The NFL Draft Project is officially inaugurated with the release of the LBers by Wonder for the 2010 NFL Draft.
For those of you who do not know, the NFL Draft Project has been undertaken to document and verify a group of analysts who will be on record for their list of draft projections. Here is a link to an online PDF of Wonder's rankings and ratings of the crop of LBers in the Top 200. (Please click to zoom in after opening up the document.)
Ranking- This is the List of the top 200 players, 1 to 200 this year.
Value- This is the list of pure value for ranking for a normal draft year. Because there is less talent at the top, most players have a value rank that is not as good. As an example, Rolando McClain is the 7th best player available THIS YEAR. There are only 6 people ahead of him in the draft in 2010 (at other positions). But if this were a normal year, he would be rated as approximately 13th best for "Value." While we did not have to include "value" (optional for anyone else entering the Draft Project) we felt it needed to be delivered as well to demonstrate that 'objects appear larger' than they actually are.
Rating- This one is important. This is the measure by which the analysts will be verified. These are the projections for where the analysts see these players in 3 to 5 (final grade) years. The list of 1 to 7 ratings can be found on the original post where the Draft Project was introduced. A shorthand version can also be found on the online PDF.
Green/Red- Wonder selected 5 undervalued players in Green and 5 overvalued players in Red for extra credit/penalty in his confidence. One of those ten players is on this list and is noted with the color change.
The title of this blog post is important because this is the essence of the Draft Project... not being the LEMMINGS, the draft prognosticators who don't like a player and move them 5 spots down. That is CYA. That is ridiculous. How can it be that so many draft guys have such a tremendous consensus???!!! Isn't that a warning that they are all afraid of doing something unique, stepping out and being different? Wonder, Pete and (I hope) the other analysts who join this project will have the courage to call it like they see it. For the LBers, look no further than Brandon Spikes. Highly regarded by the consensus, but this is not about being in the consensus, this is about being correct and being verified. BEFORE Spikes' value fell and everyone began inching him down, his name was nowhere to be seen 2.5 weeks ago (BEFORE HIS 40 time). Why? Because Spikes is simply not fast enough to play great NFL football. He has terrific instincts. He has the ability to get to the ball. But the problem is that he won't be able to do what the NFL wants> go into coverage and stay on your man in this passhappy league. Result? He should be going at the end of R3 (98) for OUR rankings and really a Round 4 (120) grade. Importantly, the arbiter of our success will be that we project him as a 4, a replaceable starter, not even a solid starter. The forecast could be wrong. More than a few will be wrong. Wonder is on record and does not see him as the coveted Pro Bowler that some team will be looking for in R1 or R2 when they take him.
Ditto Navorro Bowman. When grading everyone, Wonder is remaining as objective as possible. He is not playing it safe. He has reviewed probably close to 200 hours of film and spent many hours with this blog cataloguing his reviews of well over 200 players. When you see a comment, it is his and his alone. You may not agree with him. This is not a popularity contest. There are going to be players he elevates to the moon and others he takes out back and shoots. This is the Non-Lemming's Guide to the 2010 NFL Draft.