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ZWK's 2018 Prospect Analysis


ZWK

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Here's a look ahead at future draft classes. My formulas are designed to evaluate players who are entering the draft, but I can also use them to get a look at which college players seem look good prospects based on their production so far and estimated size/speed.

First, the guys who already have the numbers of strong prospects. I would've been relatively high on these guys if they had entered the draft this year.

Top Prospects:
RB: Damien Harris (Alabama), Bryce Love (Stanford)
WR: A.J. Brown (Miss)
QB: Alex Hornibrook (Wisconsin), Drew Lock (Missouri), Jake Fromm (Georgia), Trace McSorley (Penn State), McKenzie Milton (UCF)

Though I am much less confident about these QBs than about the RB/WRs, since QBs with good production often correctly fall in the draft because scouts can see that they don't have NFL skills.

Next, the guys with decent numbers so far. I would've seen them as okay/borderline prospects if they'd entered this year's draft, and top prospects often rise from this level over their last season (or two).

Decent Prospects:
RB: J.K. Dobbins (Ohio State), Devin Singletary (FAU), Benny Snell, Jr. (Kentucky), Myles Gaskin (Washington), Mike Weber (Ohio State), Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin), Ty Johnson (Maryland), Rodney Anderson (Oklahoma), David Montgomery (Iowa State), Darrell Henderson (Memphis)
WR: Cody Thompson (Toledo), JJ Arcega-Whiteside (Stanford), Denzel Mims (Baylor), Anthony Johnson (Buffalo), Tyler Johnson (Minnesota), Stanley Morgan Jr. (Nebraska), Greg Dortch (Wk Forest), Nick Westbrook (Indiana)
QB: Jake Browning (Washington), Will Grier (WVU), Jalen Hurts (Alabama), Deondre Francois (FSU)

Within each position, these lists are each in order from best to worst and there is a decent size gap between the first guy on these lists and the last one, e.g. Dobbins had significantly better numbers than Henderson.

It generally is not worth going deeper, but at WR (where production matters most) it seems worth including the next batch as players to keep an eye on.

Keep An Eye On:
WR: David Sills V (WVU), Diontae Johnson (Toledo), Chris Platt (Baylor), John Ursua (Hawai'i), Emanuel Hall (Missouri), James Gardner (Miami OH), N'Keal Harry (Ariz St), Jaylen Smith (Louisville), Marquise Brown (Oklahoma), Trevon Brown (ECU)

I made similar posts one year ago and two years ago, so you can see how my one-year-early lists have done with the past couple draft classes.

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I think the wr still have a lot to prove but have the traits nfl teams look for in a #1. I like Harris, love, and Dobbins as far as the rbs go- not a gaskins fan. Some of the lists I look at for the wr are very different- some have sills very high, some don’t mention him. Walter football doesn’t have kneal harry at all. And no one seems to mention Jalen Hurd. 

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2 hours ago, Soulfly3 said:

Really, REALLY not a fan of next year's RBs

I did some of my scouting on Love and Gaskin this year before they decided to stay in school, and I came away relatively unimpressed.  But if you're telling me those are the guys in the bottom of the top RB's then I am definitely on board with the 2019 group.  Either way, I know lots of people had them bunched in with the Freeman's and Michel's of the world so as a whole it looks like an overall better group, including WR's.  There isn't a Barkley though, which I'd wager we won't see someone that good come out of college for 10 more years.  

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2 hours ago, Zyphros said:

I did some of my scouting on Love and Gaskin this year before they decided to stay in school, and I came away relatively unimpressed.  But if you're telling me those are the guys in the bottom of the top RB's then I am definitely on board with the 2019 group.  Either way, I know lots of people had them bunched in with the Freeman's and Michel's of the world so as a whole it looks like an overall better group, including WR's.  There isn't a Barkley though, which I'd wager we won't see someone that good come out of college for 10 more years.  

Sadly, I think gaskin and love will be the 2 TOP rb talents from this upcoming class. 

Anything is subject to change, and I'm sure some players will catapult themselves, but overall I feel the 2019 class is soft. 

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  • 3 months later...
On 3/22/2018 at 1:34 AM, ZWK said:

I've finally updated my pass rusher spreadsheet to include combine numbers.

Bottom line: enthusiastic thumbs up for Bradley Chubb and Harold Landry, meh on everyone else.

Over the past 3 draft classes, the top 10 pass rushers by my numbers have been:

2016    Emmanuel Ogbah    Okla St
2018    Bradley Chubb    NC State
2017    Myles Garrett    Texas A&M
2017    Jordan Willis    Kansas St
2016    Shaq Lawson    Clemson
2018    Harold Landry    BC
2016    Joey Bosa    Ohio State
2016    Travis Feeney    Washington
2017    Takkarist McKinley    UCLA
2016    Carl Nassib    Penn State

I am basically looking for a combination of athleticism (including size) and production (sacks and tackles for a loss), and Chubb and Landry have both. No one else in this draft class has both, so there is a massive gap after those two.

Leading the best-of-the-rest are Genard Avery (Memphis), Marcus Davenport (UTSA), and Josh Sweat (FSU), who all had strong athleticism but middling production. They are followed by Rasheem Green, Leighton Vander Esch, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Dorance Armstrong Jr., Marquis Haynes, Shaquem Griffin, Harrison Phillips, Sam Hubbard, Hercules Mata'afa, Duke Ejiofor, Uchenna Nwosu, and Arden Key.

 

On 3/22/2018 at 3:50 PM, ZWK said:

Looking at PFF's draft guide, I might be underrating Genard Avery and Marcus Davenport, who each had excellent pass rushing productivity on a per snap basis. They didn't put up big totals because they didn't rush the passer as often - Avery because he dropped into coverage almost half the time, and Davenport because UTSA faced the fewest plays in the nation. So that creates a tier 2, between the elite prospects (Chubb & Landry) and the pack.

Davenport is widely seen as a first rounder which seems plausible, though I don't think I'd go for him in the top 10. Avery is seen as a day 3 guy (with Zierlein even pegging him as a 4-3 SLB rather than a 3-4 rush OLB) so I don't know what to make of that.

Rookie Genard Avery is looking really good despite falling to the 5th round. Some wk1 highlights here, here, here. I had him ranked 3rd among pass rushing prospects in this class, behind only Chubb & Landry and just ahead of Davenport.

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