If you read this blog regularly, or you keep up on our Friday Wrap, you know we like to keep tabs on the major draft prognosticators just to see which ones are more willing to break from the pack, which ones pick up on the hottest prospects earliest, and which ones are most volatile from month to month.
For two-plus years, we’ve surveyed seven services, monitoring them from immediately post-draft all the way through the following draft. It’s always fun to see how the boards change as the season winds toward draft time.
Now that we’re almost halfway through the college season, we thought now would be a good time to take our second look at the seven services (Pro Football Network/Tony Pauline; Pro Football Focus; Sports Illustrated; Bleacher Report/Matt Miller; ESPN/Todd McShay; The Athletic/Dane Brugler; and Walter Football). We previously reviewed their work on July 16 (sorry, pay link).
We have several observations in today’s Friday Wrap, which comes out at 6:30 p.m. CT. In the meantime, here are a few things we found interesting:
Passing thoughts: Utah State’s Jordan Love was seen as a sneaky pick for the first round this summer, though he was only listed on one of the seven boards (Pauline at No. 8); we don’t know how Pauline feels these days, but Love is No. 10 in the eyes of Brugler and No. 29 according to Brugler. Then there’s Washington’s Jacob Eason and LSU’s Joe Burrow. Eason has gone from no boards to three boards in six weeks, with Walter Football listing him at No. 17 over Love, Burrow and Georgia’s Jake Fromm. Meanwhile, Burrow, despite garnering serious Heisman mentions, is mostly persona non grata. Miller likes him at No. 21, while Pro Football Focus slides him in at No. 32. They are the only two services that see him in the first round, but at least he’s not Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts. Like the last two No. 1 overall picks, Hurts is Oklahoma’s starter, a transfer, and a serious Heisman contender, but that’s still not good enough to rate a spot in the top 32 for any of the six services.
Catch the fever: Based on the draft services, it’s going to be a great year to need a wide receiver. Not only were there more receivers than any other position that garnered first-round grades from all six services, but two others (Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III and Clemson’s Tee Higgins) made five out of six boards; Walter Football snubbed both of them. Also, TCU’s Jalen Reagor was on four of six boards.
That’s a stretch: Among the 13 players who made all six boards, the biggest difference of opinion was on Iowa DE A.J. Epenesa as Miller listed him at No. 3, but McShay only saw him as No. 25. Also, Walter Football tabbed Herbert as the No. 2 pick, but Miller saw him as only the No. 22 selection. Finally, there’s Georgia OT Andrew Thomas; Walter has him at No. 3, but McShay sees him as only the No. 19 pick.