Tracking NFL Draft Analysts

This is a thread to discuss and hopefully track the evaluations of people who analyze NFL prospects and players. We had a recent discussion about mock drafts (which I have no interest in) versus comments about specific players. I want to give an example of why the latter is valuable and meaningful to me. Here’s something that Jim Mora said about Josh Rosen:

If Mora’s comments are accurate, I take this as a significant red flag–specifically the remarks about how Rosen has a lot of interests and the line, “…if you can hold his concentration level and focus on football for only a few years, he will set the world on fire.” To me, this is a significant condition, making it sound like the responsibility falls on the coaches to get Rosen to concentrate and focus on football. I don’t care how talented a player is, if they’re not really passionate about football, my interest in that player will decline significantly.

Now, that doesn’t mean Rosen will not become a good QB. He could. But if Rosen doesn’t totally love football, and that he needs help being interested in it, I think the odds of him developing into a great QB go down considerably. It’s not the type of situation I’d want to gamble on. All draft picks have risks, and there are no guarantees. But the nature of the risks vary from player to player. This is where accurate assessment of a player’s strengths and weaknesses have value for me. With this kind of information, you could make better decisions, based on the risks you’re comfortable with versus those that you aren’t.

18 thoughts on “Tracking NFL Draft Analysts

  1. 8/28/2018

  2. How’d you like the list?

    I’m not entirely clear on the criterion of “taking into account everything we know now.” Do we rank the QBs, assuming that Luck and RGIII will definitely get hurt? If not, for me, I think I’d choose Luck #1, with Wilson second. That may sound crazy–and I could change my mind on this–but this is how strongly I feel about Luck. To me, the way the team handled him is a bigger reason for his injuries. For example, Wilson could have sustained a serious injury, too. I would’ve blamed the team for that, though, not Wilson. (And I still blame them.)

    I think Osweiler would be above RGIII for me.

  3. You have to think of it as who the QBs are today, for this upcoming season. We don’t even know if Luck is going to play. If we were redrafting all the 2012 QBs for this upcoming season, would you take Luck over Wilson? This would shock me. 🙂

  4. 2018 Draft: Roquan Smith

    Man, if these descriptions are accurate (and there are no problems with intangibles and off-field issues), I hope the Raiders can get him. They desperately need a good inside LB.

    Edit

    (Note: If I recall correctly, Riddick raved about Myles Jack; also Byron Jones and Kevin Johnson. I believe Johnson had some injury issues, as well as Jack, but my sense is their performance so far didn’t match Riddick’s praise. I’m doing this all on my impressions based on my memory of Riddick’s tweets/comments, though, so take what I say with a grain of salt.)

    Greg Cosell’s take:

  5. 2018: Saquan Barkley

    Greg Cosell’s comments:

    I only read the weaknesses. If Cosell is right, I’d pass on Barkley, especially in the early first round. (I might pass on the first round all together.)

    4/18/2018

  6. There was talk that the Cowboys would go up to get Roquan Smith if there’s an opportunity.

    In Barkley’s weakness, Cossell mentioned Fournette as a better finisher. Would you rather have Fournette? I can see why Barkley’s size and abilities at that size makes him really desirable. Add to the fact that he can be a positive on passing plays, makes him a three down back. I would rather see the Browns take Chubb and play with Myles Garrett, but they will be a fun team with Barkley as well. That’s with the assumption that the Giants are taking a QB. In the earlier mock drafts many had the Giants taking Barkley number 2. The Giants should actually take the o-lineman out of Notre Dame, who everyone is saying is a can’t miss.

  7. The Cowboys kinda have a long way to go, though. It seems like there’s a good chance the Raiders won’t get Smith at 9. (Would you be happy if the Cowboys traded up to get him?)

    In Barkley’s weakness, Cossell mentioned Fournette as a better finisher. Would you rather have Fournette?

    Well, I’d rather have a runner like Fournette, for sure, and I think I’d rather have Fournette over Barkley if the analysis is accurate. However, I’m not sure I’d draft Fournette at #2.

    Cosell says that Barkley has to be more “competitive as a pass protector,” which gives me pause, especially about whether he can definitely be a 3-down back. He kinda sounds like a Todd Gurley-type of back, and I really don’t like RBs like that.

    I would rather see the Browns take Chubb and play with Myles Garrett, but they will be a fun team with Barkley as well.

    I haven’t read (or seen) any analysis on Chubb, but I think this would be a better pick for the Browns than Barkley.

    The Giants should actually take the o-lineman out of Notre Dame, who everyone is saying is a can’t miss.

    Yeah, I think that would be a solid move. Basically, O-linemen, a guy who would be a top linemen at their position would be worth picking in the top 10. If you felt really confident that they would be #6-10 at worst, then I’d rather have pick that guy than D-linemen that’s not going to be top 5 at his position or WR/RB that’s not going to be top three, if not HoF type of material. (On a related note, I kinda don’t feel like Amari Cooper wasn’t worth it at #4. I’m not a big AC fan in general.)

  8. I only skimmed it, but does Cosell’s analysis say anything about how much he loves football? I’m half kidding, but really. If that’s such a consideration, why don’t all the analysts mention it the way they mention 40 time, height, and weight?

  9. If that’s such a consideration, why don’t all the analysts mention it the way they mention 40 time, height, and weight?

    Same reasons people look at test scores instead of written evaluations when assessing learning and intelligence. Tests of speed and strength are concrete and palpable. How do you test for one’s passion for the game? Not only are such assessments less palpable and concrete, but the assessments are less compelling to viewers.

    By the way, I’d be shocked if there is an scout, GM, or coach that doesn’t assess a player’s love for the game. When players and coaches talk about players having different levels of passion for the game or even competitive spirit, what do you think is going on? Do you think they’re fooling themselves? Why is it easier to believe that everyone has the love for the game and competitive fire is basically the same for every player? Is there any other field where the people involved basically have the same level of motivation and passion for what they do?

  10. No, of course I don’t think everyone has the same level. But if those things translate to performance on the field or camaraderie in the locker room, why mention it at all? Why not stick to on-field performance and camaraderie in the locker room, rather than comment on love for the game?

    I don’t understand your answer about palpable and concrete. There are tons of comments in the Cosell write-up that aren’t palpable and quantifiable. They’re observations, right? If coaches are talking about a player’s love of the game, why not the analysts who are trying to figure out which players are good fits for which teams?

  11. But if those things translate to performance on the field or camaraderie in the locker room, why mention it at all?

    Maybe we’re not listening to the same people, but I do hear this mentioned. The most prominent case involves Josh Rosen.

    Why not stick to on-field performance and camaraderie in the locker room, rather than comment on love for the game?

    Because performance is linked to passion. You agree with this, right? Look at the people that are best in their fields–I’d be surprised if they all didn’t have considerable passion for what they did. (I don’t see passion relating to camaraderie.)

    There are tons of comments in the Cosell write-up that aren’t palpable and quantifiable.

    That’s what I’m saying. They’re not as palpable or quantifiable–they’re fuzzier. I think this is one of the reasons people find this less compelling. Again, even people who say test scores aren’t the main way to evaluate learning can have a tendency to put more weight on it than evaluations based on observations.

  12. Performance is linked to passion. So why not draft based on performance, rather than try to determine something as ethereal as passion? If anyone passed on Barry Sanders or Barry Bonds because either didn’t seem passionate enough, those guys should be fired.

    Okay, so what I am asking is: if passion for the game is so important, why doesn’t it show up in everyone’s analysis, the way speed and quickness show up in everyone’s analysis, where speed and quickness are important? Is it because not everyone agrees that it’s an important criterion?

  13. Performance is linked to passion. So why not draft based on performance, rather than try to determine something as ethereal as passion?

    Clearly, some football players perform well in college, but not in the pros. So you can’t just look at their college performance. You have to try and gauge why these players were successful. Did the player succeed because they were vastly superior talents? Was the competition weak, etc.?

    Okay, so what I am asking is: if passion for the game is so important, why doesn’t it show up in everyone’s analysis, the way speed and quickness show up in everyone’s analysis, where speed and quickness are important?

    I suspect that some assessment of their passion/love for the game is addressed by all teams. I’d be very surprised if it weren’t.

    Is it because not everyone agrees that it’s an important criterion?

    I think some analysts like Cosell may not evaluate that aspect because they’re only looking at film. (If I’m not mistaken, Cosell has explicitly made this point.) In other words, he’s not really interviewing the player or talking to people who knew the player, in order to ascertain their passion as well as other intangibles. But I’m pretty sure every team does this sort of assessment.

  14. Dallas has a lot of supplemental picks (the maximum, I believe). It would be a good move to use a few of their picks to move up in the draft. A linebacker and a WR seems to be everyone’s thought on biggest need. The WR, Ridley from Alabama, seems to be everyone’s consensus #1 WR in the draft. I would feel better if the Cowboys moved up for Roquan Smith then Ridley. But Ridley may be more obtainable. Also, there has been talk about Dallas staying at 19 and getting a WR from Maryland if Ridley is already drafted.

    In terms of moving up, Dallas probably could trade with Denver or Indianapolis, both teams that probably will not take a QB. I think it’s possible if Smith falls to 8th or 9th that Dallas makes a play for him with the Bears or Niners as well.

    Since Rosen was mentioned again, I’ll just say this. Rosen’s father is one of the top spine surgeons in the country and his mom’s family is the founder of the Wharton School of Business. Rosen’s background seems to be unprecedented as a NFL QB prospect. So the knock is that Rosen doesn’t “need” football (He doesn’t have the chip on his shoulder or he can walk away anytime.). But the reverse can be said and that he “loves” football. I don’t know if Rosen is going to be any good, but the pundits that was basing whether or not Rosen will be any good based on his background may be off as well.

  15. A linebacker and a WR seems to be everyone’s thought on biggest need.

    Are they basically giving up on Lee? My sense is that, defensively, the DL would still be something to shore up, even the secondary. Didn’t they lose a bunch of CBs?

    I can see WR. Basically, they need a play making pass catcher.

    I don’t know if Rosen is going to be any good, but the pundits that was basing whether or not Rosen will be any good based on his background may be off as well.

    Oh yeah–if critics are simply questioning Rosen because of his background, I wouldn’t put much stock in that. But I doubt Mora Jr. would be thinking like this. My sense is that critics are using Rosen’s background to explain why he may not be totally committed to football, not saying concluding that he won’t be into football because of it.

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