For investigational purposes, we are going to take a small look at Scouts, Inc. for more ideas on what is out there and how our draft analysts will distinguish themselves from the pack.
For starters, you can go to the ESPN Draft home page and you'll get Scouts Inc.'s Top 32 on their Board. If you have an "insider" pass, you can view their Top 150 and also their grading system.
The Grading system is KEY to understanding why our Draft Project will verify and why others fall woefully short.
Scouts Inc. has a 0-100 system, with
90-100 as their elite "rare prospect" ("1") grade
80-89 as their next tier ("2")
70-79 as their "solid" grading ("3", coincidentally our solid starter)
60-69 as their "good" level, for us a "4" replaceable starter
50-59 as their backup special teams etc...
While it looks quite similar, there are two major differences. (1) These are only classifications for what these college players are as prospects, not for WHERE THEY WILL PROJECT as pros. This is important for verification. Our grades are for where we see these players in 3 to 5 years from now in the NFL. (2) Sites like these grade on a curve! Their rationale (and indeed the rationale of most Draft sites and the entire cottage industry, for that matter) is that each year has to be segregated into bins or tranches of the elite etc.. so that they can be distinguished. But what if there are no elites! Between Wonder and Pete, the two of them COMBINED voted that there were a total of TWO players who deserved a "1" projection as a consistent all-pro dominant player. Contrast that with Scouts Inc., that has 26 players with that coveted 90+ elite rating. It does not work that way! If your draft class is weaker, your class is not going to unseat the professionals that came in before them for jobs. The second tier from 80-89 collected 35 players in that bin, so by this metric a total of 61 players would seemingly be able to reach pro bowl caliber! From one class!! Of course that number is impossible. So it goes back to grading on a curve, that these players are merely better than the rest, which is fine. But how do you grade that and verify that 5 years from now?!
Grading on a curve may work in school, but in real life either you have it or you don't. It is not enough to merely distinguish which people in a class are better than their peers for THAT year. You have to evaluate on a projection. Because if you take it to a limit, and everyone in the draft class is not of professional caliber, that means you want to be trading down and trading out of this year's class (and vice versa).
Maybe this year's GMs see it differently. Our staff of two analysts is not (yet!) the final word on what is in this draft. But at least at this early juncture we have delivered information that not only ranks the players vs their peers but also says where they will be in 5 years. It is that extra dimension that gives "relief" to this map. Combined with frank commentary and a willingness to be bold about where every player is, it is making a difference for me in the way I see the draft and I trust that it is making a difference for you as well. All of us here on the blog appreciate your patience in seeing how these guys end up verifying, but it is nice to know that we have an infrastructure in place that will get that done. It is hard for you to wait, so we appeciate that. Imagine how hard it is for these guys to do the work they are doing, with no concrete results for at least another 2-4 years! We'll get there.