The Jets’ new grading scale technically maxes out at 8.0, but it’s highly unusual for a prospect to ultimately earn that score. In fact, none of the evaluators who spoke to the News recalled anyone receiving that mark. For all intents and purposes, a 7.0 is the gold star in this scale.
Here are the five tiers of the grading scale that differentiate whether the prospect is a starter, backup or just a warm body:
- Day 1 starter
- Starting-caliber player with limitations (that might or might not be correctable)
- Role player (aka — spot starter or significant contributor in sub packages)
- Low-level roster player and/or practice squad
- Training camp/preseason roster filler (aka — Camp body)
A 7.0 is reserved for elite Day 1 starters. The rest of the prospects are graded on what scouts believe the player will ultimately become in 2-3 years. It’s essentially a weighted score.
Most Day 1 prospects earn 6.7s. Although they’re penciled in as Day 1 starters, they still need to make improvements (like strength or technique) to realize their full potential.
Players that score a 6.1, 6.3, or 6.5 are typically taken in the Top 100 (aka — premium players).
Any prospect with a 5.8 or above grade is considered draftable. A 5.6 or 5.7 player would fall under the practice squad/training camp body category.
The numerical grades come with “alerts” or “types” to highlight potential hurdles.
A “Z” alert, for example, signifies an undersized prospect. So, a “6.7 Z” identifies an undersized starting-caliber talent. A “T” alert means that a player offers special teams value in addition to his offensive/defensive position.
A “M” type signifies a mental alert if a team has concerns about whether a prospect will be able to grasp nuances of the scheme. Can he learn what is being taught?
Character, or a "C" alert, plays an important — and sometimes nebulous –— role in the grading scale. A “C” alert could have multiple layers that play a part in the overall grade. Character matters, but there are always exceptions and amendments if the value becomes too great. It’s not as if Douglas only drafts choir boys.
The new model is much more targeted to your team’s makeup. Douglas has a clear sense of what he’s looking for, so expect the Jets draft board to be around 150.
Every prospect is graded on basic qualities like strength, speed, quickness and balance.
Douglas requires his scouts to give straight letter grades — A through F — for what he calls “core traits” for every prospect.
Douglas (and virtually every general manager) also ask scouts to give evaluations on position-specific traits. But how they determine the specific qualities differs.
These “Critical Factors” in Douglas’ model are guidelines that vary by position created in collaboration with the coaches. It’s an inclusive process that helps scouts better understand exactly what coaches prioritize at each position. For example, pass protection is a critical factor for a tackle, but not necessarily a center. How a cornerback plays in zone and man coverage is a critical factor.
There are no hard and fast rules on what the critical factors are each year. Instead, the system allows for flexibility to better meet the desired goal: Finding the best players to fit your scheme.
Douglas wants a 10-12 sentence synopsis highlighting a player’s pros and cons. Scouts are required to add a bottom line section laying out A) the prospect’s specific role for the Jets, B) comparisons to any players on the Jets or around the league and/or C) players that the scout has evaluated in the past