Explanation of Player Grading System

Written by Will Spencer on January 4, 2010



We at Draft Breakdown have come up with our own unique scoring system to rank draft prospects. Each player is evaluated using the below listed categories in order to determine overall rank and value. All players are evaluated with basic categories and then evaluated with position specific categories. Each category is assigned a numerical value, some of which are worth more than others to show importance. It is also important to note that scores are only for those particular positions. For example, an offensive tackle may get a rating of 7.5 for speed, but that does not mean that he is faster than running backs with a score of 6.5. Scores are totally subjective to the individual position of the player.


Once the scores are averaged, here is how we determine what round the player grades:

7.8 – 8.0 Perennial Pro-Bowl type player
7.5 – 7.79 Top 10 pick
7.0 – 7.49 First Round prospect
6.5 – 6.99 First / Second round fringe
6.0 – 6.49 Second Rounder
5.7 – 5.99 Third Rounder
5.4 – 5.69 Fourth Rounder
5.0 – 5.39 Late Rounder
4.5 – 4.99 Undrafted Free Agent / Training Camp player



Listed below are explanations of each category.

Non-position specific categories

Category

Max. Value

Description

Height/Weight 6 Overall physical makeup for the game of football
Speed 8 Straight line speed
Quickness/Agility 10 Ability to translate straight line speed into the game play, change of direction, cuts, etc.
Strength/Explosion 10 Body strength and ability to use it on the field
Athletic Ability 8 Overall athletic ability and versatility
Durability 8 Evaluation of player’s injury history
Character 6 Off-field incidents or concerns
Production/Experience 6 Production on the field at the college level and amount of college play experience
Toughness 8 Combination of physical and mental toughness shown during game play
Potential 10 Overall skill set if utilized in ideal scenario


Quarterback Specific Categories

Category

Max. Value

Description

Decision Making 10 Ability to find the open receiver, throw the ball away, or run when necessary
Arm Strength 7 Ability to throw the ball with power and speed, throw distance
Accuracy 10 Overall accuracy of passing
Mechanics/Footwork 7 Throwing motion and basic form fundamentals
Mobility 6 Ability to move in the pocket, evade the rush or run when needed
Release Quickness 8 Ability to get the ball out quickly


Running Back Specific Categories

Category

Max. Value

Description

Between the tackles 8 Ability of runner to rush inside the offensive tackles
Outside the tackles 8 Ability of runner to run outside the offensive tackles
Receiving 6 Ability to catch the ball out of the backfield
Ball carrying 8 Proper ball placement while running, fumbling issues
Vision 10 Ability to see the hole, see blocks develop and identify cut-back lanes
Elusiveness 8 Ability to evade tacklers
Pass Blocking 8 Ability for runner to pick up blitzers
Leg Drive 8 Overall push of the runner, pile push
Break Tackle 8 Runners ability to break the tackle


Fullback Specific Categories

Category

Max. Value

Description

Blocking 6 Ability to effectively block a defender
Hands 4 Ability to catch the ball out of the back field
Running Threat 4 Ability to carry the ball effectively
Special Teams 2 Ability to play special teams in addition to fullback


Wide Receiver Specific Categories

Category

Max. Value

Description

Route Running 10 Ability to smoothly run all NFL routes
Hands 10 Overall catching ability
Blocking 4 Down field blocking for ball carriers
Short Routes 8 Ability to run and create separation on short routes
Deep Routes 8 Ability to run and create separation on deep routes
Elusiveness/YAC 8 Ability to evade defenders after the catch and add to overall gain of play


Tight Ends Specific Categories

Category

Max. Value

Description

Blocking 8 Ability to block effectively for the run and pass game
Hands 8 Overall receiving abilities
Route Running/Separation 8 Ability to smoothly run NFL routes and create separation
Red Zone Threat 8 Ability to get open in the red zone and work in tight areas


Offensive Lineman Specific Categories

Category

Max. Value

Description

Pass Blocking 10 Ability to block for run game
Run Blocking 10 Ability to block for pass game
Awareness 8 Ability to read defenses and pick up blitzers
Hand Placement 6 Fundamentals and technique of blocking
Pulling/Trapping/Second Level 6 Ability to move to different areas for various blocking schemes, down field blocking
Footwork 8 Kick slides for offensive tackles, leg drive, foot movements while pulling/trapping
Leverage 8 Ability to play with a lower center of gravity than the defender


Defensive Line Specific Categories

Category

Max. Value

Description

Run Stopping 8 Ability to disengage from blocker and stop ball carrier, or plug holes
Pass Rushing 8 Ability to rush the quarterback
Awareness 8 Ability to recognize offensive line blocking schemes, instincts, feel for trap blocks
Hand Placement 8 Fundamental and technique of engaging/disengaging blockers


Linebacker Specific Categories

Category

Max. Value

Description

Run Stopping 8 Ability to sniff out and stop the rush
Coverage 8 Ability to cover a receiver or work in a zone defense
Pass Rushing 8 Ability to rush the quarterback
Tackling 8 Overall tackling ability and fundamentals
Instincts 8 Ability to predict the play based on offensive looks
Hips/Lateral Movement 8 Ability to turn hips and get sideline to sideline


Defensive Back Specific Categories

Category

Max. Value

Description

Ball Skills 10 Ability to locate ball in the air, catch ball, deflect the pass
Man Coverage 10 Ability to cover a receiver one on one
Zone Coverage 10 Ability to drop into zone coverage effectively
Tackling 6 Ability to break down and tackle the ball carrier
Run Stopping 6 Ability to provide support for run defense
Hips/Lateral Movement 8 Ability to turn hips and cover sideline to sideline
Physicality 6 Willingness to put body on the line to make a play


Kicker/Punter Specific Categories

Category

Max. Value

Description

Power 7 Overall kicking power
Accuracy 7 Overall kicking accuracy
Kickoffs 4 Ability to effectively kick off, hang time and distance included



Will Spencer

Will is the founder and President of Draft Breakdown & has been scouting draft prospects since 2002. His work has been featured in numerous publications, including the USA Today Draft Preview Magazine, the official website of the Baltimore Ravens, Ravens Insider and The Orange and Brown Report. Will has previous playing experience as a defensive end in the AFA, is currently a member of the Football Writers Association of America and graduated from the SMWW Football Scouting course in 2009. See all posts by Will Spencer.