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NFL Draft

2020 NFL Draft Commonality Scoring: Which Team Grades And Covets Players Like I Do?

  • The Draft Network
  • May 5, 2020
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As an NFL draft analyst, deciphering who "won" the draft on any given year is never as simple as pointing to your personal big board and referencing the best values in the real thing. 

Player medicals, which are often private, can weigh heavily on teams' valuation of prospects. And each of the league's 32 clubs are assessing each player from their own unique point of view and set criteria. The draft isn't a one size fits all affair; yet as an analyst that is effectively the viewpoint necessary when stacking players on a board for the sake of rankings.

It has served as a valuable lesson over my years of draft coverage: Teams aren't valuing players based on a wide-view set of criteria and we shouldn't instantly assume those who covet players differently than the public consensus automatically had a bad draft. 

A fun side project that comes with the acknowledgment that 32 teams grade players through 32 separate sets of criteria is the search of which franchises have drafts — and presumably draft boards — that most closely resemble my own unique process of grading players. This isn't determining who is necessarily right but rather determining which NFL scouting departments think and grade players in line with my own opinions from the outside looking in.

Over the past three seasons, I have utilized the Jimmy Johnson Trade Value chart to produce point values for prospects on my own individual player rankings ahead of the draft. For example, Joe Burrow was my No. 1 player this year. His value, according to that chart, equates to 3,000 points. My second-rated player was Chase Young, and his point value was 2,600.

After the draft, I assess where a team's picks were valued and whether or not it netted positive or negative points versus my draft board. There is some fine print here when weighing the importance of earlier picks, trading assets and so on, but that serves as the general concept. Players are worth points and so are picks. Do the players acquired equate to more or less points than the total sum of the picks spent to get them?

The higher the net points are, the more closely a team covets players similar to my own rankings. The question now becomes: Which NFL franchise most similarly grades and covets players to me and my own process?

Over the course of the last three drafts, the Saints are officially the team that targets talent in line with my own rankings the most. I have not run this analysis for the 2017 draft and therefore it is not a part of the sample size; the Saints brought in Marshon Lattimore, Ryan Ramczyk, Marcus Williams and Alvin Kamara that year — a potential all-time class.

New Orleans wasn’t the highest scoring class of 2020 versus my own ranks in this analysis but its cumulative three-year score grants it the top spot courtesy of selections like Zack Baun at No. 74 and Adam Trautman at No. 105 this year, plus Erik McCoy at No. 48 and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson at No. 105 in 2019. Those aren't the only selections the Saints have made, but they were big swings versus my own rankings and provided them with the push in getting good value outside the first round.

Only one other franchise has consistently drafted close to the Saints' pace as it relates to my personal rankings: the Cardinals. Arizona was the team that most drafted along my rankings in 2020. The Cardinals also one of just two clubs to finish in the top 10 in commonality scoring in each of the last three drafts.

Where does your team land on the spectrum? Keep an eye out in the coming weeks. I'll be running some extensive content regarding team draft classes and how they stack up versus my own process, including lessons I've learned from teams deviating away from my rankings and why context is key with every pick in every draft.

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