Kicking Off the Big Board


If you’ve been a reader of the site for the more than a year you’ll recall that we roll out our NFL Draft big board starting in the middle of March and finalize it a couple of weeks before the draft. If there’s one place we have a little bit of an advantage it’s in the college scouting department.

Staff writer Joe Soriano runs our FanSided Oregon Ducks property and keeps a watchful eye on the West Coast while my day job for the Miami Herald has me covering college sports at Florida State University. I’ve had the benefit of watching a number of these players with my own two eyes and being able to mingle with beat writers from other schools to develop opinions of players that extend well beyond measurements and assessments you can find on the internet.

Not to mention this is my favorite part of the year.

I love the NFL draft, I love scouting players, breaking down game film and trying to identify players that are being underrated, overrated and completely overlooked.

Over the coming weeks we’ll start with positional rankings before rolling out or top 100 players for the 2012 draft cycle. It’s a massive undertaking, one that is an absolute joy and a completely stressful undertaking all at the same time. But keep checking by, we promise you’ll be on top of the draft come round one at the end of April.

Before we get started, a few quick points that will help you parse some of this information:

  • This list is not based on draft economics, but rather merit. There will be players taken much higher than we have them rated because of runs on a certain position, or a lack of depth at the position, but these rankings are based on talent in a vacuum, not on team need.
  • I tend to favor on-field results over measurables. Everything matters, but LeGarrette Blount ran a 4.7 and Noel Devine ran a 4.3 (who would you prefer?), Wes Welker ran a 4.61 and Darrius Heyward-Bey ran a 4.31 (do I even need to ask?), do you get my point? Combine numbers are hardly a good determinant of NFL ability. Give me a guy who played, and put up good numbers and won over a workout warrior any day.
  • Potential only takes you so far, I am not a huge Tim Tebow guy but I love his line that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work as hard. I like smart players, scrappy players, guys who stay out of trouble. You will see several “more talented” players below conventionally less athletic guys with better intangibles because I feel they will translate better into the pro game.

Ok, now enjoy and leave plenty of comments!

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