Vikings: Matching predraft grades and reality

There are a lot of ways to give a team a post-draft grade, but matching predraft grades and projected rounds at least gives it a numerical analysis. That's what we did for the Vikings, comparing their predraft grades on a scale up to 9.0 as a projected pro, and they fared pretty well.

You love those snap-decision, post-draft grades handed out by the national media immediately following a draft, don't you? It's hard to know what exactly those are based upon.

But if predraft grades from an NFL scout based upon an actual scouting grading system are used, it's easy to evaluate a draft class. Based on the scouting grades handed out by Dave-Te' Thomas of the NFL Draft Report, a resourced used by the NFL and most of its teams, the Vikings had a strong draft throughout the process.

There are several ways to grade a draft class for a particular team, but let's concentrate on two predraft methods here: the expected round a player should be chosen and their grade based on their long-term NFL potential.

First, by expected round, the simpler way to look at it.

The Vikings entered the draft with eight picks, one pick in every round and an extra third-rounder from the Percy Harvin trade. As is his custom, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman was active trading picks throughout the draft.

He started by trading down one spot, from No. 8 overall to No. 9 overall, and picking up an extra fifth-round pick (No. 145 overall) for that minimal move.

But he gave back a pick when he traded away a second-rounder (No. 40) and fourth-round pick (No. 108) to move up eight spots and select Teddy Bridgewater at No. 32.

Then he traded away a fifth-round pick (No. 148 overall) to pick up a later fifth-rounder (No. 168) and a seventh-rounder (No. 225).

Finally, in order to get to his stated desire of 10 picks, he traded the fifth-rounder he got from Carolina (No. 168) overall to obtain No. 182 and No. 220.

After all of that, the Vikings still ended up, in several cases, taking players of solid value, according to Thomas' assigned round value for each prospect.

The Vikings got LB Anthony Barr in the first round, at the value he was given, and QB Teddy Bridgewater at the end of the first round, in the expected area for him – Thomas has a first- to second-round grade on him.

Third-round DE Scott Crichton had a second-round grade on him, and third-round RB Jerick McKinnon had a third- or fourth-round value on him, according to Thomas' rankings.

Although many point to OG David Yankey as being a great value in the fifth round, that's exactly the value Thomas placed on him.

But the Vikings' two sixth-round picks – SS Antone Exum and CB Kendall James – both had fifth-round values on them.

In the seventh-round, the Vikings picked NT Shamar Stephen, LB Brandon Watts and CB Jabari Price. Thomas placed a seventh-round value on Stephen, a seventh-round or free-agent value on Watts and a free agent value on Price.

So, all told, the Vikings essentially got Barr, Bridgewater, McKinnon, Yankey, Stephen and Watts at about the value the NFL scout placed on them. They got Crichton and Exum a round after they were expected to be selected and James two rounds after he was expected to be selected. Only the Vikings' final pick, Price, was taken slightly before the value place on him by Thomas' evaluation.

The following is the predraft measurables and grades placed on the Vikings' draft picks, with an explanation of number grades used by Thomas. Listed for each draft pick is the height, weight, 40-yard dash time, number of reps bench-pressing 225 pounds, vertical jump, broad jump, short shuttle, three-cone, Thomas' pro grade and projected round where he believed the player would be selected.

# underclassman
% significant injury consideration

Player HtWt 40Bench VJBJ SH3C ProRnd
BARR, Anthony (DE)  6:05255 4.6615 34 1/209'11" 4.19 6.82 7.31
7.0-7.5Impact Player Possesses at least average to above average critical factors in all areas...Will contribute immediately, whether as a starter or a valuable reserve...Will move into the starting lineup with seasoning...Above average player who needs to refine certain areas.


#BRIDGEWATER, Teddy 6:02214 4.7930 09'05"4.20 7.176.3 1-2
6.0-6.4Potential Starter Could force himself into the starting lineup with improved perform- ances...Will make a team...Has average critical factors in most areas, but at least one with less than average quality that he will have a hard time overcoming...Probable draft choice.

 

#CRICHTON, Scott   6:03273 4.8424 31 1/209'00" 4.297.19 6.72
6.5-6.9Eventual Starter Could move into the starting lineup within three years...Has average critical factors in all areas...Needs further development, but has the ability to contribute.


MCKINNON, Jerick   5:09209 4.4132 40 1/211'00" 4.126.83 5.9 3-4
5.5-5.9Roster Player Has the ability to serve as a key reserve and possible future starter... Possesses average critical factors, but more than several areas are less than average...Plays with normal extra effort.


#YANKEY, David   6:06315 5.4825 3008'07" 4.697.81 5.65
5.5-5.9Roster Player Has the ability to serve as a key reserve and possible future starter... Possesses average critical factors, but more than several areas are less than average...Plays with normal extra effort.


%EXUM, Antone (SS)   6:00213 4.5817 3509'11" 4.137.01 5.75
5.5-5.9Roster Player Has the ability to serve as a key reserve and possible future starter... Possesses average critical factors, but more than several areas are less than average...Plays with normal extra effort.


JAMES, Kendall   5:11180 4.49 3910'00" 4.196.81 5.65
5.5-5.9Roster Player Has the ability to serve as a key reserve and possible future starter... Possesses average critical factors, but more than several areas are less than average...Plays with normal extra effort.


STEPHEN, Shamar (NG)  6:05309 5.2525 30 1/208'07" 4.897.81 5.37
5.0-5.4Project Has the skills to play pro ball with proper tutoring...May make a team based on need...Possesses no real strong critical factors and is probably below average in several areas that the player will have a hard time overcoming...Possible draft choice, but only if that team is caught short on talent available at that position.


WATTS, Brandon   6:02232 4.416 37 1/210'02" 4.216.89 4.87-FA
4.6-4.9Develop- mental Could make a team with an impressive showing in training camp... Not strong in most critical factors...Deficient in more than one area that he will not be able to overcome...At least average in the factor of competitiveness...May not make a team due to his limitations.


PRICE, Jabari   5:11200 4.4516 29 1/209'04" 4.37.04 4.6FA
4.6-4.9Develop- mental Could make a team with an impressive showing in training camp... Not strong in most critical factors...Deficient in more than one area that he will not be able to overcome...At least average in the factor of competitiveness...May not make a team due to his limitations.



RATING CATEGORYEXPLANATION
8.1-9.0Franchise
Player
Immediate starter...Should have a major impact to the success of the franchise, barring injury...Possesses superior critical factors...Plays with consistency and without abnormal extra effort...Rare talent.
7.6-8.0Star Quality Eventual starter...Should make a significant contribution in his first year...Possesses above average critical factors...Has the talent and skills to start...Will contribute to upgrading the team...Can play without abnormal effort, but has some inconsistency in his play that will improve with refinement and development...Has no real weakness.
7.0-7.5Impact Player Possesses at least average to above average critical factors in all areas...Will contribute immediately, whether as a starter or a valuable reserve...Will move into the starting lineup with seasoning...Above average player who needs to refine certain areas.
6.5-6.9Eventual Starter Could move into the starting lineup within three years...Has average critical factors in all areas...Needs further development, but has the ability to contribute.
6.0-6.4Potential Starter Could force himself into the starting lineup with improved perform- ances...Will make a team...Has average critical factors in most areas, but at least one with less than average quality that he will have a hard time overcoming...Probable draft choice.
5.5-5.9Roster Player Has the ability to serve as a key reserve and possible future starter... Possesses average critical factors, but more than several areas are less than average...Plays with normal extra effort.
5.0-5.4Project Has the skills to play pro ball with proper tutoring...May make a team based on need...Possesses no real strong critical factors and is probably below average in several areas that the player will have a hard time overcoming...Possible draft choice, but only if that team is caught short on talent available at that position.
4.6-4.9Develop- mental Could make a team with an impressive showing in training camp... Not strong in most critical factors...Deficient in more than one area that he will not be able to overcome...At least average in the factor of competitiveness...May not make a team due to his limitations.
4.1-4.5Camp Player Has redeeming qualities that could allow him to play in the pros with improved performances...Deficient in more than one critical factor... Might make a team, but will always be the player that squad will look to replace.
3.5-4.0Reject Might make a team, but has glaring deficiencies in several critical factors...Below average competitor whose athletic skills will allow him to enter training camp, but has a difficult time in trying to make a team.

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