Football Scout 365 Situational Analysis How We Grade Individual Players and Team's (Updated 6-1-21)

The Football Scout 365 process and philosophy is a process developed to connect advanced metrics and on-field play. The numbers can sometimes tell a different story than the film or vice versa, and that is where our situational analysis plays a pivotal role in how we interpret individual player and team performance. How We Grade, The Grade Scale, and More Let's start off by going over the grading system, and then we can dive into some of the variables used to compile our individual player and team grades. We have revamped the way we compile and determine a player's individual grade. We started off with a grading system used when evaluating NFL Draft prospects. We have now put together a comprehensive grade scale for all players, both college and pro. Let's examine the two individual player grade scales. Individual Player Grades For Current NFL Players Below you will see a list of color-coded tiers followed by a descending grade scale. The grading scale is a 1-10 model with 10 being elite and = to, or <4 as poor. The grading scale uses variables based on each player's positional focus and uses advanced metrics such as pressure rate and sacks for pass rushers. Each tier carries an average value based on various data points, including the previous season's data. Our rankings are not an indictment of one's career and are more of a projection-based tier system used to identify current players' potential ceilings or floors. (Edited for clarity on 6-2-21). Tier 1 Elite = 10 (A+) Near Elite = 9 (A-) Star on The Rise/Fall = 8 (B+) Tier 2 Above Average Solid Starter = 7 (B-) Average Starter = 6 (C+) Below Average = 5 (C-) Tier 3 Poor = 4 (D+) Replace = <3 D- Depth or Replacements Needed When evaluating the elite level QB's we found that the average total passing yards (4600) and pass TD's (39) to INT's (8) is the average among the elite level QB's a list that includes Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, and Deshaun Watson. Each of the above QB's graded out as elite performers in both advanced metrics and during film review where the data is connected to on-field performance. Elements such as on-target throw rate vs. raw completion rate are major factors when evaluating a QB and when you can identify these factors on film, it provides a more profound level of analytical perspective. (Note: Some grades are not based solely on current or recent metrics. The grades can be projection-based. Suppose a WR or a QB are graded just below an elite level one year removed from having an elite level year. In that case, we may choose to move them down a notch based on situations or other variables not easily quantifiable. Situational Analysis Team Grades (All levels, CFB, NFL) The situational analysis team grades use the grades from the individual player evaluations. Once all players are graded we then compile an average grade for each of the following metrics to compile a total offense, defense, and team grade. The Gradable Team Metrics Are as Follows: Passing Offense, Rushing Offense, Receivers, Pass Block, Run Block, Pass Rush, Pass Cover, and Run Defense. What We Use Team Metrics to Evaluate Once we have a total grade for each of the above metrics, we then get the average for offense, defense, and total team. The total team grade represents the overall strength of each team. We use this grade to identify power rankings, divisional contenders, playoff contenders, and legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Other metrics considered are the strength of schedule, coaching staff, and any other factors that might come into play. NFL Draft Grade Process and Grade Scale Like the individual player grades for current NFL players, the NFL Draft grades involve a combination of both advanced metrics and film evaluation. INSTANT IMPACT POTENTIAL (Grade 7-10) The prospect has consistently performed at the highest level in big moments vs. top competition. The player is an elite athlete, with elite traits that are apparent when watching his film. The player consistently demands an opponent's attention, which opens up opportunities for his teammates to thrive. He makes his team better by just being on the field. The Grade Scale Considerations - Elite, Perfect Prospect = 10 A+ - Perennial All-Pro Potential = 9 A- - Pro Bowl Level Potential = 8 B+ - Year One Level Starter = 7 B- POTENTIAL UPSIDE (Grade 4-6) The player produced at an above-average to elite level against top competition but sometimes lacked consistency. The player performed at an elite level vs. average competition but often disappeared against top competition or did not compete in a division with high-level competition. The player needs to develop their skillset further. The margin for improvement may vary. The player possesses all of the physical tools but lacked development in high school and college that an NFL-level coach could develop. The player might lack certain physical tools needed in specific NFL schemes. The player might have lacked a work ethic or needs to improve attention to detail. The Grade Scale Considerations - Boom or Bust Potential = 6 C+ - Starter Potential Within Two Years = 5 C- - Good Backup w/Starter Potential = 4 D+ DEVELOPMENTAL (Grade 1-3) The player produced at an above-average to elite level against top competition but sometimes lacked consistency. The player performed at an elite level vs. average competition but often disappeared against top competition or did not compete in a division with high-level competition. The player needs to develop their skillset further. The margin for improvement may vary. The player possesses all of the physical tools but lacked development in high school and college. The player might be considered scheme-dependent. The Grade Scale Considerations - High-Level Developmental Traits = 3 (D-) - Backup Special Teams Player = 2 (F) - Chance to Make Roster = 1 (F) Positional FIlm Review Evaluation Process and Considerations How We Evaluate the QB Position When evaluating the QB position one of the top traits to ID is leadership. Does the QB show leadership on the field, or if you have close access to the prospect, does he also lead off of the field? How does the prospect handle adversity? Other on-field variables include the pocket presence or poise in the pocket. Does the prospect stand tall in the pocket? Does he hang in under pressure? Where do his eyes go? Do his eyes move from down the field when pressure is coming, or does he stand tall and keep his focus downfield? How well does the prospect go through his progressions? Can he get from one to three quickly? Does he move off of his first or 2nd read too fast or too slow? What is his decision-making like, or the rate of good to bad decisions? We then look at the arm talent. How strong is the prospect's arm? What arm angle ability does he possess? What is his accuracy at all levels? The last thing we look for but certainly not least, is athletic ability. We love guys who can move and make plays with their legs. How We Evaluate the RB Position These are not in any particular order, but I will point out that I always identify the RB's who show patience as a runner. When I say patience, I like backs, which allow the guard to pull to the designated blocking zone before hitting that area hard. A great example of a back with great patience or who allowed his blockers to get set up was Lev Bell when he played at his best in the Steelers offense. I like to key in on other aspects: are they tough between the tackles, do they possess good contact balance, and can they create yards after contact? I like a back with good vision, one who sees the opening before it's there, or who can ID what is not available and can bounce the play outside or locate the cut back lane. I also look for a guy who possesses a good burst; he doesn't have to be a burner. I like a guy who can explode in a small space to get to the edge when needed or explode through a closing void. One of the more critical aspects is, can the guy pass block, or is he a willing pass blocker? Skills as a receiver, how good of a receiver is he out of the backfield? Can he line up in the slot if we want to create that mismatch? How versatile is the player's skill set as a receiver? How We Evaluate the WR Position The Ability to separate can play inside or outside, strong hands, the ability to fight through press, can track the football, good body control, good hands, attacks the catch point, good route running, agility, ability to make defenders miss in space, effort without the football, uses leverage, can stack a DB, can make contested catches in traffic, can box out, plays bigger than his size, or uses his size well, explosive. How We Evaluate the TE Position Some of the key traits to look for when evaluating the tight end position, do they possess good hands, are they a good to adequate blocker? I examine their size relative to similar style players. Are they used more as an inline blocker, or in the slot, or flexed wide? Or are they versatile enough to do both? Are they a Hybrid, Fullback style TE, a guy I can lineup in the backfield and use to iso block for the RB? Are they a good route runner? Are they athletic in space? Can they get separation when route running? Is the prospect an enthusiastic blocker? How to Evaluate Offensive Line For the most part, you scout all of the offensive line positions similarly with a few variations. Everything begins and ends with how a player moves, observing the prospect's first few steps when in pass pro, their athleticism and ability to get to an area to block in the run game, hand usage, and strength. Pass Blocking Some prospects are raw but athletic and need polish, vs. some who are very technical but lack strength or athleticism. As a pass blocker, how well does the lineman use his hands? Does he stick and move like a boxer with good footwork (punch defender). How does he handle a bull rush or players who use a wide array of hand combos to disengage? Where are his eyes? Is the prospect flat-footed at times or consistently on his toes? Run Blocking Can the prospect get a good push or move a defender? Can he leverage the defender with his size? Does he play with a good bend (bends at the knee, not at the waist)? When moving the defender, does he distribute his power from the legs up? Is the prospect's hand placement in the correct area (inside shoulders, thumbs are pointing up)? Does the player finish, and is he consistent in all of these critical areas? Scheme Fit The scheme fit matters; some guys are more comfortable in a zone-blocking scheme than, say a power, or gap scheme; some are good at both. Some are good with straight-up man blocking one on one; it varies with the run game as a general rule; Gap schemes are more effective if your offensive linemen are not physically as strong as the defensive linemen help deal with stunts and twists. Zone Schemes are great ways to feature a runner with great vision and punish fast-flowing linebackers. How to Evaluate Defensive Line The first thing you want to look for when scouting the IDL position is where they fit scheme-wise? Is he a two-gap 3-4 interior player or a one-gap 4-3 defender? In a 3-4 defensive scheme, my nose tackle will generally lineup over the center's head and is accountable for both A-gaps. I want my nose tackle to take up space in the middle so that my 2nd level guys can make plays without defenders getting to the second level. You also want them to possess the strength to get off of a block and make a play in the run game. My 3-4 ends are also two-gap responsible; I need them to hold down the B and C gap on each side. In a one-gap 4-3 scheme, you have the two IDL; one is usually considered one tech who lines up half shade over the center in the B gap opposite the three-technique player who is in the B gap half shade over the guard. Both are responsible for stopping the run and rushing the passer when needed. Some of the traits I look for, speed, power, and push. The players who have both speed and power are high-level players. How they use their hands to disengage with a blocker is essential. And the last but not least area is awareness and IQ. A guy who is a student of the game, who can recognize pre-snap movements or player positioning and make adjustments to their movement post-snap are the best defenders in the NFL. Once again, Aaron Donald possesses all of these traits. The first thing you want to look for when scouting the IDL position is where they fit scheme-wise? Is he a two-gap 3-4 interior player or a one-gap 4-3 defender? In a 3-4 defensive scheme, my nose tackle will generally lineup over the center's head and is accountable for both A-gaps. I want my nose tackle to take up space in the middle so that my 2nd level guys can make plays without defenders getting to the second level. You also want them to possess the strength to get off of a block and make a play in the run game. My 3-4 ends are also two-gap responsible; I need them to hold down the B and C gap on each side. In a one-gap 4-3 scheme, you have the two IDL; one is usually considered one tech who lines up half shade over the center in the B gap opposite the three-technique player who is in the B gap half shade over the guard. Both are responsible for stopping the run and rushing the passer when needed. Some of the traits I look for, speed, power, and push. The players who have both speed and power are high-level players. How they use their hands to disengage with a blocker is essential. And the last but not least area is awareness and IQ. A guy who is a student of the game, who can recognize pre-snap movements or player positioning and make adjustments to their movement post-snap are the best defenders in the NFL. Once again, Aaron Donald possesses all of these traits. How to Evaluate Edge Players The Role In a 3-4 (Edge Players) An edge defender in a 3-4 scheme is often in a two-point stance, like a LB. They are to be versatile; needing them to be able to pass rush and pass cover on any given down is a big deal in the NFL. You will also hear terms such as rush LB or sam LB. The rush LB always lines up on the weak side (opposite TE side). Their primary goal is to rush the QB. The Sam LB lines up opposite of the Rush LB. They play on the strong side of defense (TE side). The Sam LB must be strong at the point of attack; the Sam LB focuses on stopping the run while accounting for their area in pass coverage, often against the TE. The Sam LB can be a situational pass rusher, where the coordinator will surprise an offense when sending him after the QB. Other 3-4 edge rusher depictions are ROLB and LOLB. Like the rush LB and the Sam LB, they are more designated to their area and move less with the strength of the offensive formation (where TE lines up doesn't always dictate where they line up). When they are designated to be less dependent on the offensive formation's strength, they have to be versatile enough to be a Sam or a rush style player on any given play. The Role In a 4-3 (Edge Players) The 4-3 edge player is considered a more traditional DE who is responsible for the defense's edge while playing with their hand in the dirt. Some edge rushers can play in either style, while some are scheme dependent and play better with a hand down than in a two-point stance. 4-3 edge players are ordinarily bigger than those in a 3-4 scheme and are more involved as run stoppers and pass rushers and rarely are asked to drop into coverage. Player Traits and SkillSet Some of the traits I look for, speed, power, and push. The players who have both speed and power are high-level players. How they use their hands to disengage with a blocker is essential. And the last but not least area is awareness and IQ. A guy who is a student of the game, who can recognize pre-snap movements or player positioning and make adjustments to their movement post-snap are the best defenders in the NFL. Once again, Aaron Donald possesses all of these traits. How to Evaluate The LB Position When examining the LB position, you have to understand how to ID what LB type a player is. Is he an edge-style player? A Mike Backer (Middle), a Jack, or Will backer (weakside). The definitions will vary by the scheme, but to keep things simple, let's talk about LB traits that matter when scouting. Again scheme matters, are they 4-3 or a 3-4 style player, etc. But today, I want to talk about the inside LB positions. I'll start with the Mike LB. The Mike LB is the alpha, the QB of the defense. He is often lined up in the middle of the defense, but his position might vary because of his versatility. Regardless, the Mike LB has to be an instinctual player who can get downhill versus the run, shed blocks, and drop into coverage when necessary. Size and versatility do matter at the LB position now more than ever; whether it's the Mike, Jack, or the WIll, they must all be versatile to defend against the new age pass-heavy offenses. The Mike LB will be lined up on the strong side (TE, or formation heavy) most of the time. The Will LB or the Jack LB will line up opposite to the weak side. Again this also varies based on personnel. So to shorten this up, you want your LB's to be athletic, good tacklers, physical, able to shed blocks, a player who can dance in traffic, and can cover in space. And lastly, does he read and react well to what the offense is throwing at him? does he over pursue or respond wildly to play fakes? Does he find himself in a good position more than out of position? And can he matchup with a TE, RB, or move into the slot if tasked to do so? How we Evaluate Defensive Backs Whether it's a safety or CB, I am looking for similar traits. It starts with the scheme fit and how they translate. Can they adapt to different schemes? Are they more comfortable as a man-to-man defender vs. zone? Are they able to play press-man? Speed and burst matter in the secondary, but speed doesn't matter if a player lacks agility and good technique. Players with quick feet and can react quickly on the fly by flipping their hips are valuable. What do I mean by flipping the hips? Going from your back peddle to a full sprint fast is very important to a DB. The critical part of that transition is flipping your hips to change your body orientation 180 degrees without momentum. It's an awkward body motion that guys at the NFL level make look easy. I also look for willing-run defenders. Can they provide support in the run game? Are they sound in the open field? All of the above can be true for the safety position, but there are some differentiating factors from a CB. You have two safeties in football, free and strong, and sometimes you get a hybrid nickel or LB style safety. The definition of safety has become blurry as they have to be responsible in similar ways at both spots; that's where the hybrid effect comes into play or the undefined role of safety, so to speak, because of how defenses utilize them to defend against pass-heavy spread offenses. So you can understand the difference between a traditional free and strong safety, I'll define it real fast. Free safety is often the deep safety lined up at least 10 yards deep, while the strong safety traditionally lines up on the TE side or the heavy side of an offensive formation. Free safeties are responsible for mostly pass coverage, while a strong safety defends the run while also being accountable for pass coverage.

Football Scout 365 Situational Analysis How We Grade Individual Players and Team's (Updated 6-1-21)