This big board is not your average "big board," but rather taking the top 5 at each position and giving them a comparative grade from 10-1, with adjustments for tied players. Inside and outside linebackers are one group, as are defensive linemen. So, here's the AB NFL Big Board 1.0 for the NFL Draft:
1: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M - 10.05
Texas A&M star Myles Garrett is this year's top prospect [1.0].
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2: Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama - 10.04
3: Malik Hooker, FS, Ohio State - 10.03
4: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State - 10.02
5: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU - 10.01
LSU running back Leonard Fournette is my top offensive player [1.0].
Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports
6: Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama - 9.65
7: Jamal Adams, SS, LSU - 9.64
8: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State - 9.63
9: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan - 9.62
10: Sidney Jones, CB, Washington - 9.61
11: Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky - 9.52
12: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama - 9.51
13: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford - 9.26
14: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida - 9.25
15: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson - 9.24
16: John Ross, WR, Washington - 9.23
17: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida - 9.22
18: Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina - 9.21
19: David Njoku, TE, Miami - 9.12
20: Zach Cunningham, ILB, Vanderbilt - 9.11
21: Ethan Pocic, C, LSU - 9.03
22: Jabrill Peppers, SS/LB, Michigan - 9.02
Michigan's Jabrill Peppers is widely considered the draft's most versatile player, with time in college at safety, linebacker, quarterback, running back, and return man.
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23: Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana - 9.01
24: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford - 8.8
25: Budda Baker, S, Washington - 8.73
26: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida - 8.72
27: Gerald Everett, TE, South Alabama - 8.71
28: Ryan Ramcyzk, OT, Wisconsin - 8.56
29: Derek Barnette, OLB/DE, Tennessee - 8.55
30: Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee - 8.54
31: Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington - 8.53
32: Pat Elflein, OG/C, Ohio State - 8.52
33: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama - 8.51
34: Justin Evans, SS, Texas A&M - 8.4
35: Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama - 8.34
Alabama linebacker Tim Williams is considered a top talent at edge rusher, but has struggled off the field.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
36: T.J. Watt, LB, Wisconsin - 8.33
37: Evan Engram, TE, Mississippi - 8.32
38: Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech - 8.31
39: Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida - 8.1
40: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame - 8.04
In a weak quarterback draft class, Notre Dame gunslinger DeShone Kizer gets the nod as the top quarterback, but falls to 40 out of 55.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
41: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama - 8.03
42: Garrett Boles, OT, Utah - 8.02
43: Jon Toth, C, Kentucky - 8.01
44: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina - 7.62
Though many consider North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky the cream of the crop in this lackluster class at the position, his singular season as a starter in a college offense leaves a lot of questions.
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45: Pat Mahomes II, QB, Texas Tech - 7.61
Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes II is another prospect with a high ceiling and a morbid floor in the NFL.
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46: Dorian Johnson, OG, Pittsburgh - 7.53
47: Taylor Moton, OT, Western Michigan - 7.52
48: Dion Dawkins, OG, Temple - 7.51
49: D'Onta Foreman, RB, Texas - 7.4
50: Tyler Orlosky, C, Western Virginia - 7.03
51: Kyle Fuller, C, Baylor - 7.02
52: Nico Siragusa, OG, San Diego State - 7.01
53: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson - 6.6
Though it's a guarantee that some team will look to Watson's potential in the early rounds of the draft, his successes in college were plagued by constant poor decision-making. Watson has a lot of potential and skill, and if he practices like an NFL player, he'll be a good one.
As I showed in the last article, I have developed a metric by which to rate wide receiver value and performance over the course of a season or career (WRT). So now, I've taken 10 notable rookie wide receivers from the 2016 NFL Draft, being Michael Thomas, Corey Coleman, Will Fuller, Tyreek Hill, Malcolm Mitchell, Sterling Shepard, Laquon Treadwell, Pharoh Cooper, Tajae Sharpe, and Tyler Boyde. With the exception of Michael Thomas, none had a great season, most ending up average or, in some cases, pretty disappointing. Again, a 90+ is a very good score in WRT and 50-60 is about average. By this, I mean that an average-to-good second receiver or a below-average first receiver should expect to score between 45-60. So, here's those ten rookies ranked by WRT. *Notice: WRT is a purely statistical metric. It does not account for any opinions or given factors such as "explosiveness." It is based on statistical performance and therefore may not reflect your ideals in a wide receiver, but it reflects what I think each stat is worth. This does not include punt returns, kick returns, or runs such as end-around plays. Each WRT is rounded up to the hundredths place except for Pharoh Cooper (for reasons you should be able to see).
10. Pharoh Cooper, Los Angeles Rams - 26.658 WRT
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9. Laquon Treadwell, Minnesota Vikings - 33.42 WRT - He's not here because his season was much better than Cooper's, he's just here because when he did something, it was more noticeable (though it was 1 catch).
Though disappointing in 2016, Treadwell still outdid one of the other "notable" receivers.
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
8. Corey Coleman, Cleveland Browns - 55.70 WRT - I guess the quarterbacking situation doesn't really help much, but Coleman was an okay guy in terms of being the no. 2 receiver when he wasn't out with an injury.
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7. Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals - 56.35 WRT - Boyd was an average no. 2 receiver in the absence of A.J. Green, but nothing special. This is about an average score.
Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
6. Malcolm Mitchell, New England Patriots - 56.37 WRT - Mitchell is shaping up to be maybe the no. 2 or even no. 1 receiver in this class, but you're not going to see the bulk of the targets at any level in the New England system, so that's not helping your cause. Mitchell was a good player this year for a loaded team.
Patriots rookie Malcolm MItchell has a bright future in the NFL, and could become one of the league's top receivers. For now, he has to settle for 6th.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
5. Tajae Sharpe, Tennessee Titans - 57.68 WRT - Sharpe had a good season for the Titans, but didn't have the true no. 1 receiver stats required to boost a player's rating much higher than this.
UMass product Tajae Sharpe had a great season, but it wasn't good enough to get any farther in the top half of the list.
Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
4. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs - 63.26 WRT - A lot of people probably expected to see Hill closer to the top, but looking through his numbers, he didn't do his real damage in the receiving game and as a result, he falls to no. 4.
2016's most explosive rookie, Tyreek Hill, didn't do his damage receiving, but rather running, returning kicks, and returning punts in accumulation with receiving, so his score was only good enough for 4th.
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3. Will Fuller, Houston Texans - 65.78 WRT - Like most of these receivers, Fuller didn't play the entire season, but when he did play, he was a solid receiver that put up above-average numbers, and those numbers factored out to 3rd place.
Texans receiver Will Fuller exploded onto the scene in 2016, and though he slowed down slightly late in the year, he still earned the no. 3 spot on the list of rookies.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
2. Sterling Shepard, New York Giants - 72.72 WRT - Nobody really paid attention to this small slot receiver for the Giants throughout the year. From the perspective of a non-Giants fan, everything you hear about the Giants, like it or not, it Odell, Odell, Odell. Shepard might have gone under the radar, but the numbers tell a different story. Shepard had a good season, and that's what this measures.
Giants slot receiver Sterling Shepard went through the season flying, but didn't catch the attention of many. He lands the no. 2 spot on this list.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
1. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints - 96.04 WRT - Yes, working in the Saints heavily pass-based system helps any receiver, but Thomas really stepped into the role of the number 1 receiver for the Saints this season, and his numbers reflect the great job he really did.
Michael Thomas (right) earned his spot as the best rookie receiver this year by WRT (and 9th overall).
In 2016, I created an algorithm to use as a metric of rating wide receiver performance and value to their team. I called this statistic WRT, or Wide Receiver Total. It combines different receiving stats and weighs them on a scale of "importance" that reflects how each stat is valued in accordance to each other. For some frame of reference, 45-55 is a good estimate for an average season, or a good season for a 2nd receiver, and 90+ is a very good season for a wide receiver in general. The all-time NFL single-season WRT record is Randy Moss in 2007 with the New England Patriots, a season in which he amassed an amazing 131.92 WRT. Some more explanation will likely come in the future, but let's get into it: here are the NFL's top 10 wide receivers this season by WRT performance. Don't like it? That's fine, you might think some things are more important than I do. It's not just about receiving yards or touchdowns. This is purely statistical, it is not an opinion. Well, here's the list:
10. Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks - 93.87 WRT - Baldwin is a consistent receiver and that's what his stats showed.
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
9. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints - 96.04 WRT - Thomas had a great rookie season, and it helps to be in such a pass-heavy system like the typical 5,000-yard Saints and QB Drew Brees.
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8. The Surprise of the List: Tyrell Williams, San Diego Chargers - 96.34 WRT - Admittedly, I did not expect this, but Williams was a great player in a good offense, and a lot of wideouts had down seasons in 2016.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
7. Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints - 100.59 WRT - Cooks is very possibly the NFL's most dangerous deep threat with the elite speed and catching ability he possesses, and again, he's got a great quarterback with him.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
6. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers - 111.18 WRT - Yes. Antonio Brown might on tape be the NFL's best receiver, or second best, or whatever you want to say, but statistically, his season was both sub par by his standards and worse than some other receivers.
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
5. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants - 111.77 WRT - Odell Beckham Jr. is one of the NFL's finest young receivers and he's always a threat for Eli Manning. Whether it's deep down the field, on a screen, or a slant-and-go, OBJ is a tough receiver to stop and that launched him up these rankings.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
4. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers - 113.21 WRT - Being the top target in a great system like this is well earned, and Jordy Nelson sure produced like a number 1 receiver. He amassed an NFL-best 14 receiving touchdowns and, like every other player on this list, over 1,000 receiving yards.
Jim Matthews-USA TODAY Sports
3. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts - 113.37 WRT - Hilton led the league in yards and came close to it in touchdowns, and he definitely deserves what the metric rates him as. However, the overall rating of the metric is based on a player's efficiency, and two guys did it better than T.Y.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
2. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons - 113.72 WRT - Julio Jones was probably the preseason favorite, maybe second to Antonio Brown, and he comes up just short here. Julio's magnificent season, which could have been far and away the NFL's best without his missing 2 games with a foot injury, was good enough for number 2 and he's looking like one of the NFL's top heading into the playoffs and the 2017-18 season.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
1. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 115.12 WRT - Congratulations, Mike Evans. The NFL's best receiver this year by WRT had his best season, notching high figures in every statistic (except fumbles and drops). In a season that required Evans to be incredibly productive for his team to go anywhere in 2016, he went above and beyond as the most valuable and efficient wide receiver in the NFL. Celebrate it now, Mike, the challenge will begin again this fall.