Every year, I’ve managed to collect over 40 draft boards and combine them not only to create a cheat sheet for people to follow along in the draft, but to get a better sense of what the draft looks like and why certain players may fall.
Last year, we were able to identify highly-touted players that could contribute as UDFAs, like Justin Coleman, as well as the fact that Stefon Diggs’ overall rankings didn’t mean much: some were very high on him. The fact that athletic and highly-rated tackle Jake Fisher fell all the way to pick 53 was predictable by this method, as the forecaster board had him ranked 52 overall.
And we saw that Sean Mannion, despite not being good at football, would be highly coveted by teams—enough to earn a Day 2 pick.
Oh, and finding out which prospects were the most agreed-upon was incredibly valuable information. Generally speaking, players everyone could agree on went a little higher than their pick value (or for Quentin Rollins, the universal 61st-place, nearly on the nose at #62), perhaps because certainty provides its own value (better the devil you know, I suppose).
How good has the consensus board been at identifying the top 100 players in the draft? Using The Huddle Report’s method of giving one point to each player selected in the Top 100 that was predicted in the Top 100, it has been the 10th-most accurate board of the 50 to submit theirs to the Huddle Report over the last two years.
If one adjusts for how close specific picks are to ranking on a board, then the Consensus Board ranked eighth and ninth over the last two years, which makes it one of four boards to be in the top ten twice in the last two years (the others are CBS, Mike Mayock and The Huddle Report itself).
And, when we focused only on so-called “Forecaster Boards” and penalized boards for individual picks being further from the true pick, there was no single board more accurate in the Top 100 in 2014 or 2015 than the Forecaster Board.
Simply put, the consensus of experts will give us the best idea of the general area that a player will be selected.
Once again, I’m publishing the consensus of over 40 big boards, and breaking down some of the most interesting distinctions. In order to go over what I do every year, I’ll rehash what I said last year about the approach:
There are two general approaches to draft coverage: 1) Who is going to pick who and 2) Who is good. Last year, we separated the draft boards into two categories: Forecasters (who do a job more closely resembling question #1) and Evaluators (who are closer to answering question #2 than question #1).
Generally speaking, the forecasters have been or are currently employed by media organizations that thrive on access, and that gives them access as well. Beyond that, people like Nolan Nawrocki (formerly of Pro Football Weekly and NFL.com) publish draft guides that are driven in big ways by the access they have.
Sometimes that access influences the actual talent evaluation, but often it will influence the final grade by speaking to the gravity of character concerns, injury concerns or some other errata.
Last year, unusual clusters of similar rankings at odd points in the charts confirmed (to me) the clear separation between those two groups of draft boards. This year, there are far fewer clusters in that data (it’s a more polarizing draft), but they do show up.
There are clusters for the third year in a row for the rankings of the “forecasters” that lead me to believe that their rankings are at least in part driven by what they hear—particularly for the most polarizing prospects.The top 100 of the board is below. If you want the full 300 player board, that’s hosted here, on this Google Doc.
Throughout the day, I’ll be posting pieces about what the consensus big board reveals about evaluators, forecasters and polarizing players. You can find all of those pieces linked here on the page for the big board, below the board itself. You can also find them on the Consensus Big Board tag.
- RELATED: Evaluator vs. Forecaster boards—who predicts the draft, and which players are they split on?
For orientation purposes, there are 15 positions: QB, RB, FB, WR, TE, OT, OG, C, ID, ED, OB, CB, S, K and P. Most of those are self-explanatory, but it should be noted that “ID” references interior defensive players—defensive tackles and 3-4 defensive ends. “ED” refers to edge players, like 3-4 outside linebackers and 4-3 defensive ends. “OB” refers to off-ball linebackers, like 4-3 OLBs and all inside linebackers.
Because these are prospects, some teams or evaluators may see those players differently. The Vikings saw 3-4 outside linebacker Anthony Barr as a 4-3 outside linebacker, and Seattle saw 3-4 NT Bruce Irvin as a 3-4 outside linebacker (sort of). These things can change, but the positions marked are the consensus of the evaluators.
Next to the player’s positional rank, you’ll see a variance score. The higher that score is, the more evaluators disagreed on that player’s ranking. People will interpret that differently: for some it’s an expression of having a high ceiling or a low floor. That means for lowly-ranked players, a higher variance score can be good because it means they have more upside.
For other people, it means more uncertainty in the evaluation. If people all disagree on this prospect, what does it mean he can do, and does it mean his skills are more of a projection than an evaluation? That may mean disregarding that player more than otherwise.
The average variance score is 100, and that has been adjusted for a player’s overall position (because generally speaking there is more variance the further down you go).
Now, here’s the board (Printable board here):
|1||Laremy Tunsil||Ole Miss||OT||91.54|
|2||Jalen Ramsey||Florida State||CB||84.12|
|3||Joey Bosa||Ohio State||S||86.96|
|5||Ezekiel Elliott||Ohio State||RB||86.02|
|8||Ronnie Stanley||Notre Dame||OT||107.21|
|9||Vernon Hargreaves III||Florida||CB||84.98|
|11||Laquon Treadwell||Ole Miss||WR||92.46|
|12||Carson Wentz||North Dakota State||QB||119.75|
|14||Darron Lee||Ohio State||OB||108.07|
|18||Jack Conklin||Michigan State||OT||90.10|
|20||Taylor Decker||Ohio State||OT||87.75|
|22||Noah Spence||Eastern Kentucky||ED||100.23|
|24||William Jackson III||Houston||CB||93.48|
|28||Robert Nkemdiche||Ole Miss||ID||116.71|
|29||Eli Apple||Ohio State||CB||104.43|
|30||Vernon Butler||Louisiana Tech||ID||95.89|
|31||Jaylon Smith||Notre Dame||OB||161.99|
|35||Emmanuel Ogbah||Oklahoma State||ED||95.92|
|36||Cody Whitehair||Kansas State||OG||81.55|
|40||Michael Thomas||Ohio State||WR||87.97|
|41||Will Fuller||Notre Dame||WR||80.87|
|42||Chris Jones||Mississippi State||ID||134.08|
|44||Karl Joseph||West Virginia||S||92.27|
|47||Kendall Fuller||Virginia Tech||CB||86.73|
|48||Germain Ifedi||Texas A&M||OT||107.68|
|49||Su’a Cravens||Southern California||OB||84.18|
|50||Vonn Bell||Ohio State||S||88.87|
|52||Connor Cook||Michigan State||QB||102.59|
|53||Kamalei Correa||Boise State||ED||98.95|
|54||Austin Johnson||Penn State||ID||97.10|
|56||Shilique Calhoun||Michigan State||ED||78.65|
|57||Nick Martin||Notre Dame||OC||94.17|
|58||Braxton Miller||Ohio State||WR||82.42|
|59||Kenneth Dixon||Louisiana Tech||RB||80.42|
|60||Darian Thompson||Boise State||S||99.78|
|61||Joshua Perry||Ohio State||OB||100.32|
|62||Artie Burns||Miami (Fla.)||CB||103.53|
|66||Kyler Fackrell||Utah State||ED||84.08|
|68||Christian Westerman||Arizona State||OG||87.15|
|72||Sheldon Day||Notre Dame||ID||110.76|
|73||Adolphus Washington||Ohio State||ID||89.52|
|76||Javon Hargrave||South Carolina State||ID||95.06|
|77||Bronson Kaufusi||Brigham Young||ID||84.76|
|78||Le’Raven Clark||Texas Tech||OT||94.30|
|79||Pharoh Cooper||South Carolina||WR||81.45|
|84||Nick Vannett||Ohio State||TE||103.30|
|85||Carl Nassib||Penn State||ID||93.15|
|89||Rashard Higgins||Colorado State||WR||88.06|
|91||C.J. Prosise||Notre Dame||RB||84.91|
|92||Justin Simmons||Boston College||S||106.17|
|94||Will Redmond||Mississippi State||CB||89.54|
|97||Max Tuerk||Southern California||OC||85.05|
|98||Christian Hackenberg||Penn State||QB||104.47|
|99||Cardale Jones||Ohio State||QB||107.77|
- Evaluator vs. Forecaster boards: What Are They and What Do They Mean?
- Consensus Big Boards and Position Depth: What’s the Deepest Position in the Draft?
- Using the Consensus Board to Model a Seven-Round Mock
- The 2016 Consensus Board Awards and the Most Polarizing Players
- Print out the Consensus Board and Follow Along