Our analysts are constantly talking to NFL and college sources about players in the college game. In this space each week, they will share some of what NFL folks are discussing in their circles.
The scoop: "Everybody on the road is beating up (Shawn) Oakman because he's been so overrated by the national media. ... I wouldn't take him in the first three rounds, but I'm not convinced that he can't become an NFL player. He's never going to be a great pass rusher, but he's really powerful and that is a trait that coaches can work with and do something with." -- AFC area scout on the Baylor defensive end
The skinny: Perhaps the general population is working under the assumption that Oakman, a senior, will be a high draft pick, but he has taken a beating within scouting circles this season. Oakman is extremely tall with a shredded upper body, but has unusually thin legs. He's lacking in pass-rush technique and edge-bending ability. This scout is absolutely correct about the power in Oakman's hands at the point of attack, but his technique and consistency aren't great. Oakman will need some work, but he has outstanding length and strength, which are highly coveted traits by 3-4 teams looking for defensive ends. Given what we've heard from NFL evaluators, it won't be a surprise if Oakman is drafted based on traits over tape.
* * *
The scoop: "If (A'Shawn Robinson) comes out, it will be interesting to see who goes first -- him or (Jarron) Reed. (Robinson) is big and talented but raw. Reed, man that guy can go. He's not the specimen that (Robinson) is but he's got the best hands of anyone I've studied so far." -- NFC executive on comparisons between the Alabama defensive tackles
The skinny: Reed is a senior, and scouts have been pouring over his tape since this past summer. Robinson is a junior who has until a Jan. 18 deadline to decide whether to apply for 2016 draft eligibility. Most scouts we speak with are studying him as intently as they study the seniors. Reed is an extremely polished defensive tackle with outstanding hand work, as the executive mentioned, and above-average feel and instincts for the position. Scouts see Reed as a late first- to early second-round selection who can come in and become a factor immediately.
Robinson is big and strong, but he's very raw and basic as a pass rusher right now. His power, however, makes him very difficult to handle in the run game.
* * *
The scoop: "Sebastian Tretola is famous for his 'Big-guy TD' stuff from last year, but he's a quality player. My sense is that he could be a Larry Warford or Gabe Jackson type. ... (A) powerful, mauling type of a player that would be a great pick on Day 2 (Rounds 2-3)." -- NFC North scout on the Arkansas guard
The skinny: Tretola has good movement skills as well, and we see him as a power player who can surprise you with his ability to pull, and climb to the second level. He has accepted an invitation to the Reese's Senior Bowl, and would be in good company if he could follow the same path as Warford and Jackson, two former third-round picks. Warford has started all 36 games he's played in since entering the league in 2013, and Jackson has started all but one of the 23 games he's played in since he was drafted in 2014.