Consensus NFL Draft Big Board: Defense

Continuing the exercise started yesterday, today we turn our attention to how five draft websites grade the best defensive players available in this weekend’s draft. Unlike their offensive brethren, who are generally considered to be members of a weak crop (especially at the skill positions), there are scores of highly regarded defensive players available for teams to snatch up. Again, the five authors/websites I used were:

Charlie Campbell (CC), Walterfootball.com

Rob Rang (RR), NFLDraftScout.com

Scott Wright (SW), draftcountdown.com

Mike Mayock (MM), NFL.com

Authors unknown, Draftek.com (DT)

And now the consensus best 32 available defensive players in this year’s draft…

Consensus Top-Five Prospect:

1. Sharrif Floyd, defensive tackle, Florida.

  • Average big board rank: 5.0
  • High: (MM)
  • Low: 12 (SW)

Consensus Top-Ten Prospects:

2. Star Lotulelei, defensive tackle, Utah.

  • Average big board rank: 6.0
  • High: (CC)
  • Low: 11 (MM)

3. Dee Milliner, cornerback, Alabama.

  • Average big board rank: 7.2
  • High: (RR, SW, DT)
  • Low: 16 (MM)

4. Dion Jordan, linebacker, Oregon.

  • Average big board rank: 8.6
  • High: (DT)
  • Low: 20 (RR)

5. Ezekial Ansah, defensive end, Brigham Young.

  • Average big board rank: 9.2
  • High: (RR)
  • Low: 13 (CC)

6. Sheldon Richardson, defensive tackle, Missouri.

  • Average big board rank: 9.2
  • High: (CC, MM)
  • Low: 13 (DT)

Consensus First-Round-Worthy Prospects

7. Jarvis Jones, linebacker, Georgia.

  • Average big board rank: 11.6
  • High: (CC)
  • Low: 19 (MM)

8. Barkevious Mingo, defensive end/outside linebacker, Louisana State.

  • Average big board rank: 14.8
  • High: 10 (MM)
  • Low: 22 (RR)

9. Bjoern Werner, defensive end, Florida State.

  • Average big board rank: 17.0
  • High: (DT)
  • Low: 26 (MM)

10. Kenny Vaccaro, safety, Texas.

  • Average big board rank: 17.6
  • High: 15 (SW, DT)
  • Low: 24 (RR)

11. Xavier Rhodes, cornerback, Florida State. 

  • Average big board rank: 19.6
  • High: 16 (RR, DT)
  • Low: 23 (CC, SW)

12. Desmond Trufant, cornerback, Washington.

  • Average big board rank: 24.4
  • High: 14 (DT)
  • Low: 35 (MM)

Consensus Late First Round/Early Second Round Prospects:

13. Datone Jones, defensive end, UCLA.

  • Average big board rank: 27.8
  • High: 21 (DT)
  • Low: 31 (CC, RR)

14. Damontre Moore, defensive end, Texas A&M.

  • Average big board rank: 28.2
  • High: 18 (CC)
  • Low: 33 (MM)

15. Sylvester Williams, defensive tackle, North Carolina.

  • Average big board rank: 28.8
  • High: 19 (SW)
  • Low: 47 (RR)

16. Manti Te’o, inside linebacker, Notre Dame.

  • Average big board rank: 29.6
  • High: 18 (SW)
  • Low: 36 (RR, DT)

17. Arthur Brown, inside linebacker, Kansas State.

  • Average big board rank: 31.2
  • High: 19 (DT)
  • Low: 47 (CC)

18. Matt Elam, safety, Florida.

  • Average big board rank: 33.0
  • High: 20 (CC)
  • Low: 50 (SW)

19. Alec Ogletree, inside linebacker, Georgia.

  • Average big board rank: 35.0
  • High: 12 (CC)
  • Low: 70 (RR)

20. Kawann Short, defensive tackle, Purdue.

  • Average big board rank: 37.0
  • High: 21 (CC)
  • Low: 44 (SW)

21. Kevin Minter, inside linebacker, Louisiana State.

  • Average big board rank: 37.2
  • High: 27 (CC)
  • Low: 49 (RR)

22. Eric Reid, safety, Louisiana State.

  • Average big board rank: 37.8
  • High: 27 (SW)
  • Low: 59 (CC)

23. Jamar Taylor, cornerback, Boise State.

  • Average big board rank: 38.4
  • High: 27 (RR)
  • Low: 51 (MM)

24. Jonathan Cyprien, safety, Florida International.

  • Average big board rank: 38.6
  • High: 28 (DT)
  • Low: 46 (RR)

Consensus Second-Round-Worthy Prospects:

25. Johnthan Banks, cornerback, Mississippi State.

  • Average big board rank: 42.6
  • High: 37 (CC)
  • Low: 50 (RR)

26. Margus Hunt, defensive end, Southern Methodist.

  • Average big board rank: 45.2
  • High: 32 (RR)
  • Low: 72 (DT)

27. Johnathan Hankins, defensive tackle, Ohio State.

  • Average big board rank: 45.6
  • High: 33 (SW)
  • Low: 64 (RR)

28. D.J. Hayden, cornerback, Houston.

  • Average big board rank: 47.2
  • High: 14 (MM)
  • Low: 112 (DT)

29. Cornellius Carradine, defensive end, Florida State.

  • Average big board rank: 47.6
  • High: 22 (DT)
  • Low: Unlisted (MM)

30. Alex Okafor, defensive end, Texas.

  • Average big board rank: 49.4
  • High: 25 (CC)
  • Low: 79 (MM)

31. Jonathan Jenkins, defensive tackle, Georgia.

  • Average big board rank: 54.4
  • High: 38 (CC)
  • Low: 71 (MM)

Consensus Late Second Round/Early Third Round Prospect:

32. Jesse Williams, defensive tackle, Alabama.

  • Average big board rank: 57.4
  • High: 26 (DT)
  • Low: 97 (MM)
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Consensus NFL Draft Big Board: Offense

I haven’t posted very much about the upcoming NFL Draft for a couple reasons. First, I’m no talent scout and won’t pretend that I have any special insight into which college players will blossom into stars in the NFL. Second, as Bill Barnwell and Chase Stuart have noted in the past couple days, it’s not entirely clear that even the best NFL general managers have that sort of insight, either. As much as we’d all like to think otherwise, the draft is a crapshoot in a lot of ways and just because Ted Thompson and John Schneider have had some great drafts in the past few years doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to keep hitting home runs this year. Same logic applies in reverse to  Jeff Ireland and Buddy Nix.

However, I think there is some value in gleaning the wisdom of crowds – that is, paying particular note to players who are rated consistently high across the board by a wide range of draft observers. So over the next couple of days, I’ll be looking at the draft big boards of five different websites and taking a look at each player’s average ranking, then posting the consensus top 32 players on both offense and defense. The five authors/websites I used for this exercise were:

Charlie Campbell (CC), Walterfootball.com

Rob Rang (RR), NFLDraftScout.com

Scott Wright (SW), draftcountdown.com

Mike Mayock (MM), NFL.com

Authors unknown, Draftek.com (DT)

Today, we start with offense. And as you’re about to see, the draftniks clearly find this year’s crop to be below-average, particularly once you get past the run of highly-regarded offensive linemen…

Consensus Top-Five Prospects:

1. Luke Joeckel, tackle, Texas A&M. 

  • Average big board rank: 1.6.
  • High: (CC, RR, DT).
  • Low: (MM)

2. Eric Fisher, tackle, Central Michigan.

  • Average big board rank: 2.2
  • High: (SW, MM)
  • Low: (CC)

Consensus Top-Ten Prospects:

3. Jonathan Cooper, guard, North Carolina.

  • Average big board rank: 7.4
  • High: (SW)
  • Low: (CC)

4. Lane Johnson, tackle, Oklahoma.

  • Average big board rank: 7.8
  • High: (MM)
  • Low: 10 (CC)

5. Chance Warmack, guard, Alabama.

  • Average big board rank: 8.6
  • High: (MM)
  • Low: 14 (DT)

Consensus First-Round-Worthy Prospects:

6. Tavon Austin, wide receiver, West Virginia.

  • Average big board rank: 17.4
  • High: 12 (MM)
  • Low: 30 (SW)

7. Tyler Eifert, tight end, Notre Dame.

  • Average big board rank: 20.4
  • High: 13 (MM)
  • Low: 29 (CC)

8. Geno Smith, quarterback, West Virginia.

  • Average big board rank: 21.8
  • High: 17 (RR, DT)
  • Low: 30 (CC)

9. Cordarrelle Patterson, wide receiver, Tennessee.

  • Average big board rank: 22.0
  • High: 11 (RR)
  • Low: 30 (MM)

10. D.J. Fluker, tackle, Alabama.

  • Average big board rank: 24.2
  • High: 13 (SW)
  • Low: 48 (CC)

Consensus Late First Round/Early Second Round Prospects:

11. Justin Hunter, wide receiver, Tennessee.

  • Average big board rank: 32.6
  • High: 19 (CC)
  • Low: 45 (DT)

12. Keenan Allen, wide receiver, California.

  • Average big board rank: 32.6
  • High: 23 (RR)
  • Low: 47 (SW)

13. Eddie Lacy, running back, Alabama.

  • Average big board rank: 33.4
  • High: 18 (MM)
  • Low: 42 (CC)

14. DeAndre Hopkins, wide receiver, Clemson.

  • Average big board rank: 38.4
  • High: 28 (RR)
  • Low: 48 (DT)

15. Matt Barkley, quarterback, Southern California.

  • Average big board rank: 39.8
  • High: 18 (RR)
  • Low: 61 (DT)

Consensus Second-Round-Worthy Prospects:

16. Zach Ertz, tight end, Stanford.

  • Average big board rank: 42.2
  • High: 38 (RR, DT)
  • Low: 49 (CC)

17. Robert Woods, wide receiver, Southern California.

  • Average big board rank: 42.6
  • High: 25 (RR)
  • Low: 58 (CC)

18. Larry Warford, guard, Kentucky.

  • Average big board rank: 46.6
  • High: 26 (CC)
  • Low: 65 (SW)

Consensus Late Second Round/Early Third Round Prospects:

19. Giovani Bernard, running back, North Carolina.

  • Average big board rank: 57.2
  • High: 41 (CC)
  • Low: 74 (RR)

20. E.J. Manuel, quarterback, Florida State.

  • Average big board rank: 57.2
  • High: 41 (MM)
  • Low: 85 (CC)

21. Terrance Williams, wide receiver, Baylor.

  • Average big board rank: 58.8
  • High: 50 (CC)
  • Low: 71 (RR)

22. Ryan Nassib, quarterback, Syracuse.

  • Average big board rank: 60.6
  • High: 47 (DT)
  • Low: 98 (CC)

23. Menelik Watson, tackle, Florida State.

  • Average big board rank: 63.0
  • High: 31 (MM)
  • Low: Unlisted (CC)

24. Kyle Long, guard, Oregon.

  • Average big board rank: 64.4
  • High: 29 (MM)
  • Low: 122 (DT)

25. Justin Pugh, tackle, Syracuse.

  • Average big board rank: 64.6
  • High: 24 (MM)
  • Low: Unlisted (CC)

26. Montee Ball, running back, Wisconsin.

  • Average big board rank: 65.2
  • High: 37 (SW)
  • Low: 87 (DT)

27. Quinton Patton, wide receiver, Louisiana Tech.

  • Average big board rank: 65.8
  • High: 51 (RR)
  • Low: 78 (MM)

Consensus Third-Round-Worthy Prospects:

28. Tyler Wilson, quarterback, Arkansas.

  • Average big board rank: 71.0
  • High: 45 (RR)
  • Low: Unlisted (MM)

29. Johnathan Franklin, running back, UCLA.

  • Average big board rank: 73.0
  • High: 55 (RR)
  • Low: 100 (MM)

30. Tyler Bray, quarterback, Tennessee.

  • Average big board rank: 73.4
  • High: 40 (DT)
  • Low: Unlisted (RR)

31. Barrett Jones, center, Alabama.

  • Average big board rank: 74.2
  • High: 43 (CC)
  • Low: 94 (RR)

32. Terron Armstead, tackle, Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

  • Average big board rank: 75.0
  • High: 60 (RR)
  • Low: Unlisted (CC)

Who Are The Most Similar College Quarterbacks to Geno Smith?

Given the recent scathing scouting report of West Virginia QB and likely first quarterback to be drafted Geno Smith by Pro Football Weekly’s Nolan Nawrocki, I was inspired to take a closer look at Smith’s college stats and then, using College Football Reference’s Play Index tool, try to determine the quarterbacks from this century who had the most similar numbers. Taking approximately ninety seconds to whip up, it’s needless to say that this research is exhaustive and thorough. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s take a gander at Smith’s college doppelgangers:

Rk Player From To School Att Pct Rate
1 Kellen Moore 2008 2011 Boise State 1658 69.8 169.0
2 Colt Brennan 2005 2007 Hawaii 1584 70.4 167.6
3 Andrew Luck 2009 2011 Stanford 1064 67.0 162.8
4 Case Keenum 2007 2011 Houston 2229 69.4 160.6
5 Robert Griffin III 2008 2011 Baylor 1192 67.1 158.9
6 Brian Brohm 2004 2007 Louisville 1185 65.8 157.9
7 Brandon Weeden 2008 2011 Oklahoma State 1102 69.5 157.7
8 Bruce Gradkowski 2002 2005 Toledo 1123 68.2 157.4
9 Colt McCoy 2006 2009 Texas 1645 70.3 155.0
10 Graham Harrell 2005 2008 Texas Tech 2010 69.8 154.4
11 Geno Smith 2009 2012 West Virginia 1465 67.4 153.5
12 Byron Leftwich 2000 2002 Marshall 1418 65.2 151.9
13 Ben Roethlisberger 2001 2003 Miami (OH) 1304 65.5 151.3
14 Max Hall 2007 2009 Brigham Young 1382 65.3 151.1
15 Chase Daniel 2005 2008 Missouri 1609 68.0 148.9
16 Chase Holbrook 2006 2008 New Mexico State 1566 69.4 145.6
17 Seth Doege 2009 2012 Texas Tech 1187 69.0 144.9
18 Brian Johnson 2004 2008 Utah 1017 66.2 144.2
19 Dan Lefevour 2006 2009 Central Michigan 1763 66.4 142.9
20 Taylor Potts 2007 2010 Texas Tech 1106 66.3 139.8
Passing
Rk Player From To School Att Pct Rate
21 Matt Schaub 2000 2003 Virginia 1069 67.0 138.4
22 Nick Foles 2007 2011 1403 66.9 138.2
23 Riley Skinner 2006 2009 Wake Forest 1349 66.9 136.9
24 Kliff Kingsbury 2000 2002 Texas Tech 1824 66.0 133.1
25 Dominique Davis 2010 2011 East Carolina 1103 65.9 132.9
26 Clint Marks 2003 2006 Middle Tennessee State 1012 66.0 132.5

“Att” stands for total number of pass attempts over the player’s career, “Pct” stands for career completion percentage and “Rate” stands for career passing efficiency rating (NOT the same formula as the NFL passer rating system, as you can probably tell by a few players rating above 158.3). These are the 26 quarterbacks since 2000 who have thrown at least 1000 pass attempts, completed at least 65% of their passes and had a passer efficiency rating between 130 and 170 for their college career.

If you’re looking to make the case that Smith is going to be a star quarterback in the NFL, you would probably start by noting the players who have the most similar career completion percentage include RGIII, Andrew Luck and Matt Schaub – three guys who all seem to have turned out okay. Smith’s efficiency rating is also very similar to that of Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich (hey, he was once a viable starting quarterback in the NFL! Let’s not take that away from him.). Of course, if you’re Nolan Nawrocki and you’re looking to make the opposite claim, you’d emphasize that Smith’s completion percentage is also very similar to Bruce Gradkowski, Riley Skinner and Nick Foles (who, I guess, the jury is still out on, but it’s not looking great). You’d also probably note that Brandon Weeden, Colt McCoy and Chase Daniel all had more impressive career statistics playing at a time when the Big 12 was significantly tougher and none of them have exactly set the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE on fire. Personally, I’m not a diviner of the future; I have no idea how Smith is going to turn out. If I had to guess, I’d say he probably settles into a career as a Phil Simms-type who generally performs as a league-average starting quarterback, with a few seasons well above that level and some years well below as well. Whatever happens, though, let’s just happen he doesn’t go the way of Clint Marks or Dan LeFevour.

The Rising Star of the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine: The All-New S-Series by John Deere

The NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis tends to get quite a bit more attention than it really deserves – mostly because it’s February and there’s nothing else to do, but still! While working out college prospects in a t-shirt and shorts may make for good (or mediocre) TV and running a series of physical and mental tests on each player may expose some hidden concerns every once in a great while (poor Star Lotulelei), for the most part there isn’t any new information to be gleaned from these proceedings that should in any way, shape or form take precedence over analyzing the tape and stats of what these players did during actual games. Start putting too much emphasis on Combine results and you end up like the Raiders – a team full of guys who can run a 4.3 in the 40 but can’t catch or tackle. Any player whose draft stock rises by a couple rounds due to what they do in Indianapolis this week should be looked upon with great suspicion – and the exact opposite is true for those who perform poorly. Frankly, any NFL-related diversion is a welcome diversion, but the Combine shouldn’t be regarded as anything more than that.

With that said, however…there’s one prospect from a tiny school in the Midwest who has been making a lot of headlines with his performance in workouts thus far. He came in with little buzz but may leave Indianapolis as a potential top-five pick. He may even be, as one league general manager told me yesterday, “a guy who could change the face of the league forever.” With high praise like that, how can you not let go of all skepticism you may have stored up and believe blindly in the potential of a player who’s never played a down in the NFL? Let’s look at this player a little more in depth…

  • Name: John Deere S690 S-Series Combine
  • College: Cornholer University (Omaha, Nebraska)
  • Height: 13 feet 0 in.
  • Weight: 43,730 lb.
  • 40-Yard Dash Time: 4.32 (threshing); 2.00 (highway)
  • Bench Press: 7,439 reps
  • Vertical Jump: 10 inches (achieved by going full speed over a small hill)
  • Broad Jump: 0 inches
  • Cone Drill: 4.87 seconds
  • 20-Yard Shuttle: 3.13 seconds
  • 60-Yard Shuttle: 7.01 seconds

Strengths:

Overwhelming size confounds linemen at the point of attack and compels opponents to run out of his way whenever he steps on the field…Mows down everything that’s set in his path, including turf and any stray birds that may have been briefly grazing on the field…Impossible to bring down after he’s built up a good head of steam…Knocks down a ton of passes at the line of scrimmage due to superior height and width…Hard worker in the film room and wants to improve his technique every single day…Ultra-competitive, desires to grind every opponent he comes across into a bloody, crumpled mess…consistently delivers the highest grain and straw quality on the market…

Weaknesses:

Lacking top-flight agility; could not run cone drill without running over the cones and obliterating each one into a thousand pieces. Portent of things to come against elite pass blocker?…Cannot get legs off the ground without some sort of secondary assist, though overwhelming height partially makes up for this issue. Would still be a liability in pass coverage against a great leaping receiver such as Calvin Johnson or Vincent Jackson, however…Has a tendency to run out of gas quickly due to consistently high effort level and take plays off to refuel. Perhaps future model can provide higher MPG?…Failed to answer a single question during time allotted for Wonderlic exam; agent claims this is due to fact that he has no mouth, hands or other means of communicating and not because of any attitude problems. Still may be best to give him simplified assignments at first before he shows he’s capable of learning the intricacies of an NFL playbook…Ultra-competitiveness can come back to bite him, as he has literally ground some former opponents into a bloody and crumpled mess…

What Scouts Are Saying:

  • “Completely and utterly unblockable – if you tried to block him, you’d get killed. Literally. I used to joke about that when Reggie White was first coming out of college, but not in this case. Death is a serious issue when going up against him. As an opponent, I’d worry about that.”
  • “If you’ve just got him at a threshing top speed, then you’ve got a shot – he’s fast, then, but every team’s got three or four guys who are just as fast. If he’s operating at top road speed, though, then it’s all over. I’ve never seen anyone fly around the field like that. It makes really makes you wonder – where did this kid come from? Another planet? And why is he green and twice the height of all our other players?”
  • “All I’ve heard about the guy is how soft-spoken and compliant he is. Might not be the brightest kid around, but my God, does he give a consistent effort. If you tell him to do something, he does it. And he also has two cupholders in his mouth for whenever you’ve got a Diet Coke on the sidelines that you need stored close-by. His attitude and work ethic are off the charts, really.”

Draft Outlook:

Would likely have been a Top 5 pick after news of his initial workouts spread; after his embarassing Wonderlic score, however, he has fallen back down to the 6th or 7th round range.