How Will Brandon Beane Approach His First Draft?

04/24/2018
DB+

During draft season, teams are allowed to meet with NFL Draft prospects at different events leading up to the big day. Teams will send scouts, position coaches, and upper-level player personnel representatives to the Senior Bowl, Pro Days, Scouting Combine, work out players privately, and eventually invite them to their headquarters for an official visit.

General Manager Brandon Beane and his troops were not in place for the 2017 NFL Draft, so trying to look at their historical draft tendencies is impossible. Instead, I went back and looked at how former Carolina Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman and his Assistant General Manager Brandon Beane approached the draft season over the years, and this is what I figured out.

Lets start out with who the Panthers brought in on Official Visits last season. Running back Christian McCaffrey and WR Curtis Samuel were the only two that were brought in on an official visit and drafted. Aside from official visits, it appears that Gettleman and Beane drafted several players that they saw play down in Mobile at the Senior Bowl. Tackle Taylor Moton, defensive end Daeshon Hall, and cornerback Corn Elder all participated in the Senior Bowl and were drafted.

 

 

What was more interesting, from a Bills perspective, was that Beane and Gettleman brought in CB Tre’Davious White, WR Zay Jones (also privately worked him out), OT Dion Dawkins (also attended his Pro Day), and LB Tanner Vallejo (also privately worked him out) in on official visits. That means that the Bills and Sean McDermott drafted four guys that the Panthers brought in on official visits, and later added CB Breon Borders and WR Malachi Dupre through free agency, two guys who had privately worked out for the Panthers and not the Bills.

 

When you compare it to the Bills’ official visit list, it looks rather bare. The only official visit that I could track down was with Pitt QB Nathan Peterman. Did that have something to do with Beane when he was in Carolina? No way to really know, but Buffalo drafted heavily from the Senior Bowl, which isn’t a surprise, given McDermott’s belief in bringing kids that have played several productive years of college ball.

 

 

On to the 2016 NFL Draft; this was Beane’s first draft as the assistant GM. In that draft, the Panthers brought in defensive tackle Vernon Butler, cornerback James Bradberry, and cornerback Zack Sanchez in on official visits and drafted them. Butler and Bradberry were also participants in the Senior Bowl.

 

So, as the Assistant General Manager of the Carolina Panthers, Beane took part in two drafts. In those drafts, the Panthers made several trades and ended up drafting 12 players. Of those 12 players, 5 were wined and dined in Charlotte on official visits and five were participants in the Senior Bowl. In both of those drafts, the Panthers’ two first picks were players they brought in on official visits. So it is pretty clear that Gettleman and Beane like to draft players with whom they have official visits. This is common for Gettleman, as he has never drafted a 1st rounder without bringing him in on an official visit. But it is also clear that Gettleman and Beane like plucking prospects who have played in the Senior Bowl. Will Beane hold the same drafting philosophy?

With that said, who are players that fit these criteria?

Let’s look at the official visitors first:

Click to see their scouting report

 

Of the official visitors, here are the players that were brought in on official visits AND participated at the Senior Bowl:

  • Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
  • Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State
  • DJ Chark, WR, LSU
  • Duke Dawson, CB, Florida
  • Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
  • Uchenna Nwosu, LB, USC
  • Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State
  • Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State (injured, conducted interviews)
  • Ian Thomas, TE, Indiana
  • Fred Warner, LB, Brigham Young

 

I think it is safe to assume that a few of these players will end up on the Bills’ roster, especially if they decide to trade up. By trading up to draft one of the quarterbacks I listed, it would take several picks to secure a top-10 spot. Having fewer picks increases the importance of meetings and firsthand viewings of these players. In the new NFL, coaches are much more limited in their time with the players, so having seniors, guys who have gotten their share of playing time and, more importantly, time to mature, can really make a difference.

 

If interested in who I believe are likely targets for the Bills based on the official visits, the Senior Bowl participants and the myriad other reasons, check out my board.

 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1i9mF18v8hfPFUd6_dOfMwjvMGFgqtKbSHy233Rw0DBw/edit#gid=0

 

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