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Member Since 14 Jul 2008
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In Topic: ****Official 2015 Chicago Bears Offseason Thread ****

31 March 2015 - 10:01 PM

I like the Rodgers signing (assuming that he came cheap). He's a solid 3rd down back - solid blocker, pretty good receiver - and he's been useful on special teams, both in coverage and as a kick returner.


He's a better player than Vlad Ducasse or Jarvis Jenkins, even if he's just a role player.

In Topic: [DYNASTY] Is Jonathan Stewart a buy low?

30 March 2015 - 06:30 PM


And again, that's ignoring the draft prospects.  There's no way that guys like Cadillac Williams, Cedric Benson, and Darren McFadden were exponentially stronger prospects than Doug Martin, David Wilson, Melvin Gordon, etc.  If anything those guys probably all fall into the same tier as prospects.  6+ years ago that meant a top 5 pick.  Nowadays that means a late 1st rounder.


I agree that the idea that teams think they can just put literally anyone back there and don't even care who their RB is going to be is overblown.  But we're a long ways off from where we used to be where RB was considered a very, very important position that guys would trade their entire draft for.  There is still a long ways between where it used to be and where it is now.



If not for that flukey Brown/Benson/Caddy class then you wouldn't have much of an argument about the league using premium picks on undeserving backs. Most of the guys who have gone top 10 before and after that draft were almost universally considered awesome prospects (Ricky, Edge, LT, Bush, ADP, McFadden, Richardson, etc). That's not to mention all the great prospects who fell to the late 1st (I already named many of them -- Alexander, L Johnson, McAllister, S Jackson). When you go back 15-20 years (even before this alleged "devaluing" happened), you'll see that the standard of a first round back has always been pretty high. This is not a new thing. It's just more apparent when the pool is thin on elite RB prospects.


By and large, the "RB is devalued in the draft" argument is championed by people who don't have a deep knowledge of draft history and metrics, and also have a seemingly poor understanding of how random variance can influence small sample sizes to create the illusion of meaningful trends. The latter idea is key. One single draft class is just one data point and thus not likely to be representative of broad data sets and trends. It's kind of like a poker hand. You can't play 3-4 hands of poker and then use your holdings to make bold claims that the odds of pulling particular cards have changed based on what you held. In other words, just because you might not get an ace in those 3-4 hands doesn't mean aces are statistically less likely to occur. Likewise, you could have pocket aces on the next hand and it doesn't mean aces are suddenly more common.


The same idea applies here. Recent draft classes have not given us a lot of RB prospects with clean athletic and NCAA production profiles (aces). Rather than accepting the most probable explanation (that fewer RBs have been picked in the first round because there have been fewer RBs who meet the first round standard), people are looking at this tiny data set and drawing dubious conclusions ("I haven't gotten an ace in the last four hands, therefore it's harder to get an ace that it used to be"). As I said earlier, I suspect a lot of this chatter will die out in the coming years if we see guys like Gurley/Gordon, Elliott/Henry, and Chubb/Fournette break the trend.



Draft value spent on RBs has been falling pretty steadily for the past 30 years. The bottom 5 years since 1970 (with the least amount of draft value spent on RBs in the first 3 rounds) are 2003, 2013, 2014, 1992, and 2009. The past 6 years are all in the bottom 11.


Here is a picture.


(I'm using the formula here for draft value, and adding up the draft value of all RBs drafted in the first 3 rounds.)

In Topic: Dynasty: DeVante Parker Louisville

30 March 2015 - 12:26 AM


DeVante Parker - WR - Cardinals

Football Outsiders' Playmaker Score grades Louisville WR DeVante Parker as the No. 9 receiver in the class.

The system offered Bryant Johnson and Peter Warrick as similar historical prospects. "Parker has been playing college football for a full four years, and he has never topped 1,000 yards receiving," wrote FO's Nathan Forster. "It's not as if he had a weak supporting cast, either: As a junior, he had the benefit of catching passes from first-round pick Teddy Bridgewater at his pre-NFL peak. A future starting NFL wide receiver should have put up video-game-like numbers in those conditions, but Parker produced only 885 yards. Parker put up some nice per-game numbers as a senior after returning from an early injury, but if he had the talent level of a Julio Jones, he would already be in the NFL." NFL Films' Greg Cosell projects Parker as a Michael Crabtree-like "complementary" receiver in the NFL.

Source: ESPN Insider
Mar 29 - 7:51 PM


Parker never had a 1000 yard season, but he did have 1101 yards over his last 8 games. He's also the same age that Julio was when he entered the NFL.


I wonder how Playmaker Score deals with missed games, because the 6 games that Parker played this year were plenty video-game-like. A few samples:


Parker averaged 4.3 yards per team pass attempt and 143 yards per game. He accounted for 50% of the team's passing TDs and 51% of their passing yards. He averaged 12.8 yards per target; his team averaged 6.2 YPA when not throwing to him.

In Topic: ZWK's 2015 Prospect Analysis

29 March 2015 - 01:14 AM


It's interesting that 1 mph appears be make such a big difference, at least for QB's drafted in the 1st round. Maybe there is an absolute minimum of arm strength a QB needs to succeed. QB's drafted in the first 3 rounds in bold.

Jameis Winston, Florida State 55
Cody Fajardo, Nevada 55

Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois 55
Geno Smith, West Virginia 55
Tyler Wilson, Arkansas 55
Russell Wilson, Wisconsin 55
Casey Keenum, Houston 55
Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin 55
Rhett Bomar, Sam Houston State 55
Joe Flacco, Delaware 55
Kevin O’Connell, San Diego St 55



The sample is large enough to see that there is some sign of a trend of slower-throwing QBs getting drafted later, and being less successful when they're drafted early. But it's not large enough to say that there is a sharp cutoff at 55 mph.


Look right below that alleged 55 mph cutoff: there are only 4 QBs drafted in the first 3 rounds who threw 53-54 mph. None of them have been successful. But out of the full set of 21 QBs drafted in the first 3 rounds, only 6 out of 21 (29%) have been at least moderately successful (including Dalton, Foles, Kaepernick, etc.). So, out of those four 53-54 mph throwers, there has only been 1 fewer successful QB than we'd expect. Not exactly overwhelming evidence that QBs with that level of arm strength are hopeless.


And given what we've seen from QBs like Manning in Denver and post-shoulder-injury Pennington, it does seem to be possible to have some success without a cannon.


This is another piece of evidence against being excited about Hundley, but I'm not going to remove him or Petty from my draft list just because of it.

In Topic: ZWK's 2015 Prospect Analysis

28 March 2015 - 12:16 PM

More QB numbers (to add to the ones I posted here and here): Ourlads has data on QB passing velociity for the QBs who threw at the combine, measured with a radar gun. They have Mariota clocked at 56 mph and Winston at 55 mph, both of which are solid numbers. Hundley & Petty each threw at 53 mph, which is on the slow side. Grayson didn't throw.


Bennett (60) threw the fastest, and Mannion (57), Bridge (57), and Fajardo (55) also had solid velocity. On the other end of the spectrum, Blake Sims (42) broke the record for slowest speed over the 8 years they've been measuring it, beating out Colt Brennan (44). Nick Marshall (50) demonstrated why he's moving to DB with the second slowest speed of this year's group.


For comparison, here are the passing speeds for QBs taken in the first 3 rounds since 2008 (who threw at the combine):


Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State 59
Colin Kaepernick, Nevada 59
Ryan Mallett, Arkansas 58
Mark Sanchez, Southern Cal 57
Josh Freeman, Kansas State 57
Nick Foles, Arizona 57
Andy Dalton, TCU 56
Cam Newton, Auburn 56
Blake Bortles, Central Florida 56
Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois 56
Colt McCoy, Texas (private workout) 56
Joe Flacco, Delaware 55
Geno Smith, West Virginia 55
Kevin O’Connell, San Diego St 55
Russell Wilson, Wisconsin 55
EJ Manuel, Florida State 54
Jake Locker, Washington 54
Brian Brohm, Louisville 53
Chad Henne, Michigan 53
Pat White, West Virginia 52
Christian Ponder, Florida St  51
Michael Glennon, North Carolina State 49


This makes 53mph look like a bit of a warning sign. Though it's worth noting that there's a small sample size for below-55mph QBs, and that this is a fairly bad group of QBs on the whole (in part because many of the better QBs didn't throw at the combine).