A giant of coaching and general managing, Bill Parcells offered a different take on the 2011 NFL Draft class today, rolling out his big board for ESPN. Parcells breaks down prospects by giving them a grade based on the round where he would draft them. It's a pretty stark reminder of just how different teams view prospects.
At wide receiver, Parcells' only two first round grades went to the players you expect. His next three receivers, the only three getting second-round grades, diverge from the conventional wisdom just a little. Torry Smith, Randall Cobb and Titus Young all get second-round grades from Parcells, in that order. Cobb and Smith have both received some attention from the Rams, both are smaller, speedy players that could stretch the field...and probably put one of more of the Rams' current group onto the street come September. Leonard Hankerson, Jonathan Baldwin, Austin Pettis and Jerrell Jerinigan get third-round grades. Tandon Doss and Niles Paul get fourth-round grades.
Of the interior linemen, only Mike Pouncey gets a first-round nod from the Tuna. This probably reflects the idea in the NFL, one more prevalent in Parcells' prime than now, that interior linemen can be had as value picks in the middle to late rounds of the draft.
He gives Corey Liuget a second-round grade, but it's important to remember here that Parcells is a 3-4 guy, which makes a big difference in how a DT is valued. Staying with the 3-4, J.J. Watt is his top defensive end, and widely seen as the top 3-4 end in the draft. He has Aldon Smith and Ryan Kerrigan as first-round outside linebackers.
At running back, only Mark Ingram gets a first-round nod. In the second round, he ranks Ryan Williams atop the group followed by Daniel Thomas and Mikel Leshoure.
More than anything, it's an interesting look at what a different team does to rank players in the draft, and why there are so many "surprises" during the draft itself. Parcells isn't perfect...remember, he did draft Bobby Carpenter in the first round.