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'The Beast' Gives NFL Draft Fans Reason to Rejoice

The Beast
© Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

"The Beast" has finally arrived. This guide is scouting heaven for us draft nerds all across the globe. Dane Brugler drops this scouting guide every year for everyone to see (with a subscription to The Athletic) and it includes 100 percent NFL-validated testing numbers along with reviews on every player coming out for the draft.



At more than 300 pages, "The Beast" includes more than 400 scouting reports and more than 2,000 prospects. "The Beast" is known to be possibly the only public scouting review that is confirmed to be used by every NFL team. Here are three takeaways from the 2024 edition.

 

RunningBacks Will Be A Domino Effect

The first takeaway from "The Beast" was how Dane Brugler ranked the runningbacks. In the guide, you will see a ton of information regarding each prospect including strengths, weaknesses, background information and testing results. Among those you will also see a projection on which round each player will be drafted. Brugler's top running back was Jonathon Brooks, who held a second-third round grade. After him, you see seven straight runningbacks with a third-fourth round grade. This includes names such as Braelon Allen, Blake Corum, MarShawn Lloyd, Bucky Irving, etc. According to Brugler, you could see a significant run at the runningback position once the first domino falls. We could potentially see eight or nine running backs go in round three.


 

Brugler Has A Knack For Fun Facts

It is becoming more and more common for Brugler to find some fun facts about prospects in their background information section that a lot of us weren't aware of. For instance, Caleb Williams

has some facts a lot of Chicago Bears fans are now familiar with.


According to Brugler, Williams used to play running back and linebacker in Pop Warner.



"Williams originally played running back and linebacker at the Pop Warner level and often played up several levels because of his athleticism and physicality (earned the nickname 'Bobby Boucher' after Adam Sandler’s character in 'The Waterboy')," Brugler said in his breakdown of the former USC quarterback and likely No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.


The fun facts continue with every prospect, such as Drake Maye (the No. 2 QB on his board). Brugler goes on to mention details about Maye's father Mark, who also played quarterback at North Carolina (1983-1987). His father was also known for his arm strength. Brugler goes on to talk about his brothers, such as Luke, who made a game-winning shot against Kentucky in the 2017 NCAA Final Four. The guide goes on with small yet interesting details like this about each prospect's life.


The Beast
© Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
 

Prospect Fatigue Is Real

It's almost inevitable that each year scouts and/or fans fall victim to "prospect fatigue." Prospect fatigue is simply just overthinking someone who is ranked highly going into the combine phase and potentially moving them down your board because of it.


An example you might be seeing right now is Marvin Harrison Jr. Harrison, for a long time (as he should still be according to Brugler) was the undisputed top receiver on everyone's board. However, recently you're starting to see some murmurs about Malik Nabers jumping up to the top spot because of some testing results, or in Marvin's case, lack thereof.


A lot of times you see people get bored of talking about the top prospect so much that by the time Draft Day has arrived, you are fatigued or more interested in the other guys. Brugler's guide reminds us all not to overthink things as it goes back to what seems to be the original rankings. Marvin Harrison Jr is in fact, the top receiver.


Despite a late run for Jayden Daniels as the No. 2 QB in the draft, Maye holds steady there, according to Brugler. We also saw names like Jackson Powers-Johnson shoot up to the top center spot because of his testing and pro-day, however, Brugler has Duke's Graham Barton as the top center.


More examples are in the guide, but this shows that maybe we need to stop overthinking prospects so much. The tape is the key.




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