Nov 30, 2013; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels defensive back Joshua Broach (38) and guard David Collins (62) carry the flags as the Tar Heels run on to the field at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Which North Carolina Football Position is Most Talented?

This weekend, Tar Heel beat writer Harold Gutmann tweeted out North Carolina’s preseason depth chart.

That got us thinking- what is the most talented position for North Carolina football according to the latest depth chart? We used the 247Sports Composite rating to measure talent. Don’t know what the 247Sports Composite Rating is? Here is how the metric is explained on the 247sports website.

The 247Sports Composite Rating is a proprietary algorithm that compiles prospect “rankings” and “ratings” listed in the public domain by the major media recruiting services. It converts average industry ranks and ratings into a linear composite index capping at 1.0000, which indicates a consensus No. 1 prospect across all services.
The 247Sports Composite Rating is the industry’s most comprehensive and unbiased prospect ranking and is also used to generate 247Sports Team Recruiting Rankings.

We looked up the rating for each player and averaged it with the score of other starters and backups at their position. For example, the quarterbacks are listed below as shown on the depth chart. We took each of their 247Sports Composite rankings, averaged them together and multiplied by 100 to get our final score. This score doesn’t account for position battles that haven’t been decided yet, like who will start at QB between Marquise and Mitch.

First string- Marquise Williams: 0.8931
First string- Mitch Trubisky: 0.9135
3rd string- Kanler Coker: 0.8332
Average: 0.8799333333
Final Score: 87.99

Before I show you the results, there are a couple of things we must address. Obviously, a player’s talent level rises and falls over time. By the time a four star prospect leaves UNC, he may be much better and an NFL prospect or be much worse. So this analysis really measures the talent level of positions as if everyone was a rising freshman. Or, to put it another way, ranking positions by number of highly rated recruits. But I think it still works. A five star recruit is more talented than a two star recruit, so a position with all four star recruits should be more talented than a position with five walk-ons. (Nothing against walk-ons!)

Also, this metric doesn’t take into account experience or depth or individual improvement or performance or anything else, beside how the players were rated coming out of high school. So keep all that in mind as you read the results.

Look at the depth chart in the tweet above to see who plays at each position.

North Carolina Positions Ranked by Talent

Position
Average 247 Sports Composite Recruiting Grade
Tailback 90.86
Right Tackle89.79
Right Guard89.46
Defensive Tackle (Shawn Underwood starter)88.26
Quarterback87.99
Left Tackle87.74
Cornerback (Brian Walker Starter)87.23
Defensive End86.85
Wide Receiver (Excluding walk-ons)86.79
Cornerback (Des Lawrence starter)86.72
Bandit86.58
Defensive Tackle (Justin Thomason starter)86.18
Will Linebacker85.94
Mike Linebacker 85.05
Free Safety 84.91
Tight End82
Ram81.66
Left Guard81.5
Center80.29
Strong Safety76.22
-Ranking all North Carolina positions by 247Sports Composite recruiting metric.
-The higher the score, the more talented the position.
-Walk-ons were automatically given grades of .75
-Composite recruiting grades were all multiplied by 100 and rounded to two decimal places.
-All wide receivers were combined into one position.
-At defensive end and cornerback, the starter differentiates which ratings go with which groups of players as listed on the depth chart.

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I think Coach Fedora would agree that the running backs are the most talented position. No only is the group talented, with four star freshman Elijah Hood leading the way, but the group is deep as well. All four players listed on the depth chart scored well in the 247Sports Composite metric.

I was very surprised that three of the top six most talented position groups were offensive lineman. That shows that although the offensive line is inexperienced going into next season, the group is still very talented.

Strong safety comes in as the least talented group of players on the team. None of the trio of Dominique Green, Sam Smiley or Jeff Battle were very highly recruited coming out of high school, but they are an example of where this ranking fails. Green started all 13 games last season, recording 59 tackles as a freshman. He also ranked second on the team with three interceptions. Even though Green wasn’t a highly rated recruit and thus not very talented according to this study, the strong safety position is still one of the stronger ones on the defense. (Pun totally intended.)

What do you think is the most talented position for Carolina? Let us know in the comments below.

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Tags: Football Larry Fedora North Carolina Tar Heels

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