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NFL Draft Scouts? (1 Viewer)

Musesboy

Footballguy
The media and fantasy football boards everywhere are caught up in the speculation of what will happen in the upcoming NFL Draft. Those of us that play in dynasty or keeper leagues are particularly interested in seeing where the top prospects will fall, and whether they will be in a position to contribute to our fantasy teams.

If we are honest, few of us have the experience or the access, to evaluate players ourselves. We may watch college games and good performances might stick in our minds, but it is hard to tell whether college success will ever spawn NFL success.

So the tendency is to follow the consensus view. There probably aren't many people who could conceive of anyone other than Reggie Bush being the number one running back in the draft. Leinart, Young and Cutler seem poised to become NFL starters at some point in their careers. This is supposedly a weak draft for wide receivers and Vernon Davis is touted as a can't miss prospect at TE.

How true are these preconceptions? How accurate are the analysts and NFL scouts that we place our trust in?

Let's take a look at a selection of recent drafts. I will omit the last two years as some players that have not emerged may still prove to be good picks.

2003

QB 1. Carson Palmer (1 overall)

QB 2. Byron Leftwich (7)

QB 3. Kyle Boller (19)

These three have had the most success so far and seem to have been drafted in the correct order.

RB 1. Willis McGahee (23)

RB 2. Larry Johnson (27)

RB 3. Musa Smith (77)

RB 4. Chris Brown (93)

RB 7. Domanick Davis (101)

McGahee and Johnson clearly have ability. Most of us would argue that the order is wrong, but McGahee would probably have produced much bigger numbers in the Chiefs' system. Brown and Davis clearly exceeded expectations.

WR 1. Charles Rogers (2)

WR 2. Andre Johnson (3)

WR 3. Bryant Johnson (17)

WR 6. Anquan Boldin (54)

Rogers looks like being a bust, while Boldin was overlooked and saw Taylor Jacobs and Bethel Johnson taken ahead of him.

2002

QB 1. David Carr (1)

QB 2. Joey Harrington (3)

QB 3. Patrick Ramsey (32)

The order looks ok, but they all seem to have been taken much too high compared to players available at other positions.

RB 1. William Green (16)

RB 2. T.J. Duckett (18)

RB 3. DeShaun Foster (34)

RB 4. Clinton Portis (51)

RB 7. Brian Westbrook (91)

RB 16. Chester Taylor (207)

Portis and Westbrook were major oversights when you consider who went ahead of them.

WR 1. Donte' Stallworth (13)

WR 2. Ashley Lelie (19)

WR 3. Javon Walker (20)

WR 11. Deion Branch (65)

WR 32. David Givens (253)

The top three have had some success but Branch might easily turn out to be the best of the 2002 class and was the 11th WR selected. New England did well to draft WRs that helped win them a Super Bowl considering how late they were taken.

2001

QB 1. Michael Vick (1)

QB 2. Drew Brees (32)

QB 3. Quincy Carter (53)

Again, possibly the correct order. But surely Tomlinson at 5 was better than Vick at 1?

RB 1. LaDainian Tomlinson (5)

RB 2. Deuce McAllister (23)

RB 3. Michael Bennett (27)

RB 4. Anthony Thomas (38)

RB 5. LaMont Jordan (49)

RB 6. Travis Henry (58)

RB 8. Kevan Barlow (80)

RB 10. Rudi Johnson (100)

Tomlinson was identified as being the best RB in the class, and McAllister may well be the next best talent. After that it appears that a lot of talent slipped way too far.

WR 1. David Terrell (8)

WR 2. Koren Robinson (9)

WR 3. Rod Gardner (15)

WR 4. Santana Moss (16)

WR 6. Reggie Wayne (30)

WR 8. Chad Johnson (36)

WR 10. Chris Chambers (52)

WR 11. Steve Smith (74)

WR 27. T.J. Houshmandzadeh (204)

Oops. They really messed up that year. The Bengals seemed to know what they were doing though.

2000

QB 1. Chad Pennington (18)

QB 2. Giovanni Carmazzi (65)

QB 3. Chris Redman (75)

QB 5. Marc Bulger (168)

QB 7. Tom Brady (199)

Ok, this was a huge miscalculation. Bulger slipped to pick 168 and Brady was the 7th QB off the board with pick 199. Again, New England got extremely good value and the guy has led them to three SBs already.

RB 1. Jamal Lewis (5)

RB 2. Thomas Jones (7)

RB 3. Ron Dayne (11)

RB 4. Shaun Alexander (19)

RB 7. Reuben Droughns (81)

RB 14. Mike Anderson (189)

Alexander was only the fourth best RB that year? Mike Shanahan again showed his ability to select an effective RB late in the draft.

WR 1. Peter Warrick (4)

WR 2. Plaxico Burress (8)

WR 3. Travis Taylor (10)

WR 8. Jerry Porter (47)

WR 13. Laveranues Coles (78)

WR 15. Darrell Jackson (80)

Hmmm, not very good. Jackson slipped to 80th and was the 15th WR selected.

1999

QB 1. Tim Couch (1)

QB 2. Donovan McNabb (2)

QB 3. Akili Smith (3)

QB 4. Daunte Culpepper (11)

QB 9. Aaron Brooks (131)

A few teams really messed up that year.

RB 1. Edgerrin James (4)

RB 2. Ricky Williams (5)

RB 3. James Johnson (39)

RB 12. Olandis Gary (127)

The top two backs were identified and taken early. Two teams still valued Couch and Akili Smith ahead of them though.

WR 1. Torry Holt (6)

WR 2. David Boston (8)

WR 3. Troy Edwards (13)

WR 4. Kevin Johnson (32)

WR 5. Peerless Price (53)

WR 7. Marty Booker (78)

WR 12. Brandon Stokley (105)

WR 24. Donald Driver (213)

The top two are talented, but Driver slipped through the net.

This is only a glimpse at some of the recent drafts and it only includes the three key fantasy football positions, but it shows that the scouts are not exactly infallible.

This is not a recent trend. Here are some other notable players that fell far below their actual NFL value:

Antonio Gates, Priest Holmes, Kurt Warner and Rod Smith all went undrafted. I am sure you all have your own favorite examples.

1998 - Curtis Enis (5) was the first back drafted. Fred Taylor fell to 9th and Ahman Green fell to 76th.

1997 - Derrick Mason was the best of the WR class and fell to 98th, the 9th WR taken.

Going way back: Emmitt Smith was the second RB off the boards in 1990 at 17 overall. Blair Thomas went at no. 2 overall ahead of him. In 1995, Al Toon and Eddie Brown were the two WRs drafted ahead of Jerry Rice (16th overall). In the same year, Ki-Jana Carter was taken number one overall, while Curtis Martin was the 9th RB selected (74 overall) and Terrell Davis was the 18th RB taken (196 overall).

I am not saying I could do better; in fact I know I would be appalling compared to team scouts. But don't take every opinion they have as being fact. I have seen owners trade away LT for Reggie Bush in dynasty leagues. What if Bush is the next Blair Thomas? Try to remember that even a late pick can get you a player that could enhance your team for years to come.

 
As long as this isn't an attempt to bash Reggie Bush and those that think he's great, this is a good topic.

The fact is, NFL draft scouts are better than we are. I find it hard to believe anyone here would be doing what they are doing if they could seriously outperform an NFL draft scout.

But, I will say we have some pretty smart fans here and many people that don't just repost the exact thoughts of the experts. For the most part, the smart ones here will agree with much of what the experts say and have a few disagreements. You can see it in their posting. Anyone who agrees 100% with the experts is likely just looking for someone to follow. And, picking the experts is probably the best thing to do in that case. Then there are people who just disagree with everything the experts say. They are usually sitting in a small cube at a job they hate and haven't come to grips that they were nothing more than an average HS football player.

Bottom line: NFL draft scouts are as good at their jobs as NFL QBs are at their jobs. They are the best of the best.

 
Drafting is an art, not a science. Alot goes into it besides what a prospect does on the football field. If you know what to look for I don't think it's as difficult as you make it out to be. The trouble for most teams comes in when you try to fill a team need by reaching for a player.

I imagine most NFL draft scouts know their stuff or they wouldn't have a job anymore. Some teams obviously do better than others and there may be an issue with how well the scout communicate with the GMs and other decisoin makers. Their was a great graphic up the other day about the Steelers last 5 1st round picks all playing in the Superbowl.

 
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You have to think that by and large most of the the first rounders and highly touted college players are more than capable of playing in the NFL and at a high caliber of play.

For those players that do not attain the level of achievement that they were supposed to reach, how much is it being the wrong player for the wrong team, immaturity, early loss of confidence that they never get back (e.g. being rushed into a starting role before they are ready) or not getting the additional level of coaching.

I am not trying to imply that it is somebody other than the player's fault for their not achieving their pre-draft status, but sometimes coaching, maturity, correct system and patience are just as important.

Would Big Ben have had as much success (as early) if he had been drafted by Houston and then rushed into the starting position- maybe, maybe not, but we do know that he is a great fit in Pitt with exemplary results.

From a different vantage point, what would Carr be like today, if he was allowed to hold the clipboard for 2 years and then play behind a solid o-line - maybe still a clunker, who knows.

 
If the question was simply what you pose in the title, How good are teams at evaluating talent? I'd say they're damn good.

The problems come in to a very large extent when they undervalue and have a real difficult time evaluating work ethic. Most players don't bust because of a lack of talent, but they just aren't as willing, or able to work hard at their profession as others do.

That said, I have to get back to work. :bag:

 
They're never going to get them all right. I think it's clear that Vernon Davis and Reggie Bush are the top players at their positions this year, but I won't be the least bit surprised if Chad Jackson and Matt Leinart are outshined by players drafted far later.

 
The problems come in to a very large extent when they undervalue and have a real difficult time evaluating work ethic. Most players don't bust because of a lack of talent, but they just aren't as willing, or able to work hard at their profession as others do.
And this goes for pretty much every job. I can interview someone and conclude they are talented enough to do the work. But, I'm mostly in the dark about their work ethic. They say all the good things in interviews. Sure, I can call a few references. But, someone else's view of that person isn't always going to match up with what I value.
 
If the question was simply what you pose in the title, How good are teams at evaluating talent? I'd say they're damn good.

The problems come in to a very large extent when they undervalue and have a real difficult time evaluating work ethic. Most players don't bust because of a lack of talent, but they just aren't as willing, or able to work hard at their profession as others do.

That said, I have to get back to work. :bag:
:goodposting:
 
Why is it that every time the memories of "The Wonder Years" (those which Steve Spurrier was involved with the Redskins) have completely faded to black in my mind, someone has to bring up the Jacobs over Boldin fiasco from the 2003 Draft?

Thanks for that... :wall: Otherwise, decent thread...

 
Yes, I would agree that there is a lot more to consider than pure talent when evaluating players. Some work flat out to achieve all that they possible can, some are lazier, others get injured, and some are stuck behind a proven starter and have to wait to show how good they can be.

This thread is not intended to bash anyone that regards Bush as the next stud RB, or Leinart/Young as the next stud QBs.

I think my main point was to highlight just how uncertain the whole evaluation process can be. My own dynasty strategy would lean towards taking proven existing starters over rookies that haven't played a down. I will obviously be wrong from time to time, but I think the general strategy is a good one.

Another reason for the post was to show that later draft picks can still have a lot of value, so don't think them worthless if you are not blessed with a top five pick that will net you one of the perceived future studs.

 
It can't be an easy job. You also have to take into account the number of college players that have ability but get limited chances to shine because they are playing behind a proven starter. Others play for smaller schools and it becomes harder to judge the talent level between the different grades.

 
I think that you have to look at just more than the first round though too. What's amazing to me is that these guys know and rank so many players. I probably couldn't even name one guy that will be drafted after the second round. I know a lot of draftniks can probably do so with no problem, but I think the vast majority of us couldn't possibly put together a legitimate 6th round mock.

 
I think that you have to look at just more than the first round though too. What's amazing to me is that these guys know and rank so many players. I probably couldn't even name one guy that will be drafted after the second round. I know a lot of draftniks can probably do so with no problem, but I think the vast majority of us couldn't possibly put together a legitimate 6th round mock.
I'd be willing to bet that if you had all 32 teams do a 6 round mock, all 32 would look vastly different after the 2nd round or so.
 

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