JFK graduate prognosticates draft

Consider Dane Brugler among the lucky people who actually enjoy their jobs.

Brugler, a 2004 John F. Kennedy graduate, might be reluctant to call it work sometimes. Think about how many NFL fans would gladly give up their job to be a draft expert for a major online website.

A fan of the draft since childhood, Brugler took his interest to the max when he assembled a draft guide while still in high school. Nearly a decade later he’s employed by “cbssports.com” as part of its draft scout team.

“It was my goal that I wanted to do it for a living,” Brugler said. “I went to college to study sports PR, but on the outside I kept doing the draft stuff to see where it would take me. I’ve been fortunate to be where I’m at now with CBS and have my stuff picked up nationally.”

Brugler’s draft guide might not get the hype that Mel Kiper’s guide receives, but it’s every bit as detailed, if not more. He began circulating it to NFL teams several years ago with the hope that it might catch the attention of someone of importance.

One of the first to take notice was New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who invited Brugler to the team’s facility in the summer of 2011. Brugler met with staff personnel and came close to being offered employment, but the offer never materialized because of the NFL lockout.

Brugler was hired by CBS shortly after that experience. Since then it’s been all NFL draft all the time. When he sits down at his home in Texas tonight to watch the first round, he’ll be a fan as much as an expert.

“I wouldn’t mind if I go 0-for-32,” he said. “I’d rather it be a fun draft. I’d rather there be unpredictable picks that make you go wow. The draft is the most exciting day of the year, even though I’ll be working.”

Draft experts have grown in numbers since Kiper began publishing his guide approximately 30 years ago. What was once a cottage industry of a few has grown into a widespread network with countless people trying to meet the demands of millions of draft junkies through modern technology.

Brugler has been extra busy in recent weeks working the twitter world and updating player projections and his mock draft. He’s less certain of some of the top picks this year because of the lack of standout prospects like Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.

“We were spoiled the last few years with big names,” Brugler said. “This year doesn’t have the same level of talent near the top, but there’s a lot of talent in the second, third and fourth rounds. In that 30-to-100 range there will be starters at the NFL level.

“It’s very deep and I see a lot of teams hoping to trade back and get extra picks in the second and third rounds. The second and third rounds are going to be gold.”

Brugler’s mock draft of yesterday had the Browns selecting Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, but he was considering a change to LSU outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo for today.

“They’re not drafting for this year; they’re thinking long term,” Brugler said. “They want someone that’s going to help for the foreseeable future. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see them take a pass rusher like Mingo or (Oregon’s Dion) Jordan. In the NFL it’s all about the pass rush. You can never have enough.”

Brugler looks beyond Mingo’s 4.5 sacks last season and sees a raw talent with great upside.

“When you look at the tape, he wasn’t asked to pin back his ears and rush the passer,” Brugler said. “He’s not Von Miller (of Denver), but he might be the closest thing to him in this draft.”

Brugler has the Pittsburgh Steelers picking Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes.