When you're a scout in the NFL, you have to have conviction. It may not ultimately mean anything - scouts can bang the proverbial drum for certain prospects for months, only for their employer to pass said prospect up numerous times - but said conviction is the lifeblood of the industry.
Russ Lande was an NFL scout once upon a time. Now he heads up draft coverage over at the National Football Post, and he's proving to be a man of conviction this spring. You see, in a list of his Top 200 prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft released on Monday, he has Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib in the No. 1 position. That's conviction that most of Lande's scouting colleagues won't share this spring.
Appearing on The John Murphy Show on Wednesday evening, Lande's conviction in Nassib was obvious from the get-go: "Within one half of the first game I graded him, it was clear to me that he was an elite prospect," Lande told Murphy. He'd later opine that his footwork, arm strength, accuracy and quick release set Nassib apart in that elite category, while noting one flaw - his deep ball accuracy.
Nassib was a hot name leading up to the Senior Bowl, when ESPN's Mel Kiper called him a second-round prospect with the potential to go higher; his name has cooled off considerably since a poor Senior Bowl showing. The Buffalo Bills, of course, have been (and will continue to be) linked to Nassib thanks to the presence of Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett, who coached Nassib for four years at Syracuse.