You may or may not have noticed it, but we now have a transfer portal page! NFL Sapient is tracking all of the transfers across the nation with our handy transfer portal link.

On that page, you’re going to notice that we have a rating assigned to each prospect in the portal. To give you a better idea of what that means, I’ve put together this article to summarize what the grade means. That way, you’re not looking at numbers on a page wondering what it means.

The significance of our grade compared to other websites is that it’s catered completely to our NFL Draft coverage. Our grade is based on a simple scale from one to ten – ten being the best and one being the lowest. Most transfer prospects won’t be found lower than a three. The grade isn’t so much based on the immediate impact the prospect will have on the team more than his chances are at playing in the NFL.

Age and eligibility all play a factor in our tranfer portal rating

Age and remaining eligibility play a major factor in our transfer portal rating. The reason for that is the desire that an NFL team will have to draft a player. If he’s older, he will be less desirable, such as an Australian punter who may be over twenty-five with three years of eligibility left. An eighteen-year-old five-star freshman, however, is certainly someone more talented and has a better chance of being highly regarded.

With the talent, we allow time for the prospect to mature and develop. If a prospect enters the portal with three years of eligibility remaining and has displayed suitable upside on the field, we will rate him a little bit higher than his immediate impact on the team would suggest.

10 Grade – An early round draft pick

There are only so many early-round (day one and day two) prospects that transfer to other schools. In fact, it’s rare to see. Out of the 32 first-round draft picks in 2021, only two (Justin Fields and Jaelen Philips) transferred during their college careers. As a result, this is the rarest grade you will see, reserved only for the top prospects in the transfer portal.

YearDay One TransfersDay Two Transfers
20212 (6.25%)1 (1.37%)
20201 (3.13%)2 (2.63%)
20191 (3.13%)1 (1.96%)

Well over 3000 prospects have entered the transfer portal since 2018, when the component was added to college football. Of that number, just eight (0.27%) have heard their name called in the first two days of the NFL Draft. Of those eight, four were quarterbacks (Justin Fields, Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts, and Kyler Murray). Wild numbers, aye?

As a result, ten-grade prospects will be very rare throughout the transfer portal ratings.

8-9 – Late round draft pick with considerable upside

Between nine and eight, we consider the prospect to be a day three NFL draft pick. Nine is considered to be more of a lock, whereas eight is leaning between a late-round pick or Priority Free Agent (PFA).

Eriq Gilyard (UCF) is a Nine-Grade Linebacker who entered the transfer portal this season.

A nine-grade prospect is someone who has put all of the “good stuff” on tape and is already well regarded in NFL circles. I think a nine has a better chance of sliding into day two than anyone else with the right type of a season.

An eight-grade is a prospect who has shown some of the tools to be a draft pick but needs a better season to complete that process. Typically, they are an immediate impact on their team and show the upside to play professionally. These are valuable players in college circles and will be heavily recruited.

6-7 – Potential NFL Draft pick

Between six and seven, we consider that with the right circumstances, this player could be an NFL Draft pick or PFA after the draft.

Bless Harris is a seven-grade prospect from Lamar who transferred this offseason up from the FCS level to Central Florida.

As a seven-grade prospect, we believe that the prospect is on the fringe of being drafted. The upside and potential are there for the prospect, but it hasn’t been realized. Many times, these are FCS or high-level division two prospects looking to move up to the FBS level. With a good season, we expect them to get drafted.

The six-grade prospect is more likely to play in another professional league than in the NFL. They have flashed tools but have either been wildly inconsistent or are lacking NFL-tier requirements despite their numerous flashes. With a great season, they can move up into the late-round NFL Draft or as a PFA.

5-under – Roster space for college

Quality roster space is important for schools. After all, rosters are 100+ players deep and filled with depth players. It’s not to say that these prospects don’t stand a chance, but they have a lot more to prove. With ample playing time, they hope to do that for themselves. However, anyone with a five grade or lower has a long way to work.

Our grades aren’t meant to hinder anyone from realizing their dreams or discourage prospects. We use our grading system as a chance to evaluate where these players are on that path. At the same time, we hope that schools, teams, and fans alike will use our system to help better evaluate where these guys are.

The bottom line is that all of these prospects are young men striving to make a dream. We’re here to help as many along the way as we can.

You can observe the transfer portal with all of the grades here.

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By John Vogel

NFL Draft Analyst. Dad.

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