Now that MockThree is (almost) over, I wanted to share with you guys the big board that Adam Stites, Justin Wendel, and I created to conduct our draft. I KNOW you're curious...
Some notes about the big board:
- The first thing we did was rank the players at each position in the order we felt they belonged. If you click the "By Position" tab at the bottom of the spreadsheet, you'll see our preliminary rankings of players by position. We inadvertently omitted some players that we eventually added into the big board later.
- The next thing we did was look at the top available players at each position and gather up groups of them that we felt belonged in each tier. For example, our first tier consisted of:
1 Patrick Peterson DB LSU
2 A. J. Green WR Georgia
3 Von Miller OLB Texas A&M
4 Marcel Dareus DT Alabama
5 Robert Quinn DE North Carolina
6 Prince Amukamara CB Nebraska
Our tiers were separated by a black bar. Each round tier was separated by a red bar; that is, the first 32 players were our "first round players", etc.
- As we proceeded with the draft, we found that our tiers were much too small. We were faced with the choice between Stephen Paea and Ben Ijalana at pick 49, and though we had Paea ranked a tier above Ijalana, we went with Ijalana because in hindsight we felt that they really belonged in the same tier, and so picking the player at the position of need wasn't a reach. In the future were I to create a big board I'd make the tiers much larger (for the most part).
- We factored needs into our rankings; for example, that's why Kyle Rudolph is ranked so low. Since the Jaguars don't really need a tight end, we moved him down our board.
- During the draft we had opinions change and new information become available. For example, we had Kaepernick ranked 29, but we actually decided we felt he belonged higher during the actual draft. We didn't edit the board, but we did discuss each player we felt should be ranked differently than he was on the big board.
- Another thing to keep in mind is how highly you believe other teams have players ranked. When we reached the 17th pick in the 4th round (the first of the Jaguars' two picks), Austin Pettis was the highest-ranked player on our board. However, there were still some other solid WR on the board such as Tandon Doss, Greg Salas, and Niles Paul. We decided that Pettis had a good chance of being on the board at our next pick, but felt that Sash would be long gone. We rolled the dice and took Sash, and were rewarded when Pettis was still on the board at our next pick.
- Creating a big board isn't NEARLY as easy as you think. Saying "we draft straight BAP" is all fine and dandy, but when you're sitting there with Stephen Paea as your highest-ranked player at 49 and Ijalana a tier below, you tend to second-guess yourself. Drafting Paea would give the Jaguars a very solid player and capable backup to Terrance Knighton, but drafting Ijalana would give the Jaguars a player with a chance to start at guard or right tackle from day one. When the top player on your board is at a position you don't need, it's easy to just fold and pick a lower-ranked player at a need position. In our case, we re-evaluated the size of our tiers and decided the Paea and Ijalana tiers should have been combined, so we didn't feel we reached for Ijalana, but the point remains the same: it's harder than it looks.
- We ranked Cam Newton as the fourth-best quarterback in the draft. Um...yeah.
I hope the big board gives you some insight into how the draft process works, or at least how it worked for us. It's tougher than you'd think. Obviously we have some rankings that are far different from other teams' rankings, and I'm sure we have plenty of players ranked differently than you would have ranked them. Each big board will look differently because people don't see things the same way. Either way, MockThree was a blast, and I hope you guys enjoy this look into our thought process. We came away with the following players (preceded by their ranking on our big board, and followed by which pick in the draft we took them with):
13. Jake Locker, QB, Washington (24)
32. Ben Ijalana, OT/OG, Villanova (49)
57. Curtis Brown, CB, Texas (72)
60. Nate Irving, LB, N. C. State (93)
87. Tyler Sash, S, Iowa (114)
72. Austin Pettis, WR, Boise State (127)
104. Korey Lindsey-Woods, CB, Southern Illinois (167)
112. Joe Lefeged, S, Rutgers (207)
155. Akeem Dent, LB, Georgia (219)
153. Lester Jean, WR, Florida Atlantic (227)
All in all, we felt like we got a lot of value with our picks, and added a lot of talent to the 2011 Jacksonville Jaguars. I'd love to hear your thoughts about our MockThree draft, creating a big board, or the draft in general. Thanks guys!