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Top 25 Rookies 2016 (1 Viewer)

FreeBaGeL

Footballguy
I went back a couple years ago and looked at the kind of RBs who tend to go in the first round. There are really only a few common types:

1. 200+ pound backs with freakish explosiveness (i.e. Reggie Bush, Chris Johnson, CJ Spiller). 

2. 215-220+ pound backs with rare explosiveness for that size (i.e. Marshawn Lynch, Jonathan Stewart, Doug Martin). 

3. 215-220+ pound backs with outstanding production at a MAJOR D1 program (i.e. Ingram, Benson). 

I can post a more detailed breakdown later if I have the data still, but basically the reason why we haven't seen a lot of first round RBs in recent years is because there haven't been that many prospects with the right combination of production and traits. When those guys have been in the pool (i.e. Gurley and Elliott), they've still gone in the first round.
There are quite a few guys from the last few years that seem to fit into one of those buckets but weren't taken in the 1st round.

Ingram's production was at least matched if not bettered by Yeldon, Lacy, Henry, Hyde, Ball, Bell, and Langford yet none of them were 1st round picks.  Even if you want to discount Wisconsin and Michigan State as not "major" CFB programs that still leaves a handful of Bama runners and a Buckeye.

Giovanni Bernard arguably could fit into the first category although he lacks the 40 time.

Christine Michael seems to fit the 2nd bucket pretty solidly as well.

 

bostonfred

Footballguy
Gio bernard 5'8" 202

4.53 40

33.5 vertical

122 inch broad

6.91 3 cone

4.12 20 yard shuttle

Kenneth Dixon 5'10" 215 

4.56 40

37.5 vertical

121 inch broad

6.97 3 cone

4.28 20 yard shuttle

Not a bad comp.  Dixon also ran a 4.46 at the combine a well as a 4.66, so the 4.56 is the reported number but his burst speed is there.  He played in a smaller program which may explain why he slipped, but he dominated and temporarily set the touchdown record.  

 

EBF

Footballguy
There are quite a few guys from the last few years that seem to fit into one of those buckets but weren't taken in the 1st round.

Ingram's production was at least matched if not bettered by Yeldon, Lacy, Henry, Hyde, Ball, Bell, and Langford yet none of them were 1st round picks.  Even if you want to discount Wisconsin and Michigan State as not "major" CFB programs that still leaves a handful of Bama runners and a Buckeye.

Giovanni Bernard arguably could fit into the first category although he lacks the 40 time.

Christine Michael seems to fit the 2nd bucket pretty solidly as well.


I'll post a complete copy of the spreadsheet along with some analysis:


NAME


BMI


WEIGHT


40


VERT


BROAD


Jonathan Stewart


33.5


235


4.46


36.5


20


Trent Richardson


33.5


228


4.48


X


X


Doug Martin


32.7


223


4.46


36


12


Rashard Mendenhall


32.2


225


4.41


33.5


9


Mark Ingram


31.7


215


4.62


31.5


5


DeAngelo Williams


31.6


214


4.45


34.5


21


Ronnie Brown


31.4


233


4.43


34


9


Cedric Benson


31.4


222


4.62


33


X


Beanie Wells


30.9


235


4.52


33.5


20


Kevin Jones


30.8


227


X


38


12


Knowshon Moreno


30.7


217


4.5


35.5


7


Ezekiel Elliott


30.7


225


4.47


32.5


10


Cadillac Williams


30.5


217


4.43


35.5


10


Steven Jackson


30.1


231


4.55


37.5


10


Chris Perry


30


220


4.56


34.5


16


Ryan Mathews


30


218


4.37


36


13


Donald Brown


30


210


4.46


41.5


17


David Wilson


30


206


4.38


41


24


Marshawn Lynch


29.9


215


4.46


35.5


17


Laurence Maroney


29.7


217


4.48


36


15


Joseph Addai


29.7


214


4.4


38.5


17


Felix Jones


29.6


207


4.44


33


16


Todd Gurley


29.6


222


X


X


X


Melvin Gordon


28.7


215


4.52


35


18


Jahvid Best


28.5


199


4.34


32.5


5


Adrian Peterson


28.3


217


4.4


38.5


19


Reggie Bush


28.3


201


4.37


40.5


20


Darren McFadden


27.7


211


4.33


33


20


CJ Spiller


27.7


196


4.27


36


18


Chris Johnson


27.5


197


4.24


35


22


 

EBF

Footballguy
There are a lot of interesting things about the results.

- Of the 30 RBs drafted in the first round in this time range, 20 weighed 215+ pounds. Of the 10 who did not weigh at least 215 pounds, every single one had a 40 time below 4.50. The average time for sub 215 backs was a blistering 4.37. Not surprisingly, the two lightest backs (CJ Spiller and Chris Johnson) recorded the two fastest times (4.27 and 4.24). BMI is also a good predictor of 40 time, as the 4 lowest backs on the BMI scale (CJ2K, Spiller, McFadden, Bush) had four of the five fastest times (Jahvid Best is the other). What this all amounts to is that if a RB is undersized, he needs to be very fast to get picked in the first round. This explains why guys like Gio Bernard and Ameer Abdullah did not crack the first round. They are not nearly fast enough for how small they are. Likewise, Paul Perkins (208 / 4.54) and Wendell Smallwood (208 / 4.47) also probably suffered from this. Perkins is not nearly fast enough for how small he is. Smallwood is closer, but every back who ran 4.47 or slower weighed at least 215 pounds and the average weight is a lot higher.

- Speaking of 40 times, 21 of 28 backs picked in the first round in this sample had a 40 time under 4.50. So right away you know that the league does not like to spend 1st round picks on backs who don't have great speed. Of the 7 backs who managed to get picked in the first round despite modest 40 times, the average weight is 222 pounds. This is significantly higher than the overall average for first round backs (which is about 217 pounds). What this suggests is that you are only "allowed" to get away with a slow 40 time if you are big. In other words, backs who don't have good speed must be big. And even big backs must still be relatively fast. Only two backs out of 28 who ran for scouts had 40 times slower than 4.60 (Mark Ingram and Cedric Benson). That's less than 10% of the backs in the sample and, anecdotally, I think there's a pretty good argument that both guys owe some of their draft slot to playing at massive college programs that rank among the best in the country at producing NFL talent. Small school prospects are often underdrafted and I think there's a decent argument that the opposite can happen (playing at a visible school like Bama, Georgia, or USC can lead to exaggeration of talent and overexposure). The requirement that big backs still be fairly fast probably explains why Eddie Lacy and Jeremy Hill were not first round backs. Hill ran 4.66 at the combine. Lacy ran 4.64 at his pro day. Either time would be the slowest of any RB picked in the first round in the sample. LeVeon Bell's 4.60 was theoretically within range of what the league has been willing to draft. However, it would be near the very bottom of the group and the 40 is only one drill. I would guess that his dismal marks in the other tests hurt him as well. His 31.5" vertical would be tied for the lowest of any back on the list and his 9'10" broad jump would rank near the bottom of the sample (his 6'1"+ height makes that mark especially bad because tall guys have an advantage in this drill).

- I could say more, but a lot of this can be summed up by saying that first round RB picks are usually reserved for backs who offer either elite speed or an elite combination of size and speed. The league very rarely uses first round picks on backs who don't run below 4.50 and/or weigh 215+ pounds with solid marks in the 40, vertical, and broad jump. This year's only first round RB, Zeke Elliott, has an above average weight (225) combined with a 40 time (4.47) that is near the middle of the entire first round RB group. He has a rare combination of size and speed. So although his marks in the jumps were quite terrible, he still roughly fits into the recent historical trends of what a first round RB looks like. I think there's an argument that his reputation has been inflated by his program ala Ingram/Benson, and that he wasn't worth the pick Dallas spent on him. Still, his 4.47 40 time at 225 pounds is a rare speed score.

- That all being said, necessary ≠ sufficient and the presence of elite combine numbers alone doesn't guarantee a first round draft slot. You mentioned Christine Michael. Why wasn't he a first round pick? He wasn't even a full-time starter in his final year at Texas A&M and had serious production/durability question marks. Scouts look at things besides size/speed/explosiveness and if a player doesn't pass the sniff test, he can still fall despite being a workout monster.

There are always going to be exceptions and people are going to accuse me of twisting the numbers to fit a narrative, but I think there's a pretty clear argument that the NFL does not like to invest early picks on RBs unless those players have obvious special traits. It's probably not a coincidence that the only backs selected in the top 100 this year (Elliott, Henry, Drake, Prosise) all offer something a little extra in terms of size, speed, or both. Like I said previously, you don't pay Mercedes prices for a Honda. Smart NFL teams are not going to burn an early pick at this position unless they're getting a player who gives them something that's hard to find.

 
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EBF

Footballguy
One guy with decent athletic credentials is Kenneth Dixon. He checks in with a solid 215 pound frame and 30.7 BMI. He ran 4.56 in the 40 and jumped very well. I wanted to see how he compared with first round backs, so I went through and cut out everyone who wasn't within either 10 pounds or 1 full BMI point of him. I took out Kevin Jones and Todd Gurley because I don't have 40 times for them. That gave me the following sample, sorted by weight:


NAME


WEIGHT


BMI


40


VERT


BROAD


Beanie Wells


235


30.9


4.52


33.5


20


Ronnie Brown


233


31.4


4.43


34


9


Steven Jackson


231


30.1


4.55


37.5


10


Ezekiel Elliott


225


30.7


4.47


32.5


10


Rashard Mendenhall


225


32.2


4.41


33.5


9


Doug Martin


223


32.7


4.46


36


12


Cedric Benson


222


31.4


4.62


33


X


Chris Perry


220


30


4.56


34.5


16


Ryan Mathews


218


30


4.37


36


13


Adrian Peterson


217


28.3


4.4


38.5


19


Cadillac Williams


217


30.5


4.43


35.5


10


Knowshon Moreno


217


30.7


4.5


35.5


7


Laurence Maroney


217


29.7


4.48


36


15


Kenneth Dixon


215


30.7


4.56


37.5


13


Mark Ingram


215


31.7


4.62


31.5


5


Marshawn Lynch


215


29.9


4.46


35.5


17


Melvin Gordon


215


28.7


4.52


35


18


DeAngelo Williams


214


31.6


4.45


34.5


21


Joseph Addai


214


29.7


4.4


38.5


17


Darren McFadden


211


27.7


4.33


33


20


Donald Brown


210


30


4.46


41.5


17


Felix Jones


207


29.6


4.44


33


16


David Wilson


206


30


4.38


41


24



Of the backs who weigh 215 or less, Ingram is the only one with a slower 40 time than Dixon. On the other hand, 12 of the 13 backs who were heavier than him ran equal or faster than his 4.56. Incidentally, the only guy slower (Ingram) was a Heisman winner from a huge program who still hasn't recorded a 1k rushing season after five full years in the league. Anyway, while Dixon has decent numbers, his combination of size and speed would be quite poor for a first round RB.

Sort by BMI and you get the same story. No one who is thinner than him ran slower than him, whereas several of the guys who are thicker than him also ran faster than him.


NAME


WEIGHT


BMI


40


VERT


BROAD


Doug Martin


223


32.7


4.46


36


12


Rashard Mendenhall


225


32.2


4.41


33.5


9


Mark Ingram


215


31.7


4.62


31.5


5


DeAngelo Williams


214


31.6


4.45


34.5


21


Ronnie Brown


233


31.4


4.43


34


9


Cedric Benson


222


31.4


4.62


33


X


Beanie Wells


235


30.9


4.52


33.5


20


Ezekiel Elliott


225


30.7


4.47


32.5


10


Knowshon Moreno


217


30.7


4.5


35.5


7


Kenneth Dixon


215


30.7


4.56


37.5


13


Cadillac Williams


217


30.5


4.43


35.5


10


Steven Jackson


231


30.1


4.55


37.5


10


Chris Perry


220


30


4.56


34.5


16


Ryan Mathews


218


30


4.37


36


13


Donald Brown


210


30


4.46


41.5


17


David Wilson


206


30


4.38


41


24


Marshawn Lynch


215


29.9


4.46


35.5


17


Laurence Maroney


217


29.7


4.48


36


15


Joseph Addai


214


29.7


4.4


38.5


17


Felix Jones


207


29.6


4.44


33


16


Melvin Gordon


215


28.7


4.52


35


18


Adrian Peterson


217


28.3


4.4


38.5


19


Darren McFadden


211


27.7


4.33


33


20




So while there's an argument that Dixon may have the raw athletic measurables of a first round RB, it might not be the best case. His vertical and broad jump are excellent, but his speed is not ideal for the league and he doesn't have a monster frame to compensate. Guys like Lynch, Mathews, Mendenhall, and Martin who are within 10 pounds of his size ran at least a full tenth of a second faster in the 40. Even draft bust Donald Brown ran a 4.46.

Ultimately, I don't think his size/speed combo is special enough to justify the first round pick and he doesn't have the benefit of playing on a big stage like Moreno, Ingram, or Benson did to inflate his draft stock. I do like the overall package more than the other day three RBs, which is why I rank him highest among that set. I think he is a Tashard Choice/Zac Stacy though, and not a Doug Martin/Marshawn Lynch.

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
Thanks for sharing all that EBF.

I may not agree with the importance of these measurements for a players future success, but I do respect your perspective that does value these things in a specific way as part of your evauation

I think there are some issues with this type of evaluation because of the fluctuation of variables such as weight changing significantly in a short period of time. Seems like every offseason a guy is adding 10 lbs here or losing 10 lbs there. That seems like a moving target to me. .

 

bostonfred

Footballguy
I'm not sure what you were trying to show.   Are you trying to predict who NFL teams will take in the first round? Or predict who will have fantasy success?   I get that you think first round running backs are the most likely to have fantasy success,  but you posted a pretty unimpressive list of guys like Trent, Stewart, and beanie... there are a lot of hits but also a lot of misses on that list.  

 

EBF

Footballguy
I'm not sure what you were trying to show. 
I was trying to show what type of backs the NFL spends first round picks on. I often hear the argument that RB is devalued, but I think it has always been very hard for a RB to get picked in the first round and the reason why we've had some donut years there recently is because there have been very few qualifying prospects in that time. If you understand what kind of backs have historically gone in the 1st, it's a lot easier to see why guys like Bernard/Hill/Lacy/Bell/Sankey didn't go there instead of thinking that them falling qualifies as evidence for some sort of major shift in the league's philosophy. The last few drafts have been short on backs with solid college production and elite speed or size/speed. When those backs come along, I think they still have a good chance to be picked in the first round. We've seen that with Zeke, Gurley, and even Gordon, whose athletic numbers really weren't even that amazing. We will probably see it again next year with Chubb, Fournette, and possibly 1-3 others. Will people say RB is devalued if we get 4 first rounders next year and 8 backs in the first 75 picks?

Just think about that 2008 draft that gave us so many great backs. In that group alone you had McFadden with 4.33 speed, Mendenhall running 4.41 at 225 pounds, Stewart running 4.46 at 235 pounds, CJ2K with his insane 4.24 speed, and a number of compelling 2nd-3rd round guys with very good speed numbers. It's easy to see why that group produced 5 first round backs. It's not because the league valued backs more in 2008 than they do today. It's simply because there were more elite athletes in that draft class.

And that's really what I'm getting at. I don't buy the notion that guys like Perkins/Dixon/Howard/Booker are victims of their era, and that they would've been drafted much higher a decade ago. I think they're basically a bunch of JAGs, and it has always been hard for that type of player to sneak into the early rounds (especially the first round).

 
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Biabreakable

Footballguy
Here is a graph from something I was reading in regards to combine performance and success in the NFL. This graph comes from this article which describes the methodology behind the study. 

  • A linear model on combine data can significantly predict future NFL success, except for WRs.
  • The forty, weight, and 3 cone drill are the overall most important measurements, although there is variation across positions.  The bench press is the least important.
  • A decent improvement at the combine won’t take you from 3rd string to super star, but it could take you from 2nd string to starter, starter to pro bowl, etc.
For the RB (first link) you see the order of importance of these drills being 40 time, 3 cone drill, then weight or vertical leap. The 40 and 3 cone times were the only ones with about .7 to .8 correlation coefficient which is better than a coin flip. The next two look like they are below .5 and so not much connection to success, less than a coin flip.

You said that elusiveness is the most important trait for a RB to have. I tend to agree with that except I think vision and instinct are more important than being able to make guys miss, but making guys miss is likely the second most important trait for a RB imo. The 3 cone drill measures a players ability to change direction, while maintaining balance so as to not lose speed. The technique for performing this drill well requires that the player be able to runs close to the ground, so as to be able to change direction more quickly. So this drill measures a RBs ability to be quick while also using low pad level.

I know we have discussed this before. This study seems to corroborate the importance of the 3 cone drill as actually having some predictive ability for RBs.

 

FreeBaGeL

Footballguy
I was trying to show what type of backs the NFL spends first round picks on. I often hear the argument that RB is devalued, but I think it has always been very hard for a RB to get picked in the first round and the reason why we've had some donut years there recently is because there have been very few qualifying prospects in that time. If you understand what kind of backs have historically gone in the 1st, it's a lot easier to see why guys like Bernard/Hill/Lacy/Bell/Sankey didn't go there instead of thinking that them falling qualifies as evidence for some sort of major shift in the league's philosophy. The last few drafts have been short on backs with solid college production and elite speed or size/speed. When those backs come along, I think they still have a good chance to be picked in the first round. We've seen that with Zeke, Gurley, and even Gordon, whose athletic numbers really weren't even that amazing. We will probably see it again next year with Chubb, Fournette, and possibly 1-3 others. Will people say RB is devalued if we get 4 first rounders next year and 8 backs in the first 75 picks?

Just think about that 2008 draft that gave us so many great backs. In that group alone you had McFadden with 4.33 speed, Mendenhall running 4.41 at 225 pounds, Stewart running 4.46 at 235 pounds, CJ2K with his insane 4.24 speed, and a number of compelling 2nd-3rd round guys with very good speed numbers. It's easy to see why that group produced 5 first round backs. It's not because the league valued backs more in 2008 than they do today. It's simply because there were more elite athletes in that draft class.

And that's really what I'm getting at. I don't buy the notion that guys like Perkins/Dixon/Howard/Booker are victims of their era, and that they would've been drafted much higher a decade ago. I think they're basically a bunch of JAGs, and it has always been hard for that type of player to sneak into the early rounds (especially the first round).
I don't think that anyone is saying that Perkins/Dixon/Howard/Booker would have been top 10 NFL picks 10 years ago.  I think you're right that the guys with elite measurables and production haven't really taken much of a value hit.  With the guys after that though I'm not so sure.  Derrick Henry is bigger, faster, and had a more productive college career than Mark Ingram.

How do Kenneth Dixon's measurables compare to 2nd/3rd rounders of the past?  Isn't it possible and maybe even likely that, were this draft held 10 years ago, he would have been a late 2nd or early 3rd round pick instead of a guy taken at the end of the 4th?  Are Dixon/Booker really that much worse as prospects than guys like Shonn Greene, Brian Calhoun, Brandon Jackson, Stevan Ridley etc, all of whom were taken significantly higher in significantly more RB rich drafts?

 

EBF

Footballguy
How do Kenneth Dixon's measurables compare to 2nd/3rd rounders of the past?  Isn't it possible and maybe even likely that, were this draft held 10 years ago, he would have been a late 2nd or early 3rd round pick instead of a guy taken at the end of the 4th? 
Possible? I guess it's possible. It takes 32 teams passing for a player to fall. It only takes one team making a mistake for a player to get picked too high. I don't think it's likely though. I reject the idea that a RB picked in X round today is significantly better/worse than a RB picked in X round any other year.

 

ZWK

Footballguy
I don't think that anyone is saying that Perkins/Dixon/Howard/Booker would have been top 10 NFL picks 10 years ago.  I think you're right that the guys with elite measurables and production haven't really taken much of a value hit.  With the guys after that though I'm not so sure.  Derrick Henry is bigger, faster, and had a more productive college career than Mark Ingram.

How do Kenneth Dixon's measurables compare to 2nd/3rd rounders of the past?  Isn't it possible and maybe even likely that, were this draft held 10 years ago, he would have been a late 2nd or early 3rd round pick instead of a guy taken at the end of the 4th?  Are Dixon/Booker really that much worse as prospects than guys like Shonn Greene, Brian Calhoun, Brandon Jackson, Stevan Ridley etc, all of whom were taken significantly higher in significantly more RB rich drafts?
My guess is that guys like Dixon would've gone about a round earlier 10-20 years ago. The formula that I use for my generic rookie rankings treats Dixon (pick 134) as if he was taken with pick 99 during the 1993-2006 time period that I based my formula on.

Here is the amount of draft value spent on RB each year (where "draft value" is based on the estimated career VBD that I use for my generic rookie rankings):

2016    658
2015    1010
2014    627
2013    600
2012    999
2011    895
2010    942
2009    888
2008    1493
2007    1166
2006    1144
2005    1527
2004    763
2003    642
2002    1005
2001    1155
2000    1532
1999    1232
1998    1475
1997    1106
1996    1673
1995    1649
1994    1386
1993    1457
1992    1036

If you break that down into 5-year periods, it's:

1992-1996 1440
1997-2001 1300
2002-2006 1016
2007-2011 1077
2012-2016 779

 

EBF

Footballguy
I'm not saying there isn't a meaningful trend there, but it seems to me that the absence of quality depth (2016) and high-end quality (2013, 2014) has been largely responsible for the recent nosedive. I'd expect a strong rebound there, though it hinges on the current CFB guys getting/staying healthy for 2017.

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
Basically what I see from the trend of ZWK's post is that 3 of the last 4 years have been the lowest amount of draft value in the sample.

The last really high point was in 2008 and most of those players careers are about done now. So it seems to me that more of these later round picks will be successful just by default, as there won't be that many 1st round picks to take over, at least for a few years in there.

Maybe 2017 will be a new high point similar to 2008. It will be interesting to see.

If the NFL is collectively agreeing to use lower picks on the RB position than they have in the past, that change wouldn't be all right away. It happens gradually as teams play a form of limbo, how long can you wait to get your guy? Kind of like we wait on QBs in fantasy.

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
There is a nice graph at the end of this article.

With the understanding that approximate value considers number of starts as well as yards gained, TD scored and forms a number generally between 0 and 18 (in some cases 21 for like Peyton Manning 2004) we can use the graph to look at the difference in AV for RB (Orange line) by the round they were drafted in.

What I see is a difference of about 20 AV for a 1st round RB compared to a 2nd round RB. So equivalent to Peyton Mannings best AV season or two 10 AV seasons, which would be slightly above average for a player at their position.

The difference between a 2nd round pick and a 3rd round pick is about 9 AV or similar to an average season.Between a 3rd and 4th round RB the difference is about 8 AV or one average season. The difference between the 4th and 7th round RB was only 4 or 5 AV, so less than an average season of difference.

The difference between a 2nd round pick and a 4th round pick is about 17 AV, so similar to the difference between a 1st and 2nd round guy.

In the grand scheme of things a 18 or so AV season is going to be worth much more than a couple of 9 AV seasons. I think this study does a good job of quantifying the difference in careers by draft position through the use of AV. The sample size could be larger, sounds like the author is working towards that. He does have two other parts of this in related articles.

I think AV works as a compressed form of VBD pretty well, but it takes some time getting familiar with it.

 
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bostonfred

Footballguy
News Articles > Kenneth Dixon


Published Thu Jun 2 4:15:03 p.m. ET 2016


(RotoWire)Dixon missed rookie minicamp and the first round of OTAs due to a strained hamstring he suffered at Louisiana Tech's pro day in March, The Baltimore Sun reports.
Analysis: Selected in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft at No. 134 overall, Dixon scored the second-most touchdowns (87) in FBS history while also topping 1,000 scrimmage yards in each of his four seasons. His quickness and receiving ability should make him a nice fit in offensive coordinator Marc Trestman's pass-oriented scheme, but the Ravens already have a pair of capable pass-catching backs in Justin Forsett and Javorius Allen. It thus seems Dixon will merely vie for a role as part of a possible committee, though injuries during training camp could easily change the situation. Regardless, the Ravens don't seem worried about Dixon's hamstring injury and expect him to be a full go for the start of camp in late July.

(Article Link)

 

bostonfred

Footballguy
Dixon was projected as an early pick them slid in the NFL draft.  He was still one of the first backs drafted,  and by ozzie Newsome to a rb needy team, but sliding in the draft was cause for concern.  

Now it turns out he had a hamstring injury at his pro day.  Does that change anyone's mind about why he may have fallen further in the draft than most analysts expected? 

 

Shutout

Footballguy
Dixon was projected as an early pick them slid in the NFL draft.  He was still one of the first backs drafted,  and by ozzie Newsome to a rb needy team, but sliding in the draft was cause for concern.  

Now it turns out he had a hamstring injury at his pro day.  Does that change anyone's mind about why he may have fallen further in the draft than most analysts expected? 
I think in today's NFL we are past the point of concerning ourselves with players "sliding" in the draft. There is still something to be said when a guy goes really high but with today's rules, the traditional perceived value of a 3rd rounder or 4th rounder, etc, isn't what it used to be.

The needle has moved. Applying the logic we do these days is the equivalent of trying to use Lotus 123 for spreadsheets.  It MIGHT be accurate. It might be woefully lacking in being able to tell the whole story.  In today's NFL, it is better to think of it like "what do the call the medical resident student who scores least in the rotations?  Doctor."  At the end of the day, these guys are still in the NFL. Sure, we can probably hand pick some situations where a lot is going against their chances but there are so many moving parts these days that I'm not sure it is smart to put a whole lot of stock into where he was picked (when we are talking 2nd-5th round). 

 

bostonfred

Footballguy
The guys who value draft stock would argue that nfl talent evaluators are better than we are, so if a guy slides,  there's usually a reason.  

Those same guys seem to like Jonathan Williams a lot this year because unlike other guys who slid,  there's a reason he slid that's not an indictment of his talent - he was coming off injury.   

I'm just curious if the guys who said they liked Kenneth Dixon this year until he slid in the NFL draft will now be more interested in him after finding out he was injured at his pro day, because that may have contributed to him sliding in the NFL draft.   

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
It is hard to guess why teams passed on players in favor of other players in the draft. There are so many different factors that go into a teams decision.

I recall Keenan Allen was pretty much universally considered the top WR prospect of his draft class. He had an injury that teams seemed concerned about and he wasn't drafted until the 3rd round because of it. I had him high in my rankings prior to that, but I dropped him down significantly to reflect the change in draft position which was much lower than I had expected prior to the draft, I thought Allen was a 1st round pick.

I regret dropping Allen as far as I did because of his drop in draft position. I am trying to learn from this, but I am still not sure what might be a good way to approach it.

Last year Jay Ajayi who I was very high on prior to the draft (as were many others) fell to the 5th round due to long term concerns about his knee possibly shortening his career. Incidentally this was the reasoning given by the Broncos for drafting Montee Ball ahead of Eddie Lacy, because they were worried about Lacy's long term health.

I want to stop here for a second and ask how much should a NFL downgrade a player on their draft board because of long term health concerns that might shorten the players career? A RB career is already shorter than most other positions. How important is it to a team that their RB be healthy on their second contract? When the team may or may not re-sign the player? Doesn't it seem kind of strange to be worried about the long term prospects of a RBs career?

Anyhow so I dropped Jay Ajayi pretty far in my rankings because of the lower expected draft position. At this time it looks like everything has fallen in his favor so I am right back to liking him about as much as I did before he fell so far in the draft.

This year I expected Devontae Booker to be drafted in the second round. It seems like a pattern with NFL teams to drop a player, even a very good player such as Allen or Lacy a round or two in the draft if they have some injury issues, which Booker did (does?) have.

I dropped Booker out of the 1st tier because of the lower than expected draft position. But I didn't drop him nearly as far as I did with Allen or Ajayi. In the case of Lacy I considered dropping him, but didn't really drop him much at all.

I would like to try to figure this out, so I could be more consistent in how far I drop players in my rankings because of scenarios like this.

 

bostonfred

Footballguy
Good post bia but I was talking about Dixon specifically.  These was news today about his injury during his pro day.  Not sure how well known that was before the draft.   Wonder if that impacted him sliding

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
Could you post a link to this news Fred?

Dixon was considered a 2nd to 3rd round prospect by Rob Rang and others.

According to Arif's evaluator board Dixon was the 56th overall prospect (using the average of 40+ draftnik type boards). Pick 56 is a late 2nd round pick.

For comparison sake Henry was 40th (top of the second round) overall and Booker was 63rd overall (end of the second round). The next RB is Collins at 80 which is mid 3rd round.

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
Thanks Hank. So a hamsting injury in March? 

I don't see that as being enough to cause teams to push him down their boards.

 

bostonfred

Footballguy
Thanks Hank. So a hamsting injury in March? 

I don't see that as being enough to cause teams to push him down their boards.
I didn't think tunsil would slide because of a tweet.  I don't know if it impacted him but it didn't help,  right?  I mean he's still out right now.   How many teams want to take a rb on d2 already and then one who is already hurt.  

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
I didn't think tunsil would slide because of a tweet.  I don't know if it impacted him but it didn't help,  right?  I mean he's still out right now.   How many teams want to take a rb on d2 already and then one who is already hurt.  
You have a point. The injury is still bothering him now in early June. I shouldn't dismiss a hamstring injury that is lingering this long.

Sometimes a hamstring is nothing. Other times it is something that is an issue through a guys entire career. Donte Stallworth comes to mind.

 

ILUVBEER99

Footballguy
bostonfred said:
The guys who value draft stock would argue that nfl talent evaluators are better than we are, so if a guy slides,  there's usually a reason.  

Those same guys seem to like Jonathan Williams a lot this year because unlike other guys who slid,  there's a reason he slid that's not an indictment of his talent - he was coming off injury.   

I'm just curious if the guys who said they liked Kenneth Dixon this year until he slid in the NFL draft will now be more interested in him after finding out he was injured at his pro day, because that may have contributed to him sliding in the NFL draft.   
The difference is J-Will is going in the 3rd round of rookie drafts, Dixon is going in the mid 1st.  Williams is rightfully being treated as a flyer lottery ticket, whereas Dixon is being treated as a likely future starting RB for some reason.

 

EBF

Footballguy
I don't think missing a whole season and tweaking your hamstring are equivalent situations, so I don't find it compelling.

Anyone who drafted Dixon better hope that this injury isn't a long-term thing, because a lot of his perceived value was tied to the short-term opportunity there in Baltimore.

 

ConstruxBoy

Kate's Daddy
I think it makes more sense to look at positional draft rank. I'd feel better about taking the 3rd drafted RB who went in the early second round than the 3rd drafted RB who went in the early fourth round. But it's still the 3rd RB drafted that year, and likely better than the 7th RB drafted who went in the early fourth round a different year. 

 

bostonfred

Footballguy
bostonfred said:
Now it turns out he had a hamstring injury at his pro day.  Does that change anyone's mind about why he may have fallen further in the draft than most analysts expected? 
@ILUVBEER99 @EBF - i was hoping you guys would chime in but I'm a little disappointed.  You guys aren't answering the question i asked, you're defending a position you've already taken.   I didn't ask if Dixon should be drafted in the first round.  I didn't ask if a hamstring injury was good news.   I didn't ask if his situation was equivalent to Washington. 

I asked if it changed your mind about his talent.   Both of you have said you liked Dixon before the NFL draft and both of you have said that once he fell to the fourth round you downgraded him.  You've also both said that good players sometimes slide because of injury so you adjust your rankings.  

I'm not asking you to justify my high opinion of Dixon.  We can have a shark pool argument some other time.  I'm sincerely asking whether the news that he had a hamstring injury at his pro day that was expected to linger into the summer changes your opinion of him since you liked him before the draft and changed your mind based on his draft rank and now have another data point for why he may have been drafted relatively late.  

Does that change your ranking?   If so,  how much?   If not,  why not?  

 

Snorkelson

Footballguy
I drafted Dixon at 1.10 based on how i view his talent and the opportunity in front of him. The fact that he dropped to the fourth didnt really worry me because most backs aren't drafted in rds 1-2 these days. I would rather have him healthy for the summer. I think his stock should be about the same or maybe less if he's getting behind because that's going to cut into his learning curve. But on a ravens team looking for some young players on offense (and defense) to build around I like his chances. People want to shrug off some of these backs because of "next years class" but they can't get drafted on every team. You can't get caught up in what resound a guy was drafted because it really doesn't matter. Tevin Coleman was a higher draft pick than freeman, ergo Coleman has a better chance to succeed, except freeman has the opportunity because it's his job to lose. Draft slot vs opportunity, I'll take the opportunity. 

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
I think it makes more sense to look at positional draft rank. I'd feel better about taking the 3rd drafted RB who went in the early second round than the 3rd drafted RB who went in the early fourth round. But it's still the 3rd RB drafted that year, and likely better than the 7th RB drafted who went in the early fourth round a different year. 
I think looking at it by the order is one way to do it. I think this method is more random than looking at this by round or overall draft position, which creates a smoother curve, and provides more context. 

Here is some nice research that workdog did last season which looks at players based on the order they were drafted.

Here are the RB broken down with odds to reach certain thresholds of career VBD.

 

Hankmoody

Footballguy
I think it makes more sense to look at positional draft rank. I'd feel better about taking the 3rd drafted RB who went in the early second round than the 3rd drafted RB who went in the early fourth round. But it's still the 3rd RB drafted that year, and likely better than the 7th RB drafted who went in the early fourth round a different year. 
That doesn't account for depth of draft and is very unreliable.  Look at this year's vs. next year's RB.  You really think you'd rather have Prosise or Tyler Ervin than one of Cook/Fournette/Chubb/Freeman/Hurd/Perine?

 

ConstruxBoy

Kate's Daddy
That doesn't account for depth of draft and is very unreliable.  Look at this year's vs. next year's RB.  You really think you'd rather have Prosise or Tyler Ervin than one of Cook/Fournette/Chubb/Freeman/Hurd/Perine?
I'm not trying to compare classes. I don't care. I'm trying to decide who to draft when in that year's dynasty rookie draft. If you are trying to compare multiple classes by draft round or rank, you are correct that this makes less sense. I would argue that after they play in the NFL, it doesn't matter as much where they were drafted.

 

ConstruxBoy

Kate's Daddy
I think looking at it by the order is one way to do it. I think this method is more random than looking at this by round or overall draft position, which creates a smoother curve, and provides more context. 

Here is some nice research that workdog did last season which looks at players based on the order they were drafted.

Here are the RB broken down with odds to reach certain thresholds of career VBD.
Thanks, good info and work by him.

I agree that it's smoother to use draft round/position, especially for comparing multiple years. My point was more that writing off Dixon because he was a 4th rounder without looking at the context of the RB and draft as a whole is a mistake.

 

OnTheReg

Footballguy
After the top four (Elliott, Doctson, Treadwell, Coleman), I really am not seeing much separation between picks 5 and 13 or so. Shephard and Thomas have good situations, but I question the talent level. Henry I'm not sold on, especially in PPR leagues. Other RBs (Dixon, Prosise) don't have me jumping for joy, either. I think just going with your gut on best player available in those slots is the only way to do it. Then maybe reaching slightly for a Goff or Wentz instead of the third and fourth tier of RBs/WRs is the way to go. Henry is a very safe pick to me, I'd gladly scoop him up end of the first. 

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
With that being said, how would you guys rank players 5-12? 
Here is the last ranking I did of the rookie players.

I consider these players to be tier 2 upside prospects:

Tier 2

45 RB Derrick Henry Titans
136 RB Devontae Booker Broncos
47 WR Michael Thomas Saints
40 WR Sterling Shephard Giants
134 RB Kenneth Dixon Ravens
2 QB Carson Wentz Eagles
1 QB Jared Goff Rams
21 WR Will Fuller Texans
55 WR Tyler Boyd Bengals
86 WR Leonte Carroo Dolphins
35 TE Henry Hunter Chargers
81 TE Austin Hooper Falcons
26 QB Paxton Lynch Broncos

So that is 5-17. They are ranked in the order that I prefer them but I consider all of these players to have similar value to each other.

 

OnTheReg

Footballguy
Thanks! Ugh, not looking forward to making a decision at 1.06 tomorrow night, I hope I can get Thomas, but I'd be fine with Henry or Shephard too.

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
Thanks! Ugh, not looking forward to making a decision at 1.06 tomorrow night, I hope I can get Thomas, but I'd be fine with Henry or Shephard too.
My rankings are for standard leagues. So the tiers wouldn't change but Henry would be slightly lower in that format. I think Thomas and Shephard are fine picks and it is pretty likely one of those two will be there at that pick.

Here is Dan Hindery's PPR rankings.

Here is ZWK's rankings which are for .5 PPR

If you have time I would read ZWK's thread as there is a lot of interesting supporting analysis in there that I found useful.

 

Jail

Footballguy
23. RB DeAndre Washington, Raiders - I wrote a lot about this guy throughout his college career and am generally a fan of his game. He has very good cutting ability and elusiveness, which is one of the most important traits for a back trying to make the jump to the NFL. On the other hand, he's not very big or fast. The track record of sub 210 pound backs with ordinary speed and explosiveness is not great. When I look at Washington, my hunch is that he'll end up being a third down/committee back in the NFL. So while I like him and think he can produce in spurts, I'm inclined to believe that he'll end up as a complementary player in the NFL and not a long-term starter.


You think you'd make any changes to your rankings if you were to draft today? Seems like you might have liked him more than your ranking suggests. I have read there was a lot of buzz about Washington in camp and even getting time with the first unit.

 

bostonfred

Footballguy
Josh Ferguson - undrafted, but only has to beat out the ghost of Frank Gore and turbin. Worth a flyer. 

Rashard Higgins - outside shot that he develops into a starting wr in Cleveland.  Might even be the wr1.  He's like a suckier version of Treadwell - good production, bad speed.   
Some positive news about both these guys recently.  I'm not sure how far I'd move either of them up my own list but it is nice to see things moving in the right direction for both. 

 

EBF

Footballguy
Jail said:
You think you'd make any changes to your rankings if you were to draft today? Seems like you might have liked him more than your ranking suggests. I have read there was a lot of buzz about Washington in camp and even getting time with the first unit.
No, but I haven't had any drafts lately or any reason to re-visit things.

I think there's immediate opportunity in Oakland because I'm still not sold on Murray, but my rankings are mainly about long-term value and I still think Washington seems like a niche player and not "the guy".

 

DexterDew

Footballguy
And it was important to comment because???

the NFL draft is not perfect, but the 32 teams have more information and base their picks on that info and needs. RBs fell for some reason (lack of talent, talent at other positions, team needs, etc).  Knowing Dixon was dinged may be a reason the NFL dropped him, maybe not. It didn't effect my rankings.  Maybe the two people who are being called out feel different , who knows and who cares?

back to the topic at hand, it's tough to move anybody more than a spot or two before camp opens.... A couple backs got dinged and didn't participate in the full OTAs (prosise and drake ). Washington looked good with out pads. I think OTAs are about where a player is physically and getting a fundamental grasp of the playbook. 

 

squistion

Footballguy
And it was important to comment because???
Common courtesy. He specifically asked for a response or for a clarification to what he asked earlier, and for whatever reason he was ignored. If you unequivocally state your opinion I don't think it is beyond the pale for someone to ask you to explain or defend it, but that is just my :2cents: .

 
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DexterDew

Footballguy
The internet is the last places I expect common courtesy, and since I don't expect it, I am not disappointed.

YMMV

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
I wouldn't mind seeing squistions or any one else's rankings for that matter.

I don't think it is courteous to sharp shoot other peoples rankings without offering a counter opinion of your own.

I disagree with a lot of  EBFs ranking here, but I respect him for sharing his ideas.

This is a weak draft class, so more difference of opinion for this draft is something I expected.

 

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