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NFL Draft Scouting for Fantasy Football

Scouting and predicting how College Football players will transition to the NFL is an imperfect science to say the least. The draft process has remained largely the same since the birth of the modern NFL in 1966. However, even 54 years of projecting how players will fare on the world’s largest football stage has borne very little fruit. At its core, the NFL Draft remains a game of educated guesses.

As hard as we try to analyze every aspect of a player’s game and personality, there ultimately is no way to tell for certain how they’ll perform when they finally put on their new team’s uniform. That’s why there will always be sleepers to be had late in the draft, why there will always be players drafted early who fail to live up to expectations, and why the NFL continues to be the best sport in America. Fuck you Baseball!

The Small Podcast with The Big Idea

As a scout, there are no right or wrong answers. Much like reading the Bible or the US Constitution, two individuals can see the same exact things yet come away with very different interpretations. What one scout sees as a slight glitch in a player’s game, might be a fatal flaw for another scout. What one see’s as amazing, might just be okay to another. It’s this difference in opinion that makes scouting players for the NFL, or any type of competition, so difficult.

Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong way to play Football. Yes, there are bad players and good players, but rarely is life so binary. You don’t necessarily need to be good at everything to excel in the NFL. It would be wonderful if all prospects were Saquon Barkley, but unfortunately we weren’t blessed enough to live in such a reality. There are different aspects to every NFL position, and different players excel at different aspects of the game. You wouldn’t ask Phillip Lindsay to truck over a middle linebacker, and you wouldn’t ask C.J. Anderson be athletic (SLAM!).

With this in mind, we wanted a format for scouting the four offensive skill positions (QB, RB, WR, and TE) that could be forgiving of these short comings, but recognizes that they exist. We wanted a system that can be universal for scouting in the Fantasy Football community, yet encouraged the inevitable differences in opinion. We wanted a format that we could potentially read in the 5 minutes that we’re sitting on the crapper.

Thus, the Jet Set Scouting Report was born.

We took the traits that are typically reviewed by most scouts and divided them into logical groups which we call Classes. Each of these Classes is indicative of a different aspect of that position’s game, and therefore every position has unique Classes. Quarterbacks are graded on 6 Classes, while Running Backs, Wide Receivers, and Tight Ends are graded on a 5 Class system. Every prospect is assigned letter grades for each Class, along with a Final Grade summarizing how much value they’re worth in Fantasy Football.

There isn’t necessarily a direct correlation between the Class grades and the Final Grade of the prospect, as it is up to each scout to determine how the player’s game will translate to the NFL. Below you’ll find additional details on each position’s Classes, along with further explanation on our grading system. Feel free to utilize the “Contact Us” page to submit any notes or recommendations you have on improving our templates.

As always, Thank you for supporting Jet Set Fantasy Football.

The Jet Set Scouting Report

Prospect Classes are graded on a typical grading scale ranging from “A+” to “F”. We decided to use this scale because we wanted to avoid using arbitrary numbers to describe things that really are not quantifiable but rather qualifiable. It’s also flexible enough to allow for differences in opinion, yet standard enough to be easily read while you’re supposed to be working at your office.

An “A+” is a perfect grade, and, much like perfection, is nearly impossible to obtain. On the other hand, an “F” is perhaps equally hard to obtain, as it indicates absolutely no ability or potential. Players are rarely awarded grades at the end of either side of the spectrum. Most prospect’s grades will fall between the A and D- groups.

Each grade can be translated into the following

  • A+ = Perfect
  • A = Excellent
  • A- = Great
  • B+ = Very Good
  • B   = Proficient
  • B- = Above Average
  • C+ = Average
  • C   = Passable
  • C- = Below Average
  • D+ = Bad
  • D = Very Bad
  • D- = Horrible
  • F = Fucking Awful

Positional Scouting Classes

Quarterbacks

Athleticism

A grade of the prospect’s performance in combine drills, thus determining their athletic ability. For players who didn’t participate in the combine, this grade can be determined by pro day performance or their apparent physical attributes on the football field.

Intangibles

This Class is indicative of skills that are fundamental to the Quarterback position. These traits may or may not have directly affected the prospect’s performance in college, but can be critical for success at the next level. (Traits Included: Throwing Motion, Stance, Release Point, Release Time, Footwork, Dropback, Play Action)

Arm Talent

Arm Talent is a grade of a Quarterback’s Arm Strength, and their ability to make throws at an NFL Level. This Class includes a QB’s mastery of the different pass types, and their ability to use each one effectively.

Accuracy

A Quarterback’s ability to place the ball on target at all levels, as well as their ability to lead receivers and place the ball away from defenders.

Pocket Presence

A grade of how well a Quarterback can sense and avoid pressure. This includes their ability to properly navigate or abandon the pocket, their ability to avoid a sack, and their ability to throw on the run if the pocket breaks down.

QB IQ

A grade summarizing the mental aspects of the Quarterback position. This Class is largely a reading of their decision making, but pre-snap reads and pass progressions factor in as well.F

Running Backs

Athleticism

A grade of the prospect’s performance in combine drills, thus determining their athletic ability. For players who didn’t participate in the combine, this grade can be determined by pro day performance or their apparent physical attributes on the football field.

Interior Running

A measure of a running back’s ability to run successfully between the tackles. This grade considers an RB’s ability to find and utilize running lanes, as well as their ability effectively set-up and read blockers.

Open Field Ability

A measure of a running back’s ability to effectively avoid defenders in space. This grade accounts for an RB’s elusiveness, skill moves, quickness, use of angles, and utilization of cut-back lanes.

Run After Contact

A running back’s ability to continue running after contact with defenders. This includes their ability to truck and shred defenders, and generally stay on their feet.

Passing Game

A grade summarizing a running back’s effectiveness in passing situations. This Class grades their pass blocking, as well as all their skills as a receiver.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Athleticism

A grade of the prospect’s performance in combine drills, thus determining their athletic ability. For players who didn’t participate in the combine, this grade can be determined by pro day performance or their apparent physical attributes on the football field.

Route Running

A measure of a receiver’s ability to create space before the ball is thrown. This Class includes all aspects of a receiver’s game before the ball is in the air such as their stance at the line, speed off the ball, effectiveness of cuts, and their strength against different coverage types.

Ball Skills

A receiver’s ability to adapt to the throw and position themselves to win the catch. These are the actions that take place between the throw and the catch. This includes a receiver’s strength tracking deep balls, high pointing contested catches, and controlling their body in the air.

Catching

A receiver’s ability to secure the ball. This grade looks mainly at hand strength and reliability, but also considers a receiver’s ability to catch a ball in traffic, top-tap at the sideline, and maintain possession through contact.

Running Game

A receiver’s ability to be effective when the ball is on the ground. This grade is mostly determined by their strength as a ball carrier, but also considers how they fair as a blocker.

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