In 2013, the Safety class seemed to cause quite a bit of...
The NextEra NFL Player Evaluation System – NFL Draft
Welcome to the NextEra NFL Player Evaluation System – “RAP”
The system involves basic scouting principles at its heart but uses math to create a system devoid of bias, geared to providing you with the best players for your particular positional philosophy and scheme.
In our grades we have used the “prototype” for each position as our measure. As we know each team has different philosophies for each position so the ratings can be changed to match a team’s philosophy.
This system has been developed to combat two main problems, that teams have had in the past, when selecting players:
The first factor was the problem of biased & emotionally driven selections. Obvious examples include Jamarcus Russell to the Raiders & Ted Ginn Jr to the Dolphins. These are simple cases when an evaluator falls in love with an aspect of that player’s makeup which in effect blinds him to potential concerns in other aspects of his game and/or character.
The second factor was undervaluing a player’s intangibles or skill in favour of physical ability with the mind-set “we can coach him up”. According to the research, physical freaks are only ever great if that body is combined with a well-rounded character that will enable him to learn the skills required to succeed. Julio Jones, will be one of the best wide receivers in the NFL because he has immense athleticism alongside a great work ethic.
Our system was designed to try to overcome these issues and try to provide an outcome which shows how valuable a player is currently and should be in the future.
How It Works
This system works by grading four overall categories:
- Natural Ability
- Production to date
Each category is then broken down into multiple sub categories. For example in Skill for a QB you would grade individually his decision making ability, arm strength, deep accuracy etc… and in Intangibles you would do the same for consistency, coachability & leadership amongst others.
By separating each sub-category grade, this prevents an evaluator leaning too much on one particular aspect of a player to make up the full assessment, giving us a fairer and more accurate assessment of a player.
The process eventually provides us with three scores for each player:
- Current Ability
- Ceiling Potential
- Risk Adjusted Potential or RAP - The most important figure to notice when talking about the draft
When discussing the draft the following scores indicate what type of talent the player is, in terms of draft position :-
- Sure fire Top 5 talent (110+)
- Top 10 (100–110)
- First Rounder (90-100)
- Second Rounder (80-90)
- Third Rounder/ Fourth Rounder (70-80)
- Fifth Rounder/ Sixth Rounder (60-70)
- 7th Round/ Priority FA (50-60)
- Undrafted (<50).
n.b. Is important to note that some players may not have a first round grade but get drafted in the first round in a particular year due to lack of talent and vice versa.
Typically the following scores lead to the corresponding NFL production for that particular role or position :-
- All Pro (110+)
- Multiple Pro Bowlers (100-110)
- Occasional Pro Bowler (95-100)
- Solid Starters (90-95)
- Average Type Starters (85-90)
- Below Average Starters (80-85)
- Bit-part Starters / Excellent Piece in Rotation (75-80)
- Rotational Player (70-75).
- Solid Back-up (65-70)
- Decent Back-up/ Predominant Special Teamer (60-65)
- Marginal Roster Player (50-60)
- Practice Squad Player (40-50)
- Unlikely to make a roster (<40)
n.b. Special team ability is included as a separate grade to the main positional grade.
Not every player will reach their “ceiling potential”; in fact a large majority will not. To comply with this fact, we have created the “Risk Adjusted Potential” score. This score takes into account the “ceiling potential” and works with our risk score to give an accurate assessment of the how successful that player will be in the future.
Simply put, the lower the risk score, the closer to the “ceiling potential” that player will get and vice versa. The risk score encompasses a variety of factors such as injury history, scheme familiarity etc.
“RAP” is the most important rating as this grade tells you if you draft/ sign this player this is the level of talent you should in all likelihood receive in the future.
Players are able to have multiple RAP and Player Progression ratings, one per particular position. For example, Alabama OL Barrett Jones had four RAP ratings, 72.7 (LT), 81.3 (RT), 88.4 (OG) and 79.1 (OC). Each of these ratings are different, to show based on his current and potential skills, physical stature and production how effective that player can be at the different roles and the different challenges each position entails.
The risk score can also change per position. So for example if a player transitions from Center to Guard there are a certain number of difficulties that could occur such as lack of awareness of how to play the position or the physical changes required to play the position i.e. need to gain weight/ strength.
Learning/ Development/ Yearly Projections
Building off what we’ve done so far. On some of our scouting reports and analysis work you will see Year 1 – 4 values and a New RAP value.
Using our number system as above we are able to project how fast or slow a player will reach a perceived level of ability. While the RAP grade is an effective system at measuring a player’s value, it’s still only one figure, so it doesn’t paint an entire picture.
Year 1-4 production is calculated by identifying, where a player is now and where he should be within a 4 year time frame (a typical rookie contract nowadays). We use these figures and a learning score (made up of the risk score, additional intangible factors and sometimes coaching when we grade for a team specific article). By establishing how quickly a player can theoretically learn, we are able to plot a player progression chart. Using this system we can see how much production we can expect in each of those years given all of the grading we did earlier. Check the example below:-
Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon. (34 WLB) – RAP (90.8)
Year 1 – 79.1
Year 2 – 88.9
Year 3 – 92.7
Year 4- 94.2
Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State. (43 RE) – RAP (91.0)
Year 1 – 84.1
Year 2 – 89.8
Year 3 – 92.1
Year 4 – 93.1
From these grades we can a similar RAP score between Tank Carradine and Dion Jordan. However, Jordan has a slightly higher ceiling, but will take longer to get there.
Every player is different and will learn at different rates. Some will start out well and level out early, some will start slowly and finish their rookie contract with a bang, that’s the beauty of the process.
For more information on this system you can contact us at email@example.com
We will soon be making a spreadsheet available for purchase with all the formula installed so you can make up your own draft board based on your positional philosophy. For more information on the launch date contact us at the email address above.