Saturday, March 14, 2009

Draft Links

Draft blatherings, draft blatherings, lots and lots of draft blatherings.

National Football Post has been doing mocks. See February 9, February 16, and March 2 (also below).

Lance Zierlein, who I consider must-read from January through April, had an important reminder about keeping in mind the different between draft grades and draft positions. You get a flavor of this in Madden franchise mode, but that always conveniently has 5 players in the top tier (top 5), 5 players in the next tier (top 10), something like 15-20 players in the next tier (1st round), etc. You don't see stuff like 2 players listed as Top 5, 4 players Top 10, and 35 players 1st round, which happens in real life. So, in constructing a draft board, it's not enough to just rank the players at a position (NFP 2/10), but to assemble them into tiers or at list an updated top 100 (NFP 2/18).

NFP's ranking of the running backs by attribute is incomplete-it fails to include those "most likely to have fans curse their name for failing to get to the hole before it closes" and "inability to cut back despite straightline speed. Sorry, disgruntled Titans fan annoyed at White and Henry.

A focus for the draft, but useful at other times, too, has been NFP's Scout's Eye series on how to evaluate players by looking at their various skills. This series underscores just how ill-qualified I am to be a scout-I'm simply way too unobservant to have anything interesting to say about most of these categories. Anyway, they're doing it by position, so check out quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and offensive tackles.

One thing I'm catching up on is Combine links. Jack Bechta had some thoughts on what the experience was like as an agent, and Matt Bowen produced a very useful four-part series on his experience in Indy (one, two, three, and four). See also the various combine reports: NFP, NFP 2,

Small school players, aka the guys we didn't see on TV much (if at all) this fall: Tony Pauline has some of them. See also more from NFP on sleeper prospects. Along the same lines, see combine non-invitees who may be drafted or at least make an impact.

Money matters. The teams pay $75,000 each, a total of $2.4 million. Player attendees also get free swag from Under Armour.

Ray Gustini got to attend the Combine and did a typically amusing writeup of his experience.

Of course, maybe the biggest story about the Combine was Andre Smith's mysterious disappearance. More recently of course, Smith worked out in Alabama for scouts. See Mike Lombardi, Matt Bowen, and Lance Zierlein, and particularly the latter two's note that none of the recent nonsense has made the tape on Smith look worse and he should therefore still be picked in the first half of the first round.

Rick Gosselin was another Combine attendee and afterwards gave his top 10 prospects and players going up and down. See also NFP's post-combine report by position.

Of course, with the Combine over, it's on to what's next. Of course, you have to put out another mock draft (NFP 3/2). There are also updated position rankings (NFP 3/3), draft prospects by tier (NFP 3/4), and you could even do a stock watch (NFP 3/5).

Finally, just because he's a smart guy even if he is a rival GM and I don't have anything amusing to end with, Bill Polian gave an interview about what the Combine is and isn't. Medical exams, medical exams, medical exams.

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