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2011 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Brandon Fusco, C, Slippery Rock

During the run-up to the NFL Draft nuggets of information about private workouts or meetings, and which Pro Days NFL teams are attending are treated like gold. They might not mean a thing with all of the misinformation about who they are really interested in that NFL teams try to circulate these days. Then again, they could mean everything in terms of anticipating who a team will select.

So, when Division II center Brandon Fusco, from Slippery Rock, wrote in his draft journal that he and Lehigh offensive lineman Will Rackle [full profile] had just completed a private workout for the New York Giants that got my attention. So much so, in fact, that for the first time since I started writing these profiles this off-season I am giving you more than one in a day. Wrote Fusco:

It was a very long day. I had a private workout with the Giants. I did it with Will Rackley. I thought it went very well. The offensive line coach and his assistant both came. We started at 9:30 a.m. We had an hour board work going over their plays and we had to relay it back to them to see how much we remembered. Around 10:30 or 11 we went on the field and warmed up. It was a very tough workout. It was an hour long of non-stop agility and offensive line drills. We did run and pass. It was a very good workout. I learned some new steps. Everything is different from college.

Fusco, 6-foot-4, 306 pounds, was a four-year starter for the Division II school, winning the Gene Upshaw Award as that level’s top offensive lineman. He is drawing quite a bit of interest from NFL teams, and could come off the board anywhere from the second to the fourth round.

Considering the Giants' need at center, and the fact that this is not considered to be a deep class at the center position, remember Fusco's name.

Scouting reports after the jump.

Brandon Fusco
C, Slippery Rock
6-foot-4, 306 pounds
Projection: Round 2-4

Scouting Reports

From National Football Post:

Possesses an average-sized frame, has good height and average overall length, but is solidly built through the legs and lower half. Displays good bend in the lower half, can sit into his stance off the snap, but doesn't gain consistent leverage for himself in the run game when asked to drive defenders off the football. Doesn't create great leverage on pop into contact, and isn't a guy who consistently is able to overwhelm on contact as an in-line guy. Is at his best when asked to get out to the second level or reach defenders off his frame. Displays a good first step, breaks down well on contact, extends his arms with good hand placement and keeps his base under him through contact. Does a nice job when asked to chip and release into space, works well on slide down sticking to his man and sealing in space.

Displays above-average range off the football and displays good hand placement when asked to slide his feet through the play and does a nice job sealing his man away from the football. However, doesn't generate a real jolt on contact with his punch. However, has some anchor strength, maintains balance through contact and slides his feet laterally through the play. Does a better job sticking to blocks when asked to anchor and hold the point of attack, but too easily can get rocked initially on contact; is more of a catcher who doesn't do a great job sitting back into his stance and dominating physically like you would expect. Isn't a real puncher and doesn't play nearly as long as you would expect from a kid with his frame. Plays with a mean streak and is always looking to finish blocks. Has the demeanor you like in an offensive lineman and works hard to stick to blocks and maintain leverage with his hands.

Impression: Possesses some natural athleticism and works his hands well to stick to blocks through the play. Has some natural anchor as well and is an intriguing small-school center.

From Sideline Scouting:

Positives: Reasonably good athlete... Good quickness... Gets off the snap quickly... Quick into his stance... Solid knee bend... Solid lateral movement and slide... Stays square... Maintains good hand placement and uses his hands well... Good position blocker... Does a good job staying on his blocks and sealing defenders from the ball... Thick base... Reasonably good strength and plays with adequate power... Does a nice job on pulls... Can get to the second level and does a solid job blocking in space... Mean streak, aggressive, scrapper... Has some upside.

Negatives: Marginal pad level... Marginal punch... Needs to improve strength at POA... Can be pushed into pocket but works to stay in front of defender... Leans and reaches... Not overly powerful... Doesn't play with good leverage... Doesn't get much movement in the running game.