The ITP Evaluation Process
In creating the 2017 ITP Draft Guide, the scouts, analysts, and various other minds behind ITP relied upon methods implemented at the NFL level to perform their evaluations. The foundation of that work is tape-based, trait-based scouting, with evaluators analyzing multiple games of each and every single prospect and grading the players based on the traits required to perform at each prospect’s respective anticipated position in the NFL.
At the outset, the evaluation process requires the scouts to dive into the game film of each player, looking across multiple games. As studies conducted by ITP’s own Ethan Young suggest, the more film you watch on a player, the more accurate the grading process becomes. At a bare minimum, three games are necessary. Five or more is ideal, allowing the scouts to see the player in a broader spectrum of situations. Furthermore, scouts are requested to watch games where the player is confronted with different types of situations. Games against higher-level competition, games against lower-level competition. Road games and home games, and games in the elements. The more context you can add to a player’s performance, the more accurate – and trustworthy – your projections and evaluations become.
When watching the players during their games, the scouts take a “snap to finish” approach to every play; the key here is not simply watching how a player reacts to the action, but also how they prepare for the play in the phase leading up to and including the snap. Watching the prospects in the pre-snap phase is just as important as breaking down the in-play action. Do they line up in the right spots, are they leaders in the pre-snap phase, directing players to execute assignments, or are they being moved around by other teammates? Are the quarterbacks making reads or checks at the line or are they looking for help from the sidelines? The more we can ascertain about these players pre-snap, the better our understanding will be of their post-snap execution.
Once the ball is snapped, we look for the traits necessary to excel at the various positions. There are some core traits that are universal, such as play strength, athletic ability, and play speed, but there are some position-specific traits that the scouts are taught to look for. For example, quarterbacks are graded on traits such as accuracy, pocket presence, arm strength, and processing speed. Wide receivers are evaluated with change of direction and hands in mind. Each of these traits, the core as well as the position-specific, are graded on a scale. From there, the scouts take the trait-based grades and create an overall grade, based upon the grading scale outlined in the guide.
Throughout the scouting process, the individual scouts at ITP debate, question, and share their insight with each other, taking a true “iron sharpens iron” approach to the process. On a nearly hourly basis, clips of plays are shared and scouts debate what they see, honing their evaluations, and putting their own positions to the test. The 2017 ITP Draft Guide is a true scouting department approach, with dozens of minds coming together to evaluate, debate, sometimes but not usually fight, and ultimately project each player. The ITP draft guide is the work of an entire team, putting their skills and experience to work for you.