I am not a perfect NFL Draft talent evaluator. No one is. NFL teams get it wrong every year. It is an inexact science. The key to becoming a better evaluator is figuring out where you went wrong and learning from it.
The 2018 NFL Draft was my worst year in the six-year that I have been running DeepFriedDraft.com. The Huddle Report scores hundreds of NFL Draft evaluators on Mock Draft and Top 100 accuracy. Mock Drafts are complete crapshoots and my accuracy on those does not affect me. The Top 100, however, means a great deal to me. So when I had my worst score in six years, it had me questioning every single one of my scouting methods. What did I do wrong? What can I do to get better? Do I need to completely overhaul my methodology? These are just a handful of things I was asking myself.
WHAT WAS MY BIGGEST ISSUE?
The cornerback position caused me a great headache after the conclusion of the NFL Draft. I had thirteen CBs ranked in my final Top 100. Only eight of them were selected in the first 100 picks. Four of them went UNDRAFTED! This became a point of personal embarrassment for me. How could I be so wrong?
With my #67 ranked player, Kevin Toliver (LSU), it seems I ignored the fact that he was consistently losing playing time to younger players. Why was this? His 2016 tape showed a great cover man. Was it a work ethic issue? My #68 player, Tarvarus McFadden (Florida State), had a great 2016 season. His 2017 game tape was not ideal but surely the skills were still there. Then he ran a 4.68 forty at the Combine. With my #77 rated prospect, Quenton Meeks (Stanford), everything checked out. He tested great at the Combine and he had no red flags to speak of. Did I miss something on tape? My #93 player, Holton Hill (Texas), had a series of marijuana-related incidents during his career. I thought surely NFL teams would ignore that to get their hands on a long, tall corner with excellent ball skills. Spoiler alert: they did not.
SO HOW DO I FIX THIS?
The main problem I have in evaluating corners is the tape I am watching. I only have access to the broadcast version of games. These often only show the initial bit of cornerback play and the finish. So much happens between Point A and Point B that are crucial to evaluation. Unfortunately, until college football All-22 tape becomes accessible like the NFL has with Game Pass, I don’t think I can fix this. I can, however, stop ignoring things that are readily apparent. Things like players losing snaps to younger talent. Things like multiple suspensions for drugs. I also can’t ignore when a corner runs a 4.6-plus forty. The percentages say the success rate for those players is very low. I just can’t ignore these warning signs anymore.
What else can I do to become a better evaluator? Let us know in the comments