NFL Draft 2014: The raw grade "vertical draft board"

USA TODAY Sports

A "Raw Grade Top-170" list

Once Derek Stephens had completed the Seahawks Horizontal Draft Board, I thought it would be interesting to create a list -- highest grade to lowest -- of every player that had a 4th round grade or better per his scouting. Remember, Derek has gone through hundreds of hours of film in order to write his reports for CBSSports/NFLDraftScout.com and Lindys' Draft Guide, and has thus determined grades and rankings for draft-able players at each offensive and defensive position.

Initially, he wasn't sure if this was a good idea to use the raw grades because a list like that ignores positional value and positional scarcity. Positional value and positional scarcity are related and yet distinct concepts in my mind, and should impact a "Top 150" list, in my opinion. In this scenario, I wanted to hold off and just let the original grades speak- and not try to reorganize the board to what the "Draft-Hive-Mind" tells us will happen this week in the Draft.

Let me first explain what this chart is not. It is not a prediction of where Derek thinks the players will go. It is not a Mock Draft. It is not an indicator of who he thinks the Seahawks should draft. This list totally ignores team needs, positional value and positional scarcity (for instance -- the lack of Centers in this draft with high grades). All those things impact the Draft in a huge way.

That said, I do think think this list does have value.

(1) It's a good way to follow the draft, and perhaps an easier way to "cross players off" than following the 347 player Draft Board we put together.
(2) It shows the depth of the Draft
(3) It shows value breakpoints in the Draft
(4) It may show the decisions that need to be made when considering a trade in this particular draft

Again, this is a list, from highest to lowest, of every player that received a 5.6 grade or better. I organized it to fit this upcoming draft in terms of the number of picks per round. The Grade Scale is:

7.0- 1st Rounder
6.5-6.99- 2nd Rounder
6.0-6.49- 3rd Rounder
5.6-5.99- 4th Rounder

The list suggests that there are 25 players with 1st round grades, 53 players with 2nd round grades (very deep), 41 players with 3rd round grades, and 51 players with 4th round grades. Basically, you may be able to go through the 5th round and get 4th round graded players. On the Draft Matrix, Derek also labeled 348 players as "Draftable" when only 250 or so get drafted.

It's no wonder that the Seahawks are sending out 12 page brochures to recruit Undrafted Rookies through their agents.

**

If this scale holds true to the actual nature of the players, after only one trade back, the Seahawks could be in position to take six players with a 4th round grade or higher (first pick, second pick, somehow recover another 4th, native 4th, early 5th from Oakland, and they have a good shot at the bottom of Round 5 to catch someone who falls).

**

In the chart below, I also included Jimmy Johnson Chart Trade Values for the Early 2nd, 3rd and 4th Rounds, as they are interesting to analyze with respect to the Seahawks. I also highlighed, in green, three particular teams that have a large number of picks, and have picks that match up well with Seattle's in terms of Jimmy Johnson Chart Value. In the end, the chart is just a starting point for negotiations and supply and demand rule the day, but I thought it would give a picture of a handful of scenarios:

SEA 32 (590 points) = CLE 35 (550 points) + CLE 127 (45 points).

SEA 32 (590 points) = JAX 39 (510 points) + JAX 105 (84 points).

Also:

SEA 32 (590 points) = NYJ 49 (410 points) + NYJ 80 (190 points) although, to be honest I don't like this trade, I feel like Seattle is sliding down way to far here.

A better one might be:

SEA 64 (270 points) = NYJ 80 (190 points) + NYJ 104 (86 points).

(Forgive the rounding errors- but they are fairly close I think and perhaps a 6th or 7th rounder going one way or another finishes it off)

**

What is more interesting than the Jimmy Johnson values is really the question the Seahawks have to answer. That question is something like -- "Is it worth it for me to pass on one 6.85 player for two players (a 6.75 and a 6.20 player?)"

I think the answer may be "yes," but it's really a case-by-case scenario and I don't think there is any clear-cut "right" answer, per se. Perhaps a 7.30 player falls to them at 32 and the Seahawks decide to hold steady.

Lastly, don't get hung up if your "grade" on a player does not match Derek's. For instance, you may think it odd that he has Davante Adams at a 5.85 or Blake Bortles at a 6.00. Surely, both of those players will be long gone before Round 4.

Despite that -- I thought it best to just leave the raw grades as they were -- and I think it illustrates a larger point: NFL teams get happy when a player they have a low grade on (or is off their board) gets taken early -- as that means the odds of a player they value highly falling to them just increased.

The Draft. It'll be here soon.

VIEW:

Raw Grade Top-170 List Google Spreadsheets View

DOWNLOAD:

Raw Grade Top-170 List Download PDF with live links

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