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After three years of the SIS Football Rookie Handbook, our “Draft Guide” is now a website. However, not much changed with the transition. Actually, it allowed us more time to take the next step and go even bigger and better than the book has ever allowed us to do. With that said, we had 410 players on the site this year. We grade ourselves on how many players were drafted that we had on the site.
After having 69% (174 of 254) of drafted players in the book in 2019, 78% (199 of 255) in 2020, and 84% (218 of 259) in 2021, we raised that number to 86% (226 of 262) for Year 1 of the website.
When taking out specialists and fullbacks, which we currently don’t write up, there were only 29 players drafted who weren’t on the site and only 6 of which we didn’t get eyes on. That’s nearly 98% of the NFL Draft covered! Plus, many players who didn’t get drafted have already signed UDFA deals with teams.
Now using our grades, we attempted to rank each team’s draft class. Just like in our article from last season, we assigned all grades from the site.
Here are the draft classes ranked in order of their grade:
|Rank||Team||# of Picks||Draft Grade|
One difference is that we’ve usually assigned all players that weren’t in the book a flat 5.7, but with the number of players who made the site and with dropping some of the grade thresholds, we bumped that number to 5.4 this year, which is the equivalent to a training camp body. We took those grades for each player and divided that by the number of selections the team had. These rankings do not account for the value of where players were drafted or trades teams made; it is literally based on the grades we gave the players who were drafted.
The 2022 Best Draft Class, with an average grade of 6.53, went to the New York Jets. They had seven draft picks and made the most of them by selecting players who were all featured on the SIS NFL Draft site.
The Jets draft class is in the table below.
New York Jets 2022 Draft Class
|10||WR||Garrett Wilson||Ohio State||6.8|
|26||ED||Jermaine Johnson II||Florida State||6.7|
|36||RB||Breece Hall||Iowa State||6.7|
|101||TE||Jeremy Ruckert||Ohio State||6.6|
|117||ED||Micheal Clemons||Texas A&M||5.8|
It definitely doesn’t hurt the draft grade when you get three 1st-Round picks, especially when they’re all highly graded. The Jets did just that. After selecting Ahmad Gardner at No. 4 (SIS No. 2 CB) and Garrett Wilson at No. 10 (SIS No. 3 WR), they traded back up to No. 26 to grab Jermaine Johnson II (SIS No. 5 Edge).
Gardner is a long press corner who figures to step into the mix right away. Wilson is an excellent receiver with the traits to be a top receiver option. Johnson has the pass rush ability to be a force getting to the quarterback early and often.
Beyond that, Breece Hall (SIS No. 2 RB) in the 2nd Round was good value, as he could eventually take over the starting job. Jeremy Ruckert (SIS No. 2 TE) could arguably be the best and most complete tight end in this class.
SIS Top Draft Classes
|Year||Team||Previous Season||Following Season||2nd Season|
|2019||Tennessee Titans||9-7 (No Playoffs)||9-7 (L, AFC Champ)||11-5 (L, Wild Card)|
|2020||Cleveland Browns||6-10 (No Playoffs)||11-5 (L, Divisional)||8-9|
|2021||Detroit Lions||5-11 (No Playoffs)||3-13-1||?|
|2022||New York Jets||4-13 (No Playoffs)||?||?|
Since we grade players based on what they will be at the beginning of Year 2, let’s widen the table of our recent Draft Class winners. After winning in 2019, the Titans made consecutive playoff appearances. While the Browns made the playoffs the next year, the turmoil in that locker room this year forced a fall to 8-9.
Finally, the Lions did take a dip this season after taking home the No. 1 class last year, but it was Year 1 with a new regime and they were competitive in most games. Look for them to take a step forward in 2022.
What does that mean for the Jets? They got their franchise quarterback in Zach Wilson last year and have added good pieces around him. If he’s able to show significant development in Year 2, look for them to improve upon their 4-13 record last year.
John Todd: Houston Texans (SIS Rank: 6th)
After not having a 2021 selection until the 3rd Round last year, and only 5 picks overall, the Texans needed to make up for lost time in 2022. Determining if QB Davis Mills will be a hit is the biggest key, but we feel like Houston’s draft class this year did a great job of building up the team around him.
Each of the Texans first 6 selections this year received a 6.4 grade (role-playing starter) or higher. Their first three choices of Derek Stingley Jr. (6.9, SIS No. 1 CB), Kenyon Green (6.9, SIS No. 1 OG) and Jalen Pitre (6.8, SIS No. 4 S) project to be high-impact players and potential cornerstone choices for the new regime. Their next three mid-round picks are all football-young, upside picks from the SEC in WR John Metchie III, LB Christian Harris, and RB Dameon Pierce.
They did a great job of finding quality contributors after the first two rounds and made some big splashes with their early picks. There’s a long way to go in Houston, but this was a big step in the right direction.
Nathan Cooper: Detroit Lions (SIS Rank: 3rd)
This is a homer pick, but the Lions rank 3rd this season after taking home the top honor last year. That’s two outstanding draft classes in the first two seasons for Brad Holmes and company.
Aidan Hutchinson was the top player on the SIS board, and one of only three 7.0 players graded this year. Getting him at No. 2 had the Lions War Room as ecstatic as they were to get Penei Sewell at No. 7 last year. Then, instead of sitting back at No. 32, they moved up to No. 12 without having to give up a 2023 1st-Round pick, and took Jameson Williams (SIS No. 2 WR). The Lions need impact players, and they got one on each side of the ball.
On Day 2, Josh Paschal (SIS No. 10 Edge) is a strong, versatile defensive lineman with heavy hands and the ability to work against both the run and pass. Additionally, Kerby Joseph (SIS No. 5 S) has the range on the back end and is still learning the position.
If not for an injury early in 2021, James Mitchell (SIS No. 12 TE) could’ve been in the top 5-7 tight ends heading into this year’s draft. The other Day 3 picks of Malcolm Rodriguez, James Houston IV, and Chase Lucas should all compete for depth spots at their respective positions, and at worst fill some holes on special teams.
Jordan Edwards: Baltimore Ravens (SIS Rank: 4th)
The Ravens were able to accumulate an abundance of talent with safety Kyle Hamilton, center Tyler Linderbaum, and tight end Isaiah Likely, who were our top ranked players at each of their respective positions. In addition to that, they added players who can make an immediate impact, such as nose tackle Travis Jones (SIS No. 2 NT) and a towering tackle prospect in Daniel Faalele (SIS No. 8 OT), who can fill a void in the offensive line left last year from the Orlando Brown trade.
Also, looking ahead to the 2023 season they’ll have edge rusher David Ojabo (SIS No. 8 Edge), who is coming off a torn Achilles injury, that should make a very intriguing pass rush pairing with former high school teammate Odafe Oweh.
Jeff Dean: Kansas City Chiefs (SIS Rank: 13th)
The Chiefs defense should look a lot different next year with 5 of their top 6 picks going to that side of the ball. Trent McDuffie (SIS No. 3 CB) is a perfect fit in their defense and with half of their draft picks being defensive backs, it was clearly an area of concern. George Karlaftis (SIS No. 4 Edge) and Leo Chenal (SIS No. 3 Mike LB) both add immediate toughness in their front seven and should challenge for starting spots right away.
While trading away Tyreek Hill created an area of need at wide receiver, the Chiefs didn’t jump up during the early wide receiver run and snagged a dynamic playmaker in Skyy Moore (SIS No. 9 WR). Darian Kinnard (SIS No. 3 OG) was once viewed as a 1st-Round pick and offers extreme value late in the draft. The Chiefs just solidified themselves as an AFC contender again with a strong draft.
Ben Hrkach: Seattle Seahawks (SIS Rank: 7th)
The Seahawks draft haul included a blend of easily translatable players that should start early in their career, especially Charles Cross (SIS No. 2 OT), as well as prospects with high-level traits that could excel at their position, such as Boye Mafe (SIS No. 9 Edge), Kenneth Walker III (SIS No. 3 RB), Coby Bryant (SIS No. 5 CB), and Tariq Woolen (SIS No. 14 CB), if they fulfill their potential.
With what looks to be a strong QB class in 2023, Seattle is situated to replicate their “Legion of Boom” roster with solid starters throughout, all with controllable, salary cap-friendly contracts.
Bottom of the rankings
Although the Colts didn’t possess a 1st-Round pick, they were still able to grab Bernhard Raimann (SIS No. 6 OT) in the 3rd Round, which was their best pick according to our grades. Alec Pierce (SIS No. 12 WR) is a solid No. 3 option and Jelani Woods (SIS No. 11 TE) is an athletic freak, but we project him as more of a backup. Additionally, they seemed to go heavy on small-schoolers, taking three FCS players late in the draft, two of which were not featured on the site.
The Rams took home the worst draft class last year, and look at how that worked out. They won the Super Bowl. It’s apparent Les Snead isn’t worried about draft picks, so when you don’t have many early-round selections, it’s highly likely you’ll find yourself near the bottom.
With that said, three of their eight selections were players not featured on the site. Their best selection was Derion Kendrick (SIS No. 11 CB) in the 6th Round. He struggled at his Pro Day, but has the tools to be a low-end starting corner at the next level. We view Kyren Williams (SIS No. 14 RB) as a 3rd-down difference maker and Logan Bruss (SIS No. 13 OG), their first selection of the draft, as a versatile backup along the O-Line.
This year’s worst class goes to the Miami Dolphins. Another team without an early-round pick, their first pick came in the 3rd Round.
However, it was an awesome one in Channing Tindall (SIS No. 4 Will LB). He’s an absolute missile at the linebacker position with a non-stop motor. After selecting Tindall, they drafted Erik Ezukanma (SIS No. 36 WR) in the 4th Round with Cameron Goode and Skylar Thompson coming in the 7th. Thompson just missed out on making the website.
With the trade for Tyreek Hill, however, one can argue that he’s part of the draft class and should be a huge weapon for Tua. Can the Dolphins follow in the footsteps of the Rams and win the Super Bowl after having the worst draft class? We’ll see.
Ten teams selected players who were all featured on the NFL Draft site. An additional three teams selected all but one, with the one being a special teams player.
After having the No. 2 Draft Class, the Eagles have reportedly added twelve UDFAs post-draft, with Carson Strong (SIS No. 5 QB), EJ Perry (SIS No. 8 QB), Mario Goodrich (SIS No. 18 CB), and Noah Elliss (SIS No. 5 NT) highlighting the group.
The Ravens have selected only three players who were not featured in the Handbook or on the site over the last four seasons, and only one wasn’t a fullback or punter (Brandon Stephens).
Across the past four seasons, the Bengals have the best average SIS Draft Class rank and grade average based on what grades were given in the Handbook and onto the website.
How the Handbook Compared to the Draft
Let’s take a look at how the SIS website stacks up to the NFL’s thinking of where players were selected. Outside of the Travon Walker/Aidan Hutchinson situation, SIS’s top player at each defensive position (NT, DT, Mike LB, Will LB, CB, and S) matched the first player of that group taken in the draft.
However, offensively we saw plenty of differences, only matching the first center (Tyler Linderbaum) and guard (Kenyon Green) taken. We matched with the same group of first five tackles taken, Mike linebackers, and edge rushers in slightly different orders, and matched 4 of the 5 at multiple positions. Every player an NFL team took within the top five at his position was on our website with a worthy grade, which we’re very proud of. The difference of opinion is healthy, and we’ll be interested to see how it shakes out in the years to come.
Some of the players we believe were taken too early in our estimation were Arnold Ebiketie and Tyquan Thornton, two top 50 selections who received 5.9 grades from our scouts. We liked the traits enough to give them top backup grades, but there’s work to be done to become a starting-caliber player.
The first round lined up with our grades very well. Again, our methodology of role-based scouting doesn’t lend itself to lining up perfectly with the rounds that players are selected in, but generally speaking, taking a player graded as a backup very early isn’t a good thing, as only 4 of the first 32 did not receive a 6.7 or higher from SIS.
However, we did have the Patriots’ selection of Cole Strange as our biggest Day 1 “reach.” With that said, we still did give Strange a lower-end starting grade, so even if it was a bit surprising, we still see him playing early for New England. The other non-6.7s were Kenny Pickett, Quay Walker, and Kaiir Elam.
Some other players we believe were taken too early for the roles we project them to are Martin Emerson, JT Woods, and Nick Cross, three players taken who were Top-100 selections who received grades a notch below a top backup.
The first eligible player (non-specialist or fullback) taken who we did not give a strong enough grade to reach the threshold we set for the website was Broncos WR Montrell Washington, taken in the 5th round, 162nd overall. This is the latest a non-website/Handbook player has been taken in the past four years.
Some Day 3 picks we believe will outperform their draft position include Coby Bryant, Isaiah Spiller, and Kingsley Enagbare. Each player received a universal solid-starting grade of 6.7 from our scouts and were high on our “SIS 101” Big Board. We also liked the Ravens’ two 4th-Round tight end selections of Charlie Kolar and Isaiah Likely, who were each graded a step below at 6.6.
Later on, there were six players at the 6.5 grade level taken in the 6th Round and later. Those players are Amare Barno, Grant Calcaterra, Cade Mays, Derion Kendrick, Kalia Davis, and Rasheed Walker. We think there’s a great chance these players can contribute in a big way by their second years in the league.
The only players SIS graded within the top 5 of their position group who were not drafted were Carson Strong, Alec Lindstrom, Dohnovan West, and Noah Elliss. Each of these players has already signed as a priority free agent (including, as noted earlier, two by the Eagles), and we could easily see them finding their way onto a roster this fall.
Our lone 6.7-level player who wasn’t selected in the draft was Justyn Ross, which has been widely discussed. His medical history (as we’ve noted on his report) is extensive, but we grade the player for who he is on the field. He finally landed with the Chiefs on a UDFA deal Monday afternoon. Similarly, Damone Clark was drafted much later than he possibly should have been, but he recently underwent surgery that will likely keep him from playing his rookie season.
Handbook Report Card
Every year the SIS scouting department looks to make improvements, and this year was our biggest leap yet. Transitioning to a website allowed us to remove our strict word count/page restrictions, which led to more thorough report writing and a much larger number of reports. There are 410 scouting reports on the Sports Info Solutions NFL Draft website, compared to 318 in 2021’s third annual edition of the SIS Rookie Handbook, the majority of which are much longer and more readable in their current format.
The number of drafted non-specialist/fullback players not featured on our site went down, as did the number of players drafted on whom we didn’t have eyes on at all (only 6 out of 262!). As we noted, our 1st-Round evaluations were a big success with 28/32 picks receiving 6.7 grades or higher and none below 6.5. The first player not featured on the website to be drafted was taken almost 90 picks after he was last year and not until the middle of the 5th Round.
Our scouting process became much more broad and collaborative this season, which can be seen in these results. As more of our contributors take larger ownership of certain regions, and further levels of cross-checks are added, our draft evaluations will only become more comprehensive. Due to the advent of our website, we were able to incorporate Combine and Pro Day performances as slight factors into the process, which was a new strategy for us that led to deeper injury evaluations and some needed triple checking of reports.
We can’t wait to build off the success of the introduction to our online platform and streamline the process moving forward. Year 2 of the site and Year 5 of the process will no doubt be the best yet, as has every previous edition before it.
Please continue to check out the SIS NFL Draft website as the offseason continues. If you’d like to be involved in our scouting and charting processes next year, consider applying to our Football Video scout position. We’re taking applications and interviewing for next year’s class now.