28 Nov 2020

Home of the NFL Offseason

John Vogel’s Grading Scale Explained: Introduction

Hello, dear reader. My name is John Vogel and I am the founder and owner of this here website.

I started this website as a means to cover the NFL Draft from a more concise and professional style. I wanted to cut through the hype that the media so regularly creates and focus on the truth. The other thing that I had found annoying about a lot of websites was that they wanted people to focus on a set of ideas and styles instead of allowing writers to produce their own style. I wanted people to have the freedom to express what they saw freely and bring a new version of NFL offseason coverage than anyone had seen yet.

Since November, it’s been a ride. We became credentialed media in thirty days, receiving Music City Bowl and Senior Bowl credentials in the same week. I traveled to those events. We have sent media to the Shrine Bowl and now have two credentialed journalists in the XFL.

John Vogel’s Grading Scale Explained: The Introduction

Now, that brings us to the purpose of this article. I am explaining my grading system and the philosophy that I bring to it. The grading system is integrated into my final scouting reports across the website.

The introduction serves as a purpose to explain the generality of my concept. Everything that I have put into this I designed for a reason. I am trying to accurately put together a board that reflects how the NFL is currently looking at these players.

The scale is a base 100 point system, with different skills and traits weighed in value across the board. I will release each position over the next couple weeks and that will better explain this. There are qualifications for “bonuses,” with the injury rating and the ceiling rating.

Positional Value

The first step I had to undertake in order to ensure that the board was accurate was construct some positional value. Obviously, the NFL values certain positions more than it values others. It is also clear that the NFL undervalues certain positions more than others. I wanted this to reflect overall on the board, straight from the overall grades.

While the base scale is a 100 point system, I gave quarterbacks and EDGE rushers a 105 point scale. These are the two positions that the NFL clearly values more than any position. 9 of the last 10 first overall picks have either been quarterbacks or edge rushers, the lone exception being offensive tackle Eric Fisher in 2013. If you want to go farther back, you’ll find that 19 of the last 21 first overall selections were either quarterbacks or edge rushers.

I think that’s fair to say that those are the two most valued positions in the NFL.

Two positions clearly undervalued in the NFL, in my opinion, are running backs and interior offensive line. As a result, I gave both of these positions a base 95 point scale.

Injury Rating

The injury rating allows my system to either penalize or reward a player for their injury history. It ranges from a three point penalty to a three point bonus. The players injury history completely determines this injury, and it simulates the concern that teams might have for a prospect.

A great example to use is Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. He’s obviously a very large concern as no one really knows how healthy he will be for the rest of his career. He’s had two ankle surgeries, a hip surgery, and while he received a thumbs up from the medical people at the Combine, it’s still a looming question mark. Tua was given a (-3) penalty on his final grade for major injury concerns.

However, a player like Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor, who has only dealt with minor injuries, has been throughout serious exposure to injury his entire career. As a result, he is given a (+2) injury rating, because while he has missed time due to minor injuries, he’s also carried the ball more than almost any running back in college football.

The Ceiling Rating

I’ve always found it difficult to measure the potential of a player in a grading system. Normally, when we are grading a player, we are assessing where their talent is right now. Most people leave a note on their scouting reports that say something along the lines of, “Player X has immense potential” or “Player Y has the highest ceiling in the class.”

NFL teams truly do draft people based on potential, and there really aren’t many systems that I have seen that have found a way to measure that. To resolve this, and accurately project where players end up on boards, I added a “Ceiling Rating,” a 1 to 5 point bonus that simulates where players will end up on a board based on their potential.

For example, a prospect like LSU quarterback Joe Burrow doesn’t have very much of an “upside” to his game, or there isn’t very much that he has left that he can improve on. He can clean up his footwork, and maybe protect the ball a little bit better with his decision-making. He was given a (+2) grade for his potential.

However, someone like Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb has so much more that he can improve on, and that he potentially will at the next level. He received a ceiling rating of (+4), and became the highest graded receiver on my board. Without the ceiling rating, that honor would have gone to Alabama receiver Jerry Jeudy, who’s ceiling rating is much lower than Lamb’s.

Round Ranges

I am still working on what is exactly considered a first-round grade and such. Here is a rough draft of what I have projected:

86+ will be first-round grades.
85-81 will be considered second-round grades.
80-77 will be considered third-round grades.
76-72 will be considered fourth-round grades.
71-68 will be considered fifth-round grades.
67-63 will be considered sixth-round grades.
66-60 will be considered seventh-round grades.
59 and beyond will be considered project/undrafted free agents.

In Summary

The system is far from perfect, but it does accurately project where players should land on my big board, and that’s what I wanted to accomplish. Hopefully, this will begin to help you understand what my scale is allowing me to do. I’m always open to any critique, criticism, or anything else that someone might throw out at me to help me make this better.

There you are. Roast me, Twitter hoards.

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