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Questionnaire on Your Prospect Grading System


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If you are one of the many of us on this site who grade prospects for the NFL Draft, here's a couple questions for you, with my answers as examples:

1. Do you use a numerical grade scale, a by-round grade scale, or another to show the final result of your scouting?

-> Ex.: NFL.com uses a numerical grade scale, ESPN uses a round-by-round grade scale. Saquon Barkley is rated respectively 7.45 (Pro Bowl Caliber) and Top-5 Pick. I personally use a numerical grading system.

2. Do you use a specialized "rubric" to grade players, do you just go with your gut, or else?

-> I personally use a specialized rubric for different positions.

3. If you use a "rubric," how did you formulate it? 

-> I formulated my position-based rubrics after researching the pro careers and scouting reports of hundreds of former NFL players to map out correlations, and combined that data with input from high-profile scouts that I could find online or on TV.

4. If you use a "rubric," what does it look like for different positions?

-> My rubric assigns values for traits like, for example, accuracy, pocket awareness, mobility, athleticism, arm talent, etc. in quarterbacks.

5. What do the tiers in your grading system equate to? For example, what does an 85 grade or 8.0 grade or Top-10 grade mean in your system?

-> My grading system works like this:

9.0-10: Perennial All-Pro

8.0-8.99: All-Pro Ability

7.5-7.99: Potential All-Pro

7.25-7.49: Good NFL Starter

7.0-7.24: Potentially good NFL starter

6.5-6.99: Good chance to become good starter

6.0-6.49: Could become late starter

5.5-5.99: Likely backup

5.0-5.49: Developmental player

-5.0: Back End of the Roster

6. What's the highest grade you've ever given a prospect? The lowest? 

-> I've only been using my grading system for this year (that's why I'm getting opinions from this thread), so my top-rated prospects are Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State and Roquan Smith, WLB, Georgia, who both tallied 8.05 grades. My worst grade out of the 145 I scouted was Tanner Lee, QB, Nebraska, at 5.2. 

7. Where do most prospects fall within your grading system?

-> The largest group I had this year was within 6.5-6.99: "Good chance to become good starter," with 40 of 145 prospects (27.6%). Again, this is my first year using this system.

8. Do you factor in positional importance or off-field issues into your grades?

-> No, I don't, but if I were an NFL GM, I would certainly take some guys with off-field issues off the board.

9. Have you ever changed the way you personally grade prospects? If so, how and how many times?

-> Before this season I had opinions but never really graded prospects, I just put together Top 10 lists by position. 

10. What do you like the most about your grading system?

-> I like my numerical system because it's unique, it's based on research, and it gives a defined and easy-to-see gap between prospects more so than "Top-5" grade vs. "First Round" grade would.

11. Who slipped through your grading system as a successful NFL player you didn't see coming? Who did you rate highly that ended up busting?

-> I've only been using this system for a year, so we'll have to wait and see. I remember from ranking players the last few years very loosely I didn't think Dak Prescott would be as good as he is - I thought in time he could be mediocre but not a decent-to-good NFL quarterback in one year. I also liked John Ross, but I'm confident he'll get better, unless his injuries persist.

12. What "experts" do you consider the most reliable or lean on for things you can't really get from tape, like quarterback throwing velocity or makeup issues?

-> Mike Mayock would be my answer here.

Thanks for taking the time to answer (if you choose to do so). 


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11 hours ago, AlNFL19 said:


I really enjoyed your post, but I'll admit that I don't have time to respond with the same kind of attention to detail. People are probably daunted by the volume of information.

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14 minutes ago, reamer said:

I really enjoyed your post, but I'll admit that I don't have time to respond with the same kind of attention to detail. People are probably daunted by the volume of information.

Yeah, that's probably the most likely answer.  And it's really hard to post a gif that summarizes it, too.  :D

On a serious note, probably easier to break it down into pieces and highlight where differences in practice occur.   A 10-12 Q list is just scary to try and answer in any detail.  If it takes more than 5 mins to complete - the questionnaire response rates go WAY down (and why telephone interviews work better if the content is longer).

Things like:

-How many guys do you break down? 50?  100?  200+?  (I go about 100-125 deep then start to get tired lol.  I'll admit I change up where I go too - as I go to positions of interest - this year, for example, I've neglected S a ton, as DEN is so unlikely to go there, whereas ILB, RB, WR, OL and of course, QB, I'm keen to go further down the list).

-Do you use numerical grading on 10-point or 100-point scale? Why? (I don't think 100 point scales are that helpful, if a guy is a 87 or 83, big deal, 8 vs. 9 starts to get meaningful).

-Do you tier instead?  (Yes - that's more important IMO than a straight rank list)

-How many players do you think have year 1-2 starter level grades (6.5+)?  I'd say about 70-75, which is deeper than usual.  The value is in the 2nd-3rd round for sure, and given how teams often reach for need, early 4th could yield great value too. 



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