Well, it’s always Draft Season, but, you know what I mean.
Hopefully, you’re in the thick of doing your own research and evaluations, and maybe you’ve even begun assigning grades and building your own draft board. Personally, between running PowerHouse, being a dad, and spending time with my girlfriend, I simply don’t have enough time to watch a ton of college football. So, my process really starts with the Senior Bowl.
Here on the site, we’ve done a lot to set up for the Draft, and we’re continuing to do more as quickly as we can.
NFL Draft Order
We have set up all seven rounds of the NFL Draft, so feel free to run your own mock drafts when you’re ready. For the first time, I’ve decided to put the compensatory picks in right from the start, even though they haven’t been officially allotted yet.
We used the projected compensatory picks in this article by NFL.com's Lance Zierlein as a guide. The specific order of the picks at the end of each round is just guesswork and will be wrong. When the official picks are announced, we’ll go back and correct our order for the compensatory picks, as well as any other picks that may change as a result of prior trade conditions or anything else.
NFL Scouting Combine
The Combine is next week, and, as usual, we expect to be the only site on the web that gets the official 10-yard split times for the 40-yard dashes. Once all the Combine measurables are up, we’ll also show how the prospects compare to their peers in the areas that matter most for their positions.
Draft Prospect Detail Popups
One of the cool things we did last year was to completely overhaul the pages that pop open when you click on a draft prospect’s name. These pages are designed to help you scout the player with all the tools here in one place.
The tabs present everything I’ve always used in my process. The player’s bio is from his school’s media guide. The news feed is a Google news feed on the player - I’ve found some incredible tidbits on players in the local newspapers in college towns!
There’s a Stats tab with embedded stats from Sports-Reference.com. If the player has a Twitter account, you can see his feed on the Tweets tab.
My favorite, though, is the Video tab! These are embedded YouTube videos that are cut-ups of the player’s college games. Nothing beats watching tape yourself. Nothing!
Too much of what you read and hear from the horde of draft pundits is stuff that they heard somewhere else. I’m constantly amazed when I’ve heard a player has certain traits, and then I see with my own eyes that the opposite is true.
That, by the way, is why you’ll see my prospect grades sometimes vary wildly from the prevailing wisdom (you can see my notes, grades, etc. if you look at the scouting pages when you’re not logged into the site.) A perfect example from 2018 was Josh Rosen. I heard all the hype, but when I watched the tape, I saw a player I didn’t like at all. I ended up watching five of his games just to make sure. I ended up putting a third-round grade on him. We’ll see if I’m right or wrong, but I definitely want to form my own opinions, not follow the crowd.
An aside about the videos… For the past several years, the fine staff of DraftBreakdown has provided hundreds and hundreds of excellent videos. Unfortunately, they have folded up their tent, which is a bummer (I’ve met DB’s founder, and he’s a good guy.) The good news is that others - including YouTuber “Caddy to the Lama” - have stepped in to fill the gap.
The last tab is for user comments, so feel free to post your views there.
Keep in mind that a lot of the content for the player pop-ups is still being gathered, so don’t worry if it’s not fully populated yet!
Right now, I’m about halfway through the 2019 quarterback class - I always do QBs first - and I have a couple of thoughts. First, we always need to keep in mind that it’s entirely possible that a given draft class has no QBs worthy of being taken in the first round. A bunch of teams needing a QB does not make the class better. A QB being drafted in the first round does not make him a first-round in terms of talent.
Second, just because Russell Wilson has had a ton of success at 5’11” does not mean Kyler Murray’s height doesn’t matter anymore. If he’s only 5’10” or even shorter, that’s still a big concern. Yes, the NFL is evolving. I get it. But QBs still should be at least six feet tall, and ideally 6’3” or so.
Next, there seems to always be a mid-/late-round QB that I find during my process that I fall in love with. Last year it was Mason Rudolph. In prior years, I’ve swooned for Davis Webb (‘17,) Cody Kessler (‘16,) Sean Mannion (‘15… oops,) A.J. McCarron (‘14,) Landry Jones and E.J. Manuel (‘13,) and Kirk Cousins (‘12.)
It’s still early, and a lot could change, but the guy I’ve got on a pedestal right now is Oklahoma State’s Taylor Cornelius. He backed up Mason Rudolph, so only had one year as a starter. He’s a tall, athletic gunslinger with a big arm who has some technical issues that lead to inconsistent accuracy, and he can make some poor decisions at times. He’ll take some time, but, man, does he have tools.
Ending on a humorous note, I returned to my desk recently to find that my 12-year-old had had a little fun at my expense. He’s heard scouting reports - mine and those in the media - his entire life, and he lampooned the style here (please pardon the mildly salty language):
Best of luck in your own scouting process!