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A Different Kind of Board: The RKG Rankings

We have heard this term floated around BTB and Cowboy Nation ever since Jason Garrett took over as the Head Coach of our beloved Dallas Cowboys. We keep hearing about wanting the "right kind of guy". So what exactly does that mean. We can sit here and debate what we all think it means to be the right kind of guy to no avail, as we all have our own opinions. However, according to Jason Garrett, the RKG is all about mentality more than actual physical ability. These players are those who, first of all, love football and just want to play. Secondly, they come ready to work and wanting to work. Thirdly, they are competitive and use that competitive nature to get better as an individual.

So in an attempt to develop a different kind of board, ranking players based on the apparent RKG mentality, I have used Tom Ryle's latest Big Board Average in order to limit the prospects strictly to the top 32 players according to the consensus. There are players with a second round grade that I would rank higher on this particular board than some that you will probably see on this list, but that is part of the limitation I have placed on myself.

I readily admit that this is the hardest board to put together. This is because you cannot do it by watching game film or any of the interviews conducted on NFL.com. Everyone is taught and trained to say the right things in front of a camera. Even magazine/newspaper articles can be slightly skewed and sway you for or against a player's so called "RKG Status". I am perfectly ready to accept that many of you, likely all of you will have issues with this board and disagree strongly with me, but I am doing this by a knowledge that I have of each player and their background as well as their overall conduct leading up to the draft. It is the only way to do this, to take all of the information you have on a player's character and compile it into one spot. You must read more than just the headlines. So follow me after the jump to find out how I have ranked these players, and then let your thoughts be known in the comments section.

First of all, to let you know what inspired me to do this post, let's do a little math. I call it the equation for potential. It is really just simple addition:

Natural Ability + Ambition = Potential

What this equation speaks to is how you find out what a player may have the potential to become. A player can have great god given ability but if he has no ambition, or a desire to work and/or "love for the game", his floor and ceiling could be pretty close together. Players like Jamarcus Russell come to mind there and these are commonly where you find your busts as athletic ability is much easier to see. Hoever, there is an adage that says "hard work beats out talent" and speaks to how hard work is much more important than how talented you are. Dispute this however you will, but in my eyes, hard work alone will take you much farther than your natural ability alone ever will. That is why you see players like Tom Brady, Cortland Finnegan, Tony Romo and Jay Ratliff get taken really late in a draft (or not at all) and turn into All-Pro players. One unknown factor in this equation is coaching, as certain coaches may be able to reach out to certain players. However this is impossible to determine as it is specific players with specific coaches that this will come to fruition. This probably factors into a little of the development of players like Tony Romo when you mesh him with coaches like Bill Parcells/Sean Payton.

Now, when you combine these together you can amass much more. It is my belief that anyone can be successful (which is actually a loaded word in itself as success is determined by self, not someone else) or perhaps become great. Some may have an easier time because of natural abilities/talents so it comes more natural to them and requires less effort. Although someone who is willing to put in the time and effort to make up for what lack in ability/talent can become just as good or better than the players blessed with natural ability. Hence it makes sense that Jason Garrett wants to have the right kind of guy, because these guys will ideally have limitless potential. Now before we take a look at my RKG board, let us have a look at the board compiled by our own Tom Ryle, where he averaged the boards into the top 32 prospects:

# Player Name
1 Andrew Luck
2 Robert Griffin III
3 Matt Kalil
4 Trent Richardson
5 Morris Claiborne
6 Justin Blackmon
7 Luke Keuchly
8 Fletcher Cox
9 Melvin Ingram
10 Michael Floyd
11 David DeCastro
12 Quinton Coples
13 Riley Reiff
14 Mark Barron
15 Dontari Poe
16 Michael Brockers
17 Stephon Gilmore
18 Ryan Tannehill
19 Dre Kirkpatrick
20 Courtney Upshaw
21 Whitney Mercilus
22 Kendall Wright
23 Cordy Glenn
24 Dont'a Hightower
25 Nick Perry
26 Johnathan Martin
27 Shea McClellin
28 Devon Still
29 Janoris Jenkins
30 Coby Fleener
31 Stephen Hill
32 Andre Branch

So from these players that Tom Ryle has compiled as the average of all of the big boards he had seen, I will develop an RKG board for basically the first round from just these players:

# Player Name
1 Andrew Luck
2 Trent Richardson
3 David DeCastro
4 Matt Kalil
5 Mark Barron
6 Courtney Upshaw
7 Morris Claiborne
8 Melvin Ingram
9 Luke Keuchly
10 Justin Blackmon
11 Fletcher Cox
12 Robert Griffin III
13 Dont'a Hightower
14 Whitney Mercilus
15 Shea McClellin
16 Dre Kirkpatrick
17 Stephon Gilmore
18 Riley Reiff
19 Michael Floyd
20 Nick Perry
21 Kendall Wright
22 Andre Branch
23 Coby Fleener
24 Johnathan Martin
25 Michael Brockers
26 Cordy Glenn
27 Stephen Hill
28 Ryan Tannehill
29 Quinton Coples
30 Devon Still
31 Dontari Poe
32 Janoris Jenkins

As I said I know many of you will disagree with this strongly, but by my observations these are where I would rank those 32 prospects strictly on an RKG mentality, meaning no talent was involved in the rankings given here. Some of you I am sure may wonder about the RGIII ranking, and I have him there because I think that his approach to the draft has been much more of a business approach than an "I love football" approach. Will he work hard? Yeah, most likely. But a guy who says "I will not workout for any team" (even the Redskins or Colts) doesn't exactly scream "I love football" to me. So one exercise you can do is come up with your own ranking of these 32 players and then add the inverse number (1=32, 8=25, 16=17, 32=1, etc). with the (inverse number of the) average board ranking above and we will call that the potential rating. As mine stands the following players are the top 10 players for potential in this draft:

1. Andrew Luck - 64
2. Trent Richardson - 60
3. Matt Kalil - 59
4. Morris Claiborne - 54
T5. David DeCastro - 52
T5. Robert Griffin III - 52
T7. Justin Blackmon - 50
T7. Luke Keuchly - 50
9. Melvin Ingram - 49
10. Mark Barron - 47

Obviously this isn't 100% accurate as the board is based on more than just raw talent. I would say that Mark Barron has more potential than what this exercise shows, but for sake of the activity we will keep it there. As you may be able to see, these are all players that probably will be taken off the board before our pick at #14. I did not plan it to come out like this, nor did I expect it to. I just built my RKG board and it was just simple mathematics. So what do you think? If you do this yourself who are the players with the highest potential for you?

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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