10 Biggest Draft Reaches

Sam Monson points to 10 players whose draft position didn't match up with their college production.

| 2 years ago

10 Biggest Draft Reaches

reachesThe Draft has come and gone and for the first time thanks to College Football Focus we had a clear picture of the kind of production prospects had to their name before it was handed to the podium. The NFL factors more in to their picks than college production, with athleticism, measurables and potential all part of their projection going forward, but it would be a mistake to look at a questionable level of college production and expect that to seamlessly reverse itself in the pros.

As PFF founder Neil Hornsby is fond of saying (or thieving from Bill Parcells…), “If they don’t bite as puppies, they probably won’t become biters”.

So let’s take a look at 10 players who were badly overdrafted based on the production they showed.

1. Shaq Thompson, LB, University of Washington
#25 Overall to Carolina

shaq measure

via mockdraftable.com

Thompson doesn’t have the worst grade we gave out for a draft pick, and he wasn’t the reach taken the highest in the first round, but the magnitude of this reach may be the biggest overall, especially when coupled with his potential fit in Carolina.

Thompson is the ultimate jack-of-all-trades player, right down to being a guy who played both sides of the ball in college. At linebacker he wasn’t poor at any one thing but most of his highlight reel surrounds recovering fumbles, which people use to claim he has a ‘nose for the football’. That kind of play is more luck than repeatable skill and the more important values to look at are his down-by-down grading, which saw him ranked 19th in the FBS among draft-eligible linebackers.

Add that to the fact his measurables were far from stellar and Carolina already has Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly entrenched at linebacker and you’re left with a player of suspect production who has no obvious fit for playing time in that defense.

2. Bud Dupree, ED, University of Kentucky
#22 Overall to Pittsburgh

If ever there was a player drafted because of potential and measurables it is Bud Dupree. In shorts he looks like a draft stud, with the size, speed and athleticism to be a devastating pass-rusher. The only trouble is so far he hasn’t been one. Dupree was 23rd among edge rushers in this draft class in Pass Rushing Productivity, a per-snap measure of the pressure he generated, a staggering lack of production for a guy as physically gifted as he is.

Seven other 3-4 outside linebackers tallied more total pressures than Dupree, despite him rushing the passer more times than all but one in this draft class. The Steelers selected Jarvis Jones in the first round in 2013 – a player who was all college production but had questionable measurables – and he has yet to succeed in the NFL. This seems to be an overcorrection in the other direction, selecting a player that ticks all the boxes athletically, but whose lack of college production raises major red flags.

reach-poutasi3. Jeremiah Poutasi, OT, Utah
#66 Overall to Tennessee

Moving out of the first round for a moment we get to the top of the third, just 66 picks into the draft and the Titans select a player who could well be in line to start for them sooner rather than later, but has shown nothing in college to suggest he can handle that role.

Poutasi was the 70th-ranked offensive tackle in this draft class in overall CFF grade. He was a better pass protector than he was a run blocker (where he graded negatively), but even ranked by pass protection alone he was 38th. He surrendered two sacks, five knockdowns and 11 additional hurries over his season and had seven negatively-graded games.

4. Matt Jones, RB, Florida
#95 Overall to Washington.

Under Mike Shanahan, Washington was able to plug in any old running back and have success and production on the ground. That is unlikely to continue indefinitely and nothing we saw from Jones suggests he will be a productive player at the next level. For Florida this season he earned below average grades in every facet of the game; rushing, receiving and blocking.

This was a deep running back class and even far into the third round there was a lot of talent on the board, and talent that had graded significantly better than Jones had in college.

5. Eddie Goldman, DI, Florida State
#39 Overall to Chicago.

Goldman is the classic example of a player who looks like he should be fantastic, but just isn’t. You read scouting reports on him and you wonder if they have been written just by looking at his sheer physical size and whether they bothered to actually turn on any tape whatsoever. Maybe throw on a quick highlight reel just to confirm it…

The trouble is that Goldman does not play to his physical ability very often at all. He is regularly credited as a player that can ‘take on double teams’, but unless you are happy with him taking them on by being driven off the line and crushed by two blockers, then that’s not exactly a positive of his. Goldman was the 45th-ranked defensive interior player in this draft class when looking only at run defense grade. As a pass-rusher he was almost exactly average – in the entire FBS!

Even those grades are kind to him because around half of his positive grade came in one game against Louisville, who might well have the worst starting center in the nation.

reach-mckinney6. Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State
#43 Overall to Houston

This pick may have received the loudest howls of anguish in the PFF Draft War Room™. Linebacker in this draft class is a fantastic example of a position that contrasts production with athleticism. McKinney has the athleticism, but Paul Dawson, still on the board at this point, has the production. McKinney was the 42nd-graded linebacker in this class, Dawson was the first. McKinney notched 30 defensive stops over the season, Dawson notched 94. In coverage McKinney allowed a passer rating of 96.4 while Dawson just 50.7.

Even on the blitz, McKinney tallied four sacks and 11 total pressures while Dawson notched seven sacks and 28 total pressures. McKinney trounces Dawson when it comes to athleticism and measurables, but is a vastly inferior player on the field judging by college production.

7. Mitch Morse, C, Missouri
#49 to Kansas City

Any time you’re projecting a tackle inside to center with little evidence other than a hunch and the knowledge that he can’t play tackle, you’re reaching in the second round.

Morse actually graded OK as a pass protector, surrendering just one sack but seven knockdowns and 11 additional hurries in his season. Where he struggled was in the run game, where he was graded negatively and 86 other draft eligible tackles performed better. How that translates moving inside where the players are bigger, stronger and tougher to move can only be guessed at, but it doesn’t seem like a winning plan on the surface. All that before considering that there were experienced legitimate interior prospects still available.

8. Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forrest
#16 Overall to Houston

Houston’s second big reach on this list was the first pick they made, selecting Kevin Johnson mid way through the first round.

It’s easy to see on tape what people like about Kevin Johnson. He’s a smooth athlete who mirrors receivers well and can definitely play. You also see some issues, though. Despite 4.5 timed speed, he looks to struggle to keep up with receivers, even those that run 4.5 themselves. He is routinely playing with a larger cushion than his teammate in off-coverage, perhaps buying himself room against speed he can’t live with. This all results in some very iffy coverage numbers. Johnson was the 65th-ranked draft-eligible corner by coverage grade this year. He allowed almost 60% of passes thrown his way to be caught (59.6, 91st among CBs), and yielded a passer rating of 74.6.

Add in a pretty ugly 14 missed tackles over the season and you’ve got a lot of question marks for a guy who was taken mid way through the first… at least a round or two higher than we believe he should have gone based on the tape.

reach-waynes9. Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
#11 Overall to Minnesota

This was a pick that was seen coming a mile away, but it doesn’t excuse how bad a reach it was for a player we saw as a second-round talent at best. Waynes has a blazing forty time, and was shutdown on deep passes, allowing a passer rating of just 21.9 on those this past season, but he actually ran a faster forty time than short shuttle, an extremely rare occurrence that raises major change of direction question marks.

30 other draft eligible corners graded better in coverage this season than Waynes, who allowed a passer rating of 60.4 into his coverage (21st) while allowing 50.8% of passes thrown his way to be caught (40th). Waynes only allowed 30 receptions all season, but those catches went for an average of 14.9 yards per reception, a mark bettered by 106 other cornerbacks.

Waynes has all the tools, but he is a major project to be taken so high.

10. Philip Dorsett, WR, Miami
#29 Overall to Indianapolis

This is one where I really don’t mind the player taken. I like Philip Dorsett. Not as much as other people, sure, but I think he has the ability to be a very good player. He has speed to burn, the ability to take short passes and turn them into big gains, and while his functional strength is suspect, he understands how to get himself in the way to execute blocks, ugly as they may be at times.

The issue I have is that there is no way Dorsett was a first-round pick, especially with Devin Smith still on the board. Smith is Dorsett, but better, across the board. Even pigeon-holed as merely a deep threat; Smith is the more effective weapon. His playing speed is similar, but unlike Dorsett he has the ability to adjust well to poorly thrown deep passes and make plays above a cornerback’s head. That’s the difference between being Mike Wallace – dependent on a perfectly thrown bomb – and Larry Fitzgerald at his best, able to make plays deep down field despite the pass thrown. Smith and Dorsett were targeted deep almost the same number of times (26 vs. 27, respectively), but Smith caught 17 of those for 754 yards and 10 TDs. Dorsett caught 9 for 395 yards and 6 TDs. Obviously some of that is quarterback dependent, but the grading backs up what the tape shows, Smith making plays that Dorsett couldn’t, or didn’t.


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| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN and NBCSports.

  • Josh Havlik

    Trae Waynes 20 yd shuttle was 4.19 with other reports as low as 4.01 at the pro day. Cramps at the combine likely played a role in the poor combine shuttle time. I think you guys are really beating a dead horse in regard to Trae Waynes.

    • kyle

      His 3 cone drill time was .09 of a second faster than 325 pounder Brandon Schreff. If there was ever a position where a 40 yard dash mattered it would probably be corner, but the (lack of) lateral movement skills are worrisome.

      • Josh Havlik

        Again, that’s his combine time, but he was hampered by cramps. He did not retest on the 3 cone. I think it got a little trendy to bash TW without the whole story being told.

        • PFFSamMonson

          Which would be fine except his coverage numbers almost across the board are very average. At which point why do we think he’s an elite prospect?

          • Josh Havlik

            I watched Neb, Ohio St, Penn State, Baylor, and Oregon and I saw a stud. Very few times was he beaten and very seldom were Hitches effective (going for first downs) Also, with so few attempts, the numbers can get skewed by flat out good throws/catches, end of game/soft coverage/prevent coverage. Just my two cents, I know you don’t like him and that’s fine. I just disagree after watching what was available to me on Draft Breakdown. His worst game was probably Baylor, but I didn’t think he was horrible either.

        • PFF_Neil

          While Sam referenced the 3-cone that’s simply an indicator. (Truthfully I don’t even look at the combine data – others at PFF do though). What showed up on tape (time and time again) was not responding quickly on 5s and 6s. He could cover the 9s for fun but was often a country mile away on the former. That also came out in his grading which showed his best rated route as a go and his worst two as comebacks and hitches.
          Now that deep coverage is a skill in itself and I think he’ll become a decent NFL player but for where he was taken (with guys like DeVante Parker still on the board) says they went with conventional wisdom.

          • Josh Havlik

            You guys have studied more film than I have (I watch stuff on Draft Breakdown), but I see an elite cover guy. A lot of the hitch route stuff seems to be more a product of coaching and college philosophy of bend but don’t break i.e. play for a 3rd down stop. Teams for the most part stayed away from his side of the field for a reason.

          • Josh Havlik

            DeVante looks to be a stud, but I think Waynes looks to be a stud as well. To each their own obviously.

          • Flig Saduky

            DeVante Parker’s too hyped up as well. Pretty confident that he would have been a 2nd rounder last year.

            Way too many false steps on his routes and can’t sell the vertical stem despite that 4.4 speed. If he resolves those things, the upsides there, but it’s still way too early to call on that.

            I really suspect he’s going to struggle in his rookie season if the Dolphins are relying on him being the number 1 option right off the bat.

    • Flig Saduky

      Waynes got shredded by Cody Latimer last year. That’s more concerning than a subpar shuttle time

      • Josh Havlik

        Uh, not sure what you saw but he made 2 catches on Waynes that game. The TD was on Dennard. Latimer made another intermediate catch against a zone, but that wasn’t on Waynes, he had the underneath coverage. Only 1 Latimer catch went for a 1st down on Waynes right at the end of the game when it was already over.

        • Flig Saduky

          It’s not just about catches.

          That’s like saying Verrett shut down OBJ. Stats are an awful way of judging matchups

  • Kyle

    What exactly did you dislike about matt jones? His blocking was as good as anyone from what I saw and he seemed to break tackles and run through first contact more often than not.

    Value doesn’t appear to be there, but he is as physically gifted a back as anyone in this class. And Scot saw something you all didn’t I guess. Hardly deserves an F in my book.

    • Jaguars28

      Ugh, Matt Jones. That name is familiar…

      • Chris

        This was the first thing that came to mind for me too lmao

  • Shizzle Dawg

    I’m actually surprised to not see the Brandon Scherff pick being ripped to shreds some more here

  • Flig Saduky

    Draft grades are dumb. If any of these players do well, they’ll expose PFF’s legitimacy as a draft resource, and I fully expect that to happen

    • Dildo Baggins

      EVERY draft analyst in the history of the world has missed on a lot of prospects. Everybody praised Blaine Gabbert when he was coming out. If any of these players do well, it will just reaffirm that drafting/scouting is difficult. You cant measure heart/passion. I would rather read PFFs production based scouting than most analyst these days. I dont care about a guy’s measureables if they cant play.

      • Flig Saduky

        To call any of these guys ‘reaches’ at this point is nothing but clickbait. But whatever floats your boat.

        Oh yea…and production =/= good NFL prospect. I don’t care if they put up statistics in college if they don’t show skills that translate to the NFL

        • Dildo Baggins

          Great job dodging the subject.

          Where did i say that production translates to the NFL?

          • Flig Saduky

            Dodging? You actually used the word “production”

          • Dildo Baggins

            I would love for you to show me where i stated that production translates to the NFL.

            Mike Mayock stated that Blaine Gabbert would be a better pro than Cam Newton, Mel kiper somehow has a job, Charles Davis and Daniel Jeremiah has both called PJ Williams a good tackler (Misses a ton of tackles). Every analyst says Eddie Goldman is good at taking on double teams. Again, i would much rather read a scouting report from someone who has actually watched every snap (I head Mayock form an opinion on a player after only watching 2 games) and where production actually matters. Paul Dawson is a fantastic example. His production and skills are off the charts, but his measureables made him slip. Skills obviously matter, but the reason these guys are on this list is because they lack skills. Skills lead to production as well and a lot of these guys lack both.

            My point again, was that if we all used your logic, EVERY draft analyst is illegitimate.

          • Flig Saduky

            Ummm…. “I would rather read PFFs production based scouting than most analyst
            these days. I dont care about a guy’s measureables if they cant play.”

            So you’re basically stating that if he doesn’t have PFF production, but has measurables, he can’t play. Or am I reading that wrong?

            You can go ahead and follow PFF or whichever talking head, but this article is even stating that these guys are reaches based on production, which is not how scouting is done in the real world. It’s useful, but it’s not complete. Otherwise, every NFL team would be following PFF.

            Lol Paul Dawson…Watching Paul Dawson, one can tell he doesn’t have baseline athleticism to survive for long in the NFL as a complete starter. That TCU defense is very unique and they Dawson up in the perfect position to compile stats. Even in zone coverage, they have him cover a very small part of the field. He is a good run stuffer/blitzer but that’s his only fit. Production is useless unless you understand the full context of the production.

            Skills can lead to production… but production doesn’t signify skills.

            ‘draft grades’ and ‘reaches’ such as articles like this are clickbait. That was my major point.

          • Chris

            LOL I don’t even know where to start with all your posts.

            1. The article is about draft reaches, not pro potential. There’s nothing saying that these guys won’t end up being a solid starters, just that they were drafted too early. Wait a round and draft the same guy and it isn’t a reach.

            2. NFL teams do their own scouting based off film, measurables, and judgments on technique. However there is a flaw with this – they don’t have enough time to thoroughly scout every player. We still see plenty of busts every year, and that’s the reason why. So obviously their process isn’t infallible.

            PFF does the exact same process with film and notes on technique, they just have the time to do it for every draftable player. No one else has a database of information like they do simply because they have the manpower and the resources to do so.

            3. Your ‘points’ on Dawson are hilarious. They put him in the perfect position to compile stats? They didn’t put him anywhere, other than at LB. He put himself into the correct positions, because he has instincts that players with superior measurables do not. Instincts, confidence, savvy, intuition, intelligence. All things that a lot of guys with great measurables lack that cause them to bust.

            It’s one thing if it’s a small-conference prospect who graded well against inferior competition, and then struggles in the pros. But Dawson was a Big-12 LB going up against some of the best competition in the nation, and he wound up with the best LB grade in the nation. He didn’t do that by accident.

            I’m not crowning him a pro bowler or anything. But even if he’s just a “good run stuffer/blizter” as you say, I’d be more than happy. With Burfict and Maualuga, the only open spot is at SAM, traditionally a 2-down role for the Bengals. He can stuff the run all he wants, since that’s what he was best at at TCU anyway.

            And if he happens to turn into anything more, then even better. They keep making the comparison to Burfict, who had early round “production” and “skills”, but didn’t have the measurables and had off-the-field issues so he slipped and went undrafted. And he’s turned out all right (if he could stop injuring himself).

            The Draft and projecting prospects to the pros is definitely not a science, and most of it is guesswork and going with hunches and almost like playing the lottery. Sure 1st rounders seem to have more success, but who knows if that’s just because they get more opportunities to succeed because they were 1st rounders (hello, Davin Joseph).

            Doing a quick look through the Bengals’ roster, 38% of their current players (not including this year’s draft picks) were drafted between the 3-5th rounds, and another 22% were undrafted. Just 15% were 1st rounders.

            How can you explain guys like Atkins going in the 4th, or Whitworth in the 2nd, without acknowledging the process NFL teams use to ‘grade players’ for the draft is just as flawed as anyone’s. And that brings me to my last point:

            4. If this article is just clickbait, why did you click on it? You should’ve been able to discern from the title that it was about projecting the draft, which you obviously believe is a farce and no one should do it.

          • that_guy_from_NJ

            I’ll wait to see if PFF’s man power outpaces the NFL’s training in scouting.As of right now there is no track record to see if PFF’s methods are accurate.

            But in any case, the sole basis for determining if a guy is a reach in this article is based solely on this still-arbitrary snap by snap “grading”, and not on the idea of whether or not a guy didn’t profile as a high round pick. Bud Dupree is a reach because his super duper stats weren’t great, but he’s supremely athletic, so is he a “reach” in that he doesn’t grade out near the top of the draft in these numbers? Or is he a “reach” because he has the profile of a 2nd round pick and was taken in the first? There’s more that goes into a guy’s draft position than his collegiate pass rush productivity.

          • Chris

            As I said in my previous post, the Draft is not a science. I too am interested to see if their process can more accurately forecast which players will bust or succeed based on college grading. Especially after they have a few more years of college data to use on players instead of just 1. Or maybe it won’t, but I’m excited to see how it develops.

            But as I said, there are plenty of busts each year and plenty of headscratchers where you wonder how they didn’t go earlier (Atkins and Whit as I mentioned). So the process NFL teams use to scout and draft certainly isn’t infallible, and I welcome the new approach PFF brings to the table.

            As far as how scouting works…IMO…

            The snap-by-snap grading isn’t arbitrary. You might not be able to tell what that player did to earn that grade (like CBs defending certain routes better than others), but you at least can tell how well they did regardless of what they did. I don’t know for sure how it works, but logic dictates a guy either grades positively for what he did on a certain play, or he grades negatively. So to have a positive grade at the end of the season means you won more matchups than you lost, regardless of what you did on those individual plays.

            Based on his grades we know Dupree did his job pretty well. But it also took him a lot of snaps to do that, which is why they always reference the per-snap pass rushing numbers for him. Per the article, 22 guys rushed the passer more efficiently than he did.

            Now some of those guys may have done it in smaller, more specialist roles, and the fact that he did it fairly well over such a large portion of snaps is definitely important. But it’s also fair to ask, as the article does, why a guy with such freak measurables is getting outperformed on a per-snap basis by 22 other guys at the same position. If he was that much of a freak (like say JJ Watt), he should be dominating both the per-snap efficiency and the overall grading.

            It’s well known that pro scouts don’t watch every single snap of players during their college careers. They don’t the time to do that for every player. So they sample scout, watching a few games, or big, important games, or quarters of lesser known players etc. Because that’s all they have time for. Then they make a guess based off that. But who knows if that sample they picked to watch is evident of their entire profile as a prospect? Who knows if their selective sample shows several games where the guy played very well and omitted the 2 where he got dominated?

            And that’s where we wind up with busts and steals, because selective sample scouting is imperfect. And PFF is attempting to remedy that with snap-by-snap grading of players in college and throughout their time in the pros. It remains to be seen if they’ll be successful, but then again no one is really successful projecting draft picks. I welcome the change in approach more than anything.

          • Flig Saduky

            Lol good try.

            You have no insider knowledge over whether or not these players would have been available later. Claiming they are ‘reaches’ only works if you have that info. You don’t…so it doesn’t,

            I’ve seen Dawson play and you seem to be glossing over the uniqueness of the scheme that TCU plays. It fit perfectly with what Dawson does well. It remains to be seen whether or not Dawson’s game will translate…whether he’s PFF’s top rated college LB or not, he wasn’t the best pro LB prospect, and that’s where your analysis of differentiating ‘reaches’ from ‘steals’ falls short.

            And finally, if you’re so sensitive to criticism, maybe you shouldn’t have a comments section. Or better yet, try to understand the criticism and improve. PFF does excellent work and offers fantastic insight; their articles though, like this one, leave a lot to be desired.

        • Bradley Kell

          What are you talking about? You can’t ‘reach’ for them AFTER they are Drafted. It’s called a Reach because the expected Talent SHOULD be there later in the Draft, and thus you REACHED to take some one you could have had LATER in the Same Draft.

          It’s a PROJECTION. Just like New England projected the kid they took at the end of the 2nd is solid, while most had him going in the 4th. Maybe NE saw something in him so they pulled the trigger early, fearing some one else saw it as well. Or maybe the kid is no better than any other 4th Round Talent, and they Reached.

          Obviously, only time will tell. But what’s the point in waiting to see if some one works out or not and THEN using hind-sight? There is NO skill in that. I can look back now and tell you Ryan Leaf sucked… the trick is to get it right BEFORE then.

          That’s what these FO’s have to do, that’s what we Fans do every year, and that’s what PFF is trying to do here.

    • PetEng

      What about their audacious grading of Henry Anderson or countless others that were skimped by the traditional resources. Will you give PFF credit if some of those players turn into pro bowlers?

      • Flig Saduky

        Henry Anderson a pro bowler? Cool story bro.

        • PetEng

          PFF saying 1st rounders might bust. – dumb.
          PFF saying 3rd rounders might be great. – dumb.

          Why do you even come here?

          • Flig Saduky

            Same reason you’re here.

            PFF does some excellent work, but articles like these proclaiming these prospects are major ‘reaches’ before they’ve even had a chance to play a snap in the NFL is a major disservice to the teams that spent a full year scouting these prospects.

          • PetEng

            Who cares if it’s a disservice to the teams? I surely don’t. I’m more interested in if their predictions hold true.

            I think PFF has a good understanding of football and potentially an even greater understanding of grading football prospects compared to front offices around the league. This is the year whether we see if that is true. I suspect PFF will be much better at identifying sleepers relative to NFL front offices because they have generated volumes of data that an individual front office couldn’t hope to do.

          • Flig Saduky

            Whatever floats your boat. If you think PFF is smarter than actual NFL FOs, that’s your opinion, which I don’t share. I’m also not buying at all that NFL front offices don’t have as much ‘volumes of data’ as PFF. They obviously have significantly more to be making those types of investments in players

            IMO analytics are important, but they aren’t absolute and especially not in the draft. There are several PFF ‘sleepers’ that were flat out not good NFL prospects.

            While you can’t wait to see which sleepers PFF got right, I can’t wait to see which ‘reach’ prospects PFF got wrong.

          • PetEng

            You’re right. The Raiders, Bills, Jets, Browns, Jags, Titans are superior organizations and it’s wrong for me to think a company such as PFF with ~100 employees focused on grading football players would be able to match a front office for those organizations with perhaps ~25-50 employees.

          • Chris

            There are busts every year so apparently what NFL teams do isn’t infallible. They also [most likely] don’t have the manpower PFF does to thoroughly evaluate everyone.

            I don’t see the reason to hate on PFF for trying to project college players to the NFL. Everyone tries to project everything, and we rarely get it right better than half the time. The entire sports betting industry is dependent on this. Why try to bet on games, why try to guess the Super Bowl winner, why play fantasy football? All are dependent on forecasting unpredictable outcomes?

            The answer is, because it’s fun doing so. And they offer a unique perspective on football scouting you can’t get anywhere else in the world. Why is he even reading an article on draft reaches or steals if he doesn’t believe in trying to forecast anything?

          • JT

            That’s irrelevant….they only mentioned Tennessee once and the Panthers have landed their 1st round picks even when their GM wasn’t good and now Gettleman who got every guy but 1(which was Gaffney in the 6th who got acl in camp) who in most redrafts had nearly all of them in the 1st round if they weren’t they were going in the 2nd. Panthers were the only team to personally work him out so they sure as hell know a lot more about him and those 25-50 employees some are scouts who meet the players face to face and studied to become scouts so they can evaluate players.

          • Flig Saduky

            Yep, pretty much.

            PFF neither has the capital nor the stakes that are associated with NFL front offices.

            NFL front offices get it wrong, it’s their jobs and livelihoods that are lost.

            PFF gets it wrong, and they just move onto their next article.

          • PetEng

            How many people does the average NFL team employ to look at tape? How many does PFF have?

            How many teams have invested in their IT infrastructure to instantly bring up tape on any player for a given situation? Let alone grading players on all plays.

            It would be extremely hard for any team to replicate what PFF is doing because PFF has 100+ man operation. NFL scouting departments are even remotely that big.

          • Flig Saduky

            While you have a good handle on PFF’s operation and manpower, you’re proving that you have no idea what the other side of the equation is regarding NFL scouting departments resources and manpower.

            It’s quite simple. The stakes are bigger for NFL scouting departments and the capital is bigger for them; trying to extrapolate infrastructure based on not knowing this is a stretch. Therefore, the work NFL teams do on prospects they draft is bigger than the work that PFF invests on the specific prospects that a team scouts. It’s a simple numbers game.

            Further, even if PFF’s personnel department was larger, they aren’t suited for scouting the prototype players that fit a specific team. If a team runs a 4-3 defense. They are ONLY going to scout 4-3 personnel heavily. PFF’s going to scout both 4-3 and 3-4 personnel equally though.

            It makes a lot more sense unless you’re forcefully trying to be obtuse for the sake a ‘winning’ a debate.

            PFF’s value isn’t in it’s aggregate grades (like when they say ‘our top-rated LB’) or it’s articles comparing player X to player Y based on their overall ratings; it’s in their signature stats that break down how a player performs in key situations and identifying in what roles a player thrives.

            If their articles are more geared towards their signature stats instead of aggregate grades, their articles and everything else they come out with would be of much higher quality. That’s been my only over-arching point.

          • PetEng

            “The stakes are bigger for NFL scouting departments and the capital is bigger for them; trying to extrapolate infrastructure based on not knowing this is a stretch.”
            – I’m not extrapolating infrastructure. I’m merely referencing the fact that NFL teams wanted PFF to grade all college players. NFL teams knew they couldn’t handle it – so they wanted to pay PFF to do it. Pretty simple. Nothing wrong with that – it’s just specialization.

            “PFF’s value isn’t in it’s aggregate grades (like when they say ‘our top-rated LB’) or it’s articles comparing player X to player Y based on their overall ratings; it’s in their signature stats that break down how a player performs in key situations and identifying in what roles a player thrives.”
            – I’d say the value of PFF is that they create sig stats and grades for all players. From that one can make easily sortable and filterable rankings for the type of player a team would like to target. It’s a starting point. It’s not possible for teams to look at all the college tape – so PFF dramatically accelerates their scouting search because they can look at only the players who are good (backed up by stats).
            My point is this: the stats wouldn’t nearly be as good if they only looked at 50% of the players.

          • Flig Saduky

            I do think it’s a fair bit of extrapolation that you’re making; however, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I will admit that what you’re saying is possible, but it’s a stretch IMO when you’re trying to tell me that the reason why teams wanted PFF to look at college players is because teams themselves couldn’t handle the volume of college prospects entering the NFL.

            If anything, free agency would be where NFL teams would use PFF. Not really the draft IMO.

            Teams could have a variety of reasons why they wanted PFF to start evaluating college prospects. One explanation could definitely be that they couldn’t ‘handle the volume'; however, with the screening that NFL teams do (ie 4-3 v. 3-4 defenses, power v. zone-blocking schemes, etc), I think it’s probably more likely that they were trying to see whether or not PFF could be a useful component to their own overall current process of evaluation. That’s what I think is the more likely justification.

            This isn’t a point I’m making regarding signature stats. v. aggregate stats. It’s a point about the ARTICLES themselves that PFF publishes.

            The aggregate grades have value; however, it shouldn’t be the basis through which they write articles like those evaluating roster depth differentiation ‘elite’ from ‘very good’ to ‘good’ players, etc. or articles like these that integrate sentences like ‘Mckinney was the 42nd rated linebacker in the class’ Stuff like that isn’t evidence; it’s an opinion.

            You’re right it’s a useful starting point; however, too often, it becomes the foundation of the PFF article on a player. Especially in something like the draft, when teams are trying to project players, they often have a plan and role for them. This article I felt really felt short in that area when talking about ‘reaches’.

            PFF already has the information and have put in the work. If they want to take their articles to the next level, they need to use the signature stats solely as the basis of their articles, not the aggregate grades.

          • Dave

            LOL Sure they are.

    • PFFSamMonson

      If ANY of them do well? Because anybody out there is batting 1000 in draft evals?

  • Jaguars28

    Pretty pleased with our draft class, of course that doesn’t mean anything if we don’t win games…

    • DrAWNiloc

      If we can get past the objections to “drafting for need” (e.g. Dante Fowler instead of Leonard Williams) when a team has 53 of them, the Jags did rather well. Personally, I think RB T.J. Yeldon and OG A.J. Cann will exceed expectations. As for winning games, though, that may be a few years away.

      • Jaguars28

        I heard some whispers that Leonard Williams wasn’t as highly regarded by NFL scouts as some in the media. Still very good, but no surprising he fell out of the top 4 (top 5, yes).

  • ItsJustWerner

    Dang, can I forget I read that about Goldmen? Makes me sad.

  • [email protected]

    Whats not to like about Shaq Thompson? He still has room to grow as a player but he’s a fantastic athlete. Maybe it was a tad bit of a reach but he’s got so much upside. I see him starting at safety.

    • Chris

      The same reasoning they posed for drafting Morse, a tackle, and projecting him to center despite no experience playing the position. It may work out in the end, but it’s way too much of a reach for 1st round pick in Thompson’s case. There were other safer, better options at safety if that’s what they really wanted. Not projects at a position you’re already stacked at.

      • Ben Peterson

        Really quick, I’m not saying I disagree with you, but Morse does have experience at center. He played 6 games at center a couple years ago.

        • Chris

          I was just going off what they mentioned in the article about him. And this was PFFs first year doing college, so that may have been outside their scope. Good look though.

    • PFFSamMonson

      Look at the spider graph – he really isn’t a fantastic athlete.

    • JT

      Like PFF knows anything…..Gettleman is the one with the resume of landing quality draft picks they haven’t earned his reputation at making picks yet.

  • Dave

    Mike Zimmer is the best corner coach in football. There were only 30 passes caught against Waynes in college and most of them were not going lateral you silly goofs. In Zimmer we trust!!!!

    • Chris

      Anybody who got competent play out of Newman and Clements is a football genius.

    • SeattleSteve12

      ugh… are all viking fans this whiny?

      • Dave

        Actually I am a New England fan. But Zimmer is a great Coach!!!

        • micah

          Then why did you say in zimmer we trust?

          • eYeDEF

            Because Zimmer’s proven himself an elite coach of cornerbacks. Why wouldn’t he?

          • micah

            He said in zimmer we trust but he also said he’s not a viking fan. Just kind of weird.

      • p w

        are all seahawk fans new? you’ll be back to wearing your cheesehead in a couple of seasons or whoever is winning. love dat bandwagon.

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  • Randy Reece

    Unlike the NFL, it is unfair to compare stats such as “pass rush productivity” from college, because college football schedules are hardly comparable. This reads like the analyst compared calculated stats straight up with no adjustment for quality of opposition.

    • Chris

      Throughout this series of articles about the draft they’ve mentioned comparing players’ numbers against the Power 5 conferences, implying they are able to focus on production against worthy opponents. Not sure if it was used for Dupree above, but they have mentioned they have the ability to do so.

  • Sam Doohan

    It still feels very odd to me that PFF specifically said the Steelers should target Dupree at #22, and then blast them for reaching. Seriously, go and check the AFC North Draft Needs article from a few weeks back. It directly says the Steelers should target him. But today he’s a reach lacking on tape performance. Which of those is right? Is he a reach, or is he a target? Or is he somehow both?

    I mean, I don’t even really have much of an opinion on him as a player. I don’t know enough to have one. But I do know that PFF has been hammering the Steelers for picking a player they recommended targeting.

    • Chris

      My first thought was…you do know that “PFF” isn’t just one guy’s opinions? There are multiple writers for the site and they frequently mention how so-and-so is a particular favorite of Writer X and Writer Y really thinks so-and-so is overrated. So it’s possible that two different people with two different opinions wrote the two articles.

      And truth be told, different people wrote the article you mentioned and this one. So it is possible that one of them thinks the Steelers should target Dupree and the other thinks drafting him in the 1st was a reach.

      BUT, then I read the previous article you referenced. Which I’m not sure you did, outside of the names on the list. Because everything about it agrees with this article.

      1. The Draft Needs article mentions 3 early round selections the Steelers should take. Now I don’t think the Steelers had 3 1st round picks, so it’s obvious not all 3 are intended to be possible 1st round selections. And Dupree is listed under La’el Collins, who was arguably a top 10 prospect before the off-field issues cropped up. So, logically Collins was the projected 1st round target, and Dupree was the 2nd round target. That would make the Steelers taking him in the 1st round a reach, as this article purports.

      2. It references that Dupree is all measurables but the production doesn’t necessarily match. This is literally a quote from the article: “Dupree has all the measurable, but not near the college production.” Which is the same point this article is making.

      3. They then follow that up with, “all signs point to Dupree being gone far before the Steelers get to their pick,BUT OUR ANALYSTS (emphasis mine) didn’t see the same value of his skills in our mock draft.”.

      AKA Dupree’s stock is soaring because of his combine numbers and he likely won’t be there when Pittsburgh picks (they don’t clarify which round that is, however), but some of the analysts on the team don’t agree based on his production. Which again is the same point this article is making. That a player was overdrafted based on measurables.

      4. Not only that, but if you click on their Mock Draft that they link in that article, they don’t have Dupree going in the 1st 2 rounds. So again, to hammer the point home, Pittsburgh taking him in the 1st round is a reach as the article says.

      tl;dr – they aren’t hammering a guy they recommended targeting. They’re hammering the Steelers for taking a guy in the 1st round that they maybe thought was a potential 2nd or 3rd round pick.

    • PFFSamMonson

      We’ve certainly recommended them looking at him in the third round before I believe – we did so on 120 Sports, but not at 22 to the best of my knowledge

    • Dave

      They did that with Waynes (Mock draft Vikings #9) and changed there mind when Collinsworth came up with his jibber jabber. Talk about sucking up. There is no science in BS. LOL

  • Lord Father

    The first time i am betting hard against PFF. Hoping against all hopes Shaq Thompson blows up!

  • JT

    PFF is good at NFL analysis but the drafting value that they do are pretty inaccurate most of the time.

  • Keith Beaumont

    Dupree played for Kentucky though; one of two teams in the SEC that is talent starved. A pass rush is a team effort, so for a guy playing on a team like that, I think you have to grade him on a curve. I felt like he was one of the biggest steals. Had the Falcons not been able to come away with Beasley, I’d have wanted Dupree at 8. I graduated from UGA, and I still predicted Jones would be a bust. His stats were skewed. If you actually watched him play, he was invisible throughout most of the game. His sacks were always a result of someone else’s effort.

  • Alex Reno

    This is so stupid. You’re calling Poutasi a reach because he played poorly at offensive tackle, when he’s going to be playing offensive guard in the NFL? Sometimes you just have to look past your metrics and actually do some thinking about how a player will translate to NFL offenses.

  • Jason

    Did you watch the Florida State games? Like actually watch a football game? Goldman stood out from everyone else on defense. Like he is very good. But then again I only WATCH the games. Who the f$%k WATCHES the games. I mean like actually WATCH a live f&^king game. Like WATCH people move around on the field and play a sport called football!

  • Paulie Hayes

    How about the Pats taking Stanford safety Jordan Richards in the 2nd round. There’s gonna be times when a 4th or 5th round pick generates a bunch of people saying Who? Every year BB makes a pick in the 2nd or 3rd, usually a safety, that brings that question. Maybe he was left off the list because it’s become so common with the Pats. BB out did himself this year Since January I’ve read many scouting reports, viewed hundreds of mock drafts, and just about anything else regarding the draft. I aquired a fair amount of knowledge of the top 150 or so prospects, at least name recognition. Yet BB made choices in the 2nd,3rd,5th,2 in the 6th and 2 in the 7th that I hadn’t heard of. I guess I need to study harder LOL

  • David Paul

    Dupree has four sacks in limited snaps, also shows relentless pursuit. Played a lot of read-option QBs in college. Once he learns the defense he’s going to be a force.

  • kidfance

    I always like going back and looking at these…most of the time they are spot on, and as usual, there are some big whiffs…Eddie Goldman has been really good for the Bears this year. As a 2nd rounder, he has been a great pick!

  • KAO

    Looking back none of these guys looked like near as big of reaches lol