The 2014 Draft marks an evolution in how I grade draft prospects, and I'm hoping it can provide some of you draftniks out there with some insight and challenge you to re-evaluate your OWN grading process. Shifting from an objective scoring system to a numerical system has totally revolutionized my approach. This in depth approach with graded prospects is based on FIVE factors: Talent, Athleticism, Production, Size and Leadership, all with varying levels of weight on the overall evaluation score based on specific positional values and importance. This is the draft grading I have adopted for the 2014 draft and beyond. So what do each of the 5 variable actually account for? Here's what they mean:
- TALENT: What you see when you watch a player on film. This grade is based on 10 position specific variables and is scored on evaluations of the in game performances of players.
- ATHLETICISM: The overall athletic ability of a prospect. This grade is derived from a statistical analysis of past performances at the NFL Combine and based on position specific athletic testing results.
- PRODUCTION: How well a player produces during the course of their career. This score also factors in performance vs. top competition in each of the last 2 seasons. This score is given objectively based on quality of production (and offensive linemen receive an "experience score" based on their starting experience as an alternative).
- SIZE: The measurements of a player taken at a Senior All Star game or the NFL Combine. The scoring is based on a series of position specific scales based on NFL prototypical sizes.
- LEADERSHIP: Based on 3 components: Was the player a captain? How many games did the player start? How successful was the program during the player's stint as a starter?
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The first thing that needs to be understood is the grading scale. Our grading goes on a scale of 9.0 and down:
Regardless of how far into the evaluation process we are or how much data we collect on any number of prospects, there will always be one variable that carries the most weight. Regardless of the position, the film will always be the primary source of a talent's overall score. Talent evaluations are in general based on what you see on the football field week in and week out. The remaining percentage of any particular player's grade is based specifically on the position. Every position carries a different set of weights for all 5 variables to most accurately reflect their importance on the position.