Tag:Brandon Thompson
Posted on: March 8, 2012 7:57 pm
 

TE Allen doesn't run at ProDay after slow Combine

Top-ranked tight end Dwayne Allen didn't attract attention for what he did at Clemson's Pro Day on Thursday, but rather for what he didn't do.

   Allen, who clocked an unimpressive 4.89 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis last month, didn't even run the 40 this time.
   "I'm not a track guy - I'm a football player," Allen said. "Just watch me on film. If you watch me on film, I play way faster, and that's all that matters."
   Many of the 44 NFL personnel on hand for Allen's workout might agree, including New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, who met with Allen at the NFL Combine and was present again at Clemson.
   Allen, the reigning Mackey Award winner who is forgoing his senior season to enter the draft, still projects as one of if not the top tight end available.
   He had 50 catches, including eight for touchdowns, last season, and although he may not be the fastest straight-line runner, some consider him to be the best combination of size, speed, hands and blocking ability.

   --DE Andre Branch (6-4, 259) is another potential first-round pick, currently ranked as the No. 4 defensive end by NFLDraftScout.com.
   He was inconsistent at times last season, showing a tendency to disappear from game to game. One week before 11 tackles, including six for loss and four sacks, in a win over Virginia Tech, he had just one tackle against Florida State.
   But Branch still wound up leading the ACC with 10.5 sacks and making 85 tackles. Scouts love his size, length and explosive burst as well as his versatility - he could be effective in either a 4-3 or 3-4 set. He's coveted for his pass-rush ability.
   Branch, who like Allen is a potential first-round pick, also chose not to run the 40, instead standing on his impressive 4.70 clocking at the NFL Combine.
   "I just wanted to show my versatility today," said Branch, who said he's had contact with about 20 NFL teams. "It's pretty stressful because you want to be great, but at the same time this is what you live for."

   --DT Brandon Thompson (6-2, 316) may have done more than anyone else to impress scouts at Clemson's Pro Day, including clocking a 4.9 time in the 40 that prompted cheers from many on hand.
   "I think I helped myself," Thompson said.
   Not that he needed much help - scouts have been high on Thompson since he emerged as a standout run-stopper up the middle two seasons ago and continued to enhance his stock last season, when he had 77 tackles and a team-high 18 quarterback pressures.
   At 6-2, he's considered "stumpy" and not as versatile as some other top-notch defensive linemen by some scouts, but most are impressed by his "elite burst" off the snap as well as his aggressiveness and consistency.
   "He goes hard all the time," one scout said.

   --FB Chad Diehl (6-2, 260) took a hard blow to the head during Senior Bowl practice and missed that all-star game, then got a double dose of disappointment when he didn't receive an invitation to the NFL Combine.
   So Clemson's Pro Day was a chance for him to shine, and the burly back came through with a 31-inch vertical jump, a 4.9 40 and 28 reps of 225 pounds -- numbers good enough to reaffirm his status as one of the top five fullbacks available in the draft.
   He may be hurt by the fact that few NFL teams use traditional fullbacks, particularly those with limited pass-catching skills, but his ability to overpower defenders at the point of attack is unquestioned.
   Diehl may be a late-round pick or may have to go the free-agent route, but is bound to end up sticking on a roster somewhere after proving his worth as a special teams player.

Posted on: March 8, 2012 10:51 am
Edited on: March 8, 2012 2:55 pm
 

Thompson turning heads at Clemson Pro Day

Brandon Thompson arrived at Clemson with potential. But not much strength.

As a true freshman, Thompson was asked to perform a strength test -- pushing up 225 pounds on the bench press. He completed 13, with some degree of strain to get there.

"His development strength-wise is incredible," said coach Dabo Swinney.

Thompson, a standout defensive tackle in the ACC, is considered a fringe first-round pick as he leaves Clemson four years later. In his most recent strength test at the Scouting Combine, he did 35 reps. He also had a 9-feet, 7-inch broad jump at 6-2, 315 pounds on Thursday before he posted an unofficial time of 5.0 and 5.12 in the 40-yard dash.

"He's a great football player, a great individual," Swinney said. "As a player -- you can't move him. He loves to practice. He does it the right way. He's going to have a great NFL career."

Clemson has had 25 players make NFL rosters since Swinney arrived. Defensive end Andre Branch and Thompson could be first-round picks in 2012.

Swinney said several teams have asked him about Branch's ability to play the traditional defensive end spot and if he could cover as an outside linebacker in 3-4 and 4-3 defenses.

Of the teams represented at Clemson's Thursday Pro Day, the New York Jets sent head coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum.

At least 29 NFL teams were accounted for, according to Clemson.

Marc Ross, the New York Giants' director of college scouting, was also in attendance.

We'll be posting more on Clemson's Pro Day as we get updates. Keep the blog refreshed as today is a busy one for Pro Day workouts with Miami, Mississippi State, Nebraska and Washington among the universities with prominent NFL prospects expected to work out today. Keeping track of all of this year's Pro Days? Check out this link.     

Posted on: March 2, 2012 1:55 pm
 

Clemson DL pipeline has NFL's attention

In each of the past five drafts, Clemson has had at least one defensive lineman selected, including four players in the first two rounds, and the streak won't end this year, despite pretty uneven results so far by the former Tigers' stars.

End Andre Branch and tackle Brandon Thompson both are highly regarded prospects, each of whom scored some points at the combine, and they can be perceived as players on the rise.

Part of what makes both attractive is their shared versatility, a quality NFL scouts clearly have not overlooked.

"The way the game is played now, with people jumping in and out of (multiple) fronts, it's a big plus for them," said one NFC area scout whose territory includes the ACC.

Branch, who had 17 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks in 2011, is a hybrid-type edge defender, who might be able to play end in a 4-3 or some 3-4 outside rush linebacker. Timed at 4.70, Branch looks to have great upfield burst, and his 77 tackles last season indicate he is also active versus the run.

He could go off the board in the first round.

Maybe more surprising is Thompson, a player who some teams told The Sports Xchange might still squeeze into the very bottom of the first round.

The second round is more realistic, but Thompson seems to be growing on people. The key for the 314-pound Thompson, who had an excellent week at the Senior Bowl but did not run in Indianapolis, is that a few clubs, like New England, feel he can play the pure "five-technique" end spot in a 3-4, and perhaps slide inside to tackle to log some 4-3 snaps.

Thompson had just 4.5 sacks in his college career, but scouts contend there is some pass-rush potential there, and that Thompson isn't just a nose tackle-type player.

--By Len Pasquarelli
 
 
 
 
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