more of our statistical analysis on the 2012 NFL
Draft prospects @
tags -- Dynasty
League, 2012 Fantasy Football, NFL Draft, NFL
Combine, rookie draft, sleepers, IDP
2012 NFL Draft: Draft Grades as of 4-30-2012
I guess you have
to do a "draft grade" article by law when you
write about football all year, so here is our
attempt at a different scale/evaluation of an
The comedy of
draft grading (to me) is...by what standards are
we using to grade this? Over 200+ prospects will
be selected in a draft, and most of those
players will be irrelevant within 0-2 seasons.
Most draft picks become a failure on some level,
and are expected to be...so how exactly is it
that most every national media analysis rates
every team's draft between an A and C-?
I was happy with a
"C" in college (given my low effort). A "C"
wasn't a failure...but should we consider a "C"
as a failure in mainstream NFL Draft analysis if
the lowest grades given are a "C"? Why not give
an "F" to more teams...as many of these drafts
will be considered an "F" when we look back
The reason (to me)
why you see 90-99% of national media draft
grades given as either a "B" or "C" grades is
because most of the draft media doesn't have a
clue of the players from Round-2 on (unless it
is a QB they've heard of/seen, even then they
don't know how to evaluate him). They have their
parroted top prospect list they all share, and
if an NFL team dares to break ranks with this
holy list...well, then they did a "bad" job in
the draft. They defied "the list." Great grading
On top of that, I
think the mainstream also doesn't want to offend
anyone who is a fan of a particular team. If you
want to get a rabid individual fan up in arms,
grade their teams draft an "F" and watch the
feedback. The mainstream also doesn't want to
tick off an NFL franchise and get "the league"
or a team "mad" at them. Grading everything a
"B" or a "C" leaves less room to be wrong and is
less likely to get them yelled at, it's the safe
way out...it's bland (by design). Grading
something an A+ or an F- requires a deeper
rationale'/understanding...and some "onions."
NFL Draft grading in the mainstream is an odd
version of "everyone's a winner" and they all
get a participation trophy.
received a work evaluation on like a 1-5 scale,
and you never get 5 in any category rated, even
if you're recognized as the top (or near top)
person in your job within the company? The
evaluator doesn't want to give a "5," you might
not work as hard, it might go to your head. It's
also an intentional manipulation of the facts of
your performance/value in the name of "playing
it safe." It happens on the job at corporation,
and it happens in NFL Draft analysis.
When it comes down
to it, between not wanting to be wrong (by
themselves), or controversial, or angering
bosses or NFL franchises...we thus get
milk-toast coverage/analysis during and after
the draft. Essentially, we are being
unintentionally lied to in the name of
group-think, corporate micromanagement, and
"fear." I know it is not possible for every
player taken in the 1st-round to be great, so
why are the minutes between picks spent by the
mainstream coverage discussing how great they
are/will be? The NFL Draft coverage needs a
Our Grading System
When we grade an
NFL team's draft results, we also consider what
the team did in the undrafted free agent process as
well. The undrafted free agent transactions are
not quite confirmed, so this "prelim" grading is
based off of our initial reports of the
undrafted prospects signed.
"grade" is in a percentage form, with 100.0% as
the target/goal of a very good/great draft.
Simply stated, we built a statistical model of
what a better than average draft outcome looks
like and compare their current draft against that expected result.
To us, a "hoped for" expectation from a draft is
landing one "best in class" (at a position not
kicker/punter) prospect and a couple top-5 in
class prospects along with a few potential
contributors who have upside. A team can exceed
a 100% grade in our system or drastically
underperform that target (and go into the
Is our system perfect? Not
likely. We'll see in a few years what
transpires. This is just feedback on what our
computer model sees as of the information today.
evaluation models mostly do not care how many picks a
team had, nor does it care at all what round the picks were
made. Our analysis
system only cares about the accumulation of the
talent that the team selected based on our internal
grades we have statistically evaluated on all the prospects (and if
you're reading our work for the first time, you
may or may not know that our prospect
evaluations can be/are sometimes radically
different than the mainstream).
With that in mind,
at this early stage (unofficial as undrafted
free agent reports come in), here is the overall
board as we see it right now:
have 100+ detailed prospect reports and 500+
prospects statistically scouted and
www.collegefootballmetrics.com . We will
also have more draft grade breakdowns and 2012
Dynasty Rookie Draft Rankings posting at our
sister site as well this week.
-- We think
will be an elite NFL LB.
grades as a possible NFL elite QB for
us, and we don't bestow that grade lightly in
our computer evaluations.
is a nice
"sleeper" Center prospect. We see as many as
nine useful NFL prospects, with a couple of them
showing some probability to
become NFL great/elite.
2) 157.3% Seattle
-- The single most intriguing draft of 2012.
Either this will get
fired in 1-2 years or winning the Super Bowl (if
they ever land a true QB). The Seahawks
essentially took a majority of prospects
that our computer had the dichotomy of having
some heavy elite measurements/metrics on, but
that also had at least one monster red-flag
Bruce Irvin, Russell Wilson, Jaye Howard,
and a huge favorite of ours
could all be superstars...or just great on
are smart "lottery tickets" as well. This is an
interesting and anxious crossroads for the
3) 150.0% Minnesota
-- The Vikings basically started the draft by
taking three players we considered "best in
class." We think
was the best CB in this draft, and is a smaller
version of Darrelle Revis. Greg Childs,
if healthy, is a solid NFL WR with upside.
4) 135.4% Houston
Whitney Mercilus and Brandon
Brooks were "best in class" for us at their
respective positions. I have no idea why the
that high...or at all. The computer scouting
as a DE was not good, but as a DT-prospect, we
see the possibilities of Crick as a very
good/nimble DT....with risk of being a little on
the "small" side to become a great NFL DT.
5) 117.1% Tampa Bay
-- The Buccaneers did not make one "bad" draft
pick in the entire draft, according to our
computer analysis (and we show most teams have
between 3-5 mostly useless picks per year). Our
computer scouting models sees some level of
value in every pick TB made. However, there have
been no undrafted free-agent signings of note
that we've seen.
THE 5 WORST
1) 0.7% New Orleans
Roger Goodell also ban the
Saints from the 2012 NFL Draft as well?
looks useful, and that's about it. There is not
one player we see to get remotely excited about.
Wow, what a last few months for the Saints...
2) 18.3% Arizona
-- Our computers models show moderate grades on
Floyd, and sees the upside
Bethel. It is not a proper
analysis of the Arizona draft to proclaim, "Wow,
Floyd and Fitzgerald...how can they be stopped"?
This is the same theory that brought us Miles
Austin + Dez Bryant would make the Cowboys
We aren't as smitten with Floyd
as the mainstream before the off-field issues,
much less with the troubles. I could see Fleming
and Bethel possibly making our low grade look
bad, but in the totality of it all our computer
wasn't enamored with this collection of
3) 22.0% Atlanta
-- There is a lot riding on
Peter Konz to make this draft work, and he's
a talent, but a risky proposition. Outside of
Konz and maybe FB Bradie Ewing (and how
important is FB in the modern NFL?), our
computer doesn't see a ton of talent here.
4) 32.9% Jacksonville
Our computer is not overly high on Justin
Blackmon, so that's going to have us
differing from the mainstream. The rest of the
Jags draft was mostly a collection of useful
talent, including some nice gambles in undrafted
free agency (Nowak, Rosario, Carter), but
there is not a home run prospect visible in our
analysis (again, we see Blackmon as
good-not-great). We already made our mandatory
sarcastic punter joke the day of the pick, so we
won't go there again.
5) 36.6% Kansas City
-- We respect the gamble on Dontari Poe,
and if Poe comes through it changes everything,
but for now we have mediocre grades on Poe so it
drags our KC grade down. After Poe, there was a
string of players taken, that I'm surprised
Scott Pioli took...none that will make an
NFL-impact in our estimation. We like the
undrafted free agents better than the picks --
Cam Holland is our top rated center, and
early reports show he was signed by the Chiefs.
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