Mayock is right, assigning letter grades to a draft class where statistically speaking a 1st round selection still only has a 50/50 chance of finding a successful NFL career is a waste of time. And effort. Every team got better this past weekend because they added assets which they previously did not. This isn't like free agency, where teams gain players at the expense of other teams. We all got better. All 32 teams are better today then they were on Wednesday the 7th. But that doesn't mean you still can't evaluate the job teams did over the weekend.
The primary focus of the NFL Draft is to maneuver oneself up and down the board to match the value of the prospect with the value of the pick they are chosen with. This seems simple enough, take a 1st round value in the first round, a second round value in the second...until you consider how delicate the board is. NDT Scouting's talent evaluations from this year yielded 4 'Top 10 Values'. Teams selecting with picks 1-4 have the luxury of being guaranteed a prospect with appropriate value for their first selection. But teams selecting 5-10? They face the difficult task of having a top 10 selection with potentially no 'Top 10 values' on the board. If you are not familiar with how I evaluate players, you can read a brief summary here.
So the question to be asked next is how, when a class is finished, does one go about measuring the value of the selections made on the board? For this, I will be using MY evaluations, MY big board. If you don't agree with my personal rankings, you inherently will not agree with my assessment of a team's value metric. Let's take a look at the San Diego Chargers for an example:
The key on the right highlights each of the "tiers" specified in my scoring system. A Top 10 value is obviously a top 10 pick of the first round, while an Early 2nd Round value is considered picks 33-42. Going down the list, the Chargers managed to select a 1st round value in Jason Verrett at pick 25. The value of the player is the same as the value of the selection, so the score is zero. The higher the number, the better, it means you are getting a player several tiers more talented than the slot he is being selected. The Chargers managed to get their hands on LB Jeremiah Attaochu (evaluated by NDT Scouting as an Early 2nd Round value) in the Second Round, but AFTER the first tier of 2nd round picks considered Early 2nd Round value. Because according to NDT Scouting Attaochu is valued in a tier above where he was selected, the Chargers receive a score of 1 for this pick. Ultimately, each pick is ranked on this scale system and the entire class is added. The sum (or difference) determines how good each team was at getting proper or exceptional value at each one of their selections.
Before continuing onto each team's class, it is worth mentioning that NDT Scouting evaluated over 350 players in preparation of the 2014 NFL Draft. Of the 256 selections in this year's class, 49 were NOT evaluated by NDT Scouting. These players are given a tier of UDFA for scoring purposes, as they did not make their way onto NDT Scouting's final big board of 328 draftable players. Let's progress through the divisions:
Of course, we would be remiss to not rank the teams in this "value metric" from highest to lowest as a means of illustrating which teams did the best job maximizing value for their selections in accordance with NDT Scouting's Big Board across the entire draft. So without further delay, here is NDT Scouting's 2014 NFL Draft Value Metric Leaderboard:
2014 FINAL VALUE METRIC STANDINGS
I honestly believe this is a new, more full picture way of evaluating a draft class. The Rams did a wonderful job at the top of the board in the 1st round selecting 2 players that are going to be very important pieces to their football team for the foreseeable future. But the phrase is "Day 3 is where champions are built" and the Rams simply were off the mark in the later half of the day. I hope that this lets you open your eyes and take a secondary look at your team's 2014 draft class. It should be noted that just because selections are marked in the negative, it doesn't always mean I dislike the pick and the fit of the player with the team. It just simply notates that the value of the selection being made at the time was not appropriate with the value of the player in question.
EDIT: I have received quite a bit of positive feedback in regards to this approach, but one thing consistently asked for is an additional step to calculate each respective team's value PER PICK. Zac Andrews (@clocktimer_) was kind enough to take this step for me in advance:
This additional step helps clarify which teams made the most of their picks (whether they had few or many) by determining their per pick Value metric average. A special thank you to Zac for taking the liberty of illustrating this and sending it to me.
I would like to take a moment to thank everyone for a wonderful 2014 draft season. I will have plenty of more content regarding 2014 classes in the coming weeks, as well as begin to shift my focus towards the 2015 class as well!
Did you enjoy this article? Do you have any questions? Reach Kyle Crabbs, founder of NDT Scouting, on Twitter via @NFLDraftTracker and let him know. Also for your consideration, swing by NDT Scouting's homepage at www.NDTScouting.com and take a look around.