Premiering the 2016 NFL Consensus Big Board

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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 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.

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):

Rank Player School Position Variance+
1 Laremy Tunsil Ole Miss OT 91.54
2 Jalen Ramsey Florida State CB 84.12
3 Joey Bosa Ohio State S 86.96
4 Myles Jack UCLA OB 101.07
5 Ezekiel Elliott Ohio State RB 86.02
6 DeForest Buckner Oregon ID 88.72
7 Jared Goff California QB 104.46
8 Ronnie Stanley Notre Dame OT 107.21
9 Vernon Hargreaves III Florida CB 84.98
10 Shaq Lawson Clemson ED 84.78
11 Laquon Treadwell Ole Miss WR 92.46
12 Carson Wentz North Dakota State QB 119.75
13 Sheldon Rankins Louisville ID 111.85
14 Darron Lee Ohio State OB 108.07
15 Reggie Ragland Alabama OB 94.04
16 A’Shawn Robinson Alabama ID 145.19
17 Josh Doctson TCU WR 84.01
18 Jack Conklin Michigan State OT 90.10
19 Jarran Reed Alabama ID 94.91
20 Taylor Decker Ohio State OT 87.75
21 Leonard Floyd Georgia ED 88.18
22 Noah Spence Eastern Kentucky ED 100.23
23 Corey Coleman Baylor WR 118.80
24 William Jackson III Houston CB 93.48
25 Andrew Billings Baylor ID 113.28
26 Mackensie Alexander Clemson CB 98.78
27 Paxton Lynch Memphis QB 95.63
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
32 Jonathan Bullard Florida ED 121.49
33 Kenny Clark UCLA ID 113.21
34 Kevin Dodd Clemson ED 85.65
35 Emmanuel Ogbah Oklahoma State ED 95.92
36 Cody Whitehair Kansas State OG 81.55
37 Jason Spriggs Indiana OT 92.94
38 Ryan Kelly Alabama OC 86.49
39 Derrick Henry Alabama RB 88.22
40 Michael Thomas Ohio State WR 87.97
41 Will Fuller Notre Dame WR 80.87
42 Chris Jones Mississippi State ID 134.08
43 Sterling Shepard Oklahoma WR 86.16
44 Karl Joseph West Virginia S 92.27
45 Hunter Henry Arkansas TE 106.94
46 Joshua Garnett Stanford OG 82.19
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
51 Tyler Boyd Pittsburgh WR 78.75
52 Connor Cook Michigan State QB 102.59
53 Kamalei Correa Boise State ED 98.95
54 Austin Johnson Penn State ID 97.10
55 Keanu Neal Florida ED 118.14
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
63 Devontae Booker Utah RB 90.00
64 Jeremy Cash Duke S 95.18
65 Deion Jones LSU OB 103.69
66 Kyler Fackrell Utah State ED 84.08
67 Jordan Jenkins Georgia ED 85.65
68 Christian Westerman Arizona State OG 87.15
69 Xavien Howard Baylor CB 97.04
70 Shon Coleman Auburn OT 109.08
71 Jalen Mills LSU S 99.21
72 Sheldon Day Notre Dame ID 110.76
73 Adolphus Washington Ohio State ID 89.52
74 Austin Hooper Stanford TE 80.98
75 Jihad Ward Illinois ID 110.05
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
80 Sean Davis Maryland S 115.40
81 Leonte Carroo Rutgers WR 87.27
82 Kentrell Brothers Missouri OB 90.86
83 Maliek Collins Nebraska ID 104.66
84 Nick Vannett Ohio State TE 103.30
85 Carl Nassib Penn State ID 93.15
86 Paul Perkins UCLA RB 114.22
87 Jordan Howard Indiana RB 82.25
88 Hassan Ridgeway Texas ID 92.78
89 Rashard Higgins Colorado State WR 88.06
90 Alex Collins Arkansas RB 112.36
91 C.J. Prosise Notre Dame RB 84.91
92 Justin Simmons Boston College S 106.17
93 Jerald Hawkins LSU OT 97.33
94 Will Redmond Mississippi State CB 89.54
95 Vadal Alexander LSU OG 106.47
96 Willie Henry Michigan ID 114.00
97 Max Tuerk Southern California OC 85.05
98 Christian Hackenberg Penn State QB 104.47
99 Cardale Jones Ohio State QB 107.77
100 T.J. Green Clemson S 136.22


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