TPR Update

I’ve added prospect ratings from Draft Ace to the TPR system. Again, the idea is to get as many reasonable ratings as possible and derive a “consensus” rating for each prospect.  That measure then gets adjusted for positional risk and impact to give us a final prospect ranking.  I’m not too familiar with Draft Ace, but they’ve performed well over the past 5 years (according to the Huddle Report), so in they go.

I’m not going to go through the entire list again (I’ll update the TPR Tab above though), but here are the major takeaways:

– Lane Johnson improved 1 spot, moving from #9 overall to #8.  Not a meaningful change, but still.

– Matt Barkley falls from the #15 overall prospect to #34, a very big drop considering it’s due to the addition of just one ranking.  However, given where the Eagles drafted him (#98), he still qualifies as a great value pick.

– Zach Ertz falls, but just 3 spots, from #50 to #53.  This is a pick to keep a close eye one.  Seems like a bit of a reach (not a huge one), but also fits the Eagles very well (for what we think they want to do).  It’s safe to assume he was ranked much higher than #53 on the team’s board; let’s hope that ranking was accurate.

– Bennie Logan, unfortunately, does not benefit greatly from the update.  He does improve by 4 spots, but remains a definite “reach”, taken almost a full round early (29 spots).  I’m most disappointed by this pick, and nothing I’ve heard or seen since draft day has changed that.  If the team really liked him, then fine, but it’s very likely they could have slid down to draft him more in line with his value.

I understand that there might have been another team interested in him, but Logan doesn’t appear to be the type of player for whom the risk of losing outweighs the benefit of trading down and trying to take him lower.

– Jordan Poyer, picked #218 in the draft, rates as the #75 prospect overall on the TPR board.  He hasn’t practiced yet (graduations rules), but he’s the guy to watch from the late rounders.

– Ryan Nassib jumps 8 spots and becomes the top QB and the #13 overall prospect.

– Geno Smith falls 8 spots to become the #19 overall prospect.  I (along with the rest of the universe), am bearish on Geno Smith, not least because he landed in a terrible spot.  The Jets have a miserable recent history with Quarterbacks.  If Smith does fail, we won’t know if he was just overrated to begin with or if he wasn’t developed correctly.  unfortunately for him, the chances of the second possibility are relatively high.

– John Cyprien and Kenny Vaccaro both fall, to become the #32 and #33 prospects.  While Vaccaro was taken earlier, it means even if Cyprien had been available for the Eagles at #35, he would not have been as big a “value” pick as initially indicated.  That makes me feel a bit better, given that I really wanted him going into round two.

– The biggest “reaches” of the first round haven’t changed much, and our current bust watch-list is as follows:

Kyle Long, EJ Manuel, DJ Hayden, Justin Pugh, Matt Elam, Travis Frederick, Eric Reid

That’s all for now.  Check the TPR Tab for the updated list if you’re interested (I’ll update it within 10 minutes of this post).

Draft Recap part 5: Positional Breakdown

I am returning to the draft discussion today, because I believe there is still useful information to be gleaned from the event.  Today, we’re throwing positional impact away and focusing purely on the order that players were drafted and how they compared to others within their position group.

Before we get started, I want to refer us back to last year so you can get a sense of why this type of analysis is useful.  It’s too early to judge last year’s draft class, but we definitely have a sense of each player and what the draft order would be if it was re-done with current information.  Here, for example, are the top DTs from last year:Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 11.17.50 AM

The “reach” measure is the same thing we looked at last week; a negative number there means the player was chosen EARLIER than “expected”.  However, I want you to look at the “Pos % Score” column.  Within the TPR model, each position has a different “maximum score” depending on the impact values I derive from the salary cap data.  This

“Pos % Score” column tells us what percent of that “max score” each prospect attained.  Basically, it’s an easy way to back out the positional impact adjustments and focus purely on the question “how good is this prospect?”.

There are a couple quick caveats.  I don’t have the NFP ratings from last year, so those don’t figure into the scores.  The TPR model does not account for “fit” or “role”, so a NT and a 4-3 DT will be compared against each other.  However, since all we are trying to do is identify the “best potential player(s)”, regardless of role, I’m not too worried about either of those.  In the future, I will try to increase the positional resolution of the model (I did so this year by splitting OLBs and MLBs) to better account for the “role/fit” issues.

Looking at the chart above, we can see that Fletcher Cox graded out as the best DT prospect, yet he was chosen AFTER Dontari Poe.  At this moment, it looks like that was a big mistake by the Chiefs.  Also note the very low rating for Derek Wolfe, who had a very weak rookie year.

Now here is a chart of the OLBs:Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 11.29.08 AM

Notice Lavonte David rated significantly higher than the 3 LBs chosen before him, and his rookie season bears that rating out.

Here are a couple more positions from last year, then I’ll move to this year. Notice both the order and absolute difference between players’ Pos % scores:Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 11.35.00 AM

Above, we see the Brandon Weeden received an almost identical score as Brock Osweiler, but was taken 35 picks earlier.  Also, we can clearly see the “tier” separation between prospects.

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 11.35.52 AM

In this WR chart, compare Rueben Randle’s rating with that of either A.J. Jenkins or Brian Quick.  While 49ers fans were probably surprised Jenkins couldn’t get on the field, this chart suggests he was drafted ahead of better prospects.

Ok, you get it.  What about this year?

Lets start with the CBs.  Please note that the only players I included are those that made the original TPR top 137:

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 11.45.57 AM

As you can see, there is some serious deviation from the pre-draft rankings.  Darius Slay, in particular, looks like he was chosen too high, since both Banks and Taylor carry SIGNIFICANTLY higher grades.  Obviously, these are not full-proof, but as we saw above they suggest the Lions (Slay) might have made a costly mistake.

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 11.51.58 AM

Here we have the DEs, and the variation is not nearly as severe as in the CB group.  The only one who really jumps out is Margus Hunt, drafted above Damontre Moore.  Hunt is a very high-risk/high-reward player, but note that the TPR rankings suggest this difference was due to Moore falling rather than Hunt being “reached” for.  In fact, Hunt was drafted exactly where the TPR system rated him.  Moore, however, fell 40 spots.  William Gholston, near the bottom, looks to be a bit of a steal, especially compared to Alex Okafor, but since his grade is just 71.7%, he doesn’t project to be an impact player anyway.

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 11.55.26 AMThe DTs are notable for their surprising LACK of deviation.  Jesse Williams “fell” a lot, but as I said last week, that’s due to injury concerns and likely reflects a medical risk that can’t be quantified.  Bennie Logan, unfortunately, rates as the biggest “reach” of the group, but note that his positional score is fairly close to the DTs drafted after him, meaning within the position group, he wasn’t a terrible pick.  This would seem to suggest that the Eagles, despite their claim to draft pure “value”, likely made this pick based on “need”.

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 11.58.31 AMLooking at the Guard position, we see evidence of the Bears’ perplexing draft strategy.  While Kyle Long “projects” as a potential OT in the future, this suggests that regardless of position, Larry Warford is much more likely to be a good player.  The fact that he was also available more than 40 picks later is more damning evidence against the Bears’ perceived “value” in this draft.  Again, Kyle Long might become a great player, all I’m saying is that the odds of that happening are less than the odds of Warford becoming a big contributor.

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 12.01.25 PMAt the OT position, we can see why the Fisher/Joeckel/Johnson triumvirate was so sought after.  Those three players represent the clear “top tier” at the OT position this year.  Nothing to note after that, as the OTs were drafted in almost the exact order they “should” have been.  However, we do see a big value difference if we look at DJ Fluker and Menelik Watson.  While both players graded out similarly, Watson was taken 29 picks later, meaning he was a significantly better “value”.

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 12.11.54 PMNot too much to say here that hasn’t already been said.  Mike Glennon is a very peculiar choice, but EJ Manuel represents the biggest risk.  Either Manuel was rated by several teams to be the only QB worth a 1st round pick, or the Buffalo Bills were bluffed into making a poor decision.  With a GM of questionable judgement and a rookie head coach, it’s likely they just screwed up.

This chart also throws the breaks on the Barkley hype.  Again, the story with Barkley is “great value”, NOT “great QB”.  His score is OK, but nothing special.  FOr reference, it’s roughly equal to Brandon Weeden and Brock Osweiler from last year (though notably it’s much higher than Nick Foles’).

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 12.17.10 PMHere are the TEs, and they tell a similar story as the DTs (as far as Eagles fans are concerned).  I have Ertz rated as a slight reach, but within the TE class, he was picked where he should have been (though Escobar is clearly the better value).

Without comment, below are some other positions.  In general, it’s important to remember the larger point here.  When a team “reaches” for someone, they are essentially saying “My evaluation of this kid is better than everyone else’s (or almost everyone)”, usually, they’re wrong.

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 12.19.26 PM

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 12.22.50 PM

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 12.23.22 PM

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 12.23.59 PM


Draft Recap Part 4: Potential “Steals”

Today I’ll cover the players that “fell” in the draft and see if we can identify any potential “steals”.  However, I want to start by doing something I should have done yesterday.  I have ESPN ratings and ratings for several past years (I do not have NFP ratings or ratings for 2011).  Therefore, I can run the TPR system through the 2010 and 2012 drafts and see if it correctly identified potential busts and steals.  I showed this analysis once before, but have since updated the model (and its more interesting now anyway).

As I explained yesterday, the model should be more successful in identifying busts than it is in identifying steals.  If a player falls dramatically, there is usually a reason for it, and one that can’t be quantified and put in our model.   However, players that go well ABOVE their TPR rankings, are usually just indications that teams did in fact “reach” for a player.  For 2010, this is what the biggest “reaches” list looks like:

Screen Shot 2013-05-02 at 10.42.23 AM

You’ll notice that, compared to this year, the “reaches” in 2010 were not nearly as significant.  Still, in the above chart, we’ve done a good job of identifying the players who were not “worth” their draft spot.  It’s not perfect, obviously, but the “bad” selections far outnumber the “good ones.

Consequently, I’m comfortable saying that when a team “reaches” for a player, rarely do they “know more” than everyone else.  In fact, the few successful cases may just be the result of luck (if you reach on enough players, a couple of them are going to work out).

Now you can go back and view yesterday’s post with a bit more evidence behind it.

The “Steals”

Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, the “steals” are not nearly as easy to identify.  For example, here is the same 2010 draft class, with the “value” picks shown:Screen Shot 2013-05-02 at 10.48.25 AM

There are definitely some players in there that qualify as “steals”.  However, they are mostly concentrated in the 8-12 region (that’s draft spots below TPR ranking).  I’m not entirely surprised.  Jimmy Clausen, for example, rates extremely high on the TPR system, due to his impact position and high consensus rating from ESPN and  Clearly, though, teams saw something about him that is not reflected here. They seem to have been justified (though he hasn’t been given a great chance).

So what can we learn?  I’m not sure, but perhaps we can be skeptical of anyone who fell “too far”.  That’s not as scientific as I’d like, but we have to start somewhere.  If a player fell more than a full round (30+ picks), we can assume that almost every team passed on him, meaning there’s likely something about that prospect that our model isn’t picking up.

Here is the chart for this year.  I’ve cut the sample to players drafted in the top two rounds (for reasons I explained yesterday) plus the 10 remaining players with the highest TPR rankings.Screen Shot 2013-05-02 at 10.58.07 AM

Several of these players have “health issues”.  Jesse Williams and Keenan Allen are both reported to have injuries that raised flags with most teams.  That’s obviously not what we’re after here, but if healthy, those two are pretty obvious candidates for “value”.  After reviewing the 2010 data, we should be skeptical of the other players that “fell” more than 30 places (roughly a full round).  As we saw with Jimmy Clausen, it’s likely teams saw something in Barkley, Nassib, and Wilson, that can’t be represented quantitatively.   I obviously hope they’re wrong about Barkley, but that’s probably not the case.

So where does that leave us?

I’d suggest that we focus on Arthur Brown and the players below him on the chart.

– Arthur Brown is, today, widely regarded as having been a great “value” pick.  I have no idea why he fell so far, but there have been no reports of injuries or off-field issues that I have seen.  However, pointing to him is cheating a bit, since every “draftnik” is already calling him a “steal”.

– Similar story with Sharrif Floyd.  While the TPR system did not rate him as highly as some “experts”, he was still graded a top 10 pick, and he fell 13 spots to #23.  Obvious candidate, and you didn’t need to come here to know that.

– The rest, however, I’ll take credit for, particularly those at the bottom.  Notice that Star Lotulelei, John Cyprien, Bjeorn Werner, and Cordarrelle Patterson all carry relatively high “positional scores”.  That means, ignoring of positional impact, they are good prospects.  Star, though he only “fell” 8 spots, jumps out due to his 92%+ score, but the others are clear “value” picks as well.

I was hoping Cyprien would be the Eagles #35 selection, but I was obviously not the only one who liked him (he was the first pick on day 2).

– The other players I’d point to are Jamar Taylor and Menelik Watson.  Each of them fell a significant amount (more than 20 picks), so it’s possible there are some behind-the-scenes issues with both players.  However, given the significant rankings deviation we saw throughout the draft, it’s also possible these guys were just overlooked.

Neither projects to be an “impact” player, but both have solid scores.  Additionally, both players play positions with relatively high historical “hit” rates, meaning their positional risk is less than most other players.

– Larry Warford I’m not too interested in, though Guards have a very high “hit” rate.  His positional score is relatively low, and it’s near impossible for a G to become an “impact” player anyway.  He might have a good career, but it’s going to be difficult for him to become good enough to count as a big “steal” in the draft.

– Tank Carradine is another player with injury issues.  It’s interesting, though, that he did not fall nearly as far as Williams or Allen.  That tells me he received a much better report from team doctors than the other players did.  If Tank is healthy, he can absolutely be an “impact” player.  He’s not a great fit for the Eagles, so I don’t mind passing on him, but he can also be looked at as an “impact” player that was taken in the 2nd round.  However, since the medical risk is real, even if he pans out it will be unfair to say he was a “value” pick.  Just because a player avoids the risk associated with him doesn’t mean the risk wasn’t real.

I’ll be closely tracking the progress of these players throughout next season.  While one season won’t be enough to judge each pick, we’ll likely be able to knock a few off the list one way or another.  Hopefully, after watching this class play out, we can adjust the model or create a new measure that will help us identify “steals” as easily as we’ve identified “reaches”.

Draft Recap Part 3: Overdrafts and Potential Busts

Now it’s time to go back to our TPR rankings and see which players represent the biggest potential “reaches” and “values”.  Today I’ll do the “reaches”.  A couple of notes before I start:

– The TPR system is only designed to analyze the first 2 rounds of the draft.  Therefore, today I will only be looking at players drafted in those two rounds.

– In general, I think we’ll be much more successful in identifying “busts” than we will be in identifying “values”.  If a player falls dramatically, my first assumption is that the league knows something that we and the media analysts do not.  It could be due to an injury risk or personality defect; neither of which we can measure.  The “busts” however, represent the reverse, where a single team picks someone well above their perceived value.  In this case, it’s likely that the team is being overconfident in its own assessment.

So who were the biggest round 1 and 2 reaches?

Below is a table illustrating the players that were most heavily “overdrafted”.  The column with red text represents the prospect draft pick minus their TPR ranking.  So if prospect X has a score here of -30, it means he was drafted 30 spots earlier than the TPR ratings suggested he should be.

Due to team differences in scheme and the relatively close ratings of a lot of prospects, we aren’t really concerned with small differences.  Large ones, however, should be very informative.Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 10.30.06 AM

Overall, there was significantly MORE deviation than what I expected to see.  Before I break down the chart above, let me advance a theory about this draft:

It might be a lot worse than we think.

In the first round, 4 of the biggest “reaches” were for interior offensive linemen.  What might that tell us?  Well if the ENTIRE draft is weaker than we suspect (not just weak at the very top), then several teams might decide to make their picks purely based on risk.  If the risk/reward tradeoff for every player is skewed towards the risk side, then it would make perfect sense to “reach” for a relatively low-risk player like an OG or C.  By doing this, you will appear to have passed on the opportunity to select an “impact” player.  However, if there aren’t any (possible, though unlikely), coming out of the draft with a decent starter at a low impact position isn’t a bad outcome.  I hope this is not the case (and I don’t think it is), but it would explain a lot of the perplexing decisions made on day 1 and 2 of the draft.

Now back to the chart.  Here are my takeaways:

– In my opinion, the Bears had the worst draft (see the next two bullets).

– The biggest “reach” of the entire draft, based on TPR, was Jon Bostic, an ILB from Florida.  The Bears drafted him with the #50 pick, and I did not even have him in my top 137 players.  Since he’s a LB, the Bears will get the benefit of the doubt, but if you’re looking for a potential bust, he’s a very strong candidate (though in the second round it’s not as noticeable or meaningful).  He may turn into a good player, but at the very least, it appears as though the Bears should have waited a round (or two) to take him.

– Kyle Long was one of the aforementioned 1st round interior linemen “reaches”.  He was drafted #20 overall, despite a TPR ranking of just #94.  1st round Guards have a very low miss rate (Danny Watkins was a rare exception), so Long will likely have a productive career.  However, the Bears probably passed on several better prospects at more impactful positions.  This is an under-the-radar reach, since the player will probably contribute, but it represents terrible value nonetheless.

– That’s twice in the first two rounds that the Bears “got their guy” regardless of the actually value of each player.  Either the Bears know something nobody else does (or very few teams do at least), or they just screwed up.  Time will tell, but I know which side I’d bet on.

– Two RBs are near the top of the list, Christine Michael and Le’Veon Bell.  Both were taken in the 2nd round, so the bust potential is somewhat limited.  Running Backs, though, are terrible “value” picks near the top of the draft.  They’ve been proven to be, for the most part, interchangeable.  Neither of these guys (nor Bernard, also on the list), projects to be a LeSean McCoy-type impact RB.  If that’s the case, it would have been better to draft a higher rated prospect and search for a RB later.  In my success-odds table/database, second round RBs became starters just 21% of the time, well below the odds of prospects at several more impactful positions (for example, 50% of 2nd round CBs became starters).

– The Bills might have screwed up big-time with the EJ Manuel pick.  Not only was he a big “reach” by our rankings, he was also not even close to being the top QB on the board. I believe two things happened here:

1) The Bills had Manuel as “their guy”, which as you know, is a dangerous place to start from.

2) The Bills were likely bluffed into taking Manuel much higher than they needed to.  I know there have been rumors that several other teams (including the Eagles) also wanted Manuel, but given the way the rest of the draft went, it’s more likely that the Bills fell for the smokescreens.

The fact that the Bills have a less-then-sterling record when it comes to QBs only increases the inherent risk of this selection.  (Bad GM Theory)

– Everyone (including me) gave the Cowboys shit for drafting Travis Frederick early, but note that he is far from the biggest reach in these rankings.  Still, it looks like he was picked about a round too early.

– Matt Elam, picked by the Ravens, will be an interesting prospect to watch.  Since it was the Ravens and Ozzie Newsome that made the pick, everyone assumes it was a good one.  However, I’ve got it as a big reach.  I should note that Elam’s TPR ranking is lowered significantly by his NFP grade.  If I had to bet, I’d certainly pick Newsome and the Ravens over the NFP.  Regardless, given that they traded up to get him, the Ravens are representing to the world that they are extremely confident in Matt Elam being significantly better than the other safeties on the board (which they could have selected had they not traded up).

– The Eagles do make an appearance on this list, at the very bottom.  Zach Ertz was selected 15 spots higher than his TPR ranking.  As I explained on Monday, I’m not overly concerned by this, since 15 spots in the second round isn’t a MAJOR deviation.  However, it is entirely possible that Chip Kelly’s desire for a TE led the Eagles to make a poor “value” selection.  I’m betting on Chip here, and think Ertz will be a significant contributor.

For what it’s worth, here are the highest ranked guys (in TPR) that were NOT selected in the 1st two rounds:

Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 11.14.06 AM

I’ll cover the “value” picks tomorrow, but it’s safe to say the guys listed here are potential “steals”.

Draft Recap Part 2: Examining the QB Class

Yesterday was Eagles focused, but today will be split.  I will start by looking at potential reasons for the way the draft played out for the QB class (focusing mainly on Barkley and Nassib); then I will discuss what the Matt Barkley selection REALLY means for the Eagles and Chip Kelly.

As everyone knows, Matt Barkley and Ryan Nassib were drafted in the 4th round.  The fact that these two players were “widely regarded” as 1st round talents make this an unprecedented occurrence.  Typically, QBs get OVERDRAFTED, in that teams draft them above their presumed ratings.  I’ve addressed this in the TPR system and explained that since QBs offer the largest potential reward, they should be “overdrafted” to a degree. However, we did not see that this year.   In fact, Barkley and Nassib fell much farther than anyone would have sanely predicted prior to the draft.

To make things clear before I get to explanations, Barkley’s average rating (from NFP, ESPN, and was 85.96.  That’s not great, but it does usually represent a 1st round grade.  Nassib’s was actually higher at 87.42, due mostly to the fact that NFP had Nassib as its #1 overall player.

Those ratings are why this was an unprecedented event.

So what happened?

I’m going to advance a few theories here.  There is no substantial evidence to work from so I’ll we have is intelligent speculation. I’ll leave it to you to decide which theory(ies) you believe.

1) They’re just not that good.   This is obviously the least exciting and, in my opinion, the most likely scenario.  Knowing what we do about how QBs are usually drafted, the fall of Barkley and Nassib means that, outside of the Bills, NOT A SINGLE TEAM agreed with the media scouts’ draft ratings.  If just one team had graded either QB as highly as the Consensus scores did, that player would have been chosen much earlier.  Teams just don’t let QB’s they like fall down the board like that.

So what we have is a clear disagreement.  The media scouts think Barkley and Nassib will be good QBs, and the ENTIRE NFL (minus the Bills since they drafted a QB in the 1st round) thinks otherwise.  Based on that, I’m going to say the odds are in the NFL’s favor.  That means Barkley and Nassib were simply very overrated by the media.

2) The cynical angle.  This may or may not tie into the 1st reason.  Regardless of how this plays out, it has identified a potential weakness in my TPR rankings.  The ratings I use come from ESPN,, and the National Football Post.  Now take a second and think about why that might be trouble.

Got it yet?

Whenever someone or something behaves very differently from how you expect them too, it’s usually best to follow the money.  So here we go:

– The NFL Draft is a huge event that makes a lot of money for all those involved.

– The NFL Draft was broadcast by two networks, ESPN and the NFL Network (familiar?)

– Casual fans gravitate towards the “glamour” positions, especially the QB, since that is the most recognizable player on almost every team.

Is it possible that the NFL network and ESPN overrated the QB class on purpose?  Yes, that’s entirely possible.  If you don’t think the NFL or ESPN would consider something that dishonest, then you haven’t been paying attention.  Now that wouldn’t explain NFP’s grades, but the fact that 3 scouting services all rated these QBs highly is what makes the situation so interesting.  Having one outlier grade would not be unusual.

3) Teams are jealous of the Redskins and Colts.  It’s possible that the pendulum has swung (for this draft at least) to far towards the “get your guy” school of thought when it comes to the QB position.  Every QB-needy team saw what the Colts were able to do with Andrew Luck and had to be a bit jealous.  Perhaps they said to themselves, “rather than take someone in round 2 or 3 just because they’re a decent value, we should build the rest of the team and wait until next year when we may really love a QB prospect”.  I think this is completely possible.

I’ve been arguing against the “get your guy” strategy for a long time.  The issue is that it typically completely ignores the value of each pick and places too much faith in scouting evaluations that are far less precise than team’s want to believe.  A common refrain when it comes to drafting QB’s is that you have to “love this prospect”, or something like that.  But why?

I realize that QB is the most important position in football, but it isn’t so different as to require a completely different analysis and draft strategy.  Perhaps Barkley and Nassib’s flaws made them too risky for 1st or 2nd round selection.  I realize that nobody “loved” either QB. Regardless, by the third round the value proposition has shifted so dramatically that it makes sense for almost any team to take a flyer on one of these players, let alone QB-needy teams.  In fact, I’ll go as far as saying that passing on these players in the third round is PROFESSIONAL NEGLIGENCE if your team does not have a solid QB.

The fact is, scouting evaluations are very uncertain, and they can miss low just as easily as they can miss high.  The opportunity cost of a third round pick (what you give up to take a QB) is very low.  If I was a team that needed a QB, I would have been thrilled to take one of these kids there.

If teams hold out for a “perfect” QB prospect, they’ll might be waiting for a LONG time.  Not everyone can have an Andrew Luck-level draft pick, they’re just not that common.  Meanwhile, you don’t need an “elite” QB to win.  Which means that if either Barkley or Nassib can merely meet the “good enough” threshold, they’re unprecedented value picks.


So how bout them Eagles?

A lot of initial reaction to the Barkley pick was as you’d expect; flawed, stupid, overstated, poorly reasoned, etc…. For the most part, everyone recognized the value.  However, many “analysts” completely bungled the “meaning” of the pick.  Let me start with the value:

At the first pick in the 4th round, Barkley was an incredible VALUE for any team in the league, regardless of QB situation.  The opportunity cost of a 4th round pick is very low.  For example, here are some recent 4th round selections by the Eagles:

Casey Mathews, Mike Kafka, Keenan Clayton, Clay Harbor, Mike McGlynn, Jack Ikegwuono

Was Matt Barkley worth it?  Hell yes, regardless of how his career plays out.  If you’re looking for comparable players for Barkley, you’ve got Drew Brees on the high-side and Colt McCoy on the low side.  Interestingly enough, Colt McCoy was just traded to the 49ers for essentially a 5th round pick (the 6th and 7th that changed hands cancel each other out).  That means, even if Barkley ends up on the low side of his projection, the team will be able to recoup almost the entire value it spent on him.

Ever hear of a free call option?  That’s close to what the Eagles just found.

Now about the meaning:

Count me among those who believes this is GOOD for Nick Foles.  Prior to the pick, the only real “information” we had to go on was the fact that the Eagles brought Dennis DIxon on board.  That would clearly indicate that Kelly was leaning in Vick’s direction, since you typically want backups who have similar skill sets to your starters.

Adding Barkley flips that equation around dramatically.

In general, I think many people have been wrongfully conflating the “read-option” with a “fast-paced” and “no-huddle” attack.  You can run one without the other and I do not believe Kelly will run the read-option with the Eagles.

Tommy Lawlor at made a great point last week (and one I’m embarrassed I didn’t see earlier):

The Penn State offense might be the best example of what Chip Kelly will look to run with the Eagles.

For those of you who don’t know, Bill O’Brien is the coach of Penn State, and was previously the QB coach and Offensive Coordinator of the New England Patriots.  Since moving to Penn State, O’Brien has installed a more balanced version of the Patriot’s offense, relying on multiple RBs and TEs.  Sound familiar?

Note that the quarterbacks for the Patriots (Tom Brady) and PSU (Matt McGloin last year) are as far from “running QB” as you can get.  This is where I believe we can divine the best intelligence on the Eagles QB situation.

Chip Kelly, if he uses a similar system, will require a QB that can stand at the line of scrimmage and quickly identify mismatches.  Then, after the snap, the QB must be able to make several progressions.  If none of those are available, the QB must be smart enough to throw the ball away.

Above all else, this requires poise, intelligence, and short-to-intermediate accuracy.

Note those are all things Nick Foles has (and Matt Barkley has in spades).  Also note that those are all relative weaknesses for Michael Vick.

Therefore, at this stage, I’m inclined to double-down on my prediction for the Eagles QB situation.  I think Nick Foles is the starter day one.  I just think Michael Vick, at this stage of his career, takes more off the table than he puts on it.

At the end of the day, Kelly will look at his QB depth and see Foles/Barkley on one side and Vick/Dixon on the other.  To me, the scales are tipped pretty strongly in the Foles/Barkley direction.

Draft Recap Part 1: Evaluating The Eagles

As you might suspect, I’ve got a lot of thoughts to get through on what was one of the most interesting drafts that I can remember.  Rather than write a 10000 word post that covers everything, I’m going to split my analysis into several parts (probably many) and try to focus on just one aspect of the event each day (today’s post is 1470 words).  While I am very tempted to talk about the QB class today (and the completely unprecedented fall of Barkley/Nassib), I’ve decided it makes more sense to focus on the Eagles’ draft and get that out-of-the-way.

So how did the Eagles do?

In a word: OK, and perhaps as well as they could have under the circumstances.

By now I’m sure most of you have read at least one “grade the draft” article, so I think it’s a good time to tell you that “grading the draft” articles are completely devoid of value and utterly pointless.  The “grades” are determined by each writers’ individual opinion of each prospect, which as we know, is likely worthless.  Needless to say, I will not be grading the Eagles according to which players they selected.  I have no idea if/how each will work out, and neither does anyone else.

I will, however, talk about value, and what information we can infer from each pick.

First, something you should all keep in mind (and something I had to keep repeating to myself during the draft):

This is not a one year process.

For those of you that are disappointed at the lack of attention to Defense, remember that reaching for “need” is what gets you Jaiquan Jarrett and Danny Watkins.


The draft is about playing the odds the right way.

None of these players are certain to work out, and if a high pick fails, it doesn’t mean it was a mistake to draft him.  As I showed before, since 2005, players carrying a “95+” rating from Scout’s Inc. bust about 20% of the time…

Lane Johnson, OT

I discussed him on Friday, so I won’t go into too much depth now.  He was, by all accounts, a “top tier” player in this draft.  Also, Kelly claims the team did not receive any interest from others trying to trade up.  Those two factors, in combination, suggest the Eagles did as well as they could have.

I’m not entirely sure whether I believe Kelly or not.  I noted that the lack of interest in any free agent OTs was puzzling, but made complete sense if the team was 100% sold on one of the top OT prospects.  It’s possible then, that the Eagles had their sights on Johnson the entire time and had no interest in trading down (which would be a “value” mistake).  Kelly has claimed that he/Roseman had 4 players in their top tier, with Dion Jordan and the other top OTs rounding out the group.  This is pure speculation, but I doubt Jordan was ever actually included.  I think it’s more likely that the Eagles smokescreen worked to perfection, forcing the Dolphins to trade up for Jordan, leaving Johnson to the Eagles.

In any case, Johnson has the potential to provide a big upgrade to the OL.  Also, he’ll eventually replace Jason Peters at LT.  In one pick, the Eagles solidified the RT, RG and future LT positions.  All in all, it was likely a good selection.

Zach Ertz, TE

This one might have caught casual fans by surprise, but everyone who’s been paying attention knows it was always a possibility.  Ertz has the potential to be a real weapon at TE, which Eagles fans haven’t really experienced.  On pure talent and potential, there is nothing to dislike about this pick.  Close readers will note that Ertz was ranked 50th in both the Consensus rankings and the TPR system, making him a slight reach at #35 overall.  However, I’m not too concerned about that, since Chip Kelly will likely use him much more extensively than the model accounts for.  In general, fans should be relatively excited about Ertz.

The most interesting thing about the Ertz pick is what it potential says about the Kelly/Roseman dynamic.  Basically, I think Kelly has a lot more say in personnel matters than we were led to believe.  It is possible, of course, that Ertz was Howie’s BPA at #35 and the Chip had little to do with it.  However, given Chip’s widely known love of TEs I think it’s far too coincidental that the BPA just happened to be a TE.  Objectively speaking, the odds of that seem low.

Also, back when Chip was interviewing, it was widely assumed that he would only go somewhere that granted him a large measure of control.  It came as a surprise that Kelly would choose to go somewhere where he not only didn’t have personnel control, but had to defer to a relatively inexperienced GM like Howie.

I think the Ertz pick make it pretty clear that Howie Chip has a very significant say in roster decisions.  Note that I’m not suggesting that’s a good or bad dynamic, just that it’s different from what we thought.

Bennie Logan, DL

This is the only pick I really had an issue with.  The consensus rankings had him at #92 overall, and my TPR system had him #100.  Neither of those rankings should be taken as definitive (the TPR is essentially still in Beta), but it suggests Logan was probably not a great value at #67 overall.  I won’t get into the scouting report, but it’s safe to say this is the least exciting pick the Eagles made.  He’s not a perfect fit at any position, but will probably play NT for the Eagles (maybe DE depending on the situation) and move inside to DT when the defense is in a 4-3 alignment.

Granted this was a 3rd round pick, so the odds of finding a good player here aren’t great to begin with, but this is the only “mistake” the Eagles made.  The team clearly values Logan more highly than most others.  As readers should know, that usually means the team is wrong.  Hopefully that’s not the case here.

Matt Barkley, QB

I’m going to do a complete post on just the QBs tomorrow, so I will try to hold most of my thoughts until then.  I’ve got several theories for why the draft played out the way it did.  Regardless, I think Barkley was a fantastic pick.  The biggest issue seems to be the amount of press it generated and the potential distraction it creates.  So let me break this into a few smaller pieces.

– Saying Chip got “his guy” is ridiculous and betrays an almost complete ignorance of how the NFL works.  If Barkley was “Chip’s guy”, he would have been selected much earlier.

– This definitely allows us to infer more information on Chip’s system and the QB depth chart, but I’ll explain that tomorrow.  Hint: I think this helps Nick Foles a lot.

– Barkley is a 4th round pick.  Treat him like one.  That means stop hyperventilating and getting excited about potential “Barkley greatness”.  I like him and think he was a tremendous value in the 4th round, but there’s a reason (a few of them) that he fell that far, and it’s probably not because every team ignored how great he is.

– It looks to me like Barkley’s “floor” is probably as a competent back-up.  Note his “ceiling” might not be much higher, but the fact is that a good back-up QB is easily worth a 4th round pick.

– I’m not sure, in the entire history of the draft, that I can find a better example of a low-risk/high-reward draft pick.  The “investment” of a 4th round pick is very small.  You’re odds of finding a “starter” are fairly low, and the odds of finding an “impact” player are almost non-existent.  If Barkley has even a 5% chance of being a “great” QB, then this was an unbelievable pick.

Everyone Else

Lottery tickets…

I could go through and find reasons to get excited about each player drafted in the 5th round or later, but the fact is that most of these players will never make a significant contribution to the Eagles.  If they do, it’ll likely be because the team sucks rather than because the late-rounders are great (see Kurt Coleman, Jamar Chaney, Macho Harris, etc…)

That’s important enough to repeat:

If week one arrives and a player drafted in the 5th round or later is starting, it’s much more likely a GLARING WEAKNESS than it is a draft steal.

There’s a reason these players didn’t get drafted earlier.  Something tells me that the late-round picks in a “weak” draft are probably not worth spending time on.  (If this was a movie it’d now cut to said draft picks waking up for a pre-dawn workout montage…)

I will, however, end today on a high note.  Here is Earl Wolff’s chart:

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 12.08.10 PM

Ladies and Gentlemen….Jerry Jones!!

Lots to get to today, including a look at the Eagles pick, an unbelieveable example of the Bad GM Theory in practice, and why the second half of the draft could not have gone any better for the Eagles.

First, Lane Johnson.

As you all know, I’m surprised and disappointed that the Eagles could not muster any trade interest for the last “top” OT on the board.  It’s possible that they wanted Johnson regardless and didn’t actually entertain trades, but given the reports I’ve seen, that doesn’t seem to be the case.  However, as I’ll explain later, the team might end up with essentially the same value I was hoping to see with the trade scenarios.

I’m sure you can find full bios and histories of Lane Johnson at a lot of other sites, so I won’t do one here.  I’ll just say that he’s an extremely athletic player with arguably more “upside” than Joeckel/Fisher.  In any case, if we look at our positional value range chart, we can see he is clearly a top tier player:Screen Shot 2013-04-25 at 3.09.19 PM

Also, if you want to get really excited about Lane Johnson, I can show you his workout results.  Below is a chart from MockDraftable, a ridiculously fun site (for draft nerds) that compares every player to their position group via an area chart.  The numbers are the historical %tile rankings within the group.  He’ll have to put on some weight, but you can’t argue with his athleticism.  Enjoy:Screen Shot 2013-04-26 at 10.19.37 AM

Another factor to consider is that, as we discussed, adding a quality OT actually provides the Eagles with upgrades at TWO positions, since it allows Todd Herremans to move back to RG, his best position.

Consequently, it’s hard to be upset with the pick.  Johnson is as good a player as any (that’s what the top tier means) and the trade-down options apparantly weren’t available.

The Bad GM Theory in Effect

I have to shift away from the Eagles for a moment, but I promise the next section will come back to our favorite team.  If you recall the Bad GM Theory, it says to keep an eye out for any trades between two GMs who are clearly not on the same level.  Trent Baalke (49ers) vs. Jerry Jones (Cowboys) certainly fits the bill.

During last night’s first round, the Cowboys traded down from the 18th pick in the draft to the 31st overall.  In return, the team received a 3rd round pick, the 74th overall selection.  Now before we even get to the players, it must be noted that typically, just a 3rd round pick is not enough to move up 13 places in the first round.

If we refer to the draft value chart, the 49ers should have had to throw in a high 4th round pick as well to even out.  Now the Draft Value Chart isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty clear the Cowboys got hosed on the pick compensation.

The 49ers, interestingly enough, used their upgraded 1st round pick on Eric Reid, a FS from LSU.  My consesnsus ranking has Reid at #41 overall, with the TPR system ranking him #47 overall.  It looks like the 49ers reached, meaning they might have difficulty “winning” the trade, which would go against the Bad GM Theory.

In comes Jerry Jones.

Not content with merely getting ripped off in the trade, Jones proceeded to use his new 1st round pick, the 31st overall, on Travis Frederick, a C from Wisconsin.  As you should know by know, Centers in the 1st round are pretty rare.  It’s almost impossible to be an “impact” Center, meaning the opportunity cost of drafting one in the 1st round is VERY high (the 1st round is the only place to consistently get “impact” players).

Not only is Frederick a Center, but he was a relatively low ranked prospect also.  My consensus rankings have him at #63 overall, with the TPR system boosting him all the way to #59.

So to sum up, Jerry Jones got fleeced on the trade down, then wasted his pick. Bad GM indeed.  Frederick will probably turn into a serviceable player (top Centers have very low miss rates), but as Eagles fans, are any of you upset that the Cowboys got him?  Didn’t think so…

BTW, he was not my “reach of the round” (wow, that’s a lot closer to obscene than I intended).  No, that honor goes to the Chicago Bears, who selected Kyle Long, a G from Oregon.  Kyle Long’s consensus ranking is #74! His TPR ranking is #94!  He was selected with the 20th overall pick.  That means when I bring back the reach/value chart next week to see who deviated most from the consensus, he will warrant a mark of -74.  Simply stunning.  I would not have believed that was possible.  For those wondering why his grade is so bad (ESPN rated him an 89); it’s because NFP rated him a 5.4F, which is as bad as it sounds., meanwhile, was in the middle with a lukewarm 77, still very low for a mid-1st round pick.

Back to the Eagles

As a result of several inexplicable picks (like the Cowboys and Bears selections above), the Eagles are sitting in a great position going into tonight (when they have the 3rd selection).

Originally, part of my desire to trade down from #4 was to accumulate picks that would allow the team to trade back UP from #35.  That would allow them to get both a top tier player in the top 10, and a very good defensive prospect.  Yesterday, I gave you a few names to watch towards the end of round 1, thinking the Eagles might want to come up and get one of them.  To refresh, here’s what I said:

Tank Carradine, DE

Jonathan Cyprien, S

Jamar Taylor, CB

Menelik Watson, OT

Xavier Rhodes, CB

Turns out, the only player in that group not still available is Xavier Rhodes.  We can also eliminate Menelik Watson, since the team will not take another OT with the 2nd round pick.  That still leaves 3 good defensive prospects.  Carradine and Cyprien in particular are exciting, as both have the “talent” to be true impact players and were rated 1st round picks by both the Consensus rankings and the TPR system.

I also have to mention the elephant in the room (what’s the online equivalent of that term?), Geno Smith.  Yes, he’s still there.  Yes, at #35 overall he would represent GREAT value, regardless of what you think of him.  He didn’t make any sense at #4 overall because the risk/opportunity cost was too great.  That equation has shifted, though, since a 2nd round pick isn’t worth anywhere close to a 1st round pick (at least when comparing #4 to #35).

While I would really prefer a defensive player, I have been hammering the Value message home for a while.  If he’s there at #35, Smith would actually be a great pick.

There’s also rumors that the Eagles will select a TE.  This I am less excited about, since by my rankings, it would have to be a “reach”.  However, I will say that I think the perpetuators of those rumors are those focused on Chip Kelly.  If Howie Roseman truly is running the draft, I don’t see any way the Eagles select a TE.  If, however, Kelly has more input than we’ve been led to believe, then TE becomes a definite possibility.  Either way, we’ll learn a fair amount about the management dynamic by the end of tonight.


I’ll probably hold off until Monday to analyze the rest of the rounds (and the draft as a whole).  It might seem odd for a football blogger to say this, but: You don’t/shouldn’t watch or really care about the 4th-7th rounds.  As I’ve demonstrated extensively, picks thereafter are really just lottery tickets.  The goal should be to accumulate as many as possible and apply them to positions with the lowest margin of evaluative error.  If you are tracking it, the historical success chart I provided a couple of days ago should be your only reference source.  Most of those guys will not play any meaningful role in the NFL, and we have absolutely no way of knowing which ones will “hit”.

Final TPR Rankings

I noticed today that ESPN has recently made MAJOR adjustments to their prospect ratings.  I’ve since updated the TPR rankings to reflect those changes.  Here is the top of the board:Screen Shot 2013-04-25 at 2.40.48 PM

Ziggy Ansah is now the top player on the board.  I’ll put the full board up under the “TPR Rankings Tab”.  I will also update the position graphs and post those under the “Positional Rankings” Tab.

2013 NFL Draft: Notes for the 1st round

Just a few hours until the start of the first round, and I’ve got some last-minute thoughts to disseminate.  Those of you who visit consistently will know I am firmly in the trade-down camp.  However, today I’ll provide some more details and run through a few scenarios.

First, though, I want to make clear that, despite the evidence that the draft is mostly luck, it is DEFINITELY POSSIBLE to “win the draft”.  While individual selections show very little evidence of team skill, maneuvering through the draft to maximize value clearly requires talent.  That’s why you see so much misinformation close to the draft.  You want the rest of the league to believe that you really might take everyone; doing so maximizes your trade leverage.  So for the next three days and especially after the first round, it’s not necessarily about “who” the Eagles select; it’s about “how” and “where”.  I’ll come back to that after the draft and take a run at evaluating the overall “value” the Eagles came out with.

So what will the Eagles do tonight?

First I want to mention that I think the Eagles will choose TWO players tonight, meaning the team will trade up from #35 to get back into the first round.  Between 20-32 there will be some very good Safeties and CB options, and I think Howie makes a play for his favorite somewhere in that area.

As far as the top of the round goes:

The Eagles have been linked by “sources” to close to a dozen players.  This is very much a purposeful misinformation campaign by Howie.  It means he wants to trade down.  I’ve shown pretty clearly the merits of “tiered” drafting, as well as the relative value within the top 15 picks.  Basically the top 15 is its own “round” of the draft, with far and away the heaviest concentration of impact players.  However, within the top 15, there is surprisingly little difference between picks.  The only major note is that QBs and OTs go in the top 5, so you will not find equal value at those positions from 10-15.

In my opinion, the top “tier” this year is around 9 players deep, with Joeckel the only real standout of the group (and even he isn’t a perfect prospect).  Judging by what I’ve seen in the media, I thinks it’s a safe bet that Howie is viewing the first round the same way.  Consequently, the “correct” thing to do would by to trade down but remain in the top 9 picks, picking up extra compensation while guaranteeing you still get a “top tier” player.

The Trade Scenarios:

1) Eric Fisher is available at 4.  This case, while it’ll be tempting for the Eagles to draft Fisher themselves, offers the best potential trade compensation.  Fisher is reportedly rated the best tackle in the draft, and some are speculating he may actually go #1 to Andy and the Chiefs.  If he falls, it should not be difficult for the Eagles to find 2-3 teams willing to bid up the value of the #4 pick.  Potential partners would be Arizona (#7), Miami (#12), San Diego (#11).  Of these teams, only Arizona would allow the Eagles to stay in the top 9.

2) Eric Fisher is gone.  In this case, while the ultimate value of the #4 spot might be lower, the interest will actually be greater (not a direct supply-demand-value result).  With Fisher taken, Lane Johnson remains as the only top OT.  In this situation, I believe the same teams as above will be interested, with the Lions (#5) joining the group as well.  Sliding down one spot would be particularly attractive for the Eagles, as it really would be “free” compensation, assuming the team didn’t rate Johnson well above every other prospect.

3) The Double Trade.  I’m quickly talking  myself into this scenario, though admittedly it’s wishful thinking.  Start with scenario 2, where the Eagles trade down one pick to #5.  The team could then call the Jets, who are in desperate need of an offensive weapon, and ransom Tavon Austin.  In a perfect world, they’d acquire the Jets #9 pick.  This scenario would bring the Eagles at least a few extra picks and allow the team to take whichever “top tier” player is still available.  This is what I’ll be rooting for.

4) The Deep Drop.  I did a post a while ago that discussed why perennial contenders should trade up in the draft more often.  The curse of being a very good team consistently is that you never get to choose in the top 15, limiting your ability to add impact players at cheap prices.  These teams typically resort to free agency, which forces the Winner’s Curse upon them and depletes their cap room.  While it’s risky to trade up that far (you have to give up a lot of pick value), I’d argue that it’s worth it, provided you are selecting a “top tier” guy in return.  There are rumors that both the Ravens and 49ers are interested in moving way up, and to me that makes a lot of sense.  However, I think it’s unlikely they’ll be able to provide enough compensation to come all the way up to the Eagles pick at #4.  Don’t be surprised to see one of them picking between 10-15 though.

So who are the Eagles going to take when they actually do pick?

The short answer is: I have no idea.  I do think there are some guys to keep in mind though.  I’ll run through the potentials with some quick thoughts on each.

Dion Jordan – A very popular “mock pick” for the Eagles.  He’d provide an OLB pass rusher for the new defense and played for Chip at Oregon.  I don’t think he’s as likely to be the pick as many are suggesting.  Despite his athleticism and speed, his production wasn’t great.  Additionally, while I do believe the Eagles are drafting “best available”, Dion doesn’t exactly fill a glaring hole.

Star Lotulelei – I’ve been high on him since November, though his stock has certainly dropped since then.  The key to him is his versatility, as he can play all 3 positions on the D-line in the 3-4.  If the Eagles trade down, I think he’s a likely pick.  He’s a bit old for a prospect (he’ll be 24 before the season), but Chip has a clear preference for versatility, making Star a top target.

Ziggy Ansah – Covered him a bit a couple of weeks ago.  Not getting much Eagles action in the mock drafts, but I can’t ignore him.  Kelly has made it clear he values “athletic freakism” and there is no better example of that in this draft than Ziggy.  Additionally he can likely play both the 5-tech on the d-line and the Rush OLB.  Howie might get sold on his “upside”, which is among the best in the draft if you listen to all the “experts”.  The fact that he HASN’T been strongly linked to the Eagles makes me think they really like him.

Dee Milliner – Health issues may be scaring some teams, but I still see Milliner as one of the better risk/reward prospects available.  I’d be surprised if he was the pick at #4, but he’d be worth it in my estimation (at least as far as any of these guys can be “worth it”).  Another guy that hasn’t been strongly linked to the Eagles, but would go a long way towards shoring up the secondary (the biggest NEED of the team).

Chance Warmack – Don’t sleep on Warmack, though he won’t be the pick at #4.  If the team drops to #9, then Warmack is a clear possibility (if he’s there).  The “best” prospect in the draft by consensus rating, Warmack would make a lot of sense for the Eagles.  By now, I’m guessing Kelly realizes the strength of his offense is it’s RBs.  Adding a potentially dominant run-blocker like Warmack might be more of an offensive weapon then we typically think of when it comes to interior linemen.  The read-option requires being able to sell several looks every play, and being able to run it up the guy behind Chance would be a valuable tool.  Additionally, Bryce Brown’s power behind Chance should make short-yardage gains relatively easy.

Tavon Austin – I don’t think he’ll be the pick, but he has to be mentioned since he’s the top offensive “playmaker” available.  The quick comparison is Percy Harvin, but it should be noted that he’s actually a bit smaller than Harvin.  I’m sure Kelly could dream up some creative ways to use him, but I see Austin’s value to the Eagles as mainly trade bait, rather than a target.

I’ll be surprised if the Eagles don’t come out of the draft with one of the players mentioned above.

Some other names to keep in mind towards the end of the 1st round:

Tank Carradine, DE

Jonathan Cyprien, S

Jamar Taylor, CB

Menelik Watson, OT

Xavier Rhodes, CB

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Eagles came up from #35 to grab any of these guys, though as I said before, the S/CBs make the most sense to me.

Lastly, I do not think the Eagles will come away tonight with a QB.

Historical Success Chart

Just one more day until the draft, and if I’m keeping track correctly, the Eagles are going to: Trade down or take Geno Smith, Dion Jordan, Star Lotulelei, Eric Fisher, Tavon Austin, or Barkevious Mingo….

So basically nobody has any clue what Howie actually wants to do.  Tomorrow I’ll venture a guess as to what the team’s preferred strategy is and what to watch for.

For today, I’ve revised the historical odds by position chart and included it below for reference during the draft:

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 11.38.32 AM

Click to enlarge if it’s too difficult to read.  There aren’t many huge changes since the last version, but I did go through and reclassify the positions for a lot of players, so you will notice some differences.

Remember this is for all players drafted from 1999-2011, and to count as a “starter” a player must have either started for 5 seasons in the league (as defined by OR, if they have not been in the league for 5 years, must have started for at least half their careers.

Also, I split up CBs and Ss for the first two rounds (in the previous version I only had DBs), though their success rates are so similar it really doesn’t tell us much.

For the first round, I wouldn’t get too hung up on the odds chart, other than to say I would NEVER take a RB in the first round.  The chart becomes more useful as we move later in the draft.

Also, the record for 2nd round QB’s is terrible, and I expect to see at least 2 taken in that round this year.

That’s all for today.  I’ve given you several useful (hopefully) resources for this weekend.  With this chart, the positional rankings illustrations, and the TPR prospect rankings, you should be all set.