10 PFF facts you need to know before the 2016 NFL draft

Jeff Dooley runs through the most interesting stats and grades ahead of today's action.

| 6 months ago
(AP Photo/Ben Margot)

(AP Photo/Ben Margot)

10 PFF facts you need to know before the 2016 NFL draft

The 2016 NFL draft finally kicks off Thursday – here are the 10 facts from the PFF database you need to know before the picks start rolling in:

1. Jared Goff’s accuracy rate numbers on deep balls and when under pressure were much better than those of Carson Wentz.

Goff ranks 10th in this year’s draft class in deep accuracy rate, at 50 percent, while Wentz ranks 29th at 39 percent. They rank eighth and 27th at accuracy rate under pressure, respectively, at 65 and 57 percent.

Those are just two numbers, but on an overall level we ranked Goff considerably higher on our draft board (No. 4 versus 14th for Wentz) because his overall body of work was so strong. He ranked No. 2 in PFF QB grades this season, a year after ranking eighth as a true sophomore, and based on the data and our analysts’ evaluations is the better choice for the Rams at No. 1 than Wentz.

2. UCLA RB Paul Perkins forced one less missed tackle than Alabama’s Derrick Henry on 141 fewer touches.

And that’s not to say Henry didn’t produce good numbers during his Heisman-winning season last year. But Perkins was off the charts in PFF’s elusive rating, which measures how effective a back is at generating yards independent of his blocking, ranking by far as the No. 1 back in the class at that number:


Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott is the clear-cut No. 1 RB prospect on our board, as a pro-ready back who can catch, hold up in pass protection and generate plenty of extra yards of his own – he ranked No. 1 in the class in yards after contact per attempt. But Perkins and Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Dixon (No. 2 in elusive rating in the class) are among the potential RB steals that can be found on Day 2 or possibly later.

3. Laquon Treadwell ranks just 29th in yards per route run average among this year’s WR class.

That is the lowest number for any receiver being considered a first-round pick, and much lower than fellow top WR prospects Josh Doctson and Corey Coleman:

Player YPRR Rank in class

Leonte Carroo, Rutgers



Josh Doctson, TCU



Corey Coleman, Baylor



Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma



Will Fuller, Notre Dame



Michael Thomas, Ohio State



Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss



You never want to get too caught up in any one number, but it does speak to the fact that Treadwell projects more as a possession No. 2 receiver in the NFL than he does a No. 1 target. PFF ranks him as the No. 5 receiver on its draft board, whereas he is as high as No. 1 on others.

4. South Carolina’s Jerell Adams tied for the fourth-most forced missed tackles among TEs in this class, with 10.

This is an important number because it reflects Adams’ run-after-catch ability – something he was rarely able to show off in the Gamecocks’ limited passing offense in 2015. But Adams graded out as one of the top run-blockers in the nation, making him an intriguing Day 2 pick in an otherwise lackluster tight end class.

5. Jack Conklin’s pass protection numbers are almost identical to those of Ronnie Stanley.

Here’s what Conklin did at Michigan State the last two years, compared to Stanley’s performance at Notre Dame:

Player Sacks allowed Hits Hurries Total pressures
Conklin 4 4 17 25
Stanley 3 6 22 31

That’s not to say that the seemingly consensus opinion that Stanley will be a better NFL pass protector than Conklin isn’t correct – our analysts generally agreed with that take as well, after studying both players on tape. But it does support the idea that Conklin merits consideration as the second tackle off the board behind Ole Miss’ Laremy Tunsil. He graded out as one of the best run-blocking tackles in college football each of the past two seasons – considerably higher than Stanley – and held up well in pass protection. That’s why PFF has him slightly ahead of Stanley on its final draft board.

6. DeForest Buckner’s grades in 2015 were much better than those of Leonard Williams in 2014.

Williams was considered something of a steal for the Jets last year, sliding to them with the No. 6 overall pick, before putting together an excellent rookie campaign, ranking 12th in the NFL in PFF’s interior defender grades.

That didn’t come as a surprise based on how well he graded for USC in 2014, but what’s interesting to note is that Buckner blew those numbers out of the water for Oregon in 2015. He was by far the top-graded interior defender in college football both overall and as a pass-rusher, and also performed well against the run.

Buckner produced 67 total QB pressures in 2015, 10 more than the next-best 3-4 defensive end (BYU’s Bronson Kaufusi) and 17 more than Williams’ 50 in 2014. He would make sense as early as No. 3 overall for San Diego

7. Joey Bosa’s 21 QB hits in 2015 were the most of any player in college football last season.

Ohio State’s Bosa doesn’t fit the edge rusher prototype the way the Broncos’ Von Miller does, and his sack total of seven from last season might seem relatively modest on the surface. But that one number doesn’t capture just how productive Bosa was from a pass-rushing standpoint each of the last two years.

In 2015, he had 7 sacks, 21 hits and 42 hurries – for a total of 70 pressures that was bested by only Emmanuel Ogbah and Shilique Calhoun in this year’s class. That’s a year after he produced 13 sacks, 16 hits and 46 hurries for a nation-leading 75 total pressures.

When you factor in that Bosa also proved himself as an elite run defender over the last two seasons, it’s easy to see why he is the No. 1 player on the PFF draft board. If he slides to the fifth pick with Jacksonville or even further, as has been projected, he will be a steal for whichever team drafts him.

8. Ohio State’s Darron Lee had the fourth-worst tackling efficiency on passing plays in this year’s class.

That’s a red flag for a linebacker whose game is built upon his 4.47 speed and ability in coverage, as is the fact that he had the 12th-highest yards per coverage snap allowed average. When you factor in his vulnerability in the running game – he recorded the fourth-worst run-stop percentage among this year’s linebacker class – Lee grades out as a Day 2 pick rather than a first-rounder, where he is being projected to go.

There is reportedly concern over Myles Jack’s knee, but if teams are comfortable with his health, he is a far superior prospect than Lee as a coverage linebacker who can make plays sideline to sideline. When he was healthy in 2014, he ranked No. 1 in coverage grade among LBs.

9. Houston’s William Jackson III recorded the second-best coverage grade among this year’s cornerback class.

Jackson was picked on often in 2015, targeted 97 times – that’s second-most in the class, and more than double the amount of times fellow top CB prospect Vernon Hargreaves III was targeted (48). But he held up remarkably well, earning the No. 2 coverage grade in the class and making a number of spectacular plays on the ball.

Our analysts see the need for Jackson to make some refinements to his game, but he joins fellow defensive prospects Oklahoma State DE Emmanuel Ogbah and Mississippi State DT Chris Jones who have been hit with the “raw” label yet still graded out very well in our PFF database. Jackson’s production and size-speed combination (4.37 40, 6-feet tall) makes him our No. 2 cornerback prospect after Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey (who might play more of a hybrid safety-corner role at the next level).

10. Oklahoma’s Sterling Shepard was the top-graded wide receiver in college football last season.

That’s significant, because in 2014 the No. 1 WR in PFF grades was Tyler Lockett, who went on to have a breakout season as a rookie for Seattle after being drafted in the third round.

Shepard is a different kind of player than Lockett, working primarily out of the slot for the Sooners, but their production is similarly impressive, and like Lockett, Shepard could potentially emerge as one of the steals in this class. He had the highest catch rate from the slot in the nation, the second-highest yards per route run from the slot, and was quietly very efficient on deep routes – catching 65 percent of passes that traveled 20 or more yards downfield, the third-best rate in the class.

| Editor-in-Chief

Jeff is the Editor-in-Chief of PFF, and a regular contributor to The Washington Post's NFL coverage. He previously worked as the editor for ESPN Insider's NFL, Fantasy, and College Football coverage.

  • Oz Waheed

    Good stuff here. Unlike the other arm chair GMs on this site I actually appreciate this info.

  • Craig W.

    I would love Shepard on the Vikes. I think he would be a big upgrade over Wright in the slot.

  • enai D

    11. The Vikings are not drafting Treadwell at #23, contrary to about 95% of the mock drafts you’re going to see.

    • Boomslang Green

      Tell us more, Mr. Wizard.

    • Max Storer

      W R O N G

    • enai D

      Was genuinely shocked, I’ll admit it. But then, I thought Doctson would still be there at #23, and multiple reports suggest that Treadwell was not the Vikings top-rated WR.

    • RJ Sonbeek


  • http://www.delicious.com/vinceregan Vincetitution

    Buckner looks like a superhero, but so did Dion Jordan. And some stats here show GREAT value for Leonte Carroo and Alex Collins who were unstoppable at times.