VISUAL AIDS FOR THE 2015 DRAFT
I think most people are visual learners to some level, and we know NFL teams build horizontal Draft Boards in their "Draft War Rooms." I attempted to build my own board for 2015 down to Round 5, but never got deep into scouting the defensive side of the ball because of a family to trip to China in early April. I didn't think it would be fair to publish "half a board" when I hadn't fully watched the other side of the ball. For example -- how confident would I be in a WR I had watched in Round 3 when compared to a pair of Cornerbacks I have not watched that are buzzed to be in the same round? This is why every NFL team needs to scout every position hard, up and down the board (even if they don't need that position that year) -- they need to know where to place these players they don't need relative to the players in the positions that they DO NEED in that year.
Derek Stephens published a full Draft Board here last year, (the last two years actually) and I enjoyed helping prepare those for publishing on Field Gulls. I utilized those sheets extensively during the draft, and liked crossing off names with a highlighter (color coded per round of course) as it went along. Derek has been doing a lot of music of late, as well as running his own company and being a married father of two girls -- and my own board was never finished -- so I am turning to a couple of national Draft guys this year.
TONY PAULINE TOP 150
Tony Pauline is like Rob Rang, a person who has been a Draft Junkie for 15 years or more (maybe 20). Pauline is pretty looped in, and gets a lot of good team insider buzz. You can find his rumors on his twitter, his Draft Insider website, and on WalterFootball. For instance, back in February, Pauline linked Seattle to Ty Sambrailo and Terry Poole as possible replacements for James Carpenter. Indeed, by March -- Seattle had let Carpenter walk to the Jets, and it has been reported that both Sambrailo and Poole were two of the 30 VMAC visits.
Recently, Pauline published his Top 150 -- which will be a good aid for Seahawks fans when following Rounds 2 and 3 (and 4) in the Draft. Consider this a good handy visual aid for Draft Friday. I condensed the 150 into the Top 136 (Round 1-4) into a "Draft Board" format below:
TONY PAULINE TOP "136" IN DRAFT BOARD FORM
As an NFL team moves through the draft, an intern pulls off the names (velcroed- or taped-cards on the wall) from the Draft Board and then hangs the name under one of the 32 teams on another wall. If the intern pulls the name off the "Back Board" (players not on the team's "top" list) that is a victory shared by the War Room. A card coming off the Back Board means thats another NFL team took a player that did not make your team's board for whatever reason (injury, character, scheme, etc).
The Board above is more dense than a typical NFL team's Draft Board, which would have 120-150 names total (7 rounds). This board has 136 names over 4 Rounds, and this is because this is more an "NFL wide" type board rather than a team specific board.
That being said -- on all boards -- the BLACK SPACE speaks just as much as the actual names. The space tells you where the clumps of players are and where the Draft is strong, where it is weak, and where the groups are.
When you hear Schneider talk about his board with terms like "balance", "numbers", "names", "cliffs", "groups" -- those are all Horizontal Draft Board visual concepts.
2015 DRAFT BOARD IN GENERAL
You can see where this draft is weak -- specifically: QB, TE, Safety.
The Draft looks pretty strong (at least in Rd 1-4) at WR, RB and Edge players. The draft is decent at DL, OL and not great at traditional linebacker. From studying this board, or really any draft resource in 2015, it is clear why the Seahawks would want QB Tarvaris Jackson if possible, and why they traded for TE Jimmy Graham.
Even DT Ahtyba Rubin and CB Cary Williams were acquired with their grades in relation to how the Seahawks Draft Board sets up, with a finite number of upper end picks. Seattle is set up to focus on WR and OL in the Draft, and will have a chance to add a good RB name to their roster should they choose to do so (more 2016 stash).
On the other side of the ball, I believe if the Seahawks spend 11 draft picks -- they walk away with 2 DL, 1 Edge, 2 CB, and 1 of either a LB or Safety (6 Defenders total.)
You can also see the clumps:
WR and RB in Rounds 2 and 4.
Edge Rushers and DL in Rounds 1 and 3.
Traditional Linebackers Round 2.
Interestingly, perhaps to Seattle, Pauline clumps 8 OL in between 58 and 102.
SPECIFIC NAMES TO CALL OUT
Here are some interesting names and places -- some Seahawks related -- and some more general observations:
-- I thought Indiana RB Tevin Coleman at 37 (Nolan Nawrocki had him at 31) was interesting; Pauline also has Auburn RB Cameron Artis-Payne in Round 3 and South Carolina's Mike Davis (VMAC visitor) at the bottom of Round 4.
-- Interestingly, Missouri/Oklahoma WR Dorial Green-Beckham is sitting there at 56 (within striking distance for Seattle) - but personally, I don't think he makes it down to 56. Pauline also has Jaelen Strong down at 54, lower than many projections.
-- Rutgers TE Tyler Kroft is the 2nd TE off the board at 85 (Nawrocki has him rd 2 at 58) amidst a very sparse TE class early in the Draft.
-- Interior OL: Picks 58 to 102 are all pretty interesting for Seattle with 8 names: (58) Laken Tomlinson, (62) A.J. Cann, (72) Ali Marpet, (74) Jeremiah Poutasi, (78) Tre Jackson, (82) Ty Sambrailo, (90) Hroniss Grasu, (102) Max Garcia. A lot of solid Guard and Center names there, some more plug and play than others- and some with athletic upside.
-- On the other side of the ball the most interesting clump I see is Edge Player from 70-134 -- with 10 names in that grouping. I don't think Eli Harold will be there at 70 like Pauline grades him, but he would be an interesting name if he fell. Edge Frank Clark had a VMAC visit, and Pauline has him at 83. Zach Whitman's favorite player - SPARQ GAWD Davis Tull is ranked 86. A non-combine Edge player with solid SPARQ is Deiontrez Mount -- Pauline has him bottom of Round 4 at 133.
Next week I will put together the Nolan Nawrocki "Draft Board" going all the way down to Round 7. It's different than Pauline's, but reminds you that no two teams have the same board.