Previously, I introduced my Confidence Board, which averaged the scores across five Big Boards to create a cooperative ranking of the top prospects in the NFL Draft. This time, however, I have assembled six sets of positional rankings: Charlie Campbell of WalterFootball (March 18), CBS Sports (April 15), Pro Football Focus (April 17), Bucky Brooks (March 22), Chris Simms (April 10), and Drafttek (April 14). For fun, I thought I would put together the best starting line-up out of these players. However, I have broken the board into offensive and defensive halves and then included a link to each in their respective sections.
Quarterback (3): Bryce Young* (1.50), C.J. Stroud (1.67), Anthony Richardson (3.67)
Running Back (4): Bijan Robinson* (1.00), Jahmyr Gibbs (2.00), Devon Archane (4.17), Zach Charbonnet (4.33)
Wide Receiver (6): Quentin Johnston* (1.83), Jaxon Smith-Njiba* (1.83), Zay Flowers* (2.17), Jordan Addison (4.00), Josh Downs (5.33), Tyler Scott (5.33)
Tight End (4): Dalton Kincaid* (1.33), Michael Mayer (1.83), Sam LaPorta (3.67), Darnell Washington (3.83)
Offensive Line (8): Paris Johnson, jr* (1.83), O’Cyrus Torrence* (1.87), Peter Skoronski* (2.17), Steve Avila* (2.67), John Michael Schmitz* (3.33), Darnell Wright (3.50), Broderick Jones (3.00), Joe Tippmann (4.17)
Presumed starters in an 11-personnel scheme are starred, and each player is followed by his average rank at his position. The link to the overall board is here, with the top player at each position highlighted (any ties broken by number of first-place finishes). Already, a couple of things stand out about these position rankings. First, some of them are exceptionally detailed (like Drafttek, which includes separate rankings for best slot receiver and best non-slot receiver). Others are less so (Chris Simms only ranks the top five offensive linemen, without any distinction among them).
Second, there is not always a ton of agreement on which prospects play which positions. While there was agreement that Skoronski is a tackle (but not one of Simms’ top five offensive linemen), there was less agreement on what role Nolan Smith or Lukas Van Ness played. Still, when in doubt the player received credit for his highest-ranked position on the individual board but was listed under the most-common position I found for him.
Edges (5): Will Anderson* (1.67), Tyree Wilson* (1.83), Lukas Van Ness (3.33), Nolan Smith (3.33), Myles Murphy (4.17)
Defensive Line (5): Jalen Carter* (1.00), Calijah Kancey* (2.50), Bryan Bresee (2.67), Mazi Smith (3.5), Adetomiwa Adabawore (4.83)
Linebackers (6): Drew Sanders* (3.00), Jack Campbell* (3.00), Daiyan Henley (3.33), Trenton Simpson (3.83), Henry To’o To’o (4.67), Demarvion Overshown (5.33)
Safeties (4): Brian Branch* (1.83), Antonio Johnson* (3.33), Jartavius Martin (4.50), Jordan Battle (4.67), Sydney Brown (5.17)
Corners (5): Christian Gonzales* (1.67), Devon Witherspoon* (1.83), Joey Porter* (3.33), D.J. Turner (4.50), Deonte Banks (4.67)
As before, the link to the overall board is here, with the leader at each position highlighted. Presumed starters in the actual primary alignment in the NFL (nickel) are starred. I tried to stick to the composition of Chicago’s final roster as closely as possible, but it was a little unfeasible. This draft is exceptionally deep in defensive linemen and somewhat shallow in linebackers, for example, so I moved one roster spot there (also, only a few boards even listed fullbacks, so I threw in an extra tight end above).
This is not so much a true practice squad as the ten players with the best ranks at their individual positions left in the draft at this point, but with no more than one quarterback or center.
Will Levis (QB4) 3.83, Luke Wypler (IOL5) 4.50, Luke Musgrage (TE5) 4.67, Anton Harrison (OT5) 4.83, Keanu Benton (DL6) 5.00, Will McDonald IV (ED6) 5.00, Olusegun Oluwatimi (IOL6) 5.00, Cam Smith (CB6) 5.17, Siaki Ika (DL7) 5.17, Keion White (ED7) 5.17. I should point out that a number of defenders liked by Chicago fans are still not on this list, including Zaach Pickens, Gervon Dexter, Tuli Tuipulotu, and B.J. Ojulari.
I don’t know how many games this team would win in their first season, but that would be an interesting group to watch, especially after the bye.
One thing that I am reminded of every time I do this exercise is how sloppy some draft coverage happens to be. I have read mock drafts projecting a 1-Technique to a team that is set at 1T but needs help on the Edge, yet the mock-artist read “DL” as a team need and threw in a player that vaguely fit that description. Still, the draft has become its own industry, and so it is not surprising to find a range in the types of content offered.