Pro Football Focus doesn’t always have the greatest reputation among football enthusiasts, for reasons that are certainly not always unjustified. The value of what they have to offer certainly varies, and their grading system is obviously subjective, although it could be no other way.
One thing that their system values significantly over everything else is production, which is not necessarily always conducive to the greatest scouting work when it comes to evaluating college football players.
PFF, for example, completely trashed the first-round selection of outside linebacker Bud Dupree for the Pittsburgh Steelers, writing that “someone was going to draft Dupree high and it just had to be the Steelers”. Of course, it did have to be the Steelers once such a strong prospect slid to the 22nd spot in the first round.
Yes, his measureables certainly outweigh his production in college, but there are many mitigating factors for that, which we have covered, such as not having a position coach at outside linebacker and changing schemes. But he was certainly better than a D- grade.
There were three players that the Steelers added, however, that PFF did like, including two late draft picks and an undrafted free agent, who earned ‘value’ honors.
First on the list was defensive end L.T. Walton, whom the Steelers drafted in the sixth round, and who, frankly, not many people heard of before his name was called. About Walton, they wrote:
Extremely productive interior lineman at Central Michigan where he turned his 615 snaps into the 23rd overall rating in the class. What’s more he was 11th overall with his pass rushing and showed a real knack for getting after the quarterback with 30 quarterback disruptions. Level of competition is a concern.
Also a good value according to PFF was Gerod Holliman, the free safety that the Steelers added in the seventh round. It’s not hard to see the value here when Holliman intercepted a record-tying 14 passes last year. Here is what they had to say on his selection in the seventh:
He’s got a lot of the instincts you like in a center fielder and you don’t get as many picks as he had on pure luck. At his best playing the quarterback and at his worst trying to tackle defenders. He looks like and plays like he wants no part of it. Made only 40 tackles and missed 16 in a rather pathetic effort. Still playmakers are hard to find.
Finally, PFF singled out one of the Steelers’ 12 undrafted rookies as representing especially good value without using a draft pick, and that would be offensive tackle Kevin Whimpey, despite his unfortunate name for the position.
He is no wimp, however, as his bench press numbers show. PFF wrote about Whimpey: “Had a nice season at Utah State, allowing just 11 quarterback disruptions on the year and earning a positive with his run blocking at left tackle”.
Whether or not PFF likes a player, of course, has no effect on whether or not a player is successful in his career. It may be nice to know what certain evaluators have to say about so-and-so, but it will still be up to them to decide their own fates on the field.