John Dewan's Stat of the Week

Stat of the Week: NFL Draft Top Prospects

by NATHAN COOPER, JOHN TODD, and MARK SIMON

With the football season over, it’s time to shift attention to the future and the upcoming NFL Draft.

In recent years SIS has tracked NFL and FBS games in a similarly-detailed manner to how it tracks baseball. That allows the company to cover the Draft thoroughly.

This season, SIS Video Scouts combined to chart each FBS game a minimum of four times to track specifics such as formation, personnel, route type, and type of run. The compiled information was supplemented with observations of skills and other critical factors so that players could be evaluated at each position.

Players were graded by Video Scouts on a 1-to-9 scale both in individual skills and critical factors, and then overall among those at their position. If a player’s final grade is 6.5 or higher, he is generally a starting-level NFL player. If a player is graded 7.0 or higher, he is thought to have a Pro Bowl-caliber future. Each scouting report is written by a Video Scout and cross-checked by others in the scout group.

Nine college players graded at least a 7.0 in the inaugural set of rankings. Seven of the players play on the defensive side.

Highest Grades, 2019 NFL Draft-Eligible Players

NameSchoolPositionGrade
Quinnen WilliamsAlabamaDT7.4
Ed OliverHoustonDT7.1
Josh JacobsAlabamaRB7.1
T.J. HockensonIowaTE7.0
Nick BosaOhio StateDE7.0
Devin WhiteLSULB7.0
DeAndre BakerGeorgiaCB7.0
Greedy WilliamsLSUCB7.0
Taylor RappWashingtonS7.0

Alabama redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Quinnen Williams earned the highest grade among all players. He was described by the SIS video scout as “an explosively powerful defensive talent, whose rare interior contact balance creates consistent overwhelming backfield chaos, resulting in a next-level force for years to come.”

Statistically speaking, Williams ranked first among SEC defensive linemen with 57 pressures, 43 hurries, and 30 quarterback hits. Not bad for someone who was in his first season as a starter.

Williams’ teammate, junior running back Josh Jacobs, graded out highest among offensive players with a 7.1. The Video Scout’s description noted that “Jacobs plays with elite tenacity, and with his lower-body strength and quick footwork, has the makings of a future star.”

What stood out for Jacobs was that when he ran the ball, good things tended to happen. Jacobs had a positive play percentage of 59 percent, meaning that on 59 percent of his carries, Alabama had an increase in Expected Points Added (EPA). No other running back among those draft prospects who were graded by SIS had even a 55 percent positive play percentage.

These grades and stats can be found in the 2019 SIS Football Rookie Handbook, which will be out in mid-February. More than 250 players are evaluated by the SIS scouting staff, with two pages devoted to each player’s skills and stats. You can learn more about the book and pre-order it at the ACTA Sports website.

Happy scouting!

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