This series will feature the top NFL Draft prospects with insight from the beat reporters that covered them in college. This article is just a preview of the full interview which can be heard on the Deep Slant podcast.
Name: Bryan Bresee
Height/Weight: 6-5 1/2, 298
Hometown: Damascus, MD
Sidhu: You wrote a story about Bryan Bresee a few months ago, just about the wide range of where you think he might go in the NFL Draft, anywhere from No. 6 overall to the end of the first round. However, you seem to think he's going to go in these top 15 picks and that could include the Houston Texans.
Turri: With Bresee, this is a player where, if you just got rid of injuries, he's a bona fide Top-10 pick easily. He has the athleticism, he has the background, he has the power rushing moves, he's got the run defending. Bresee's really is one of those guys that has everything. And it's sad to watch that the one thing that really does hold a player back is injuries. That's one thing of recent I've been dissecting the field. I disagree with what a lot of people seem to think about him. There's quite a few people that just don't seem to think that he's as talented as we make him out to be. And for those people, I just say you need to watch the tape. You can't just pinpoint a couple things, a couple moments and say this is where I'm going to stand with him because this is a guy who's dealt with a lot, like he's dealt with a lot in his collegiate career. And I don't necessarily think it's fair the way people are knocking him for the things that are out of his control.
When it comes to talent, (he's a) Top 15 pick, Top 10. I could see him falling toward 18, that's my cut off for him. If he goes past that, I think teams are making a mistake. It's really just about whether he's on the field or not. I think that's really what people are coming down to with Bresee.
Sidhu: You alluded to a lot of the stuff that he went through off the field and I think the big story with him, obviously the tragic passing of his 15-year-old sister, Ella, last year after her battle with brain cancer. You were there covering him. What was that entire ordeal like for him and the team? It was kind of cool to see Dabo Sweeney and everyone really rally around him after that.
Turri: It's definitely a tragic event overall. Everything about it, you don't wish that on anybody. Nobody does. You learn a lot about somebody's character in situations like that. And the way he handled himself, the way he handled things with his family, the way Clemson handled things, and not only Clemson, the way, universally, the football community, the way everybody handled that was kind of remarkable.
It's kind of tough to talk on honestly because I don't want to put myself in his shoes, but from an outside perspective, he just overcame and triumphed in a way which - it may sound weird in the situation - but everybody rallied around him. He just went out there and played at the end of the day. For somebody to do what he did and overcome what he and his family did, he should have the country's respect. And I think he did because we were all with him and he just worked hard and he's working towards his future.
It's definitely tough for him still but knowing him, watching him play through the years too, and watching him through interviews, you know that he's okay and he's getting better throughout the days. It's always going to sit with him.
Sidhu: He's also dealt with his own fair share of injuries, torn ACL in 2021, shoulder surgery in 2022. Do you think combining that with how he's come out of it here at the NFL Combine, do you think that that maybe he was able to show team something that they otherwise weren't able to see on tape?
Turri: I would say so. I think a big thing with Bresee, I mentioned a lot of this with Myles Murphy, he's a freak athlete. I think that tends to fly under the radar with the way Clemson's defense plays and the way he plays, specifically. But that Combine performance was like, if you want to talk about freaks, that's a freak athlete right there. You don't see much of that from D-tackles. And I've read some stuff about people saying he's undersized and I don't know what's undersized about a 295-lb, 6-5 DT that can run a 4.6, 4.7. It's unique and I think he did show a lot about not only what he can do, but what he's capable of in the future.
With Brian, you have a guy who can stuff the run and has the opportunity to develop into an elite pass rusher at the defensive tackle position. If you look at Chris Jones, Aaron Donald, those guys, that is one of the most unique and effective positions to have a pass rusher if you can get it. So I really do think that that Combine was a big, big thing for him. I still see people dropping him to the second round, which is crazy to me even after the Combine performance and the Pro day performance where he put up 28 reps just on the bench. He looked like a monster. I really think that Combine performance is going to do wonders for him when it comes down to solidifying a first-round pick.
Sidhu: Clemson also used Bresee in their jumbo package on offense which we've seen with the Texans in the past, using defensive linemen at the goal line. How did Dabo Sweeney decide to use Bresee on offense? What can you tell us about his versatility both on offense and defense?
Turri: When you have these athletes and they want to make an impact and they want to just have fun at the same time, I think it's just Dabo recognizing that, this guy may be a defensive tackle who's 280, 290 but he's also one of the best athletes on the field. And if we could get these guys in the end zone, why wouldn't we? So if you have the opportunity to have some fun and also showcase your talent, you do it. I think Dabo just said, 'We're in these situations where we could do this. It works. Why not?' Especially with the guys like (DE Christian) Wilkins and those guys who have proven it to work before.