Combined (Offense/IDP) Rookie Draft Board
By Jene Bramel
May 24th, 2010

The Bloom 100 has long been the gold standard combined outlook on the value of the prospects of the incoming rookie offensive players and IDPs at Footballguys. I've not written much about the offensive side of the ball, but I'm planning to step out of my comfortable IDP shoes and do a little more on the offensive front this season. While this effort may be a little late for those who had their rookie drafts immediately after the NFL Draft, I thought a graphical look at one man's combined rookie draft board would be useful to both those yet to draft and those re-evaluating their early May draft process.

The table below is meant to mirror what an NFL team might use on draft weekend. My rookie draft philosophy is to, except in very rare cases, draft the best player available with a strong bias toward upside (oftentimes regardless of risk). I prefer to make heavy use of tiers to decide where the value at each position lies at any given time. A draft board layout like this, which estimates the round-by-round value of the draftable rookies with the positions listed side-by-side, allows me to compare players within their position and between positions. It also helps to guide decisions on whether to move up to get a target or drop back in the draft for value when indicated.

This draft board assumes a relatively standard, expanded lineup IDP dynasty league – a 12-14 team, PPR included, TE/DT/CB required, balanced IDP scoring setup with rosters deep enough to allow some developmental slots. The tiering process isn't perfect, so don't be thrown off to find more (or less) than 12-14 players listed in a given round. Players on any given horizontal line should be considered comparable, though the tiers within each position may be such that a mid-3rd round WR prospect is comparable to a late-2nd round LB prospect separated by a line (or two in rare cases) horizontally.

Hopefully, that's enough introduction to make sense of the draft board. I'll add some value thoughts by position to follow.

Rd
QBs
RBs
WRs
TEs
DTs
DEs
LBs
CBs
Ss
1
R.Mathews
D.Bryant
J.Best
C.Spiller
D.Thomas
B.Tate
A.Benn
A.Hernandez
R.McClain
S.Bradford
M.Hardesty
G.Tate
J.Gresham
2
D.McCluster
D.Washington
T.Gerhart
D.Williams
J.Starks
E.Sanders
J.Dwyer
E.Decker
J.Graham
D.Butler
E.Berry
M.Gilyard
S.Weatherspoon
3
B.LaFell
S.Lee
M.Williams
D.Morgan
T.Price
P.Dillard
A.Roberts
B.Graham
J.Clausen
J.Shipley
T.Moeaki
4
T.Tebow
R.Gronkowski
M.Burnett
C.McCoy
D.Pitta
A.Edwards
J.PierrePaul
T.Mays
J.Hughes
P.Angerer
T.Ward
A.Dixon
P.Riley
N.Allen
5
A.Edds
E.Thomas
D.Karim
M.Easley
G.McCoy
K.Wilson
J.Skelton
C.Mitchell
B.Spikes
J.McKnight
N.Suh
R.Curran
J.Haden
D.Stuckey
6
D.LeFevour
D.Gettis
K.Jackson
M.Wright
C.Scott
D.Briscoe
J.Odrick
K.Meier
C.Wootton
B.White
A.McCoy
R.Cooper
F.Onobun
T.Alualu
K.Misi
7
J.Crompton
L.Blount
A.Brown
E.Dickson
E.Mitchell
C.Dunlap
N.Bowman
J.Murphy
L.Asante
L.Brown
J.Ford
D.Dickerson
J.Worilds
A.Spievey
R.Jones
M.Kafka
S.Kindle
J.Arenas
J.Webb
O.Schofield
  • Quarterback – Clearly, I think it's Bradford and a bunch of relatively low upside development prospects this season. I think Bradford has enough upside to be considered in the late first round in most leagues. I'm really not interested in any of the second tier quarterbacks this season. I'd imagine that valuing them late-3rd through mid-4th will keep them off my roster. I think Skelton is a better developmental prospect than LeFevour, Crompton and Brown and would be willing to reach a bit after the last of the second tier quarterbacks is drafted to get him. If that means moving up into the 5th in a situation where I needed a strong developmental option, I think the value is there to do so.

  • Running Back – Mathews and Best are very close for me. The offensive situation and Norv Turner's suggestion that Mathews has all-around, every-down talent has him first on my board today. I like Spiller's big play upside, but I fall to the side of colleague Matt Waldman when reading scouting reports. I prefer backs with vision and good pad level and I read Best over Spiller in that regard. I generally like to identify two second tier backs to target during the second round of my rookie drafts. James Starks and Jonathan Dwyer are two high upside prospects with the upside to crack the top fifteen if things break perfectly. I've got them valued mid-late-2nd, but I'd move up to get them if my roster makeup warranted it. I'm not big on reaching for backup RB talent as a rule, but I like Dixon and Karim in the middle rounds and would consider drafting a couple of others late.

  • Wide Receiver – I'd have no fault with Bryant #1 overall in a PPR league, particularly in leagues that use flex lineups and drop the value of running backs slightly. The monster “tier” of receivers on the board from the late 1st through early 4th isn't exactly the giant continuum it appears, but I do think this group could be shuffled in any number of ways. I tend to lean toward good technical wide receivers first, then opportunity, then upside. This season, I like Sanders and Price in that big group of 2nd and 3rd round prospects, but that group could look entirely different on any reasonable person's draft board. Of the later round prospects, I like Easley and Gettis as raw upside values.

  • Tight End – Many of my dynasty leagues reward tight ends with a PPR bonus, and that may be reflected here. I like Hernandez. I hear the arguments that the Patriots have never had a successful tight end and acknowledge that Gronkowski, a pretty decent all-around prospect in his own right was drafted first, but I think Hernandez can be a Dallas Clark like option out of the spread. Gresham is right there as a potential top 12-15 long term TE, but I'm an upside drafter and Hernandez is the kind of risk-reward prospect I'll reach for and live with the bust risk. Graham is Hernandez without the immediate opportunity. I'm not overly enthused about the mid-late round prospects, but Moeaki, Pitta, McCoy and Onobun have my attention and are in better situations than it might appear.

  • Defensive Tackle – There's enough veteran turnover to exploit at this position that it's not worth reaching for a rookie in the draft. McCoy's mid-5th value is borderline reaching, but when you glance across his horizontal line there's no one else that arguably has top five potential at his position. To me, though positional scarcity pushes you toward offensive upside in the 2nd-5th rounds, that kind of relative value simply becomes too much to dismiss. Four draftable tackle prospects is really pushing it, but Alualu and Mitchell have 40-6 upside.

  • Defensive End – I used to advocate drafting ends in the second round regularly. That recommendation might still make sense with the dwindling pool of 4-3 two-way end talent, but the trend of what would appear to be NFL-ready collegiate ends taking 2-3 years to develop gets stronger every year. There's no Julius Peppers or Mario Williams this year. Morgan and Graham are considerations in the mid-3rd, but probably no higher. I've got Pierre-Paul valued in the mid-4th, but he'll go right behind Graham in most drafts and I'd rather have Hughes as a much better value.

  • Linebacker – If you play in a league that has a reasonable scoring system for IDPs, McClain is a strong consideration in the late first round. I keep moving Weatherspoon further down my draft board. If you like safe LB3 prospects, move him up a full tier. I'd much rather bet on Washington's LB2+ upside and Butler's 2011 upside. I still believe Dillard belongs in the 3rd round. I like Angerer and Riley as 2011 prospects better than Spikes and Bowman, so factor that in when judging their value here. Move Worilds, Kindle and Schofield into the 4th-5th round if you're in a big play scoring system and consider Jermaine Cunningham a late rounder, too.

  • Cornerback – Like McCoy, I think Wilson has top ten upside (though probably not until 2011) opposite Darrelle Revis. He may arguably follow a similar career path to Richard Marshall, who was a stud in the nickel role before ascending to the starting lineup. Haden and Jackson are worth considering as talented enough to have value after the rookie corner honeymoon ends.

  • Safety – If I knew for sure that Berry would play SS, I'd consider him a high 2nd round prospect. I like Burnett's upside, but the second tier safety prospects should be considered personal preference. If you like cover safeties with some run support upside, Mays could as easily be at the bottom of the tier as the top. I've got Stuckey as a late 5th rounder, but you might get him later if you're leaguemates aren't FBG readers.

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to bramel@footballguys.com. I look forward to joining in on some of the offensive discussions this season.