It seems like everyone’s taken note of the declining value of collegiate running backs in the NFL draft, but Ivan Maisel teases something else out of the data from last week’s:
The disparity of opinion regarding the linemen on the consensus All-America team and what NFL teams thought of them is large. Of the eight offensive and defensive linemen from the All-America team, five were drafted in the fourth round or later. Meanwhile, the two receivers and four defensive backs on the All-American team went in the first 41 picks. It could be that different offenses in colleges call for different skills in line play. But the ability to run and move in space, on offense and defense, is valuable in any scheme.
Now there’s a difference between being rewarded for production versus projection – Clowney is a perfect example of the difference – so I’m hesitant to say whether this is a statistical outlier or the beginning of a trend. And if it’s the latter, whether that’s a function of what’s coming out of the college ranks or the way the NFL game has evolved. But I’ll be curious if we see more of the same in next year’s draft and, if so, what sort of impact that might have on CFB down the road.