The Scouting Trail: 2015 NFL Draft insights on Gurley, Cooper

By John Middlekauff
December 1, 2014

John Middlekauff slots Georgia RB Todd Gurley in the 2015 NFL Draft post-ACL tear, in addition to bullet points on Melvin Gordon, Amari Cooper and more. PLUS! Middlekauff on Overtime picking Kaepernick or Carr as your franchise QB

Melvin Gordon has made everyone in the scouting business takes notice. He has had a monster season, putting up video game numbers on a weekly basis.

Duke Johnson's speed and explosion will make many teams fall in love.

Montgomery looks more like an NFL wide receiver than quarterback. Look for this player to rise after the season.


Todd Gurley


Despite the ACL tear, I am told to not expect the Georgia RB to fall out of the first round. He’s an elite running back prospect, and the NFL people I have talked with don’t think the ACL is a big deal. He would have gone in the Top 15 pre-tear, and he should be ready by late-August, early-September. Not only is he a dominate RB, his return skills separate him from the pack. Could be a big-time value pick for a team at the end of round one like Denver or New England.

Melvin Gordon


A player who has made everyone in the scouting business takes notice. He has had a monster season, putting up video game numbers on a weekly basis. Some scouts I have talked with think he could sneak into round one but feel he has solidified himself as a high second round pick. Gordon can really make a lot of money with a monster combine/pro day performance.

Duke Johnson


Another game changer who has solidified himself as arguably the second best RB in the country. He can absolutely fly and should dazzle scouts in the offseason workout circuit. He has also shown the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield this season, and it should only increase his value as the process plays out. His speed and explosion will make many teams fall in love.

Davonte Booker


Junior college transfer who is in his first year of Division-1 ball. A sleeper to start the year, but everyone out west knows exactly who he is now. He has excellent feet & catches the ball out of the backfield very well. Scouts expect him to declare and I know some who have late 3rd round grades on him. I’m told his body’s a little underdeveloped, but a player with a lot of room for growth because his limited experience. Teams will do their homework on this back and Booker is name we should get used to hearing during the draft process.


Amari Cooper


Not everyone I have talked believes he is the no brainer first WR off the board. Some scouts I know believe West Virginia Kevin White might be the best WR prospect in the country. Most people I talk with liked last years top guys ( Sammy Watkins and Odell Beckham Jr) more as a prospects. His 40 time will obviously be big. His tape speaks for itself, but he doesn’t return and his body type/frame will be important when picked apart. Media may like this guy more than the NFL right now. Top 15 pick, just not sure about top 5.

Ty Montgomery


A player who struggled with consistency, some bad drops and just up-and-down play. His QB play has been hit or miss, but his head coach absolutely loves him. He’s a very physical WR who can make a lot of money when he goes to the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine. His return ability will only increase his value. When GMs and coaches get to look at his body, they will be very excited; he looks like an NFL WR. Look for this player to rise after the season.

Jaelen Strong

Arizona State

Scouts are buzzing over this player. Strong is a big outside WR, who can make tough catches, and projects to be an excellent red zone target at the next level. He has first round tape, but some question his top end speed. His 40 time will go a long way to determine his draft status. Most I have talked with expect him to run in the mid 4.5s. If he could run 4.4s – he could hear his name called on day one.

Kaepernick vs Carr

I reached out to several NFL execs and multiple QB coaches asking them what Bay Area QB they would rather have moving forward. The answers were a unanimous (5-0) for Carr. It seems crazy because Kaepernick has won big games (4-2 in the playoffs) and has all the physical attributes you could want. But the consistent sentiment was he may just be what he is and some of his fundamental flaws will not change (accuracy/touch) over time. Kaps frenetic play is just something his coach and skill guys will have to learn to live with, it may not be something that changed.  He will always be a guy that forces you to live with the bad because the good is so special. Carrs pocket presence and natural development over the ‘14 season has caught the eye of many around the NFL. His arm strength was never the question and he has quieted the “he may not be tough enough” crowd quickly. Everyone I spoke with was very bullish on his potential and what he will become once Oakland surrounds him with talent. Carr has definitely made the scouting/coaching community take notice early in his career.