 p.m. ET on Saturday) marks the last day of competitive... more

MOBILE, Ala. -- The third day of practices at the 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl represents the most important workday in the minds of scouts. Players seem to have settled into the routine of playing in a new system under the direction of pro... more

MOBILE, Ala. -- The second day of Under Armour Senior Bowl practice typically brings about better play, as the players begin to shake off the anxiety of performing in front of a host of general managers, scouts and coaches. Although most evaluators are... more

MOBILE, Ala. -- The Senior Bowl has always ranked as the pinnacle of the All-Star game season in the minds of scouts, as hundreds of evaluators descend here to check out the top college seniors in action. Mayock's rankings Several accomplished... more

We've reached the championship round, and so far explosive offensive attacks have garnered most of the headlines. The Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts have been lauded for their stellar passing games, while the New York Jets... more

  Since I started playing football at 7, I've heard that big-time players make an impact in big games. While that sentiment continues to ring true as the postseason unfolds, it has been the surprising emergence of several unheralded players that has... more

The NFL officially released the names of the draft eligible underclassmen, and the landscape of the 2010 draft is starting to take shape. Teams are starting to identify which prospects potentially fill their most pressing needs, and are stacking... more

NFL.com Coming off strong performances, Felix Jones and Beanie Wells could again be difference-makers this weekend. The postseason is often where stars are born, and last week served as the coming-out party for a handful of unsung players.... more

NFL.com / Associated Press Shonn Greene, Ray Rice and Felix Jones have the Jets, Ravens and Cowboys winning with old-school football. Of the 10 4,000-yard passers in the regular season, seven guided their teams into the playoffs, a fact that... more

Greg Trott and David Stluka / Associated Press Ravens RB Willis McGahee (left) and Cardinals RB Chris "Beanie" Wells will be crucial during Wild Card Weekend. In middle school, we learned that "X" represents a variable whose value is unknown... more

Gary Vasquez/NFL.com For going 1-15, the Rams will have an opportunity to draft Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh with the No. 1 pick. ¬Ľ AFC good, bad and ugly The end of the season forces owners, front office executives and coaches to... more

Jim Mone / Associated Press The Vikings' Jared Allen (left) and Brian Robison converge on Giants QB Eli Manning. ¬Ľ Best of Week 17 | More photos Vikings 44, Giants 7 After sputtering on offense the past few weeks, the... more

December

James D Smith / Associated Press Miles Austin helped Dallas win the Week 9 matchup vs. Philadelphia with a 49-yard touchdown catch. If you're looking for a favorite to emerge in the NFC, look to the winner of the Dallas-Philadelphia showdown... more

Gerald Herbert / Associated Press Cadillac Williams rushed for 129 yards in the Buccaneers' shocking win in the Superdome. ¬Ľ Best of Week 16 | More photos Buccaneers 20, Saints 17 (OT) After losing their second consecutive... more

The race for the Most Valuable Player award has seemingly morphed into a two-horse race between Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, but when you poll league executives there is another quarterback worthy of inclusion. Philip Rivers has quietly enjoyed... more

Gene Puskar / Associated Press The Steelers' Mike Wallace scores the winning touchdown in front of the Packers' Josh Bell. ¬Ľ Best of Week 15 | More photos Steelers 37, Packers 36 The Steelers may have exposed a huge weakness... more

  If you had polled NFL executives at the beginning of the season about who they thought was the top running back in the NFL, Adrian Peterson would have been a unanimous choice. But now, the sensational season of Tennessee Titans running back Chris... more

For years, there have been many attempts at debunking the theory that defense wins championships, but the surprising paths taken by the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints this season to undefeated heights has provided little evidence to help move... more

Rob Carr / Associated Press Ravens receiver Demetrius Williams catches a pass in front of Lions cornerback Phillip Buchanon. ¬Ľ Best of Week 14 | More photos Ravens 48, Lions 3 The Ravens turned to the big play to run away... more

Are the New England Patriots still among the ranks of the NFL's elite? It's a question being bantered about in league circles. Consider the evidence: ¬Ľ For the first time in 50 games, the Patriots have suffered consecutive defeats, giving them three... more

Keith Srakocic / Associated Press Raiders receiver Todd Watkins attempts to make a reception in the end zone against the Steelers. ¬Ľ Best of Week 13 | More photos Raiders 27, Steelers 24 After watching Bruce Gradkowski... more

Phil Sandlin / Associated Press Tim Tebow will be on the big stage again Saturday when No. 1 Florida takes on No. 2 Alabama in the SEC title game. Big-time players play big in big games. I've been hearing that since I started playing... more

They say that Father Time catches up with every athlete. But watching 40-year-old Brett Favre enjoy one of the finest seasons of his career, it's apparent the venerable veteran has turned back the clock. Wilcots: Favre's impact Where Brett Favre...