ITP Rankings vs. Draft Position
While Inside the Pylon has built this draft guide using an NFL front office as a template, the reality is that there is an advantage we possess as neutral analysts that specific teams can’t enjoy. Unlike NFL teams, which have specific needs for their rosters, the ITP rankings are based purely on the talent level of the players available, as well as the relative scarcity of talent at every position. So while the Browns may have Sam Darnold first overall on their board because they have a crying need at quarterback, the ITP team can identify 10 players that might be better at their individual position and rank them ahead of Darnold, despite his positional value to a specific franchise. Whether or not we actually found 10 better players is something you’ll have to learn for yourself after going through the guide, but this is an example of the difference in our rankings versus any one team’s.
This also gets at the idea of understanding the value of a player in a vacuum as opposed to where he is actually selected. The ITP Top 150 is a ranking of where we see prospects valued based on the skills they supply and relative scarcities of those skills, not based on where they will likely be drafted, which is based on the demand for those skills by specific teams. This is not a predictive study, but rather an informative one, designed to help you understand the skill sets, strengths, weaknesses, scheme-fits and one-to-three year projections of the 150 best players in the 2018 draft class. If you approach the list that way, you’ll get more from this than any other draft guide out there.
Another important concept to consider in these rankings is positional value. This is one of the most capable classes for specialists in recent years, with a deep group of kickers and punters who are likely able to compete for starting jobs within the next two years. However, the value kickers and punters bring to the table, while certainly more than nothing (heavy debate as to even this inclusion), is still far below what a transformative draft pick at a premium position brings to the table. As a result, there are no specialists in the ITP Top 150, despite cries from our specialist scouts.
Overall, the goal of the ITP Top 150 is to provide you with a ranking of the best prospects in this year’s draft based purely on their talent, as well as the other talent available at their position. We hope that through the transparency displayed in our process and the consistency of that process from player to player, we are able to put together a list that gives you a well-rounded feel for all of the players included, and is as accurate as possible. After all, NFL teams did pass on Tom Brady 198 times before he was finally chosen. We would have taken him 197th.