My friend Matt Waldman and I spent some time looking at college tape of recently discarded RB Trent Richardson. We were curious to see if we could see any warning signs of a bust….
Since the year of the first NFL draft ever, less than 25,000 prospects have ever been drafted into the NFL. Since that time, both NFL front-office executives and fans alike seem to gauge the success of a draft pick primarily by answering yes/no to whether or not that particular selection turned out to be a good NFL player. If a player is considered serviceable, then the pick is generally deemed successful, regardless of what happened to the other available prospects passed up along the way.
What few consider, however, is that every draft decision also comes with the price of something called opportunity cost. Opportunity cost is defined by Google as “the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.”
In other words, a successful draft pick should not be determined just by the isolated contributions of the player picked—but rather—by who they pass up along the way.
For some reason, opportunity cost is rarely factored into the analysis that goes into determining a successful draft. Perhaps it adds a layer of complication to the process people just aren’t willing to focus on.
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The 2015 NFL draft class has some deep position groups in terms of available talent in the Top 100 selections.
The positions that clearly have the most depth are wide receiver, running back, interior offensive line, edge-rushers and cornerback. Between these position groups, it took a bit of probing to figure out which one contains the most value overall—but in the end, it had to be the edge-rushers.
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There’s a lot more to scouting than just looking at college stats and pulling the trigger. However, history shows us that guys who are the biggest offensive playmakers in college have a much better chance at being productive in the NFL. They’re also more likely to be valued higher in the draft.
Sure, a player’s stats can sometimes be misleading and aided by a system or the talent around him, but completely ignoring a player’s production throughout his college career or considering it pointless information is far more damaging to the process than overvaluing it—at least based on my own experience.
Perhaps this list can serve as a reference down the road to see how these players turn out when they transition to the NFL.
So let’s jump right in and find out who are the biggest offensive playmakers in this draft class.
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What if I told you that NFL teams unwittingly contribute to their own mediocrity by stifling the growth of late-round draft picks while incubating an ideal environment for their top draft picks to thrive? This is not an episode of 30 for 30, but it should be. This is the hidden advantage of being drafted high in the National Football League.
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The NFL draft is an imperfect process that may be considered more of an art than a science. Each year, NFL scouts, general managers and media analysts can count on both fingers how many prospects they either overlooked or overvalued. This is all just a natural part of scouting.
In this article, we’ll take a look at each position to determine which prospect is not getting enough attention. For those of you looking for some potential draft steals in those later rounds, this is a list you won’t want to miss.
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When it comes to maximizing a physical advantage on the football field, it’s generally ideal to get faster, heavier and longer all at the same time. The more a draft prospect can demonstrate elite combinations of these traits, the more excited NFL teams become.
This is why scouts and personnel directors put their time and energy into the NFL Scouting Combine and the pro days that follow it.
I’ve been collecting the data and results from these events since 2012 to plug into my metric that creates a comprehensive score for each player by factoring in nearly every measured aspect of his physical traits. Over the years, I’ve amassed a significant sample size of prospects to help provide context to this ranking system. You can find a link for the full list on the last slide.
The 2015 draft class is loaded with incredible athletes at the edge-rusher position.
It’s worth mentioning that this list does not rank prospects by their overall value or projections into the NFL; this is just one aspect to their game, albeit an important aspect.
It’s time to meet the 30 most physically gifted prospects in this upcoming draft class…
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In order to make it this far, NFL draft prospects have to be among an elite crop of athletes. But when it comes to physical tools, not all prospects of the 2014 NFL draft are created equal.
The NFL requires a diverse arsenal of weapons in order to thrive.
At this level, on the biggest stage, 25 prospects dreaming of NFL glory have emerged as the most physically gifted of this year’s draft class.
Rating physical gifts requires much more than a fast 40 time. It requires quickness, agility and speed in all directions relative to body weight. Strength and explosion are also factored into the overall score.
Height, arm length and hand size are also factored in as well…
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Breaking down talent in football is a messy business. Even the best and the brightest on draft day have a high rate of failure when it comes to predicting how a prospect’s skills will translate to the NFL.
What follows is my attempt to share with you how an average Joe like myself, who nobody expected much from at any level of the sport, was somehow able to earn a full ride to the University of California where I played two seasons. Along the way, I happened to set the school’s single-season sack record and was named a collegiate first-team All-American and first-team All Conference player.
Nobody saw this degree of success coming. In fact, heading into my senior season at Cal, I wasn’t even slated to be the starting defensive end during the first few weeks of training camp.
But this is not about my skill as a football player, nor is it about my pitiful career as a professional, which admittedly was humbled by the super-freaks of the NFL elite. This is about how I’ve used this valuable knowledge and rare education-by-fire in order to develop a unique way of analyzing talent on a football field…
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