6.0 to 5.00 -- Franchise Prospect -- A player who can change the course of a game and a consistent performer. Multiple Pro-Bowl possibilities and top ten selection. Top five pick and very rare.
4.99 to 4.10 -- Quality Prospect -- Someone that consistently gives good performances. Occasional Pro-Bowl appearances.
4.09 to 3.75 -- First-Year Contributor -- Prospect that has the ability to make plays from the get-go and start early into his rookie season.
3.74 to 3.45 -- Future Starter -- A good athlete that must learn to be a football player or someone who is an “overachiever”. Quality prospect with long term potential
3.44 to 3.35 -- Fence Player -- Prospect on the fence that has the skills and abilities to succeed but needs time and patience to develop those skills to the fullest.
3.34 to 2.99 -- Practice Squad -- Late-round player that must develop his talents on the practice squad and NFL Europe.
2.98 to 2.40 -- Free Agent -- Player who will make a 60 or 80 man roster.
As well as grading each player we give a prediction of where we feel they will be drafted. In a few situations there may be a player with a lower grade predicted to be drafted prior to a player with a higher one.
While some prospects grade lower presently, after a few seasons of development and maturity they should be better players in the long term. Factor in that drafting depends on a certain team’s needs, as well as the position played. Premiums are put on defensive line prospects as opposed to tight ends. Positions like guard and linebacker are sometimes seen as a "dime a dozen" opposed to cornerbacks or offensive tackles.
HEIGHT, WEIGHT & 40 TIMES
Over the course of the past several months much is said and written about the computer numbers of prospects in the draft. You'll see several differences in these numbers from different sources. The numbers associated with players are official height/weight/40 times from either combine workouts or individual Pro Day, but there is a side note.
There is 40 speed and playing speed, playing weight and workout weight. The weeks and months leading to the draft is filled with prospects working hard to specifically add bulk, become stronger or get their 40 time down. In reality many of these prospects cannot maintain this weight during the grind of a long season or do not play to the listed stopwatch speed. Where pertinent in the players' bios we spoke of either how they performed in recent individual or combine workouts to give you an idea of what direction they are headed. More importantly in the scouting report we give our opinions as to whether or not a prospect plays to his listed 40 time or weight room numbers.
READING THE STATS & REPORTS
While it's difficult not to be redundant we try to cut down the wordiness giving statistics. Here is how to read the stats line for different positions.
Passing - Completion Percentage/Passing Yards / Passing Touchdowns/Interceptions Rushing - Rushing Attempts/Rushing Yards/ Touchdowns Receiving - Receptions/Receiving Yards/ Touchdowns Defensive Line - Tackles/Tackles for Loss/Sacks Linebacker - Tackles/Tackles for Loss/Sacks/Interceptions/Passes Broken up Defensive Backs - Tackles/Interceptions/Passes Broken up (unless otherwise stated)
Anchor - the ability to hold one's ground and not be moved. Arm punch - the way an offensive lineman punches with his hands and arms when blocking an opponent. Ball skills - refers to how well a player reacts to the ball when it's in the air and makes a play on it. Ball Recognition - mentally recognizing the play at hand either before or as it happens Blind side - the side of the backfield on which the quarterback is not facing; the side opposite from his throwing arm. Block-down - when an offensive lineman lets opposing lineman go low and then blocks on top of him pinning him to the ground. Body-catches - when a receiver cradles the ball against his body rather than snatching it cleanly out of the air with his hands. Breaks-down - The ease in which a player gets into the proper playing position; i.e., bend knees, wide base, etc. Bull-rush - straight-ahead, power rush. Chop-block - block below the knees; defensive linemen who frequently "get cut" are, in other words, having difficulty avoiding cut blocks. Does not play to his listed speed - does not play as fast as his 40-time would suggest. Edge rusher - outside pass rusher or a lineman that rushes on the edge of the offensive line. Flashes - shows ability sporadically. Fluid in the hips - player can turn his body with a fluid motion, usually reflects a defender turning back to defend a pass. Forward lean - a player with good body lean runs or plays with his body leaning forward; a plus. Gathers to cut or block - a player that slows down in order to ready himself to block or chop his steps as he moves into his breaks. Gets depth - the ability of a linebacker to get down field in pass coverage. Gets through the traffic - moves well around pileups to make plays. High-cut - high-waisted; having long legs and a short upper body. Home-run hitter - one who is capable of breaking a big play. In space/In air - in an open area of the field; usually on the defensive side of the ball. Int - interception. Juke - elusive move to avoid a tackler. Knee-bender - a player who bends his knees rather than his waist; usually considered a positive. Leverage Player - staying low to the ground and using lower faculties to either block or move opponents off the ball; a definite positive. Long acceleration/Long gear - the ability to run faster the farther one goes, as opposed to running fast for only a short distance. Long-strider - a player who takes long steps instead of quick ones and, thus, tends to move slower into and out of his breaks. Loses in transition - usually a defensive back that will lose speed as he turns back to the ball. Motor - refers to a player's degree of intensity on the field. Moves through the traffic - moves well around pileups to make plays. Nifty - agile. Pad level - the height and angle of a player's pads during the course of action. PBU - pass break ups. Pick and choose - the ability to pick holes as a runner. Plays center field - the freedom given to a safety to roam the field, or a safety who's adept at doing so. Plays high/Plays tall - plays too upright, allowing an opponent to get underneath him; usually refers to a lineman. Press coverage - refers to a defensive back lining up on the line of scrimmage (i.e., bump-and-run coverage). Press on blockers - refers to a defensive lineman pressing on offensive linemen to keep them away from his body. Project - a player who will require substantial practice time before he is capable of playing regularly in the NFL. Read and anticipate/ diagnose - read the keys of a developing play and diagnose what is about to happen. Recovery Speed - the ability of a defensive back to quickly close on the ball or opponent. Redirect/ Readjust - the ability of a player to twist or turn his body in order to compensate for the oncoming angle of an opponent. Runs North-South - runs toward the goalline rather than laterally. Run through the ball - catch the ball without breaking stride. Rushes the edge - when a defensive lineman works the fringes instead of attacking straight ahead. Scrape and sift - the way in which a linebacker will avoid blockers, as opposed to taking them on. Second level blocking - Lineman's ability to get off the line and engage linebackers
Sell out - to sacrifice one's body. Separate/Separation - ability of a receiver to put distance between himself and the defender on a pass pattern. Shake-and-bake - quick, elusive moves. Slide - move laterally. Small-area player/ Short field/ limited range - a player who is effective only when responsible for a limited area of the field. Stay square - stay in front of opponent. Straight-line player - one who is effective running in a straight line but has trouble making cuts. Strong side - side of the offensive line where the tight end is lined up, making for more in-line blockers than on the opposite (weak) side. Take on and shed - a defensive player's ability to take on a blocker and defeat him, as opposed to running around him. Triangle numbers - size, speed and strength. Tweener - player whose projected position in the NFL falls in a gray area between two positions. Waist-bender - a player who bends at the waist rather than at the knees; it's usually considered a negative. Wall off/ Seals blocks - using one's body as a shield to create a wall so the defense can't get through to the ball-carrier. Weak side - the side of the offensive line without a tight end, which contains fewer in-line blockers than the opposite (strong) side. Wired in blocks - when a defender cannot get disengaged from an opposing block.