One of the most puzzling questions I have always had about NFL Draft boards is how teams rank players amongst the different offensive and defensive positions.
For example, I was watching and scouting the Senior Bowl recently and there were numerous players I considered worthy of the Cardinals’ #72 pick, some of them being S Jeremy Chinn (SIU), S Kyle Dugger (L-R), C/G Lloyd Cushenberry (LSU), G Damien Lewis (LSU), TE Adam Trautman (Dayton), OLB Bradlee Anae (Utah), OLB Josh Uche (Michigan), LB Malik Harrison (Ohio St.) and RB/WR Antonio Gibson (Memphis).
If you were to ask me to rank these players—-I would find it extremely difficult—-it would be like trying to rank the entrees on an elaborate menu—-and to extend the metaphor, I think that making a selection among similarly ranked players at different positions comes down to what you are hungry for on that day—-a steak? shrimp scampi? veal parmesan? pan seared salmon with hollandaise?
In my final mock, I picked S Jeremy Chinn, S Kyle Dugger or S Ashtyn Davis as my top choice at #72 (even though I love C/G Lloyd Cushenberry just as much, if not more),. But I felt the Cardinals need to draft one of the top rated safeties asap, because I, like so many of you, am fed up with watching TEs have career days versus the Cardinals’ defense. So there, I chose the pan seared salmon, even though I was salivating over the filet mignon.
So, this morning I was fascinated to read that there is a new metric out, created by Scouts Inc. in collaboration with Pro Football Reference’s Doug Drinen’s “Aproximate Value” method of ranking draft prospects (https://www.pro-football-reference.com/blog/index37a8.html)—-for the purpose of determining which 2020 draft prospects have the best chances of becoming NFL Pro Bowlers.
From what I gather the final percentages are derived by a combination of the prospects’ Scouts Inc. grade (performance and skill ratings), the Combine metrics (physical attributes that match up well with current Pro Bowlers at the players’ position) and a sprinkling of intangibles such as leadership and passion for the game.
The results are highly intriguing.
First let me show you which 32 players made the Pro Bowl Potential list by virtue of their Scouts Inc. rankings:
- Chase Young, DE, Ohio St.
3. Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio St.
4. Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
5. isaiah Simmons, OLB, Clemson
6. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
10. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
12. Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
13. Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
14. Tristan Wirfs, T, Iowa
15. C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
16. Mekhi Becton, T, Louisville
17. D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
18. Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
19. Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
20. Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona St.
25. Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
29. Grant Delpit, S, LSU
30. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
31. Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
32. Antoine Winfield, Jr., S, Minnesota
38. Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan
39. Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin
41. Michael Pittman, Jr., WR, USC
45. Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
46. A.J. Terrrell, CB, Clemson
47. Marlon Davidson, DE, Auburn
62. Laviska Shenault, WR, Colrado
64. Jermey Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
78. Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas
87. A.J. Dillon, RB, Boston College
93. Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri
125. Netane Muti, G, Fresno St.
- 0—QBs (Tua edged Burrow as top QB, but both are outside the top 32)
- 3—-RBs: Taylor, Swift, Dillon
- 10—-WRs: Ruggs, Jeudy, Jefferson, Aiyuk, Lamb, Higgins, Reagor, Pittman, Duvernay, Shenault
- 1—-TE: Okwuegbunam
- 2—-T: Wirfs, Becton
- 1—-G: Muti
- 1—-C: Ruiz
- 1—-DT: Brown
- 2—-DE: Young, Davidson
- 2—-ILB: Murray, Queen
- 2—-OLB: Simmons, Baun
- 3—-CB: Okudah, Henderson, Terrell
- 4—-S: Chinn, McKinney, Delpit, Winfield
Pro Bowl Potential Percentage: Top 32:
- 79%—Tristan Wirfs, T
- 75%—-Mekhi Becton, T
- 69%—-Kenneth Murray, ILB
- 67%—-Isaiah Simmons, OLB
- 52%—-Chase Young, DE
- 50%—-Patrick Queen, ILB
- 48%—-Henry Ruggs, WR
- 46%—-Derrick Brown, DT
- 45%—-Jeremy Chinn, S
- 43%—-Jerry Jeudy, WR
- 42%—-Justin Jefferson, WR
- 42%—-Brandon Aiyuk, WR
- 42%—-Jeff Okudah, CB
- 41%—-Jonathan Taylor, RB
- 41%—-Grant Delpit, S
- 37%—-Cesar Ruiz, C
- 37%—-CeeDee Lamb, WR
- 36%—-C.J. Henderson, CB
- 34%—-Antoine Winfield, S
- 34%—-Marlon Davidson, DE
- 32%—-Netane Muti, G
- 32%—-D’Andre Swift, RB
- 31%—-Tee Higgins, WR
- 31%—-Xavier McKinney, S
- 29%—-A.J. Dillon, RB
- 29%—-Jalen Reagor, WR
- 29%—-Michael Pittman, WR
- 29%—-Devin Duvernay, WR
- 28%—-Zack Baun, OLB
- 28%—-Albert Okwuegbunam, TE
- 27%—-Laviska Shenault, WR
- 26%—-A.J. Terrell, CB
- This has to be sweet confirmation for those of you who have been touting T Tristan Wirfs of Iowa for the Cardinals’ #8 pick. Scouts Inc. compares Wirfs to Trent Williams and they project him as a Pro Bowl caliber tackle, although many scouts and GMs believe Wirfs could be an All-Pro at guard.
- Curious that the top 2 prospects here are tackles, in what is considered to be a very deep class at tackle, and yet no other tackles made the top 32. I can see in a sense why Jedrick Wills didn't make the top 32—-because, while he is master technician at the RT position, he does not have the kind of awesome physical attributes of Wirfs or Becton.
- Interesting that the Cardinals just recently conducted a Zoom interview with LB Kenneth Murray—-his #3 ranking here is impressive—-and this might be one of the main reasons why the Cardinals did not sign WILB De’Vondre Campbell to a multi-year deal—-that is, if the Cardinals plan is to trade back and take a Murray from Oklahoma in the 1st round for the second year in a row.
- These ranking also are an affirmation for those of us who believe Henry Ruggs has the most upside of this immensely talented and deep WR class. His #7 ranking here, 1st among WRs, speaks to Ruggs elite athletic traits. Recently, PFF chose Ruggs as their top ranked WR, slightly ahead of Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb because, as they put it, not only does Ruggs have similar WR skills as Jeudy and Lamb, Ruggs scores in the 98th percentile for NFL quality athleticism at the position, while Jeudy scores in the 82nd percentile and Lamb in the 80th.
- What these Pro Bowl projections also suggest an advantageous possibility for the Cardinals to trade down from #8 so that they could add a 2nd round pick.
As an FYI—-using the regular Scouts’ Inc. rankings—-here are the players who are ranked where the Cardinals pick:
8. Jedrick Wills, T, Alabama
72. Lloyd Cushenberry. C/G, LSU
114. Amik Robertson, CB, Lousiana Tech
131. Tanner Muse, S, Clemson
202. Patrick Taylor, RB, Memphis
222. Steven Montez, QB, Colorado
Despite the absence of a player in the top 32 Pro Bowl Potential players listed above, this would be a draft to get pretty excited about. Wills, Cushenberry, Robertson and Muse are talented players many of us have been mocking at some point to the Cardinals.
But—-we all have our favorites—-and that’s a good thing.
What do you think of these Pro Bowl Potential rankings?
Do you think the Cardinals and Steve Keim are high on this new metric?