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2020 NFL Draft narrative busters

 

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By Steve Palazzolo
Apr 9, 2020

We’re back for the third season of NFL Draft narratives, where we take common storylines and hold them up against PFF data. We had a successful run during the 2018 and 2019 draft seasons, so let’s take a look at the various storylines and narratives this year and what the data actually says. 

[Editor's note: Check out all of PFF's 2020 NFL Mock Drafts and NFL Draft Big Board. PFF Elite subscribers can also download the 1,100-page 2020 NFL Draft Guide.]

NARRATIVE: MEKHI BECTON IS WORTH A TOP-FIVE PICK (FALSE)

While Becton has a highlight reel of run blocks, there are some concerns about his pass protection. It’s easy to get caught up in his 6-foot-7 360-plus pound frame and impressive NFL Combine numbers, but Becton was not challenged often in pure pass-blocking situations at Louisville — and it makes him a difficult projection at the most important part of the position. 

When you add to the mix the other first-round caliber offensive tackles, Becton looks like even more of a risk. Players such as Georgia’s Andrew Thomas, Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs, Alabama’s Jedrick Wills and Houston’s Josh Jones were all much cleaner pass protectors at the college level. There’s still a chance that Becton produces like a first-round talent, but given his 79.2 pass-blocking grade last year and his 64.7 mark on “true pass sets,” he’s more of a second-round prospect on the PFF draft board. Here’s more from Ben Linsey on Becton and his ranking as the fifth-best offensive tackle on the PFF Big Board.

 
 

 

NARRATIVE: THIS IS THE BEST OFFENSIVE TACKLE CLASS IN YEARS (TRUE)

Speaking of the offensive tackles, this is the best class we’ve seen in years. We feel good about the previously mentioned top four of Thomas, Wirfs, Wills and Jones, while Becton could also be a solid player even with our pass-protection concerns. There’s a chance the first round adds a few more names in Boise State’s Ezra Cleveland, USC’s Austin Jackson, or Georgia’s Isaiah Wilson, and while all three players would be reaches are our board, they show the depth this class has to offer. Overall, the PFF draft board has 13 offensive tackles ranked in the top 100, so the first three rounds should be loaded with talent for tackle-needy teams.

NARRATIVE: K’LAVON CHAISSON IS A FIRST-ROUND TALENT (FALSE)

Speaking of incredible highlight reels, teams have salivated over Chaisson's high-end plays during NFL Draft meetings for months. Many teams like to show a player’s best 10-to-15 plays to show what a player is capable of, and Chaisson’s “best 15” make him look like a top-10 pick. The question lies in the other 745 from last season, where Chaisson finished with a mediocre 72.7 overall grade. For a player with such incredible explosion and the ability to convert that explosion to power, why is the production so low despite having the tools in the toolbox to dominate?

It’s the same question we asked last year about Michigan’s Rashan Gary, and for pass-rushers, their PFF grade in college is very indicative of how well they will perform at the next level. Like Gary and Becton, there’s a chance that Chaisson puts it all together and the NFL production trumps his college tape. But it’s a risky proposition to bet on perceived upside in the first round.

 2019 Grades Overall Pass Rushing Run Defense
K’Lavon Chaisson 72.7 (Rk: 73/208) 78.9 (Rk: 41/208) 70.5 (Rk: 89/208)

Ranks among FBS draft-eligible edge defenders.

NARRATIVE: JORDAN LOVE PLAYED POORLY BECAUSE OF HIS SUPPORTING CAST (FALSE)

Love took a noticeable step back last year after a promising 2018 campaign, but it’s not the fault of his supporting cast. This was a similar narrative for fellow Mountain West quarterback Josh Allencoming out of Wyoming — Allen’s poor numbers were explained away by his supporting cast rather than his accuracy and decision-making. The PFF grading system already does a fine job of isolating the quarterback’s play from that of his supporting cast, and Love’s 75.0 overall grade in 2019 is a concern, as it ranks just 25th among FBS quarterbacks in this draft class alone. 

USATSI_13465370_168386533_lowres-2.jpg Oct 5, 2019; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Utah State Aggies quarterback Jordan Love (10) throws against the LSU Tigers during the first half at Tiger Stadium. Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

As far as the supporting cast goes, Love had the fourth-most “open” throws of any quarterback in the class, and he ranks just 22nd in accuracy percentage to go with the seventh-highest percentage of uncatchable passes on those targets. If one is using supporting cast to make excuses for a quarterback, it makes sense only if one is judging that quarterback on raw stats or wins/losses. Other than that, quarterback performance can be isolated away from his ecosystem using PFF data, and the data was not in Love's favor in 2019.

Here’s more on the wide range of outcomes for Love in the NFL

NARRATIVE: PASS ON WR EARLY BECAUSE YOU CAN GET ONE IN ROUND 2 (TRUE, NOT TRUE)

PFF lead draft analyst Mike Renner suggested this topic because he does believe there’s a top tier of wide receiver in this class featuring CeeDee LambJerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III. Lamb is likely the most complete receiver in the class, Jeudy is the best route runner and Ruggs is a game-changing speedster. All three receivers are going to be difficult to find comparables for later in the draft, so even with a deep group of pass-catchers, passing on the special traits of the top three is not advisable. 

However…

NARRATIVE: THIS IS THE BEST WR CLASS SINCE 2014 (TRUE)

The wide receiver depth is fantastic. Beyond the big three, there’s another deep threat in TCU’s Jalen Reagor, the best catch radius in the draft in Clemson’s Tee Higgins and draft-board riser Denzel Mims from Baylor who brings a great combination of speed and size. Need a crafty slot receiver? Look at LSU WR Justin Jefferson. An after-the-catch threat? Colorado’s Laviska Shenault. A sure-handed, big-bodied possession type? USC’s Michael Pittman Jr. is the guy. Overall, the PFF draft board has 17 wide receivers ranked in the top 100, and it’s a great year for teams to double up at the position to mitigate risk and add variable skill sets to their skill position group.

NARRATIVE: YOU CAN’T PASS ON CHASE YOUNG (FALSE)

Chase Young is awesome. He projects to be awesome. The Redskins, and other teams picking in the top five, may be better off trying to add two or three players rather than just adding Young. 

All of the above can be true.

Young pass-rushing grade in 2019 was the highest we've seen in a regular season, and those grades are very stable when projecting to the next level, so we have a high level of confidence that Young becomes one of the league’s best pass-rushers. The question is about what that’s worth, especially in relation to the opportunity to add multiple starters to a team in his stead. As our own Timo Riske pointed out, there are plenty of scenarios where Washington “wins” by trading down with regard to adding more value to their team. There are also plenty of scenarios in which a team that trades up to get a quarterback also “wins” the trade from their perspective. For the Redskins, they must do their due diligence and explore trade-down opportunities because the opportunity to add two or three good players is better for the team than adding one great player — even if Young goes on to have a 10-year, Hall-of-Fame-caliber career. 

 

I think one of difficult things for us to wrap our heads around is the lack of impact of non-QB stars in the NFL

They don’t make nearly as big of an impact as stars in other sports

Khalil Mack is a star, but his impact on a game is far lower than an equal name in another sport

 
 
 
 

 

NARRATIVE: YOU CAN’T PASS ON DERRICK BROWN (FALSE)

See above. Now, add to it that Brown is not projected as an elite pass-rusher. There’s a certain point in the draft where Brown is a “safe” play, as he can provide excellent run defense. But that’s not where games are won and lost in the NFL. Brown is a classic case of a good player who might not be the most valuable player for winning games, so he’s certainly not a “can’t-miss” prospect if the goal is maximizing future wins.

NARRATIVE: MY TEAM WOULD NEVER PASS ON PLAYER X (FALSE)

Sorry, no matter how much you know the ins and outs of your favorite team’s draft strategy, crazy stuff happens every year. Not only that, but as locked in as we get on which players are worthy of being first-round picks, hindsight drafts always seem to make the initial 32 picks look iffy. When we look back at the 32 best players or the 32 most valuable players in any draft class, it rarely looks anything like the order you see on draft night. So lay off with the “worst mock draft ever” comments!

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If I'm TD or DQ, I'm not betting my job on Chaisson.

2020 NFL Draft narrative busters   By Steve Palazzolo Apr 9, 2020 We’re back for the third season of NFL Draft narratives, where we take common storylines and hold them

Haven't been on the Chaisson wagon from the beginning. His production isn't what it should be considering his situation. How many pass rushers got to pin their ears back more than Chaisson? Opposing o

Really good article - thanks for posting. Can’t fault the logic beyond the opinion piece overall. However only the Chaisson section relates to us and I thoroughly agree with him on that. None of it relates to us as we are not going QB, WR or OL/OG in the top 3 or getting Young/Brown in the first.

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I'm one of those people that puts way too much stock into PFF ratings, but it's because of how they determine them. It's really the only grading system out there where every snap by every player is watched and graded based on the situation, rather than just statistics both simple and advanced. 

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3 minutes ago, g-dawg said:

Chaisson has scared me from the get go.  Only way I would take him was if I could trade down 10 spots and pick up a 2nd rd pick which would mitigate the risk somewhat on a boom or bust pick like Chaisson.

I see him dropping in the draft outside top 20.

I’m not a fan of his. Like you said end of round 1 and recouping some more picks maybe. I’ll be pizzed if we trade up for him. I think he will be long gone by 16

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People sleeping on Chaisson. Raw prospect that was hindered by an ACL injury. Other than AP who hasn’t when dealing with an ACL? But as the season went on and he got into the groove, he was outstanding and whats even better is he didn’t disappear in the biggest of games. He’s a stud and will be very good wherever he goes.

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Haven't been on the Chaisson wagon from the beginning. His production isn't what it should be considering his situation. How many pass rushers got to pin their ears back more than Chaisson? Opposing offenses were regularly down 3 scores and the defense knew the pass was coming. Combine that with arguably the best secondary in college football (making QBs hold the ball longer) and it just doesn't sit well with me. 

I like him a lot more standing up, but if we want a LB he's still not my favorite at 16.

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Chaisson is not the only Falcons related content. This WR group is loaded with players that can add to Falcons roster and offensive capability.  I would not be going crazy if we added one of the right ones.  Same is true for the OL group. Take the BPA, and some of those make even more sense in the complete context that drafting should entail.

I am sick and tired of the "drafting for need" approach while passing on some really good players, because the player(s) we have at that position is "good enough" or a "coach favorite" etc. 

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6 minutes ago, m2Falcons said:

Chaisson is not the only Falcons related content. This WR group is loaded with players that can add to Falcons roster and offensive capability.  I would not be going crazy if we added one of the right ones.  Same is true for the OL group. Take the BPA, and some of those make even more sense in the complete context that drafting should entail.

I am sick and tired of the "drafting for need" approach while passing on some really good players, because the player(s) we have at that position is "good enough" or a "coach favorite" etc. 

BPA is not a real thing.

I mean if the best player on the board at 16 was a QB are you seriously thinking we take that BPA approach.

I bet every team in the NFL lines itself up to where the teeth of the talent is vs what there biggest need on 2-3 places on the roster and draft accordingly.

BPA is fools gold.As above you align yourself up 2-3 places which keeps your options open.

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12 minutes ago, kiwifalcon said:

BPA is not a real thing.

I mean if the best player on the board at 16 was a QB are you seriously thinking we take that BPA approach.

I bet every team in the NFL lines itself up to where the teeth of the talent is vs what there biggest need on 2-3 places on the roster and draft accordingly.

BPA is fools gold.As above you align yourself up 2-3 places which keeps your options open.

So take QB out of the mix.  Although I can even see doing that if the long term value is there (see Green Bay and A. Rodgers). These teams spend millions and millions on scouting players with years of film, info, data, coach feedback, and interviews. They should have a lot more to go on than any of us. And BPA is a thing in a given context...  for example, you may take the 3rd player on your board that makes you better versus the 10th player that fills a higher need. Take Safety for example...  

 

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1 hour ago, kiwifalcon said:

BPA is not a real thing.

I mean if the best player on the board at 16 was a QB are you seriously thinking we take that BPA approach.

I bet every team in the NFL lines itself up to where the teeth of the talent is vs what there biggest need on 2-3 places on the roster and draft accordingly.

BPA is fools gold.As above you align yourself up 2-3 places which keeps your options open.

Yeah, BPA is stupid. You have to assign values to each player based on a number of factors: talent, scheme fit, need, positional value, etc. Another thing you have to look at is depth at a position in the draft.

For example, let’s say you need a cb and dt and you are picking next. Both players have similar values but the depth at db is less than at dt. You take the db and wait to take the dt later. There are so many factors that go into the draft which is why teams put so much time and effort into it.

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First off I am a Chaisson supporter.

It's funny now everyone wants to listen to pff during the season they hate them... right

For one stop looking at him as just an edge. He can play SLB in our defense. 

I like how everyone says he just got to pin his ears back and go but the stats don't register. 

Vs #9 texas 23-21 to start the 4th combined both teams scored 39 points in the 4th.

Vs#7 Florida 35 -28 to start the 4th. Combined both teams scored 7 pointsin the 4th

Vs Auburn 16-13 to start the 4th. Combined 14 points scored in the 4th

Vs #2 Alabama 33-13 to start the 4th. Combined 34 points scored in the 4th. Bama loss by 5.

I only mentioned big games. Games they could have lost. 

Even though northwestern had big hype to it

Don't blame them for weak *** schedule plus nobody blames Alabama for their weak *** schedule

Vs Georgia Oklahoma and Clemson... the team just balled out. These were they only high quality games vs meaningful opponents where the defense was just selfish period. Where he just pinned his ears back.Playoff style

Then your next argument is the team is stack. 

Outside of him and Fulton.maybe  Who is going top 15?  Nobody.... but Nobody *****ing about Clemson or Ohio State having  stack teams.. how many dbs and dls went top 15 last three years.

LSU had a veteran team. Where has LSU been these last three years not including this past season. Not in the cfb playoffs. Not in the SEC championship. But the team was stacked get out of here.

Chaisson brings that dawg and that fire.

Everything we wanted Campbell to do. He can come in and do right now. And still have room to grow. 

Rise Up and Stay Focus 

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@GATXBOI then bring up others who have as many questions to ask yet they single Chaisson out lol.

Like I get it if you just don’t like a guy ok that’s one thing but the amount of stuff made up is laughable.

Ive heard everything he’s to small 6’3 255 odd actually the same size as the new FA Dante Fowler no one has said he’s to small,but Chaisson is apparently.

Thee other BS speed rusher narrative pretending he’s going to be like Beasley without even seeing or checking this guy’s personality traits.Again basically just making **** up.

A lot must hate alpha personalities because that’s what your getting between the lines with Chaisson.

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3 minutes ago, kiwifalcon said:

@GATXBOI then bring up others who have as many questions to ask yet they single Chaisson out lol.

Like I get it if you just don’t like a guy ok that’s one thing but the amount of stuff made up is laughable.

Ive heard everything he’s to small 6’3 255 odd actually the same size as the new FA Dante Fowler no one has said he’s to small,but Chaisson is apparently.

Thee other BS speed rusher narrative pretending he’s going to be like Beasley without even seeing or checking this guy’s personality traits.Again basically just making **** up.

A lot must hate alpha personalities because that’s what your getting between the lines with Chaisson.

Exactly... just hating just because.... for me their is only two more elite guys after Chaisson who can play SLB or hybrid edge for us Baun and Uche 

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1 minute ago, GATXBOI said:

Exactly... just hating just because.... for me their is only two more elite guys after Chaisson who can play SLB or hybrid edge for us Baun and Uche 

Hahaha I wonder if there too small lol.

From the info coming out of the Branch I wonder if they view Olukoun as Campbell replacement.

Then that would leave DT or CB,S as the first couple of picks.

Im really hoping for left field and they grab Winfield Jnr.

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