With the on-site visits, film review of games and the DraftNasty 2015 NFL Draft Manual complete, former Vikings defensive back Corey Chavous is prepared to chart when prospects are selected and where they will wind up.
The draft is scheduled April 30-May 2 in Chicago, and Chavous, the Editor-in-Chief of draftnasty.com and its two football-related publications is waiting with anticipation.
The information is gathered over the span of several collegiate seasons and processed year-round, but the demand for Chavous to be a guest on radio programs increases in the buildup to the draft when a total of 256 players will be selected during seven rounds by 32 NFL teams.
"We're just sitting back like everybody else and waiting on the draft, and if anybody has any questions, we answer them," Chavous said in a recent phone interview. "We've got videos up of the prospects, first-round, second-round, free agents, so a lot of different stuff goes on."
It's a labor of love more than 30 years in the making. Chavous became enamored with the process in 1983, a year that was compelling from the get-go that and strengthened with time. Six players taken in the first round (28 picks that year) — John Elway, Eric Dickerson, Bruce Matthews, Jim Kelly, Dan Marino and Darrell Green — have been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Barney Chavous, Corey's uncle, was between seasons 10 and 11 of his 13-year career on Denver's "Orange Crush" defense that year and about to become a teammate of Elway after the Broncos traded with the Baltimore Colts to acquire the first overall pick. Barney Chavous started 178 of the 183 games he played for Denver and was an assistant coach when Elway and the Broncos claimed Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII.
In between those two title runs, Corey found himself on teams' big boards and was obtained with the 33rd overall pick that was obtained by Arizona with other selections and players from San Diego so the Chargers could select Ryan Leaf with the second overall pick.
Chavous had covered the draft for television stations while in college at Vanderbilt. During his rookie season, "mentors in the draft game" Norm Hitzges and Rick Gosselin approached him to lend a voice to Dallas-based 570-AM KLIF's coverage of the 1999 draft, making him the first active player to cover the draft nationally. Five years on ESPN's coverage team followed, and he also was a host for the first draft covered by NFL Network in 2005.
When DraftNasty launched in the summer of 2009, Barney Chavous established an evaluation system that grades players using eight categories:
The DraftNasty evaluators record their own film when they visit college games, and place emphasis on using multiple seasons of footage in the review because the coaching staff may change or teams may ask players to do different things from one year to a next.
"We don't watch a guy and say we're going to watch three or four games this year, we watch their career," Corey Chavous said.
The grades are accumulated, and write-ups of strengths, weaknesses, notes and a summary are produced on the top prospects, with a grade and "Nasty Take" doled out for players that received lower grades.
This year's manual is 216 pages and includes grades for more than 450 prospects, as well as a section on "Hidden Gems," a recap of free agency for each and a mock draft of the first round that has Wake Forest cornerback Kevin Johnson going to the Vikings with the 11th overall pick (click here for Mock Madness 6.0 to see the latest projections from multiple outlets).
Johnson's grade of 6.508 edged out Michigan State's Trae Waynes (6.422) for the highest of any cornerback in the manual, which is sold nationally at Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million locations. Draftnasty.com also offers a digital subscription.
Chavous is looking forward to the reveal in less than three weeks to see how DraftNasty's projections stack up to the results. It will be the performance of the draftees, however, that will provide the ultimate hindsight.
"I just sit there and track the players as they come through," Chavous said. "I have my 'Nasty Takes,' which will be a lot of those in the manual, and that's one or two-liners describing the fit, and then we let the people know where we had them on our board, and that's been an interesting exercise for us, and then where they end up getting drafted. You go back later on years from now and see where we were right or wrong."