2016 Consensus Big Board: The “Best” Boards and Most Polarizing Players

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A big question people have when it comes to the consensus big board every year is, “which individual board have you gathered is the best?”

Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer and often that answer will change every year.

What does it mean to have the best board? Is it the board that most accurately predicts the draft picks and where they’ll be slotted? Is it the board that can serve as the most convenient go-to to determine the consensus? What about the board that best predicts performance? If a board gives you a different angle than every other board—giving you food for thought in the process—doesn’t that provide value?

“Best” is difficult to determine. Instead, I’ve decided to recognize boards for all of these qualities and have created awards every year for the contributor awards.

Consensus Board Awards (2016)

The Gold Standard award is for those boards that best reflect the consensus of the boards around them. If you only had one board to look at and didn’t have time to put together a consensus board, who would you look to?

Every year, the answer has been different. Drafttek in 2014 reflected the consensus of those around them, while took home the trophy in 2015. This year, it’s the Huddle Report‘s value board, which is pretty distinct from their funky-looking “talent board” but much more useful.

The Odd Duck award is the opposite: this award rewards individuals for bucking trends and making bold decisions on player value and talent that stand starkly opposed to the consensus. For the third year in a row, NDT Scouting has produced the most unique board among NFL evaluators.

His prospectus is a fantastic read and he goes into exhaustive detail about his grades and his process, so it certainly is worth looking into.

We don’t have 2016 awards for “Nostradamus” or “Out of Sync” because these are about predicting the draft. Most mock draft contests take mock drafts (not boards) and give points for predicting the right pick spot, predicting the right team and bonuses for both. In this case, we’re only looking at how far away the value given by a board was from the value given by the NFL with their selection.

A first overall ranking for a player gives him 3000 points of value, per the Jimmy Johnson trade chart. A first overall selection for that same player means the NFL gave him 3000 points of value, meaning the difference between that board and the NFL is 0. If that player had been selected second overall, the difference would be 400 (the second overall pick is worth 2600 points of value). If selected third, the difference would be 800, and so on.

Take the sum of all the differences between value and pick, and we get the best “predictors” of the draft and those most likely to disagree with NFL valuation. The Nostradamus award goes to the best predictor and the Out of Sync award goes to those with the biggest disagreements.

Unsurprisingly, Mike Mayock dominated the first year of the competition, and as an insider who is a big part of our Forecaster board, his consistent predictive ability powers the most powerful overall board in predicting the draft. Check out his most recent rankings here.

DraftBoardGuru won in 2015 with their Top 100, and The Huddle Report’s scores place them second in their scoring system over the course of five years—behind the prophet himself, Bob McGinn.

Unsurprisingly, Crabbs’ boards with NDT Scouting did not predict the draft very well. He’s pretty OK with that and if in a couple of years, he does a better job predicting performance than the draft does, he’ll look pretty good.

Next year, we’ll look at how individual 2014 boards did at predicting player performance in 2016 and give out some meatier, perhaps more meaningful, awards.

If you’ve checked out the variance scores in the Consensus Big Board, you’ve already got a taste of this, but I figured it would be good to take a little bit of time and highlight the biggest differences across individual boards for specific players. Below are the most disagreed-upon players in the 2016 draft.

Rank Player School Position Variance+
31 Jaylon Smith Notre Dame OB 165.8
286 David Onyemata Manitoba ID 155.6
15 A’Shawn Robinson Alabama ID 147.6
42 Chris Jones Mississippi State ID 137.9
255 Tom Hackett Utah P 131.7
102 T.J. Green Clemson S 130.6
206 B.J. Goodson Clemson OB 128.9
194 Caleb Benenoch UCLA OT 128.3
298 Ka’imi Fairbairn UCLA K 126.7
176 Denver Kirkland Arkansas OG 125.6
268 Nick VanHoose Northwestern CB 125.2
231 Dominique Robertson West Georgia OT 123.3
166 Mike Thomas Southern Mississippi WR 123.0
179 Thomas Duarte UCLA TE 122.8
32 Jonathan Bullard Florida ED 122.7
269 Kalan Reed Southern Mississippi CB 121.3
12 Carson Wentz North Dakota State QB 120.6
200 Avery Young Auburn OT 119.8
20 Corey Coleman Baylor WR 119.8
198 Roger Lewis Bowling Green WR 119.3
235 Ryan Smith North Carolina Central CB 118.8
229 Darius Latham Indiana ID 118.0
56 Keanu Neal Florida S 117.8
28 Robert Nkemdiche Ole Miss ID 117.1
116 Isaac Seumalo Oregon State OG 116.8
209 Stephen Weatherly Vanderbilt OB 116.7

Jaylon Smith’s variance comes from an obvious source—the uncertainty surrounding his injury—but the others are not necessarily so obvious.

For players like Robert Nkemdiche and Roger Lewis, off-field concerns likely speak to the issue for those players, while Thomas Duarte and Joanthan Bullard might face questions about which position is most ideal for them. Corey Coleman fits the mold of some gadget receivers who flamed out and players like T.J. Green and Chris Jones have been inconsistent from game to game.

Another common thread is school size. David Onyemata plays in Canada, while Mike Thomas plays for Southern Miss (as does Kalan Reed). Non-powerhouse schools like North Carolina Central, North Dakota State, West Georgia and to some extent Northwestern and Vanderbilt dominate the list because it can be difficult to find good film of those players.

I’m kind of surprised that there’s only one quarterback on the list. People seem to largely be in agreement about Jared Goff. You can also check out the players who drew the least variance:

Rank Player School Position Variance+
51 Tyler Boyd Pittsburgh WR 78.4
187 Brandon Shell South Carolina OT 79.1
186 Kevin Hogan Stanford QB 79.2
55 Shilique Calhoun Michigan State ED 79.5
171 Dadi Nicolas Virginia Tech ED 80.1
180 Travis Feeney Washington OB 80.2
41 Will Fuller Notre Dame WR 80.8
193 Nate Sudfeld Indiana QB 80.9
59 Kenneth Dixon Louisiana Tech RB 81.0
290 Tre Madden Southern California RB 81.3
288 Jordan Lomax Iowa S 81.4
125 Matt Ioannidis Temple ID 81.4
168 Daniel Lasco California RB 81.5
77 Pharoh Cooper South Carolina WR 81.6
159 Tajae Sharpe Massachusetts WR 81.8
249 D.J. Foster Arizona State WR 81.8
37 Cody Whitehair Kansas State OG 82.0
74 Austin Hooper Stanford TE 82.0
155 Kolby Listenbee TCU WR 82.1
162 Jason Fanaika Utah ED 82.2
47 Joshua Garnett Stanford OG 82.3
263 Taveze Calhoun Mississippi State CB 82.3
133 Joe Haeg North Dakota State OT 82.3
185 Daniel Braverman Western Michigan WR 82.5
232 Quinton Jefferson Maryland ID 82.5
87 Jordan Howard Indiana RB 82.8
177 Josh Ferguson Illinois RB 82.8

I’m honestly surprised at many of these names. Will Fuller has created a lot of argument and players like Pharoh Cooper, Tyler Board and Tajae Sharpe exist at the divide between those who heavily weight data and measurements in those who don’t. Dadi Nicolas doesn’t seem to have a true position and Joe Haeg, Daniel Braverman and Sharpe all play at small schools.

In fairness, this measure tends to bias in favor of those who have low variance and are ranked lowly, so players like Jalen Ramsey and Laremy Tunsil—who have incredibly low variance—don’t show up at the top of these lists.

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