How to grade a Draft – Part 1

How to rate a Draft.NFL DRAFT

When looking back at a past NFL Draft Class, the hard part is of course, is grading, its not hard to say Tom Brady or Marquis Colston is a A+, but what about the guy that holds down the Left Guard spot for 5 years you took in the 2nd round?

You have to be able to break down the draft into  numbers, no matter how much you love a player, but you can’t say that Tim Tebow is worth a first round pick.


Ok, so how do we do this?
First we need to look at what should be expected from a pick, and then the better they do vs “expected” or worse is easily figured out from there.

Lets look at what we should not count in the ratings first ok?

Every QB in the first round should be in Hall of Fame, right? Problem is, there is only 7 slots a year (Max) and there are 26 positions that can take a spot. (22 players, Kicker, Coach, Owner and “contributor”) So thinking that half the first round should go is a bit outside of reality.

ProBowls are WAY down the list. I can still use them, but every year we can pull 4-5 players who don’t deserve to go. There is no reason a player in the 00s gets dinged for playing in the same conference as Brady and Manning when all you have to do is outplay Andy Dalton to go.Tim Tebow

So what does count?
If I’m coach, what I care about is years and starts. I don’t care how much I like a player, if he can’t play, he can’t play.
Lets also keep in mind the average NFL career is a little over 3.5 years, and there are 220+ players coming in every year, each cheaper than the guys on the team right now.

So first, lets go with YEARS.
Easy way, subtract the number of years on active NFL Roster from 8.

Round 1 = need to play 7 years at standard.
Round 2 = 6
Round 3 = 5
Round 4 = 4
Round 5 = 3
Round 6 = 2
Round 7+ = 1 year in the NFL

If you are looking at a 10th round draft pick, he also falls under the 7th round rules.

Next, lets look at STARTS. I don’t draft a LB in the second round to play special teams right? Only the STANDARD years count on this, if a first round pick starts every game for a decade, then spends the next 6 years in the Pats rotation, I’m not going to knock him. Injury does not count in start rate- but does for years. If he plays 1 game then goes on IR, he has a year at Standard, but is 100% start rate.

Round 1 – 80% of his STANDARD career should be starts.
Round 2 – 75%
Round 3/4 – 50%
Round 5/6 – 25%
Round 7 – 0%

There is a pretty good dropoff after round 2, and the reason is, in Day 2 of the draft, I can take chances on a player, and hope he pans out, I can take that Athlete and see if he pans out as a KR. I can get a situational starter in Round 5 and be perfectly happy. I’m not going to move a solid Special Teams player taken in round 4 to an F grade (Steve Tasker was a 9th rounder BTW) but I’m also not giving the next Steve Tasker an A grade if taken in the 1st round.

Thats the baseline for most draft picks. In addition, we also have to look at players picked by position. Here is where post-season awards come in.

Top Player by Position = 4 total awards
Second-fourth picked = 3 total awards
Fifth-Seventh picked = 2
Eighth through tenth = 1.

This is ONLY for players picked in the first 2 rounds. The 6th Safety picked in the 6th round cannot be expected to make 2 All-Pro teams.


All good, all Clear?


This only counts if you are the team he plays for, for example, If I draft a player in the 2nd round, trade him 2 years later- I’m only getting credit for the TWO years he played for me- BUT

If I trade him for a PICK, then I get credit for those picks.

Patrick Chung – 2nd round pick by the Patriots in 2009.

At this writing, he has 28 starts, playing in 48 games. He’s under the 75% range as a starter (No injury hit), and was the second safety picked in the draft, so we need 3 total awards in his first 6 years.

Right now, he’s rolling at a 58% start rate. With 0 rewards- He’s looking at 3/4 round production, so He’s about a D draft pick at present (of course, he could start the next 5 years, but bear with me – this is why I like grading a draft AFTER his career)

If the Pats trade him for a 4th round pick- then he gets that added to his performance. No matter what that pick does- its a value of a 4th rounder (4 years at 50% starts) So he has an 8 year career with about a 54% start rate – He’s a solid C- player, the Pats got am extra year of production from him.

Say he’s swapped for a 2nd.
Now we add an extra 7 years at an 80% start rate- that gives us 11 year career with about a 72% start rate- definite B/B+ range.

If he’s traded for multiple picks- then combine them

Say he’s traded for a 4th and a 5th and possible 6th. Thats 7 more years with a corresponding drop in starts.

Now, if he’s traded for a PLAYER- then what the player does takes over.

Say he’s traded for player A. Who plays 2 years and starts 30 of 32 games before leaving in free agency.

That gives Chung a 6 year Career with 58 starts in 80 games for a 72% start rate. No Awards. A year short of Standard with a slightly-substandard start rate. A C- pick

If he’s traded for a player and a pick, say a 5th, then add the 3 years, and the starting rate moves under 70%, but he gains an extra 2 year career, making him a C pick.

No credit is given for additional flips. If Chung is traded for a player who a year later is flipped for 2 picks, he only gets that year stats added.


All Clear?



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