The Dallas Cowboys have 11 picks in the 2014 NFL draft, but the quantity means nothing if they aren’t able to hit on some undervalued prospects. Finding value means identifying and exploiting market inefficiencies—areas where other teams aren’t placing enough emphasis.
There are two primary keys to analyzing prospects, in my estimation: understanding predictors of NFL success at each position and emphasizing the ones that others are overlooking. One example of this is hand size in quarterbacks. It’s highly predictive of NFL success but not properly priced into quarterback draft slots; if it were, we wouldn’t see players like Drew Brees and Russell Wilson—short quarterbacks with large hands—fall in the draft.
When searching for undervalued prospects who should interest Dallas (or any team), I’m looking for traits I think are undervalued by the market and comparing those to the projected draft slot for each prospect. It really comes down to the draft slot. A single prospect might be awesome value in the third round and horrible value in the back of the first; it’s all about expected value versus cost.
Here are my top five undervalued prospects, the biggest predictors of their success, their projected draft round and some analysis.