Sunday, April 12, 2009

Team's Draft Boards

Chris Landry was a former NFL scout for two different teams before going independent. I don't know exactly what he does but I believe it's basically compiling research and scouting reports, and sell them to teams. He's also on Fox Sports Radio a good bit, and he calls into one of my local radio shows every Friday from 5 PM to 6 PM. I enjoy listening to it on the way home...starts the weekend right.

He had a great note this past show on team's drafting. Someone called in with a question about one of the OLs moving up team's draft boards, and Landy got somewhat irritated about the comment. The show's host asked him to explain to the listeners about that since most people don't really understand how a team's draft boards really work.

Landry said that most people think that teams have a board and move guys up and down as they gather information. That's what the media does, but it's not what teams do (despite that the media portrays it's what they do, which seemed to be what he was irritated by).

A team will simply gather information throughout the entire process, but will never actually rank players during that time. Once they've had all their meetings, they will get together (usually somewhere in the next week or so), and begin putting together their draft boards.

They will put each position out on a board, and begin ranking players in each position. Then, once they've got them all ranked, they'll decide which positions are most important, and decide among which guys they want in each of their spots according to their needs and how much they like certain prospects.

Thought that was interesting.


  1. Interesting.

    Also, I believe it's not true as far as the Ravens are concerned. All the stuff I've read over the years about the Ravens draft suggests that at some point in the weeks leading up to the draft, after they've ranked players at each position, the crew gets together and force-ranks all the players onto one "board".

  2. I think he was insinuating that's what was basically happening to an extent, though teams will keep their rankings by position set out as well. That way they can see both rankings, but if there's a need for a certain position, they'll have it all right there.

    Not sure, he wasn't explicit about it and honestly I don't remember word for word how it works. But I thought it was interesting that basically teams don't have a draft board even started until some time a week or two before the draft. The media makes it sound like guys are constantly moving up and down on teams' boards, but in reality they're just impacting their overall grades.

    Oh, speaking of, that's one piece I forgot. Once each position is ranked, they'll then go and grade each of those players. X guys are 1st round grades, Y second, etc...and this is independent of the number of picks in a round. He said there were some years when only around 20 players were first round grades, and some where 35 were. These grades are helpful to use figuring out overall where each player is ranked, as well as figuring out if you want to trade up or down from your current position.

  3. That's something I was wondering about, whether teams only ranked players relative to the draft class, or against some absolute notion of how good a prospect they are. A player might be the 2th best player in his draft class, but not a "1st round" talent because it's a weak year.

    It's not clear to me what a team should do in that situation. That sounds like a trade down situation; but if a guy is really the 20th-best player, shouldn't you just take him? Why would you prefer the 50th-best player? And a shallow draft with only 15 or so players having "1st round talent", isn't that a situation where you should be looking to trade *UP*, into that top 15 range?



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