Re: What's real? PreDraft rankings
With the draft, there are so many different ways to look at it that it will drive you to drink... if you let it.
When you talk about professional draft gurus (not draft gurus that frequent this board), you're basically talking about guys whose job is to pour over tape and film on all these players, interview some scouts to get their feelings on things, and then put it all together into one big present for amateur consumption. They have to look at and grade hundreds and hundreds of players to be able to be mildly relevant.
And then they have to look at every team and try to figure out its strengths and weaknesses and what it's likely to do in FA.
And THEN they have to make a decision: do they create a mock draft based on where they think a guy WILL go or where they think a guy SHOULD go? Will a particular team draft BPA, BPA+Need, or purely by Need? IIRC, Gil Brandt creates several mocks based on different things and his last mock is where he thinks guys will go.
On the other side (excluding amateurs), you have the actual 32 teams. Each team has a team of scouts that work particular areas of the country. They're told what to look for; they're given specific positions and specific criteria. They filter out good and bad and pass that up the food chain. The film on the potential candidates is then given to position coaches and coordinators who give their grades based on scheme and whatnot. And all of this is then whittled down to about 100 guys that are on their board, players that this team would like to have AND at what point they think it's worth it to go after them.
No two teams' boards are going to be the same. And they feed misinformation to the Professional Draft Gurus hoping to create smokescreens about which way they're going to go and to drive certain player's stocks higher and certain player's stocks lower so they can get the guys they want when they want them.
My point here is that I'm not that shocked when a guy doesn't get drafted where everyone's expecting him to get drafted. I'm not saying I'm not surprised when someone like Tyson Alualu goes a couple of rounds before I expected him to or when someone else drops right out of the draft but I expect that to happen to several players in every draft class. I get my information from the Professional Draft Gurus AND the amateur draft gurus, neither of which really have that clear of an insight into how all of these players are ranked by all the 32 teams.
I just like being able to know where these guys are ranked by the world at large prior to their being drafted. Then I like to see if they out perform expectations or underperform. But I don't expect those original rankings to be The Final Word.