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Old 04-23-2012, 10:26 PM    (permalink
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Default Draftniks vs NFL Teams

Usually as the draft nears closer and closer to draft day, you often see meteoric rises of a handful of prospects.

Some people reason that draftniks are slow to the punch. That they are late in acknowledging just how good the player is. You hear stuff like, "NFL teams always valued him as a Top 15 pick, the draftniks are just slow to react."

I'm wondering if that really is the case?

Or is it simply driven by other factors such as smoke screens, fake hype, or real interest by certain teams afraid they can't get that player later (so they boost a player higher up the board), etc?

What do you think? Is there any validity to draftniks being slow to realize the real value of these propsects? Or is it something else?
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Old 04-23-2012, 10:49 PM    (permalink
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I think that NFL scouts and talent evaluators throw blind darts nearly as much as internet "draftniks."

I will never believe that GMs share a majority of opinion on players.
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Old 04-23-2012, 10:51 PM    (permalink
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I think the lack of access to interviews accounts for more than we draftniks may think it does. The other thing is that as much as we like to think we are knowledgeable on a given set of players, we are playing in a world where NFL teams make their living. We don't have the time or resources to be as thorough as they are. That doesn't mean they don't make mistakes, but at least they have far more information than we do in order to make their judgment with.
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Old 04-23-2012, 11:01 PM    (permalink
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49ers GM Trent Baalke recently said that he develops a gut feeling about how much he likes a prospect within the first 5 minutes of film study. And he says he always tries to trust his gut.
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Old 04-23-2012, 11:06 PM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by Wrathman View Post
I think the lack of access to interviews accounts for more than we draftniks may think it does. The other thing is that as much as we like to think we are knowledgeable on a given set of players, we are playing in a world where NFL teams make their living. We don't have the time or resources to be as thorough as they are. That doesn't mean they don't make mistakes, but at least they have far more information than we do in order to make their judgment with.
I don't think so...they do this for a living. With the internet, the draftnik community has grown into a large group and it's obvious the majority of us are better than the **** the majority of the NFL has for GMs. They're just discrediting us and putting us down so they can keep their jobs!

Honestly, if I ran an NFL team I would rather draft by a poll on a draftnik forum than through 80% of the current GMs in the NFL.
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Old 04-24-2012, 01:13 AM    (permalink
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I use draft websites like this one and others simply as a resource to gather information. I think some people put entirely too much stock into the opinions of others. Also, just because one team values a guy as a top 15 prospect, doesn't mean others do. That's why we see these perceived reaches.
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Old 04-24-2012, 01:18 AM    (permalink
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I use draft websites like this one and others simply as a resource to gather information. I think some people put entirely too much stock into the opinions of others. Also, just because one team values a guy as a top 15 prospect, doesn't mean others do. That's why we see these perceived reaches.
I completely agree. Although many people see website rankings and mocks and attempt to be different just for the sake of being different.

A good example of this are the ones out there that say Andrew Luck will bust. Sure, there is a chance he will. But that is an ignorant view point based on the evidence that has been presented at this point. There is no evidence pointing to a prospect like that busting. So while it may happen, those that make a prediction like that are just flat out guessing.
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Old 04-24-2012, 01:20 AM    (permalink
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I think this really comes down to the priorities of your professional draftniks. Which do they value more: the accuracy of their mock drafts, or their own ability to evaluate players.

Those who prefer to look smart because of how accurate their predictions are tend to (over)react to reports they get from sources late in the process. Those who believe they're qualified to evaluate players tend to stick to their guns.

This is what drives me nuts about NFLN and ESPN banging the table about "risers and fallers" this time of year. The only things those guys are doing is reporting whatever they're getting from NFL sources. There's no actual movement, the networks just want to create the impression that they're credible in order to actually avoid having to do a serious job in the pre-draft process.
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Old 04-24-2012, 04:45 AM    (permalink
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The best we, as Draftniks can do, is basically what Scott Wright does. He's made a life basically out of a scouting college football. He watches all the game tape, goes to the events, interviews the players, etc. But draftniks will always have a natural advantage and disadvantage. The natural advantage is that we can be right about a lot of the local, smaller school guys that don't get big looks right off by NFL Scouts. For instance, there was a guy back in 2003 that caught 14 TD passes for Western Michigan as a RS Soph. I was very high on him for the rest of his collegiate career. I also had the luxury of living in the area and being able to recognize his obvious NFL caliber talent. Well, as you might have guessed, that guy was Greg Jennings and ended up being a pretty solid NFL player.

However, we also have a natural disadvantage. Call it an insufficient level of real information. Although the combine numbers are all disclosed, there are things in college prospects' MIB (medical information bureau) that we can have no access to. So we wouldn't know about it if that 3 year starter at RB had an ACL injury in high school. Or that he's not currently medically cleared to play. There, we're subject to speculation (a la Jared Crick).

Another thing we're not exactly privy to is the feeling around the league about certain players (especially problem players). We're not on the phone every day with other GM's talking about the draft. We have each other.

In the long run, Marv Levy's famous "If you listen to the fans you'll end up sitting with them," quote is not really relevant thanks to some of the well informed opinions of draftniks. And lest we forget, we as draftniks do have a voice. If you think those guys on ESPN and NFLN aren't interested in some of the things we have to say, I'd say you're dead wrong. I've been around long enough to see Kiper mimicking some of Scott Wright's sentiments on the occasional prospect.
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Old 04-24-2012, 04:51 AM    (permalink
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The best we, as Draftniks can do, is basically what Scott Wright does. He's made a life basically out of a scouting college football. He watches all the game tape, goes to the events, interviews the players, etc. But draftniks will always have a natural advantage and disadvantage. The natural advantage is that we can be right about a lot of the local, smaller school guys that don't get big looks right off by NFL Scouts. For instance, there was a guy back in 2003 that caught 14 TD passes for Western Michigan as a RS Soph. I was very high on him for the rest of his collegiate career. I also had the luxury of living in the area and being able to recognize his obvious NFL caliber talent. Well, as you might have guessed, that guy was Greg Jennings and ended up being a pretty solid NFL player.

However, we also have a natural disadvantage. Call it an insufficient level of real information. Although the combine numbers are all disclosed, there are things in college prospects' MIB (medical information bureau) that we can have no access to. So we wouldn't know about it if that 3 year starter at RB had an ACL injury in high school. Or that he's not currently medically cleared to play. There, we're subject to speculation (a la Jared Crick).

Another thing we're not exactly privy to is the feeling around the league about certain players (especially problem players). We're not on the phone every day with other GM's talking about the draft. We have each other.

In the long run, Marv Levy's famous "If you listen to the fans you'll end up sitting with them," quote is not really relevant thanks to some of the well informed opinions of draftniks. And lest we forget, we as draftniks do have a voice. If you think those guys on ESPN and NFLN aren't interested in some of the things we have to say, I'd say you're dead wrong. I've been around long enough to see Kiper mimicking some of Scott Wright's sentiments on the occasional prospect.
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Old 04-24-2012, 05:07 AM    (permalink
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I think the extra information available to NFL teams from interviews, private workouts and even 22 tapes gives them an unmeasureable advantage.

As fans of the draft all we can do is watch the games, evaluate certain players and grade them out.

Obviously guys like Scott Wright have other avenues to explore such as attending the senior bowl, getting interviews with players and whatever contacts he may have getting him some other information.

However, I tend to agree that NFL teams will have a rough idea of their board by mid march time after pro days. All the film will have been watched, all the measureables are in and most workouts and interviews have been conducted.

Take Chandler Jones for an example. I refuse to believe that all of a sudden some teams rewatched his tape two weeks ago and said "hey this guy should be a first round pick after all".

We all like to see ourselves as knowledgeable people, and to an extent we are, some more than others, however a lot of information that forms our boards is taken from media sources.

Pretty much everyone is on twitter these days, while a lot of stuff from "analysts" at NFL.com and ESPN is crap they still have inside sources.

The draftnik community will always be that one step behind the teams simply because teams have more information to base their evaluations.
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Old 04-24-2012, 05:21 AM    (permalink
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The draft is a process, and the people whose job it is to scout these players are doing so throughout the process. When a player rises up the board, it's because enough scouts have watched a enough tape on a player that consensus begins to change. At least, that's the impression that I get.
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Old 04-24-2012, 07:03 AM    (permalink
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I think this really comes down to the priorities of your professional draftniks. Which do they value more: the accuracy of their mock drafts, or their own ability to evaluate players.
The problem here is two fold. The first is that creating mock drafts is easy, but doing actual player evaluations is hard (and requires real understand of football).

The second is accuracy of predictions can be measured shortly after they are made (if you post a mock in late March, early April then you are going to be proven right/wrong by late April) whereas predicting how someone does during their career requires a much longer evaluation period. People will forget that you made good predictions and if you remind them, you look like "that guy."
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Old 04-24-2012, 07:06 AM    (permalink
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Just watch Chandler Jones... 3 or 4 weeks ago I saw his tapes and can't believed that everybody ranked him that bad. U saw he is the best DE of that class and a legitimate Top 10 pick. Now Mayock and others ranked him that high, too.
And I can't believe that NFL scout's, sitting all Day long and watching prospects didn't saw that. That's all smokescreen.
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Old 04-24-2012, 07:26 AM    (permalink
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I think the extra information available to NFL teams from interviews, private workouts and even 22 tapes gives them an unmeasureable advantage.
Exactly! We see part of what a team sees. Even Scott Wright, Mel Kiper & Mike Mayock combined only have access to part of what the teams do. And it isn't just tape. If a team has question about a kid's character, they can send out a scout to talk to the equipment manager, the janitor, guys who don't have a vested interest in painting the player in the best possible light (like the head coach does).

Last year, word got out that Jerrell Powe, the NT from Mississippi, was too dumb to learn the NFL game. Powe started to fall on draft boards. The Chiefs investigated and found out that Powe had dyslexia. They did their homework on how to teach a person with dyslexia and then waited and took Powe in the 6th round.
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Old 04-24-2012, 10:54 AM    (permalink
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The difference between a draftnik and a NFL GM is off the charts. Teams hire a large # of scouts to evaluate prospects. They get to see them practice, have high quality film and film machines where they can watch closely every play they had for a # of seasons, get extensive medical reports on every prospect along with really intense character reports. In private interviews, they get to question players on their football knowledge, put them through thorough testing. Talk to all their former coaches since at least high school and maybe even younger.
Most scouts played in the NFL and know what it takes to play there and have scouted thousands of prospects giving them extensive knowledge of what to look for at every position.
Draftniks who claim to be able to do scouts and GM's jobs are just being ridiculous. Some may have the natural ability to be scouts but we are hardly trained and have little access to film and film machines and no access to the players and the reports on them.
Egos run high in this hobby but in the end, none of us really have a clue how to be a professional scout or GM. Our jobs aren't on the line when we make up mocks because nobody uses them to actually draft prospects, we don't have an owner breathing down our necks or a boss demanding results, Nobody remembers when we are totally wrong and therefore there is no sorting out process to decide who could possibly be good at it.
Most draftniks with high egos work in a vacuum using strictly their own judgment to assess a prospects while in the real world, draft boards are put together by many scouts and GM's and HC's opinions not just 1 man's ideas
I wouldn't hire 1 draftnik to run a draft, the results would be disastrous but I would hire certain individuals on this site to be trained as scouts or GM's, teach them the profession and see what they could accomplish after a few years of training.
Anybody who suggests they think draftniks can run the ship, are just being silly.
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Old 04-24-2012, 10:57 AM    (permalink
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The difference between a draftnik and a NFL GM is off the charts. Teams hire a large # of scouts to evaluate prospects. They get to see them practice, have high quality film and film machines where they can watch closely every play they had for a # of seasons, get extensive medical reports on every prospect along with really intense character reports. In private interviews, they get to question players on their football knowledge, put them through thorough testing. Talk to all their former coaches since at least high school and maybe even younger.
Most scouts played in the NFL and know what it takes to play there and have scouted thousands of prospects giving them extensive knowledge of what to look for at every position.
Draftniks who claim to be able to do scouts and GM's jobs are just being ridiculous. Some may have the natural ability to be scouts but we are hardly trained and have little access to film and film machines and no access to the players and the reports on them.
Egos run high in this hobby but in the end, none of us really have a clue how to be a professional scout or GM. Our jobs aren't on the line when we make up mocks because nobody uses them to actually draft prospects, we don't have an owner breathing down our necks or a boss demanding results, Nobody remembers when we are totally wrong and therefore there is no sorting out process to decide who could possibly be good at it.
Most draftniks with high egos work in a vacuum using strictly their own judgment to assess a prospects while in the real world, draft boards are put together by many scouts and GM's and HC's opinions not just 1 man's ideas
I wouldn't hire 1 draftnik to run a draft, the results would be disastrous but I would hire certain individuals on this site to be trained as scouts or GM's, teach them the profession and see what they could accomplish after a few years of training.
Anybody who suggests they think draftniks can run the ship, are just being silly.
And yet, I could have told you JaMarcus Russell was fat and lazy.
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Old 04-24-2012, 11:50 AM    (permalink
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You have to consider that from January to April is the only time in the whole year everyone is only focused on evaluating college players. From May to December the scouts spend most of their time by themselves traveling and doing fact finding and coaches and GM's are more worried about the players they actually have than the players they have 1/32 chance of having in the future. This is the only time of the year all the stake holders in the draft process actually get together and try to figure everything out, so it makes sense people may feel differently about players after 3-4 months of meetings and reviews than with zero months of collaboration.
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Old 04-24-2012, 01:23 PM    (permalink
mightytitan9
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Over the years I've noticed once one "draftnik" has someone rated high, others seem to follow, they then eventually jump.

If it's early enough in the process they eventually usually level out, but some people seem like they fall on draft day, when it's where they should go.
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