Okay so it’s that dreadful time of the year when we are all counting down the days until football returns. One of the ways we pass that time is by rampantly speculating over mock drafts. Now typically the drafts that I’ve seen discussed here have fallen into one of two categories. The qualitative drafts, where players are picked based on the drafters personal assessment or eyeball test and very simple quantitative drafts where people are choosing BPA typically based on who the fanspeak site has ranked higher.
I decided to try a slightly different quantitative approach just to pass the time. Using a variation of card counting technique to assign numerical value to the potential draft picks and then using a simple rubric to pick BPA. For the sake of this experiment I wanted to get most of my base information from a single source and for no particular reason I chose walterfootball.com. Using their draft prospects by position list I took the top 12 players for the following positions OT, WR, TE, OG, DT, DE, S and CB. For each position I assigned points in the following manner: top 4 = +3, middle 4 = +2, last 4 = +1 this gave me base scores. Next I looked at the round they were projected to be drafted and assigned points as follows: first round = +3, second/third = +2 and third/fourth = +1. Finally I gave an additional +1 to players in positions of need in this case WR, OT and CB based on general consent of our biggest areas of need.
To make this a little more visual here is an idea of how the final values started to look.
Jake Matthews: top 4 OT (+3) projected first round (+3) position of need (+1) = 7
Gabe Jackson: top 4 OG (+3) projected second/third round (+2) = 5
I generated scores for all 96 players using this system and then ran a 4 round mock on the fanspeak site 20 times picking BPA based on the players score. If 2 players had the same number position of need was a tie break (i.e. an OT with a score of 5 picked over a TE with a score of 5) if they were both from positions of need or both not then their walterfootball rank in their position was the tie breaker (i.e. the #1 overall OG with a score of 5 would be picked over the #3 Safety with a score of 5).
After 20 drafts some trends started to develop.
*In the first round 50% BPA was a CB (Justin Gilbert) WR-20%, S-10% OT-10% TE-10%
*In the second 60% BPA was a CB (Fuller or Roberson) S-10%, DE-10%, DT-10% TE-10%
*In the third round 50% BPA was WR (Coleman) S-30% (Bailey or Loston) TE-10% CB-10%
*in the fourth round S-30%, CB-30%, OT-10% DT-10% DE-10% WR-10%
Now in the first round more often than not 70% of the time Safeties Clinton-Dix and Pryor were available but not BPA based on the rubric and either Loston or Bailey was available in the 4th 90% of the time. So in this scenario Defensive Backs seem to be the best place to maximize our value barring an unlikely fall by another player. In the first round Ebron fell to us 2 times, OT- Lewan once and Robinson once, WR Lee once and Benjamin once. If either of those OTs or receivers fell to us it would be pretty stupid not to grab them.
Now it would be easy to argue that my rubric over inflates DBs and that is possible so I ran a Hog Mollie friendly version where OTs were given an additional +1. As a result OT became the BPA in the first round 50% of the time with Zack Martin being the player 90% of the time. Rounds 2 and 3 did not really change and round four OT Hurst became BPA 60% of the time.
Now to me what that means is if we want a top ranked OT we have to take them in the first round. In my drafts only Hurst and Moses were available to us at 60 and only Hurst after that. If we want to load up at WR in round 1 or 2 unless a big name slides we will be leaving quality DBs on the board. Ultimately it will come down to the Panther's big board and which positions they value the most.
For me at this point a ridiculously premature prognostication by any stretch of the imagination. I see the two following scenarios as the most favorable.
OT Zack Martin
CB Kyle Fuller/Roberson
WR Brandon Coleman
S Dion Bailey
CB Justin Gilbert
CB Kyle Fuller/Roberson
WR Brandon Coleman
OT James Hurst
So thanks for reading my first post if you got this far and I look forward to hearing your feedback. Bearing in mind I already know how much this would change if you used a different source for your base information and would love to see that if any of you feel like doing the grunt work.