NFL Draft Guides: Best of the Best

On Monday, I started a “Best of the Best” series for NFL Draft Junkies. Monday I showcased the most accurate NFL Mock Drafters ands gave my analysis on their picks for the Titans. I also decided to try my hand at a Mock Draft myself.

In this installment of my “Best of the Best” series, we are going to be looking at NFL Draft Guides. There are some really ugly ones out there, that just regurgitate the same stuff you can find elsewhere. So I wanted to shed a light on some draft guides. I am sure you have heard of the first one, but I am hoping to shine the light on three others that you may not be aware of.

I’ve broken them down into categories: National and Local, then picked a paid option and free option for both.

Best National: Paid

Dane Brugler’s “The Beast”

  • Scouting Reports: 399
  • Rankings: 1,698 players
  • Price: $1/mo for 6 months, $7.99/mo after

This draft guide is aptly named, because it feels like if “The Beast Incarnate” himself, Brock Lesnar, came in and took you to Suplex City via draft data. It is the most comprehensive draft guide you will find out there.

What I Like: The amount of data and effort put into this draft guide is just astounding. It is worth the price of admission alone. It breaks down the basic stats by year and provides a little note for each season. It has all the major categories including: Background, Strength, Weaknesses, Summary, and grade.

It also stays away from some of the typical draft guide comps, and I like it. It’s as pure as it comes when it comes to draft guides. It’s just straight black and white assessment of individuals, and no draft guide has come close to being able to duplicate the sheer amount of information contained in this draft guide.

I used to thoroughly enjoy the draft guides presented by PFF, but they just don’t cover enough players. This year they specifically just cover the top few players at their position which lacks information on players like Calvin Austin or Cole Strange.

You get all the players you could ever want covered in the draft with extensive research.

What I dislike: All that data? It’s kind of a boring read. He puts everything in paragraphs. And like I said it’s black and white…quite literally. The player profiles themselves are just very matter of fact, but if you look at any of the sections it reads more like a stream of consciousness more-so than analysis.

This just comes down to personal preference, but I feel that the profile themselves could be more visually appealing while still maintaining the high level assessments Brugler aims to achieve with this draft guide.

I also think for something as comprehensive as this it could actually use more pertinent stats. I would love to know the deep passing accuracy of QBs or how many yards after contact other skill player gets. Here you just get basic boxscore stats.

Rating: The Beyonce of Draft Guides

Best Local: Paid

NoFlagsFilm’s “NFL Draft Guide 2.0”

  • Scouting Reports: 135
  • Rankings: 235 players
  • Price: $10/month, via Level 2 Patreon Subscription
    • Exclusive Draft Guide
    • End of Season Recap PDF
    • College All-22 Access
    • Access to fully charted and organized Hudl Film Library. Includes Titans games and NFL Draft cutups.
    • …and a crap ton more, just for $10

No this isn’t some shameless plug for someone that works for this web site. If you’re looking for something to invest in NFL content, there is no better way to spend $10 a month than NoFlagsFilm’s Patreon.

What I Like: Clear, concise, and visually appealing. It’s actually the opposite of “The Beast”, but without taking a step down in knowledge. You get everything you need to know in an easily digestible format.

My favorite part are the comps. I think that NoFlagsFilm does a good job at finding applicable player comps, but without falling into the trap of using the usual names that people tend to float out there.

Another aspect that is appealing is how he grades the prospects. Using a decimal system similar to what NFL.com uses, NoFlagsFilm makes sure to grade these prospects based on their future outlook not necessarily where they will be drafted.

So many times people fall into the trap of thinking mock drafts or actual round a player is taken dictates their future, when in fact the talent level of the prospect is more important to their value, and NoFlagsFilm uses the latter when assessing the talent.

What I Dislike: I want more. I am a selfish person, and understand that NoFlagsFilm is just one person doing all of this for us to consume, but I could use more information.

Season by season basic, and advanced stats would go a long way to propelling this guide to new heights. It would do wonders to have a guide as comprehensive as this as far as prospects go, but having to be a one-stop shop for everything you’d need to do your research with.

In addition to more stats, I think doing a little synergy between the draft guide and videos he puts out on draft prospects would be helpful too. A link in the prospects profile to the video breakdown from NoFlagsFilm would be really cool and convenient for readers.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Dentists Recommend

Best National: Free

Russell Brown’s “2022 NFL Draft Guide”

  • Scouting Reports: 165+
  • Rankings: 125 players

Russell Brown is the National Scout for Cover 1, and hose of The NFL Draft Podcast. He’s all about the X’s and O’s and has been on ESPN, Fox, and CBS. He’s a really great Twitter follower and really knows his stuff. While Cover 1 is a freemium site, they do offer his draft guide for free.

What I Like: You get a real feel and appreciation for the effort put into providing quality assessment in his draft guide. Brown lists the games he watched that formed his assessment of each prospect, and then provides you an easy read of what he saw.

He also focuses on the “Overall Projection” for a player. Similar to how NoFlagsFilm approach his rankings with future intent, Brown tells you in great detail what will translate to the NFL for every prospect. He will also let you know what the prospect needs to work on to project as a success at the NFL level.

He even details what the role for that prospect is and what systems the prospect would find the most success in. Landing spot matters for prospects, so he takes this into account when deciding what fit works best for a players long term success.

He went to the Senior Bowl and will drop little nuggets that most other guides will throw to the wayside. For example, this is the first time I have seen it mentioned in a draft guide that Zion Johnson can provide five position versatility, and how Johnson at the Senior Bowl showcased his ability, and willingness to play center. (Editor’s Note: Write Zion Johnson in Marker at 26)

What I Dislike: Free is free, and I am not here to knock anyone’s effort and quality of content, but this suffers from the same problems listed in the two previous draft guides.

While the content is exceptional, and the sweat equity is obviously there, it shares the visual quality issues that Brugler had. While Brown does at least have pictures of the players on their profiles, it just basically is a boring way to present fantastic information.

It also shares another negative of Brugler’s, and NoFlagFilm’s draft guides. lack of advanced stats. In fact, Brown has no stats section whatsoever, not even a section showing a prospects combine numbers. Again, it’s free, and it’s one guy, but a one-stop shop would be really nice.

Rating: Three Spice Girls, you need five to tour!

Best Local: Free

Charles Barnes’s “Barnes University Prospect Rankings”

  • Scouting Profiles: 80
  • Rankings: 446 players by position

Charles Barnes, of Barnes University Scouting, is someone who has been plugging away on Twitter and online giving out his analysis on prospects since around 2012. He has recently been hired a Titans Personnel Intern. Barnes got his start as a college recruiter, and gives out his opinions on his blog, linked above.

What I Like: He highlights players that may not be on the radar of most other teams, and a lot of times you will learn of a prospect that you hadn’t considered yet. His style is also more of a format of a blog, which means you can easily and search a certain positional ranking for a quick reference.

In a sports media world of copycats, Barnes isn’t shy about sticking to his guns on players, and letting you know why and what he sees. Having that differing opinion will spark a reader to go out and do their own research and film watch on players they never expected to hear from.

Barnes is also easily accessible on Twitter at this time of year, and will throw out his film cut ups and explain to his viewers some of the plays and tendencies of prospects and why that guy is ranked where he is.

What I Dislike: Probably due to his new commitment, he has quit providing analysis on draft prospects and have done just rankings. Also, while a blog format lets you only read what you need to read, it doesn’t make it easy to navigate. An all in one format would be nice.

It also has the negatives listed in Brown’s draft profile above. No consistent use of stats, combine/pro day info. It’s Las just a few blurbs on the top 10 prospects. So while I appreciate the differing views, the candor, and the blog format, if Barnes chooses to continue putting these out, I hope we get more of his viewpoints on prospects.

Rating: Easy Reading on a Summer Day

My Mock Draft v 2.0 (Changes in Bold)

PICKTEAMPLAYERPOS.COLLEGE
1JaguarsAidan HutchinsonEDGEMichigan
2LionsKayvon ThibodeauxEDGEOregon
3TexansTravon WalkerEDGEGeorgia
4JetsJermaine JohnsonEDGEFlorida St
5GiantsEvan NealOTAlabama
6PanthersKenny PickettQBPittsburgh
7GiantsAhmad GardnerCBCincinnati
8FalconsGarrett WilsonWROhio State
9SeahawksIkem EkwonuOTNC State
10JetsDrake LondonWRUSC
11CommandersKyle HamiltonSNotre Dame
12VikingsDerek Stingley Jr.CBLSU
13TexansCharles CrossOTMiss. State
14RavensGeorge KarlaftisEDGEPurdue
15EaglesAndrew Booth Jr.CBClemson
16SaintsMalik WillisQBLiberty
17ChargersTrevor PenningOTN. Iowa
18EaglesJordan DavisDTGeorgia
19SaintsJameson WilliamsWRAlabama
20SteelersDevonte WyattDTGeorgia
21PatriotsNakobe DeanLBGeorgia
22PackersGeorge PickensWRGeorgia
23CardinalsKenyon GreenIOLTexas A&M 
24CowboysChris OlaveWROhio State
25BillsKaiir ElamCBFlorida
26TitansTreylon BurksWRArkansas
27BuccaneersZion JohnsonIOLBoston College
28PackersTyler SmithOTTulsa
29ChiefsTrent McDuffieCBWashington
30ChiefsJahan DotsonWRPenn State
31BengalsTyler LinderbaumIOLIowa
32LionsDesmond RidderQBCincinnati

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