Last spring, for the first time ever, we decided to take
a detailed look at seven major draft services
to see which ones could really look into the future. We mapped the players they rated as first-rounders for '18 based on their earliest mock drafts last spring. We thought it offered a unique look at how the services see player futures, as well as lending a little accountability to Draft Twitter, so we decided to
give it a try again this year
. The results, we feel, are very interesting.
Before we go forward, it's interesting to see that several respected draft voices have hedged their bets this year. Last year, Sports Illustrated's
Chris Burke provided its May 2017 look
at April 2018. This year,
Burke is at The Athletic
, so SI turned things over to Albert Breer. But Breer doesn't do an actual mock; instead, he just
predicts the top 10, then lists 10 others who might follow
(for our purposes, we listed his top 10 in sequence, then his next 10 alphabetically).
||Will Houston DT Ed Oliver be the No. 1 pick in 2019? At least one major draft service thinks so.
Meanwhile, over at The Athletic, Burke still hasn't produced a mock. Just coincidence? Or is the media starting to wilt under the 'forever' nature of the Internet? Then there's
Pro Football Focus
, historically a service willing to go off on its own and take a stand. This year, PFF also passed on a traditional mock draft and
instead listed the top 36 players based on their raw score for 2017
(except South Carolina WO
, whose 2016 score is used due to last season's ankle fracture). Not to be denied, we used the scores to compose a pseudo-mock (and included all 36).
Last year, though we didn't complete a rigorous 'scorecard' of success based on mock drafts,
Pro Football Focus came out looking pretty good on its projections
. Only PFF had Oklahoma QB
as the top pick more than a week before the draft, and only PFF had Arkansas OC
as a top-32 guy a week before his selection (they were also the only service that had Ragnow in the first round in May 2017).
Though some services did better than others, it's important to take these projections with more than a few grains of salt. In fact, if last year is any indication, the top pick in the draft isn't even on this grid; Mayfield wasn't a first-rounder in the eyes of any of these services in the spring of '17. Also, based on last year, 13 players who weren't on any of the boards will go in the first round, while four players rated by all seven as a first-rounder will slide into the second round or worse.
Here are a few more observations.
- A total of nine players are seen as first-rounders by all seven services. They are Georgia DC DeAndre Baker, Ohio State DE Nick Bosa, Mississippi WO A.J. Brown, Oregon QB Justin Herbert, Clemson DE Dexter Lawrence, Mississippi OT Greg Little, Missouri QB Drew Lock, Houston DT Ed Oliver and LSU DC Greedy Williams. That compares to last year's 12; four of them didn't make the first-round cut in '18, and one of them, Florida St. DC Tarvarus McFadden, went undrafted.
- So which players are the surest thing? Bosa and Oliver each rate as top-ten picks by all seven services, with Oliver lasting no later than 7 (Draft Expert's Tony Pauline) and Bosa falling no farther than 8 (Pauline again). Three services nail Bosa as the top pick, while just one (ESPN's Todd McShay) sees Oliver as No. 1 overall, though three others like him as the second pick.
- Among the nine players all seven services agreed on, the widest disparity was seen on Lock. Pro Football Focus slides him just inside its 'first round,' scoring him an 85 (tied with Ole Miss' Little) for the 28th slot. Meanwhile, Pauline has Lock as the top pick in the draft.
- The service that went farthest out on a limb? That would be Pro Football Focus. Which player had the best score for 2017, according to the august analytics firm? It's Northern Illinois DE Sutton Smith, who's not rated as a first-rounder by any of the other six services. He's one of 14 players that PFF judged as a top-32 player based on his '17 season that not one other service sees as a first-rounder. It will be interesting to see if PFF enjoys the same success in the '19 draft that it saw in '18.
for our composite look at all seven services and the players they rated as first-rounders as of this spring/summer. In the meantime, here's a look at what else we saw, heard, read and said in the world of football this week.
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With our focus on updating some of our annual features, we didn't have as much time for our signature feature.
, we had a short report on changes on the staff at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, a few notes to go with our
FBS Head Coaches and Agents
big board and more. We'll be back with plenty more next week. In the meantime, make sure you didn't miss anything this year by clicking
This week, we featured
on Wednesday, and
on Friday. Next week, we delve further into the SEC with
, then we follow up with
. Recruiting is in full swing. Click
to review all the prospects we've profile and reach out to their key people.
Succeed in Football:
This week, we talked to yet another young and rising contract advisor, Shane Costa of Buffalo, NY-based Pillar Sports.
Shane's blog post
is especially helpful because he took the time to read our previous posts by
Octagon's Casey Muir
HOF Player Representatives' Greg Linton
, then came up with his own original points to add to theirs. Basically, Shane says to make information your friend, to prioritize communication, and, well, maybe it's best to just
read it yourself
The next seven days will not only determine whether hundreds of people will get to live their goal of becoming an NFL agent, but will decide if about 30 veteran agents will be able to move forward with their professions or see it ended abruptly. It's one of the most important weeks of the year in the game behind the game. With that in mind, we'll be pushing our
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Mississippi State, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada
(at minimum) next week from our
, and one more week of the
ITL Rising Contract Advisor Newsletter
before taking a break until October. We'll also continue hammering away at our next update of the
ITL 2019 Contacts List
for parents of the next draft class (seniors
juniors), and we'll inch closer to our next four-week cycle of
The ITL Newsletter on the NFL Draft Process
. We'll also have updates on the news you need in our Rep Rumblings, and we'll continue reviewing and renovating our pages and annual features, starting with the
All-Star and Draft Grids Collection
page, and we're running behind by almost three months (again) on our
. We also might get to our
Agents by Total Clients
list for July, and we're long overdue for an
Assistant Coaches with Agents
here's our last review from 2015
to let us know who you represent so we can include it). And oh, by the way, rookies have already reported to Owings Mills, Md., for Ravens camp, and veterans report on Wednesday. It's here. The season is here. Or at least, training camp is. Whether you're already part of the business or just hoping to be, it's time to put your game face on.
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