First, I've got a grading system I'll throw out which is, of course, subject to as much criticism as y'all can muster. Any player that fits the following categories will get a, let's say, flag:
-) Low Position Depth: LPD (If a prospect plays at a position in which they are very few elite prospects, the likelihood is that teams won't go after many prospects at that position despite a team need. Examples would include Buffalo at QB or the Giants at MLB this year)
-) Conventional Wisdom Trap: CW (Easy to understand, difficult to identify where the CW is wrong)
-) Big Program: BP (A productive player at an important position on a successful team does not translate to automatic prospect value)
-) Unit Strength: US (Often, you'll see two or three players from the same unit at the same school talked of as real prospects. The truth that gets overlooked is that in that unit, there is one player who makes everyone else better or takes the focus from the opposition freeing up his unitmates to make bigger plays. Think of it like this - Ndamukong Suh was so dominant, he drew focus from opposing offensive lines. That allowed other defensive linemen to make plays they otherwise would not have been able to were Suh not so good. Were those other linemen to be judged, many would look at their production or their battles in a vacuum instead of gauging the role Suh played which allowed them to be so effective. Of course this applies to quarterbacks who have a great line and WRs or RBs with a great passing game and offensive line, etc.)
-) Prioritized Intangibles Position: PIP (You can't teach size, speed, arm length, etc. Some positions place a premium on those tangibles, others prioritize intagibles like vision, composure and intelligence. It's a hell of a lot harder to gauge how well someone will adjust to the game at different levels over a mult-year span than it is to time them over 40 yards.)
This doesn't have to be a final evaluation. I would love to get some feedback and implement it into the 2.0 mock, so if you have any input, put in. Let's just take a look at the first round after the jump.
Key: LPD - low position depth, CW - conventional wisdom, BP - big program, US - unit strength, PIP - prioritized intangible position
1.) Andrew Luck: QB, Stanford (CW, PIP)
2.) Jake Locker: QB, Washington (CW, PIP)
3.) A.J. Green: WR, Georgia (CW)
4.) Julio Jones: WR, Alabama (CW, BP, US)
5.) Adrian Clayborn: DE, Iowa (US)
6.) Marvin Austin: DT, N. Carolina (LPD, US)
7.) Robert Quinn: DE, N. Carolina (US, CW)
8.) Patrick Peterson: CB, LSU (LPD, CW, BP, PIP)
9.) Anthony Castonzo: OT, Boston College (LPD, CW, PIP)
10.) Gabe Carimi: OT, Wisconsin (LPD, CW, PIP)
11.) Prince Amukamara: CB, Nebraska (LPD, PIP)
12.) Sam Acho: DE, Texas (BP)
13.) Jurrell Casey: DT, USC (LPD, CW, BP, US)
14.) Michael Floyd: WR, Notre Dame (CW)
15.) Von Miller: DE/OLB, Texas A&M (CW)
16.) Quan Sturdivant: MLB, N. Carolina (LPD, CW, US, PIP)
17.) DeAndre McDaniel: SS, Clemson (LPD, US)
18.) Nick Foles: QB, Arizona (PIP)
19.) Cameron Heyward: DT/DE, Ohio St. (CW, BP)
20.) Chris Galippo: MLB, USC (LPD, BP, PIP)
21.) Ryan Mallett: QB, Arkansas (CW, PIP)
22.) Jonathan Baldwin: WR, Pitt (CW)
23.) Allen Bailey: DT/DE, Miami (CW, BP)
24.) Greg Romeus: DE, Pitt (CW)
25.) Jarvis Jenkins: DT, Clemson (LPD)
26.) Jared Crick: DT, Nebraska (LPD)
27.) Joseph Barksdale: OT, LSU (LPD, BP, PIP)
28.) Rodney Hudson: G, Florida St. (LPD)
29.) Bruce Carter: OLB, N. Carolina (LPD, US)
30.) Evan Royster: RB, Penn St. (LPD, BP)
31.) Ras-I Dowling: CB, Virginia (LPD, PIP)
32.) Travis Lewis: OLB, Oklahoma (LPD, CW, BP, US)
Of course now that I've gone through it, this is obviously a horrible system to help gauge which are the best candidates for bust-osity. These flags are entirely subjective to opinion, and I'm not entirely sure they really identify which prospects will fall, but maybe those with similarities to other prospects who have seen their prospects drop over the course of their pre-draft season.
The only two with four flags are Quan Sturdivant and Travis Lewis, two great LB prospects.
There are five prospects with three flags: Julio Jones (WR), Anthony Castonzo (OT), Gabe Carimi (OT), Chris Galippo (MLB) and Joseph Barksdale (OT). So out of the 4- and 3-flaggers, you've got 3 LBs, 3 OTs and a WR. No QBs, no RBs, no D-linemen - I'm not sold.
What am I missing here? Are there any names you think are bound to fall off of the cliff this season?
Well, I think that's going to do it for my immediate draftiness. I'll be keeping an eye on developments in the college football world and, obviously, all things Ram, but I'm going to start bearing down on a super secret TST project that is guaranteed to eclipse anything you've ever seen in any aspect since your birth. Just trying to set the bar low.