By Jared Stanger
Recently, while thinking about how to prioritize players in mock drafts…for example: player at position A, with grade 70, that costs pick X vs player at position A or B, with grade 65, that costs pick Z… it started to come to me to just create a single number that could represent all players’ weighted draft value.
I’m not going to get too detailed into the data points input into the formula, and certainly not the final algorithm, but after running through maybe 12-15 attempts, I did come up with one that yielded results that found a balance between straight player grade and the bonus value that can be found when a player of slightly lesser talent is found at multiple rounds worth of draft capital discount.
It’s the Goldilocks and the Three Bears concept of drafting. Not too __, not too __, but just right.
I will give you two different mock draft configurations based on the same data. The first is just rote adherence to taking the best value player at each round. The second will incorporate a little bit of subjectivity…what might be more toward the realm of team need…but still picking from, say, the top three value marks of each round.
2.41 – Illinois Safety, Kerby Joseph
A late riser in this draft cycle; Joseph is a rangy deep covering free safety type with good size and ball skills. He isn’t what I would call a “need” for Seattle if they bring back Quandre Diggs, and certainly not at this price. If Seattle goes Safety here I hope, and guess, it would be one of the handful this year that played a lot of nickel.
3.72 – Cincinnati Corner, Coby Bryant
Full disclosure: the real name at this spot was Florida RB Dameon Pierce. But there is quite a lot of value to be found at RB this draft, and we will address that later. So I made one editorial decision not to mock two RB in this draft, and instead go for a little more balance.
I like Bryant as a player, so to see him come across as a good value in this exercise furthers my interest in him. Good production, good size, good ball skills, good leadership.
4.105 – Chattanooga Guard, Cole Strange
I actually haven’t watched much of Strange yet. I know he’ll be at the Senior Bowl this week, so I will be keying in on him. If he’s a pure guard; I’m not sure the Seahawks will be super interested, but if he reps some at Center or Tackle, maybe that becomes more interesting.
One potential flaw with this algorithm is that it doesn’t factor for “type”. A nose tackle and a 3-tech are scored by the same DT inputs. And I don’t think the Seahawks need a big-bodied run-stuffing DT like Farrell as much as they could use some interior passrush. But for what he is; Farrell is a very good player.
5.151 – Coastal Carolina Tight End, Isaiah Likely
Tight End is a complicated position this year. There’s a lot of interesting depth, but not much consensus on the order they come off. I tend to think Likely should be higher than this, with his floor probably the 4th round, but clearly the value would spike if he fell to the 5th.
7.226 – Baylor Running Back, Abram Smith
Abram came out of this analysis as the single, highest-scoring player by draft value. Getting a guy with his level of production, traits, floor, and potential ceiling in the 7th round is a win for any GM.
2.41 – Colorado State Tight End, Trey McBride
Do the Seahawks need a Tight End? Gerald Everett will be an unrestricted free agent, as will Will Dissly. Watching the 2021 Seattle offense; I can’t help but wonder if they would ever use a TE the way many of the most exciting offenses in the NFL have come to use their TE recently. But, in theory, I think a TE here would make more sense than a Safety. Plus, I am more comfortable with McBride’s projection than Kerby Joseph’s.
3.72 – Kentucky DL, Josh Paschal
This is the pick that I’ve put the most subjective input on for this whole mock. For either a legit reason stemming from the available DL talent in this class, or a flaw in my algorithm; DE did not really place many players high in draft value. I think the Seahawks could use a player like Paschal, though, so I did force the issue a little. While he might have only been 5th or 6th in value at this pick, I made the compromise because he was the 3rd value for Edge (and one in front of him was Aidan Hutchinson), as well as a top 60 value for all positions.
4.105 – Southern Utah Tackle, Braxton Jones
For whatever reason, the players coming out in this OT class seem to lean more towards small-school players than guys from power five schools. Tulsa OT Tyler Smith was also high in this metric. Duane Brown is a free agent, and the offense seemed to take off more when they went away from Brandon Shell at RT, who is also a free agent. So it feels pretty important to find some solutions, or at least depth, at both Tackles. Braxton is a guy that performed well for me in both watching the film and breaking down the math. Same for Smith. Either would be a find at this point.
4.112 – Cincinnati Safety, Bryan Cook
I was already a fan of Cook’s and to see him rank high on this breakdown, I was glad to add him in the 4th. Quandre Diggs is a free agent, Jamal Adams has gone down hurt both of the years he’s been here, Marquise Blair has only averaged about 7 games active for his first three years as a pro, and Ryan Neal is another free agent. They need help at safety, it’s just gonna be a question of which level. Cook sort of feels like a KJ Wright kind of player…not a physical freak, and he may not be a league superstar, but he’ll be a smart, tough, reliable player for you for 6-8 years.
5.151 – Sam Houston Corner, Zyon McCollum
I think this would be an interesting year for Seattle to go hard after a Corner. DJ Reed is a free agent, Sidney Jones is a free agent, Tre Brown needs to come back from patellar tendon surgery and hopefully maintain his speed. Kyler Gordon would need to be considered if he was there at #41, we talked earlier about Coby in the 3rd, but the overall top value on my spreadsheet ended up being McCollum. At 6’4″/201lbs and loose hips; if you hit on that guy in the 5th round (ahem…Sherm); you can suddenly see how that could be the best value at the position.
7.226 – Baylor RB, Abram Smith
I tend to think Abram is more of a 6th round guy, but if you can get him later…his upside could make him one of the great draft stories of the decade.