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ZWK's 2022 Prospect Analysis (1 Viewer)

ZWK

Footballguy
This thread is for my analysis of the 2022 draft class (and other college players). Previously threads: 2021 draft class, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 WR & RB.

I'm getting going late on this draft class, partly because I get a lot of my data from cfbstats and this year they haven't been publishing some of the top 100 tables which I have typically used, so instead of it being easy to update throughout the season I waited until the end to go through a bunch of individual player pages.

Other sources I use: Rotowire for targets, PFF for YAC and some other things, draftscout for estimated size & speed (and later for combine & pro day numbers), DLF for birthdates, nflmockdraftdatabase & Grinding The Mocks for draft boards.

My current WR prospect ratings are up. I still have to get things together for RB, TE, & QB.

 

ZWK

Footballguy
I initially made my WR rating formula in 2013-14, and I haven't changed it much over the years, so as time passes the gap between what my formula says and my opinions about what matters has been widening. Especially in recent years, as I've been reading more analytics work by other people. I still think it's good enough to use as a starting point or one of several methods, but I'll

Here's who it has as the top 25 overall FBS receiving prospects in this draft class, given the information we currently have (including estimated size & speed from draftscout).

Treylon Burks

Jameson Williams
Drake London

Romeo Doubs
Jahan Dotson
David Bell
Jalen Tolbert
Garrett Wilson
Chris Olave

Reggie Roberson Jr. *
Khalil Shakir
Wan'Dale Robinson
Deven Thompkins
Justyn Ross
Jaquarii Roberson

Danny Gray
Skyy Moore
Jack Sorenson
Kevin Austin Jr.
Jerreth Sterns
Calvin Austin III
Dontario Drummond
Jaivon Heiligh
Greg Dulcich
Isaiah Likely

The tiers roughly correspond to: high-end prospect, good prospect, decent prospect, borderline, uphill battle. FBS guys not listed get a thumbs down.

Burks has the best production profile in this draft class, and also the best size+speed combo. Clear #1 by this method, and probably also by any other numbers-based approach that I'd come up with.

London is the guy who I'm most looking forward to seeing combine numbers from, both size & athleticism. His production is merely pretty good; he's ranked this highly based on his size & could move a fair amount in either direction once we have accurate numbers. I might like him more than Williams, partly because I think my formula isn't punishing Williams enough for his lack of production in his first 2 seasons.

The next two batches of players are packed pretty tightly together, such that it's a little misleading to even have a tier break in there after Olave. The "decent" tier generally means that I like a guy about as much as his draft position, or (if I have to ignore his draft position and just go by this) that he's a day 2 prospect. Wilson & Olave's numbers here might be hurt by the target competition at Ohio State, although they're also hurt by not having particular impressive projected size+athleticism. Reggie Roberson gets an asterisk because I'm ad hoc treating his 8-game 2019 season and his 5-game 2020 season as a single combined season (both were similarly productive, and I think my formula gives him too much credit if it sees those 13 games as 2 separate good seasons).

The Danny Gray tier is basically guys who get a thumbs down from my formula, but who are worth keeping an eye on in case something else goes in their favor. In particular, Skyy Moore is someone who would probably rate higher if I updated my formula (he had great market share numbers and is entering the draft as soon as he's eligible), and it's impressive for TEs Dulcich & Likely to even rate this highly.

Guys not listed because they rate below all of these guys include Alec Pierce, John Metchie, and George Pickens. Pickens did have a good-for-a-freshman first season, but I (& my formula) are generally down on guys who never had a just straightforwardly good season.

 

ZWK

Footballguy
Here's the 10 YPT club over the past 2 seasons, combined 2020-21 receiving. For FBS players entering the draft, min 100 targets. Data from Rotowire. May be missing some players, but not any prominent WRs I don't think.

12.88    Jameson Williams
11.83    Isaiah Likely
11.82    Jack Sorenson
11.80    Treylon Burks
11.61    Greg Dulcich
11.03    Dontario Drummond
10.99    Alec Pierce
10.90    Jaivon Heiligh
10.73    Garrett Wilson
10.47    Reggie Roberson Jr.
10.34    Chris Olave
10.34    Danny Gray
10.25    Romeo Doubs
10.24    Jalen Tolbert
10.07    Jaquarii Roberson

Jameson Williams on top, then a big batch of guys which includes Burks and the two TEs Likely & Dulcich. Sorenson mainly did this as a 6th year senior in the MAC, which makes it less impressive.

Other guys who were close to making the cut:
11.37    Samori Toure (79 tg)
10.79    Kevin Austin Jr. (84 tg)
10.07    Bryce Singleton (99 tg)
9.99    Deven Thompkins
9.71    John Metchie III
9.61    Skyy Moore
9.61    Malik Williams
9.54    Velus Jones Jr.

Not so close:
9.37    Khalil Shakir
9.33    Drake London
9.01    David Bell
8.88    George Pickens (64 tg)
8.87    Jahan Dotson
8.57    Wan'Dale Robinson
6.95    Justyn Ross (74 tg)

 
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ZWK

Footballguy
Adding one more piece of information to my WR rankings - the number of years since each player finished high school. I've bolded the early declares (entering the draft as soon as they're eligible), and italicized the late declares (5+ years since they finished HS).

Treylon Burks (3)

Jameson Williams (3)
Drake London (3)


Romeo Doubs (4)
Jahan Dotson (4)
David Bell (3)
Jalen Tolbert (5)
Garrett Wilson (3)
Chris Olave (4)

Reggie Roberson Jr. * (5)
Khalil Shakir (4)
Wan'Dale Robinson (3)
Deven Thompkins (4)
Justyn Ross (4)
Jaquarii Roberson (5)

Danny Gray (4)
Skyy Moore (3)
Jack Sorenson (6)
Kevin Austin Jr. (4)
Jerreth Sterns (4)
Calvin Austin III (5)
Dontario Drummond (5)

Jaivon Heiligh (4)
Greg Dulcich (4)
Isaiah Likely (4)

Not listed because they rate lower: Alec Pierce (4), John Metchie (3 or 4), George Pickens (3)

Being an early declare is good. My formula gives guys some credit for it (based on age), but probably not enough. Plausibly it would be an improvement to re-sort within each tier to put the early declares on top. That would make my rankings more similar to others that I've seen.

John Metchie is a weird case: he graduated from St. James High School in 2018 after 4 full years (and football seasons) there, then spent a post-graduation year at The Peddie School which is also an accredited high school (playing football there against other high schools), then had 3 years at Alabama. So he graduated from high school 4 years ago, but he spent 1 of those years in a different kind of high school. Could he have entered the draft last year, or is he declaring as soon as he's eligible? Especially given that "The Alabama coaches recommended Metchie do an extra year of prep football before going to the university" (according to the article I linked), I'm inclined to think of him as a guy who took 4 years to develop after HS.

 

ZWK

Footballguy
Here's what my RB ratings formula currently has as its top 24. Size, athleticism, and yards after contact + broken tackles are big parts of the formula and I don't have accurate numbers on those yet, so this could still change a lot. Lack of data also smushes the ratings down, so that no one looks all that great, so I won't bother with tiers or comparisons to previous years at this point. We should see more separation by the combine.

Kenneth Walker III    Mich St
Tyler Allgeier    BYU
Tyler Badie    Missouri
Breece Hall    Iowa State
Keaontay Ingram    USC
Isaiah Spiller    Texas A&M
Kennedy Brooks    Oklahoma
Max Borghi    Wash St
Ty Chandler    N Carolina
Rachaad White    Ariz St
Hassan Haskins    Michigan
Zonovan Knight    NC State
Zamir White    Georgia
Kyren Williams    Notre Dame
Bryant Koback    Toledo
Jerome Ford    Cincinnati
Dameon Pierce    Florida
Abram Smith    Baylor
Kevin Harris    S Carolina
Jashaun Corbin    FSU
Shermari Jones    Coast Car
Jerrion Ealy    Miss
Leddie Brown    WVU
Brian Robinson Jr.    Alabama

 

ZWK

Footballguy
Here's career rushing efficiency, as measured by (.5 * first downs + Touchdowns + 20-yarders) per attempt. Also, spreadsheet with comparison to last year & some others.

0.287    Tyler Allgeier (460 att)
0.279    Jerome Ford (319 att)
0.278    James Cook (230 att)
0.277    Rachaad White (224 att)
0.270    Kenneth Walker III (480 att)
0.270    Max Borghi (369 att)
0.258    Abram Smith (265 att)
0.258    Kennedy Brooks (353 att)
0.257    Shermari Jones (243 att)
0.256    Hassan Haskins (452 att)
0.253    Bryant Koback (679 att)
0.245    Breece Hall (718 att)
0.243    Jerrion Ealy (384 att)
0.243    Kevin Harris (358 att)
0.242    Zamir White (382 att)
0.241    DeAndre Torrey (609 att)
[average is about here]
0.232    Isaiah Spiller (541 att)
0.231    ZaQuandre White (104 att)
0.228    Jashaun Corbin (320 att)
0.225    Mataeo Durant (375 att)
0.225    Dameon Pierce (329 att)
0.220    Kyren Williams (419 att)
0.215    Zonovan Knight (419 att)
0.214    Tyler Badie (513 att)
0.209    Ronnie Rivers (671 att)
0.205    Sincere McCormick (725 att)
0.203    Brian Robinson Jr. (521 att)
0.199    Tyrion Davis-Price (379 att)
0.198    Ty Chandler (603 att)
0.195    D'vonte Price (369 att)
0.192    Leddie Brown (620 att)
0.189    Greg Bell (358 att)
0.176    Raheem Blackshear (412 att)
0.174    Tyler Goodson (533 att)

 

ZWK

Footballguy
Here's every 250-yard receiving season by this class of RBs, plus one that was easily on pace. I've bolded the highest yardage season of the guys who have more than 1 in the list.

597    Max Borghi    2019
456    Rachaad White    2021
374    Max Borghi    2018
367    Raheem Blackshear    2018
364    Ronnie Rivers    2021
359    Kyren Williams    2021
356    Tyler Badie    2019

348    Ronnie Rivers    2019
340    Bryant Koback    2021
330    Tyler Badie    2021
313    Kyren Williams    2020
311    Ronnie Rivers    2018
310    Raheem Blackshear    2019
302    Breece Hall    2021
296    Brian Robinson Jr.    2021
284    Trestan Ebner    2021
284    James Cook    2021
263    Mataeo Durant    2021
252    Breece Hall    2019
228    Bryant Koback (6 games)   2020

 

ZWK

Footballguy
Here's what my RB ratings formula currently has as its top 24. Size, athleticism, and yards after contact + broken tackles are big parts of the formula and I don't have accurate numbers on those yet, so this could still change a lot. Lack of data also smushes the ratings down, so that no one looks all that great, so I won't bother with tiers or comparisons to previous years at this point. We should see more separation by the combine.

Kenneth Walker III    Mich St
Tyler Allgeier    BYU
Tyler Badie    Missouri
Breece Hall    Iowa State
Keaontay Ingram    USC
Isaiah Spiller    Texas A&M
Kennedy Brooks    Oklahoma
Max Borghi    Wash St
Ty Chandler    N Carolina
Rachaad White    Ariz St
Hassan Haskins    Michigan
Zonovan Knight    NC State
Zamir White    Georgia
Kyren Williams    Notre Dame
Bryant Koback    Toledo
Jerome Ford    Cincinnati
Dameon Pierce    Florida
Abram Smith    Baylor
Kevin Harris    S Carolina
Jashaun Corbin    FSU
Shermari Jones    Coast Car
Jerrion Ealy    Miss
Leddie Brown    WVU
Brian Robinson Jr.    Alabama
PFF draft guide dropped! Now I have elusiveness numbers for most of these guys, at least for the 2021 season. I also got all the size measurements from the Senior Bowl, Shrine Game, and NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

Walker & Allgeier had the best 2021 PFF elusiveness numbers, after already holding the top 2 spots, so they've opened up a gap on the pack. Behind them, Badie drops a couple spots, Kyren Williams moves up a few spots, and there's some other movement farther down the rankings including DeAndre Torrey joining the list near the bottom (ahead of Leddie Brown). Probably won't be much more shifting until the combine; Keaontay Ingram & Zamir White are the only guys in the new top 15 who are still missing YAC & MT data.

The updated top 10, now featuring a tier break:

Kenneth Walker III
Tyler Allgeier

Kennedy Brooks
Isaiah Spiller
Tyler Badie
Keaontay Ingram
Breece Hall
Ty Chandler
Max Borghi
Kyren Williams

I haven't watched much of these guys yet or read all that much, so we'll see how my other impressions match up with my formula.

 

ZWK

Footballguy
Kenneth Walker: One of the big concern is what he can do as a receiver, since he only had 136 career receiving yards without a single 20+ yard reception (long of 19 yards). RB receiving is pretty important for NFL value, and even more important for PPR fantasy value. And especially relevant for Walker, since he is especially good in space and the transition from college to NFL means that more of the plays where the RB gets the ball in space happen in the passing game and fewer happen in the running game.

Is it the system? Other Wake Forest RBs didn't catch many passes. Other Michigan State RBs were more involved the passing game as a share of their workload - this year 5% of Walker's yardage came as a receiver, which is the lowest of any Michigan State RB over the past 2 years:

5% Kenneth Walker 2021
9% Jordan Simmons 2021
26% Connor Heyward 2020
13% Jordan Simmons 2020
25% Elijah Collins 2021
27% Elijah Collins 2020

(sorted by YFS)

NFL average is about 25%.

Word is that he's a terrible pass blocker, so maybe that affected his snaps?

One good sign is that Walker was a prolific receiver in high school, with 64/1058/16 receiving in 30 games (35 yards per game) and 24% of his yardage coming as a receiver. Might be worth looking at his HS tape if it's out there?

 

ZWK

Footballguy
After watching some video of Kenneth Walker, Breece Hall, Isaiah Spiller, Kyren Williams, Tyler Allgeier, and Brian Robinson, my impression is that Walker & Hall are the fastest of the group. Other sources mostly agree but generally have Kyren Williams also among the fast group, but he looks fairly slow to me. And draftscout (which is the main source that I use for projected 40 times) has Breece Hall as pretty slow (4.57), which hurts his ranking.

RiseNDraft has estimated size & 40 time numbers that generally look plausible, and (unlike draftscout) they're in a convenient table format, so I am partially switching over to using them.

Via Xue on twitter, I see that the Senior Bowl is posting more detailed information on player speeds this year, including accelerations, along with QB data on ball speed & rotations (though they make you sign up with an email to access the data). Fastest speeds on offense through day 2 are WR Danny Gray, WR Velus Jones, WR Romeo Doubs, WR Braylon Sanders, and WR Bo Melton. Quickest accelerations RB D'Vonte Price, TE Jake Ferguson, RB Brian Robinson, TE Trey McBride, and RB ZaQuandre White.

 

BroncoFreak_2K3

sucker for Orange
Kenneth Walker: One of the big concern is what he can do as a receiver, since he only had 136 career receiving yards without a single 20+ yard reception (long of 19 yards). RB receiving is pretty important for NFL value, and even more important for PPR fantasy value. And especially relevant for Walker, since he is especially good in space and the transition from college to NFL means that more of the plays where the RB gets the ball in space happen in the passing game and fewer happen in the running game.

Is it the system? Other Wake Forest RBs didn't catch many passes. Other Michigan State RBs were more involved the passing game as a share of their workload - this year 5% of Walker's yardage came as a receiver, which is the lowest of any Michigan State RB over the past 2 years:

5% Kenneth Walker 2021
9% Jordan Simmons 2021
26% Connor Heyward 2020
13% Jordan Simmons 2020
25% Elijah Collins 2021
27% Elijah Collins 2020

(sorted by YFS)

NFL average is about 25%.

Word is that he's a terrible pass blocker, so maybe that affected his snaps?

One good sign is that Walker was a prolific receiver in high school, with 64/1058/16 receiving in 30 games (35 yards per game) and 24% of his yardage coming as a receiver. Might be worth looking at his HS tape if it's out there?
Having watched K9 all season, I think it was the system this season more than anything else. I think he can do it all.  Definitely has speed in space. 

 

jtd13

Footballguy
Kenneth Walker: One of the big concern is what he can do as a receiver, since he only had 136 career receiving yards without a single 20+ yard reception (long of 19 yards). RB receiving is pretty important for NFL value, and even more important for PPR fantasy value. And especially relevant for Walker, since he is especially good in space and the transition from college to NFL means that more of the plays where the RB gets the ball in space happen in the passing game and fewer happen in the running game.

Is it the system? Other Wake Forest RBs didn't catch many passes. Other Michigan State RBs were more involved the passing game as a share of their workload - this year 5% of Walker's yardage came as a receiver, which is the lowest of any Michigan State RB over the past 2 years:

5% Kenneth Walker 2021
9% Jordan Simmons 2021
26% Connor Heyward 2020
13% Jordan Simmons 2020
25% Elijah Collins 2021
27% Elijah Collins 2020

(sorted by YFS)

NFL average is about 25%.

Word is that he's a terrible pass blocker, so maybe that affected his snaps?

One good sign is that Walker was a prolific receiver in high school, with 64/1058/16 receiving in 30 games (35 yards per game) and 24% of his yardage coming as a receiver. Might be worth looking at his HS tape if it's out there?
Harold Joiner III (big RB/HBack type who transferred from Auburn) was often the passing down back in the 2nd half of the season for MSU. Joiner is a very good blocker, and has a big size advantage over Walker (6'4 240ish). 

MSUs pass blocking was not a strength in general. That could have led to Joiner's roll growing on 3rd down as the season went on and they played the better front 7s on the schedule. Walker was also nicked up for most of November, and it could have been a way to keep him fresh.

Or maybe I am just looking for excuses for him. I'm an MSU season ticket holder and avid follower. I can't say I saw anything negative or positive relating to Walker's pass blocking. It may be legitimate concern. 

 
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Reactions: ZWK

ZWK

Footballguy
TE career production ratings.

These are just based on production. They don't take into account size, athleticism, or age.

Isaiah Likely
Greg Dulcich
Trey McBride

Cole Turner
Charlie Kolar
Derrick Deese, Jr.
James Mitchell

Jalen Wydermyer
Jelani Woods
Josh Whyle

Cade Otton
Jake Ferguson
Grant Calcaterra

Jeremy Ruckert

This is a very productive bunch of TEs - excellent numbers from the top tier of Likely+Dulcich+McBride, strong numbers from the 2nd tier, and even the JW tier has been decently good. It may be that my formula should get rescaled as college teams are throwing to their TE more than they used to.

This also doesn't take advanced stats into account.  According to PFF data, all 3 JWs have some troubles with drops - those are the only 3 TEs above a 10% drop rate this season.

This list includes all the guys whose stats I've looked up; so any missing players are just 'not yet evaluated'.

 
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ZWK

Footballguy
TE athleticism looks a lot worse. The only guys out of this bunch that draftscout has projected to run sub-4.7 are Isaiah Likely, Greg Dulcich, James Mitchell, and Grant Calcaterra. Those are also the only 4 that I have estimated with a better-than-average size & speed combo. At least 2 of the 3 guys with top production are in this group.

Cole Turner & Trey McBride have pretty good speed & acceleration numbers in Senior Bowl practices (linked earlier), which suggests that they might also have sub-4.7 caliber athleticism. That would cover all 3 of the top tier by production, and 2/4 of the second tier.

Overall rankings by my formula, including draftscout-estimated size & speed as well as career production, look like this:

Isaiah Likely
Greg Dulcich

Trey McBride
James Mitchell

Cole Turner
Charlie Kolar

Grant Calcaterra
Derrick Deese, Jr.
Jalen Wydermyer

Cade Otton
Jelani Woods
Jeremy Ruckert
Jake Ferguson

If I gave McBride & Turner some credit for their Senior Bowl tracking speed, that could move the tier breaks, putting McBride at the end of the top tier and Turner on the same tier as Mitchell.

We'll see how things look when we have more accurate size & athleticism measurements.

These ratings also don't account for age. Wydermyer is the only (3-year) early declare, and the youngest (born Dec 2000). The top 5 are all 4th year guys, born 1999-2000. Kolar, Calcaterra, and some of the bottom tier guys are in their 5th year. Deese is 6th year.

 
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ZWK

Footballguy
This year's QB class is pretty weak in terms of their production track record, which matches the consensus view of them. Sam Howell and Matt Corral both have a pretty good but not amazing production profile, mainly on the basis of strong 2020 seasons. Things look worse for the other 4 QBs who are being discussed as rd1-2 picks, Pickett, Ridder, Willis, and Strong.

The good news for these guys is that the link between my production efficiency metric and NFL success & upside isn't all that tight. Mahomes, Watson, Prescott, and Lamar Jackson were all in a similar pretty good range to those two. And recently a couple of big success stories, Josh Allen & Justin Herbert, came from farther down the rankings close to where some of the other QBs in this class rate. So there's hope for a toolsy prospect like Malik Willis to put it together in the NFL.

Here's a ranking of the best 2 seasons by a dozen QBs in this class, and a baker's dozen QBs who turned out to be good in the NFL. I've used bold for each quarterback's best season, an arrow <-- for QBs in this draft class, and an asterisk * for small sample size seasons with less than 300 passes+runs. Production is era-adjusted.

Kyler Murray    2018
Russell Wilson    2011
Joe Burrow    2019
Baker Mayfield    2016

Baker Mayfield    2017
Matthew Stafford    2008
Kaleb Eleby    2020 * <--
Matt Corral    2020 <--
Sam Howell    2020 <--
Ryan Tannehill    2010 *
Jack Coan    2019 <--
Deshaun Watson    2016
Patrick Mahomes II    2016
Lamar Jackson    2017
Dak Prescott    2014

Deshaun Watson    2015
Russell Wilson    2009
Ryan Tannehill    2011
Jack Coan    2021 <--
Brock Purdy    2019 <--
Kenny Pickett    2021 <--

Dak Prescott    2015
Kirk Cousins    2010
Desmond Ridder    2020 <--

Brock Purdy    2020 <--
Bailey Zappe    2021 <--
Kirk Cousins    2009
Sam Howell    2019 <--
Lamar Jackson    2016
Patrick Mahomes II    2015
Justin Herbert    2019
Malik Willis    2020 <--
Josh Allen    2016

Justin Herbert    2016
Matt Corral    2021 <--
Carson Strong    2020 <--
Kaleb Eleby    2021 <--
Malik Willis    2021 <--
Dustin Crum    2019 <--
Carson Strong    2021 <--
Anthony Brown    2021 <--
Joe Burrow    2018
Desmond Ridder    2021 <--
Anthony Brown    2018 <--
Dustin Crum    2021 <--
Kenny Pickett    2020 <--
Josh Allen    2017

Only 1 season shown for Kyler Murray & Bailey Zappe, who were 1-year starters, and Matthew Stafford whose first 2 years were before the start of my database.

For the deeper cuts in this year's draft class, Kaleb Eleby and Jack Coan also have pretty good production, but it's rare for day 3 prospects to amount to much. Also, Eleby's good season was just 6 games in the abbreviated covid year, which could be fluky.

The Senior Bowl and Shrine Game have also been tracking ball speed & spin rate on QB throws. I've been looking at that data and the mph numbers seem screwy - the highest speeds are all really different from the numbers that they're showing from previous years. All 6 QBs at this year's Senior Bowl are shown with a faster speed than any of the 22 QBs at the 2018-21 Senior Bowls, most by a margin that is much wider than the gaps between the 2018-21 players. So I'm going to wait to see if they make any corrections or clarifications before reading too much into those numbers.

 

bostonfred

Footballguy
I haven't read this thread and don't plan to tonight but I'm clicking like on every post you've made because I've got years of history saying you bring it and talk about things I don't know and couldn't do on my own

You're such an asset here. Really appreciate the effort you put in and in looking forward to reading it now that I've black dotted the thread

 

32 Counter Pass

Footballguy
Having watched K9 all season, I think it was the system this season more than anything else. I think he can do it all.  Definitely has speed in space. 
I think the system is the primary reason some RBs don’t have a good receiving profile. I find it curious that the go to assumption is that player X can’t catch if they have a poor receiving profile. I recall much debate about Jonathan Taylor’s receiving ability because he didn’t have a strong receiving profile. Same with AJ Dillion. Both players have shown strong receiving skills. I humbly suggest we start assuming these athletes can catch until otherwise revealed.

 
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ZWK

Footballguy
Career sack rates, from footballdb

5.9% Carson Strong
6.1% Matt Corral
6.4% Kenny Pickett
6.6% Desmond Ridder
9.4% Sam Howell
10.3% Malik Willis

This is sacks per pass play (passes + sacks).

A lot of sacks of Willis & Howell. QBs who scramble a lot do take more sacks, but still seems high. And both of them were above their career average this year, so they aren't improving. The good news is that their rushing stats look better once you remove the sacks - for Willis 146/1227/13 instead of 197/878/13 this year, and for Howell 136/1102/11 instead of 183/828/11.

The other are ok but not amazing at avoiding sacks, and all fairly similar to each other.

 

ZWK

Footballguy
Biggest combine snubs (at fantasy-relevant positions) by my numbers:

WR Deven Thompkins    Utah State
WR Jaquarii Roberson    Wk Forest
WR Jack Sorenson    Miami (Oh)
WR Jaivon Heiligh    Coast Car
WR Jerreth Sterns    Western Ky
RB Bryant Koback    Toledo
RB Shermari Jones    Coast Car
RB DeAndre Torrey    N Texas

This year's top 2 FBS players in receiving yards are both on this list. Jerreth Sterns led the country with 1902 receiving yards, with Deven Thompkins in 2nd at 1704. Both were Biletnikoff semifinalists. Neither gets a combine invite. Thompkins measured in at 5'6.8" 153 lbs at the College Gridiron Showcase, which is 2 pounds lighter than Tutu Atwell's pro day weight. He also has legit track speed, with a 10.79 100m PR in high school (10.85 wind-adjusted). Maybe if Atwell had a better rookie year. Sterns measured in at a comparatively massive 5'7.4" 183 lbs at the Shrine Game, which is close to Tyreek Hill's pre-draft size, but he doesn't have that kind of speed.

 

socrates

Footballguy
Biggest combine snubs (at fantasy-relevant positions) by my numbers:

WR Deven Thompkins    Utah State
WR Jaquarii Roberson    Wk Forest
WR Jack Sorenson    Miami (Oh)
WR Jaivon Heiligh    Coast Car
WR Jerreth Sterns    Western Ky
RB Bryant Koback    Toledo
RB Shermari Jones    Coast Car
RB DeAndre Torrey    N Texas

This year's top 2 FBS players in receiving yards are both on this list. Jerreth Sterns led the country with 1902 receiving yards, with Deven Thompkins in 2nd at 1704. Both were Biletnikoff semifinalists. Neither gets a combine invite. Thompkins measured in at 5'6.8" 153 lbs at the College Gridiron Showcase, which is 2 pounds lighter than Tutu Atwell's pro day weight. He also has legit track speed, with a 10.79 100m PR in high school (10.85 wind-adjusted). Maybe if Atwell had a better rookie year. Sterns measured in at a comparatively massive 5'7.4" 183 lbs at the Shrine Game, which is close to Tyreek Hill's pre-draft size, but he doesn't have that kind of speed.
I realize the NFL cannot invite everyone, but those are notable omissions.  I will add a few:

WR Emeka Emezie    NC State
WR Samori Toure    Nebraska
TE Derrick Deese, Jr.    San Jose State
TE Lucas Krull    Pittsburgh

 
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ZWK

Footballguy
Here is the 2021 contested rate for WRs & TEs.

I calculated these from PFF data - the basic idea is, out of all the catchable balls thrown to the player, what fraction were contested catch opportunities? The math is:

Contested Catch Opportunities / (Catches + Drops + Incomplete Contested Catch Opportunities)

You can also think of the denominator as Contested Catch Opportunities + Uncontested Catch Opportunities, where

Uncontested Catch Opportunities = (Catches - Contested Catches) + Drops

Here's the ranking, from highest contested rate to lowest:

40.3%    Alec Pierce    WR
38.5%    Cole Turner    TE
36.5%    Charlie Kolar    TE
35.9%    Kevin Austin Jr.    WR
31.4%    Ty Fryfrogle    WR
31.3%    Jeremy Ruckert    TE
29.4%    Trey McBride    TE
28.6%    Jalen Wydermyer    TE
28.3%    Derrick Deese, Jr.    TE
26.7%    Drake London    WR
25.8%    Calvin Austin III    WR
25.7%    Jalen Tolbert    WR
23.4%    Reggie Roberson, Jr.    WR
23.0%    David Bell    WR
22.9%    Cade Otton    TE
22.6%    Justyn Ross    WR
22.6%    Danny Gray    WR
21.1%    Chris Olave    WR
20.5%    Treylon Burks    WR
19.2%    Greg Dulcich    TE
18.6%    Khalil Shakir    WR
17.7%    Jake Ferguson    TE
16.5%    Romeo Doubs    WR
16.2%    John Metchie III    WR
16.1%    Garrett Wilson    WR
15.2%    Isaiah Likely    TE
14.5%    Jaivon Heiligh    WR
14.3%    Wan'Dale Robinson    WR
12.6%    Skyy Moore    WR
12.0%    Jahan Dotson    WR
11.1%    Jameson Williams    WR
10.5%    Dontario Drummond    WR
8.8%    Velus Jones Jr.    WR

This is a style stat more than an ability stat, although my guess is that being near the middle is better than being at either extreme - extremely high suggests that you have trouble getting open, extremely low suggests that your QB doesn't have the trust to throw it to you unless you're open.

Interesting that Dulcich & Likely are down among the WRs, and that Pierce is up ahead of the TEs.

 

ConstruxBoy

Kate's Daddy
Here is the 2021 contested rate for WRs & TEs.

I calculated these from PFF data - the basic idea is, out of all the catchable balls thrown to the player, what fraction were contested catch opportunities? The math is:

Contested Catch Opportunities / (Catches + Drops + Incomplete Contested Catch Opportunities)

You can also think of the denominator as Contested Catch Opportunities + Uncontested Catch Opportunities, where

Uncontested Catch Opportunities = (Catches - Contested Catches) + Drops

Here's the ranking, from highest contested rate to lowest:

40.3%    Alec Pierce    WR
38.5%    Cole Turner    TE
36.5%    Charlie Kolar    TE
35.9%    Kevin Austin Jr.    WR
31.4%    Ty Fryfrogle    WR
31.3%    Jeremy Ruckert    TE
29.4%    Trey McBride    TE
28.6%    Jalen Wydermyer    TE
28.3%    Derrick Deese, Jr.    TE
26.7%    Drake London    WR
25.8%    Calvin Austin III    WR
25.7%    Jalen Tolbert    WR
23.4%    Reggie Roberson, Jr.    WR
23.0%    David Bell    WR
22.9%    Cade Otton    TE
22.6%    Justyn Ross    WR
22.6%    Danny Gray    WR
21.1%    Chris Olave    WR
20.5%    Treylon Burks    WR
19.2%    Greg Dulcich    TE
18.6%    Khalil Shakir    WR
17.7%    Jake Ferguson    TE
16.5%    Romeo Doubs    WR
16.2%    John Metchie III    WR
16.1%    Garrett Wilson    WR
15.2%    Isaiah Likely    TE
14.5%    Jaivon Heiligh    WR
14.3%    Wan'Dale Robinson    WR
12.6%    Skyy Moore    WR
12.0%    Jahan Dotson    WR
11.1%    Jameson Williams    WR
10.5%    Dontario Drummond    WR
8.8%    Velus Jones Jr.    WR

This is a style stat more than an ability stat, although my guess is that being near the middle is better than being at either extreme - extremely high suggests that you have trouble getting open, extremely low suggests that your QB doesn't have the trust to throw it to you unless you're open.

Interesting that Dulcich & Likely are down among the WRs, and that Pierce is up ahead of the TEs.
Or, in Jahan Dotson's case, your QB just isn't very good. 

 

ZWK

Footballguy
Kenneth Walker: One of the big concern is what he can do as a receiver, since he only had 136 career receiving yards without a single 20+ yard reception (long of 19 yards). RB receiving is pretty important for NFL value, and even more important for PPR fantasy value. And especially relevant for Walker, since he is especially good in space and the transition from college to NFL means that more of the plays where the RB gets the ball in space happen in the passing game and fewer happen in the running game.

Is it the system? Other Wake Forest RBs didn't catch many passes. Other Michigan State RBs were more involved the passing game as a share of their workload - this year 5% of Walker's yardage came as a receiver, which is the lowest of any Michigan State RB over the past 2 years:

5% Kenneth Walker 2021
9% Jordan Simmons 2021
26% Connor Heyward 2020
13% Jordan Simmons 2020
25% Elijah Collins 2021
27% Elijah Collins 2020

(sorted by YFS)

NFL average is about 25%.

Word is that he's a terrible pass blocker, so maybe that affected his snaps?

One good sign is that Walker was a prolific receiver in high school, with 64/1058/16 receiving in 30 games (35 yards per game) and 24% of his yardage coming as a receiver. Might be worth looking at his HS tape if it's out there?
Kenneth Walker has highlight videos on Hudl of his high school sophomore, junior, and senior seasons. I spliced together all 23 receiving plays from those videos (including his 2 interceptions on defense) into this 5-minute video.

 

titusbramble

Footballguy
Cheers for these posts, they're super useful for those in places where we don't get wall to wall college programming on a Saturday

 

ZWK

Footballguy
Here's what I have on yards after contact for these RBs. Data from PFF, mostly just for the 2021 season since that's what they have in their draft guide (and the player profiles via their big board). But for some players they've shared previous years' numbers in random tweets or whatever, and I included as many years as I could find. (For one player who isn't on their big board that's just a partial 2021 season).

The number here is the player's YAC/att. The ranking is how I've rated the players at how good they are at picking up YAC - it also gives guys credit for having more attempts, because keeping up a high YAC/att over more attempts is more impressive. (I'd guess that a back who has 4.5 YAC/att on 100 attempts is better at picking up YAC than one who has 6 YAC on 1 attempt, but less good than a back who has 4.4 YAC/att on 500 att.)

Update: I also went back & included the 10 top drafted RBs from last year, except for Nwangwu who I don't have data on. Last year's class was better than this year's at YAC.

4.43 Travis Etienne (577 att)
4.54 Javonte Williams (323 att)


4.35 Tyler Allgeier 2020-21 (425 att)
4.46 Kenneth Walker 2021 (262 att)
4.65 Rhamondre Stevenson (165 att)
4.15 Elijah Mitchell (484 att)
4.15 Kennedy Brooks 2018-21 (471 att)

4.24 Michael Carter (157 att)
3.92 Abram Smith 2021 (258 att)
4.14 Jerrion Ealy 2021 (132 att)

3.62 Chuba Hubbard (461 att)
4.03 Trey Sermon (116 att)
3.61 Najee Harris (369 att)

3.71 Kyren Williams 2021 (204 att)
3.91 James Cook 2021 (113 att)
3.86 Keaontay Ingram 2021thruNov5 (125 att)
3.51 Isaiah Spiller 2020-21 (366 att)
3.48 Brian Robinson 2020-21 (362 att)

3.42 Kenneth Gainwell (231 att)
3.65 Dameon Pierce 2021 (100 att)
3.38 Tyler Badie 2021 (271 att)
3.38 Rachaad White 2021 (183 att)
3.22 Breece Hall 2019-21 (718 att)

3.07 Jerome Ford 2021 (214 att)

To get this ranking, I gave each player credit for 100 pseudo-carries for 280 pseudo-YAC, in addition to his actual carries & YAC. So this is sorted by (YAC+280)/(att+100), even though the number is just YAC/att.

With missed tackles, Dameon Pierce & Breece Hall do better and Tyler Allgeier, Abram Smith, and James Cook do worse. Walker, Brooks, and Ealy did well at both, while Ford, White, and Badie are near the bottom of both lists.

 
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ZWK

Footballguy
More stats on the top 6 quarterbacks.

Kevin Cole adjusts sack numbers adjusts sack numbers for time-to-sack and time-to-throw to better focus on the QB's contribution to sacks. Willis & Howell look real bad, even worse than I thought.

Mark Wood & Nate Manzo have overall QB performance ratings for the 2021, 2020, and 2019 seasons based on an equal mixture of 3 advanced stats: PFF grade, ESPN's QBR, and a completions over expected metric which blends CPOE & CAYOE (CFBNumbers also has takes a similar look at 2021). Their numbers agree with my less-advanced QB production metric that this class looks pretty weak, that the best 3 seasons by these 6 QBs were Corral 2020, Howell 2020, and Pickett 2021 in that order, and that 2021 was Pickett's only good year. A few places where they disagree with my numbers: they are a bit higher on those top 3 seasons than my numbers are, with a wider gap between Pickett 2021 & the field. On the whole they are a bit higher on Willis & Strong, and a bit lower on Ridder. Corral & Howell look like the clear top 2 on the whole by their numbers - Corral has the best 2-year run, Howell the best 3-year run. Then on another tier it's Willis, Pickett, Ridder, and Strong in that order, with a gap between Pickett & Ridder (and there's a case for Pickett>Willis if you put more weight on best / most recent season).

Zooming in on the accuracy metric CPOE, based on the CFBNumbers 2021 post, a PFF post breaking down 2021 CPOE by pass distance, and a 2020 PFF post looking at 2019 & 2020 stats and the predictiveness of CPOE: surprisingly Carson Strong was the most accurate quarterback of the bunch by CPOE, with consistently good CPOE across all three years and across all distances in 2021. CPOE is generally pretty stable from year-to-year, but that was not so true of the rest of this group. Pickett shot up from worst of the bunch in 2020 to 2nd best (behind Strong) in 2021, also with good 2021 accuracy at all levels. Corral went in the opposite direction, going from best CPOE of the bunch in 2020 to worst in 2021, with bad 2021 accuracy at all levels. Howell had good accuracy in 2019-20 (up there with Strong) but dropped in 2021, though not as far as Corral, and he did manage to have good 2021 accuracy on short throws near the line of scrimmage but not at any farther distances. Willis & Ridder also had middling to poor 2021 accuracy but were good on short throws. For overall career accuracy based on 2019-21 CPOE, the 6 QBs rank: Strong, Howell, Corral, Willis, Pickett, Ridder.

Especially relevant for fantasy: Willis is the clear top runner among the bunch, then the trio of Howell, Corral, and Ridder (in some order), then Pickett, then Strong at the bottom not even outrushing his sacks.

So overall based on the numbers I've seen, it still looks like a pretty weak class with a top tier of Corral and Howell, in that order, and the size of the gap between them depends on how worried you are about Howell's sacks. At this point I'd say that Pickett & Willis are a second tier, order unclear for NFL purposes, Willis clearly ahead for fantasy purposes based on his running. Pickett's 2021 was good, but it was his only good season, and he was a 5th year senior throwing to Jordan Addison. Willis has 2 solid years and elite rushing ability, but has those sack issues. Then there's Strong & Ridder on the next tier, again order unclear for NFL but with the better runner (Ridder) having a clear edge for fantasy.

Based on tape watching, Lance Zierlein is also not that high on anyone in this class; he's highest on Corral, Pickett, Ridder, and Willis (in that order but pretty tightly packed) & pretty down on the other two.

Mock drafts currently have it Pickett, Willis, Corral  /  Howell  /  Ridder, Strong.

So those are both lower on Howell, and they have Pickett & Willis together in the top tier with Corral. Which means that if I had an actual fantasy draft today, I probably wouldn't have Howell second and I definitely wouldn't have him a tier ahead of Willis & Pickett.

 

socrates

Footballguy
More stats on the top 6 quarterbacks.

Kevin Cole adjusts sack numbers adjusts sack numbers for time-to-sack and time-to-throw to better focus on the QB's contribution to sacks. Willis & Howell look real bad, even worse than I thought.

Mark Wood & Nate Manzo have overall QB performance ratings for the 2021, 2020, and 2019 seasons based on an equal mixture of 3 advanced stats: PFF grade, ESPN's QBR, and a completions over expected metric which blends CPOE & CAYOE (CFBNumbers also has takes a similar look at 2021). Their numbers agree with my less-advanced QB production metric that this class looks pretty weak, that the best 3 seasons by these 6 QBs were Corral 2020, Howell 2020, and Pickett 2021 in that order, and that 2021 was Pickett's only good year. A few places where they disagree with my numbers: they are a bit higher on those top 3 seasons than my numbers are, with a wider gap between Pickett 2021 & the field. On the whole they are a bit higher on Willis & Strong, and a bit lower on Ridder. Corral & Howell look like the clear top 2 on the whole by their numbers - Corral has the best 2-year run, Howell the best 3-year run. Then on another tier it's Willis, Pickett, Ridder, and Strong in that order, with a gap between Pickett & Ridder (and there's a case for Pickett>Willis if you put more weight on best / most recent season).

Zooming in on the accuracy metric CPOE, based on the CFBNumbers 2021 post, a PFF post breaking down 2021 CPOE by pass distance, and a 2020 PFF post looking at 2019 & 2020 stats and the predictiveness of CPOE: surprisingly Carson Strong was the most accurate quarterback of the bunch by CPOE, with consistently good CPOE across all three years and across all distances in 2021. CPOE is generally pretty stable from year-to-year, but that was not so true of the rest of this group. Pickett shot up from worst of the bunch in 2020 to 2nd best (behind Strong) in 2021, also with good 2021 accuracy at all levels. Corral went in the opposite direction, going from best CPOE of the bunch in 2020 to worst in 2021, with bad 2021 accuracy at all levels. Howell had good accuracy in 2019-20 (up there with Strong) but dropped in 2021, though not as far as Corral, and he did manage to have good 2021 accuracy on short throws near the line of scrimmage but not at any farther distances. Willis & Ridder also had middling to poor 2021 accuracy but were good on short throws. For overall career accuracy based on 2019-21 CPOE, the 6 QBs rank: Strong, Howell, Corral, Willis, Pickett, Ridder.

Especially relevant for fantasy: Willis is the clear top runner among the bunch, then the trio of Howell, Corral, and Ridder (in some order), then Pickett, then Strong at the bottom not even outrushing his sacks.

So overall based on the numbers I've seen, it still looks like a pretty weak class with a top tier of Corral and Howell, in that order, and the size of the gap between them depends on how worried you are about Howell's sacks. At this point I'd say that Pickett & Willis are a second tier, order unclear for NFL purposes, Willis clearly ahead for fantasy purposes based on his running. Pickett's 2021 was good, but it was his only good season, and he was a 5th year senior throwing to Jordan Addison. Willis has 2 solid years and elite rushing ability, but has those sack issues. Then there's Strong & Ridder on the next tier, again order unclear for NFL but with the better runner (Ridder) having a clear edge for fantasy.

Based on tape watching, Lance Zierlein is also not that high on anyone in this class; he's highest on Corral, Pickett, Ridder, and Willis (in that order but pretty tightly packed) & pretty down on the other two.

Mock drafts currently have it Pickett, Willis, Corral  /  Howell  /  Ridder, Strong.

So those are both lower on Howell, and they have Pickett & Willis together in the top tier with Corral. Which means that if I had an actual fantasy draft today, I probably wouldn't have Howell second and I definitely wouldn't have him a tier ahead of Willis & Pickett.
Well done!  Great analysis.

 

ZWK

Footballguy
I've been watching videos of the RBs. Nothing fancy, just seeing what they look like in a highlight video & at least one every-touch game video. Current impressions on 5 of them:

Kenneth Walker is a lot of fun to watch. Burst, moves in space, a lot of big plays. Don't see as much of him grinding out the tough yards; it seems like he's looking for a home run on every play. Bounces it outside a lot. Not sure how this will translate to the NFL. And that's just as a runner; I've already talked about the question marks around his receiving game (which was basically absent in college, after seeming pretty good in high school).

There are plays where Tyler Allgeier looks slow, at the second level or with a backside defender catching him at the line of scrimmage. But there are other plays where his speed & burst seem fine, and he beats a defender to the corner or makes it so that a closing defender is coming in at a bad angle. Not sure how to square those. We'll see how he tests at the combine.

I get a sense of why some people are high on Breece Hall. He has a complete game - on different plays he shows burst, wiggle, power, patience, decisiveness. But is he good enough? Main concern is that his rushing efficiency numbers are only pretty good by every measure that I've seen: .5FD+TD+20/att, YAC & MT, Rushing Yards Over Expected, PFF grade.

Kennedy Brooks looks like Just A Guy until a defender goes to tackle him and ... doesn't. Defender's on the ground, Brooks is still going. See one play like that and it might seem like bad tackling (you gotta wrap him up), but it happens again and again. I guess it's subtle moves, power, contact balance; his YAC & MT numbers seem legit. But does he have enough juice for the NFL? And he hasn't done much in the passing game. I see that Matt Waldman (who knows much more than I do about watching tape) has a Kennedy Brooks video with a similar take.

Kyren Williams's style is kind of the opposite of Kenneth Walker - Williams is always looking for how to squirt forward or fight for a few extra yards. Does a pretty good job of it, but doesn't break many big ones and on the whole I have his rushing efficiency as below average. He was also heavily involved in the receiving game. Also don't like his lack of size & speed. Though watching them, it seemed like Williams played bigger than Walker, despite being listed as 10 pounds lighter. Maybe could have a receiving-heavy role in the James White / Pierre Thomas range?

 

ZWK

Footballguy
Football Outsiders has released top 40 NFL and fantasy rankings for this draft class, which include a sneak peak at some of their formula-based player ratings.

These could change between now and the final version (e.g. because of combine measurements), but here's what they have now.

For RBs, their BackCAST formula outputs a projection of how much more or less a player will produce compared to other drafted running backs. "For example, a running back with a +50% BackCAST is projected to gain 50% more yards than the "average" drafted running back." They also specify how most of the RBs rank in BackCAST relative to the other RBS in this draft class. Here's what they shared:

Rk   Player       BackCAST
1    Breece Hall    +109.0%
3    Isaiah Spiller    +65.7%
4    Kennedy Brooks    +53.3%
6    Rachaad White    +46.7%
8    Kenneth Walker    
9    Kyren Williams    +16.4%
    Hassan Haskins    +2.2%
    James Cook    -44.3%
    Brian Robinson    -49.3%
    Abram Smith    -50.6%

Historically, most RBs with a BackCAST over 100% have gone in the 1st round of the NFL draft, although in recent years a lot of them have fallen to rd 2. So this is a very good rating for Breece Hall.

For WRs, they've given the Playmaker Rating which is also a percent but (confusingly) the percent means something completely different. In this case it's the percentile relative to other drafted WRs, so 50% is an average drafted WR and these have to range between 0% and 100%.

Rk   Player             Playmaker percentile
1    Treylon Burks    98.5%
2    Garrett Wilson    97.3%
2    Jameson Williams    95.3%
4    John Metchie III    84.4%
5    Khalil Shakir    77.7%
8    David Bell    74.5%
8    Chris Olave    70.5%
10    Jalen Tolbert    64.0%
11    Drake London    66.3%
12    George Pickens    63.5%
13    Jahan Dotson    59.2%
14    Romeo Doubs    51.6%
15    Calvin Austin III    40.0%
21    Bo Melton    23.4%
    Justyn Ross    15.2%

The top 3 of Burks, Wilson, and Williams have high-end numbers.

Some of the WR rankings don't line up with the percentiles (tied rankings among guys whose Playmaker percentile isn't tied, and Tolbert & London flip-flopped) - I suspect the percentiles are right and they've just made some errors in the rankings.

They've also teased a TE rating formula which they're calling Travis

1    Jalen Wydermyer    2213
2    Trey McBride    2169
5    Jeremy Ruckert    1108

So they have Wydermyer & McBride as their top 2. No idea how these compare to past draft classes.

 

ZWK

Footballguy
Not much size among this WR class.

Good size from 3 notable names: Drake London (75.9, 219lb, 26.7 BMI), Treylon Burks (74.0, 225lb, 28.9 BMI), and David Bell (72.9, 212lb, 28.1 BMI).

Now updated with exact heights, these guys are all at or below 26 BMI:

23.0    Tyquan Thornton    (74.4, 181lb)
23.3    Jameson Williams    (73.5, 179lb)
23.6    Charleston Rambo    (72.6, 177lb)
24.0    Tré Turner    (73.4, 184lb)
24.2    George Pickens    (75.3, 195lb)
24.3    Makai Polk    (75.1, 195lb)
24.9    Devon Williams    (77, 210lb)
25.0    Garrett Wilson    (71.8, 183lb)
25.1    Jahan Dotson    (70.6, 178lb)
25.1    Chris Olave    (72.4, 187lb)
25.2    Justyn Ross    (75.6, 205lb)
25.2    Christian Watson    (76.1, 208lb)
25.3    Danny Gray    (71.9, 186lb)
25.4    Kevin Austin Jr.    (74.4, 200lb)
25.5    Jalen Tolbert    (73.1, 194lb)
25.8    Jalen Nailor    (71.3, 186lb)
25.9    Dai'Jean Dixon    (74.6, 205lb)
25.9    Josh Johnson    (70.5, 183lb)
25.9    Romeo Doubs    (73.9, 201lb)
25.9    John Metchie III    (71.3, 187lb)
26.0    Calvin Austin III    (67.8, 170lb)

That list covers nearly everyone who is currently projected to go in the first 3 rounds.

Still remaining among the projected-earlyish WRs are Wan'Dale Robinson who is short but not thin (68.0, 171lb, 27.1 BMI), and a few borderline rd3/4 guys who have averageish size on the whole, ranging from the shorter & thicker end of things to taller & thinner:

Skyy Moore    (69.6, 195lb, 28.3 BMI)
Khalil Shakir    (71.9, 196lb, 26.7 BMI)
Alec Pierce    (75.1, 211lb, 26.3 BMI)

 
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ZWK

Footballguy
Here's how my WR rankings look with combine sizes, updating my pre-combine posts. Bolded guys are early declares (3 yrs), which my formula probably doesn't give enough credit for.

Treylon Burks

Drake London

Jameson Williams
Jalen Tolbert
David Bell
Romeo Doubs
Jahan Dotson

Chris Olave
Garrett Wilson
Reggie Roberson, Jr.
Wan'Dale Robinson
Justyn Ross
Khalil Shakir
Deven Thompkins

Jaquarii Roberson
Skyy Moore
Charlie Kolar
Jack Sorenson
Jaivon Heiligh
Isaiah Likely
Calvin Austin III
Jerreth Sterns
Dontario Drummond
Danny Gray

The tiers roughly correspond to: high-end prospect, good prospect, decent prospect (meets the bar), borderline, uphill battle (no). And the bold ones maybe should get bumped to the top of their tier or even the bottom of the next tier up.

 

ZWK

Footballguy
With official(?) athletic testing results in (getting my numbers from this guy's spreadsheet), here are my final-ish WR rankings. I've decided to add an ad hoc boost to (3 yr) early declares, so I'm not marking that separately since it's already sort of accounted for. I've also given the percentile of each player's rating relative to the 2007-2021 rd1-3 FBS WRs (those percentile ratings don't include the early declare adjustment, since I don't have the data on which past WRs were early declares).

Treylon Burks (96th)

Drake London (69th) *

Jameson Williams (50th)
Garrett Wilson (45th)
Jalen Tolbert (56th)
David Bell (43rd)
Romeo Doubs (46th) *
Wan'Dale Robinson (41st)
Jahan Dotson (45th)
Chris Olave (44th)

Khalil Shakir (40th)
Deven Thompkins (37th) *
Skyy Moore (29th)
Justyn Ross (36th) *
Reggie Roberson, Jr. (36th) *
Jaquarii Roberson (28th) *
Calvin Austin III (28th)

Charlie Kolar (25th)
Jack Sorenson (25th) *
Danny Gray (24th)
Jaivon Heiligh (23rd) *
Isaiah Likely (23rd)
Bo Melton (21st)
Jerreth Sterns (21st) *
Alec Pierce (21st)
Kevin Austin Jr. (20th)
Tyquan Thornton (20th)
Dontario Drummond (20th)
Greg Dulcich (20th)

* no 40 time (ranking more uncertain)

London, Doubs, Ross, & Reggie Roberson chose not to run, so I've adjusted their 40 time estimates upwards under the assumption that they didn't run because they'd be slower than expected. Thompkins, Jaquarii Roberson, Sorenson, Heiligh, and Sterns weren't at the combine, so their 40 time estimates are still the same as before.

The last tier (Kolar, Sorenson, etc.) is basically getting a thumbs down (except for the TEs, or as late round sleepers), and the tier above it is borderline.

A lot of fast 40 times (though not quite as extreme as the initial unofficial times), but that didn't change my WR rankings much from before the combine. Partly it's because a lot of those players also had small weighins, and the athletic testing basically just balanced that out. And partly it's because a lot of the fast guys didn't have good production, and (the way I have it set up) a WR can't make up for lack of production with great testing.

Alec Pierce's combine managed to bring him up onto that last tier, but John Metchie & George Pickens still rate below even that tier. Probably George Pickens should be in one of those last 2 tiers, and it's a problem with my formula that it assumes guys will get a full (3+ year) college career and so it doesn't extract all the information that it can from their first 2 seasons. There were similar issues with Josh Gordon; he's the one other receiver I can think of who basically only played college ball in his first 2 years out of high school, and had production that was good-for-an-underclassman but not just straightforwardly good. Ja'Marr Chase also only had those first 2 years in college, but he managed to produce a little bit better than Gordon+Pickens (put together).

 
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ZWK

Footballguy
Here are WRs ranked by overall size+athleticism, best to worst, limited to those who ran at the combine (and excluding most of the guys who didn't make my production spreadsheet).

Christian Watson
Alec Pierce
Treylon Burks
Velus Jones Jr.
Kevin Austin Jr.
Bo Melton
Calvin Austin III
Danny Gray
Tyquan Thornton
Skyy Moore
Ty Fryfogle
Garrett Wilson
Chris Olave
[averageish]
Jalen Tolbert
George Pickens
Khalil Shakir
Dontario Drummond
David Bell
Jahan Dotson
Wan'Dale Robinson
Makai Polk
Kyle Philips
Tré Turner
Charleston Rambo

The top 2 (Watson & Pierce) stand out ahead of the pack; Watson hasn't been eligible for most of my lists because he's FCS (at a glance I don't love his profile & might put him in the Shakir-CAustin tier). The bottom 2 (Turner & Rambo) stand out from the pack in the other direction; Turner is a Zierlein favorite but he really doesn't look the part.

 

ZWK

Footballguy
Here are the guys who have had drops problems (PFF data), mostly just for 2021 (using draft guide / big board data) but using career data when I have it.

15.1%    Calvin Turner Jr. (19/126 career)
14.8%    Joseph Ngata (4/27 in 2021)
14.6%    Ty Fryfrogle (8/55 in 2021)
13.3%    Christian Watson (16/120 career, 5/48=10.4% in 2021)
12.5%    Danny Gray (7/56 in 2021)
11.5%    Khalil Shakir (10/87 in 2021)
10.2%    Jelani Woods (5/49 in 2021)
9.9ish%    Jalen Wydermyer (13ish/131 career, 8/48=16.7% in 2021)
9.4%    Kevin Austin Jr. (5/53 in 2021)
9.2%    Kyle Philips (6/65 in 2021)
9.1%    Reggie Roberson, Jr. (5/55 in 2021)

Christian Watson, Khalil Shakir, and Jalen Wydermyer the most relevant names here based on the extent of their drops problem combined with their projected draft slot.

This covers everyone with 25+ catchable passes (receptions+drops). Some RBs might have drops problems, but have a tiny sample size for 2021 catchable passes (e.g. 2/11=18.2% drop rate for Kennedy Brooks).

 

ZWK

Footballguy
TE career production ratings.

These are just based on production. They don't take into account size, athleticism, or age.

Isaiah Likely - didn't run
Greg Dulcich - averageish athleticism
Trey McBride - didn't run

Cole Turner - poor athleticism
Charlie Kolar - didn't run
Derrick Deese, Jr. - not invited to combine
James Mitchell - didn't run

Jalen Wydermyer - didn't run
Jelani Woods - good athleticism

Cade Otton - didn't run
Jake Ferguson - poor athleticism
Grant Calcaterra - averageish athleticism

Jeremy Ruckert - didn't run

This is a very productive bunch of TEs - excellent numbers from the top tier of Likely+Dulcich+McBride, strong numbers from the 2nd tier, and even the JW tier has been decently good. It may be that my formula should get rescaled as college teams are throwing to their TE more than they used to.

This also doesn't take advanced stats into account.  According to PFF data, all 3 JWs have some troubles with drops - those are the only 3 TEs above a 10% drop rate this season.

This list includes all the guys whose stats I've looked up; so any missing players are just 'not yet evaluated'.
I've added quick summaries of combine results to the above post, in bold.

Not a great combine for this TE class; it makes the depth look a little better maybe but doesn't help things up top. We have to go all the way down to #9 in the production rankings, in production tier 3, before we find someone who had above average size+athleticism at the combine. Some of that maybe is from guys not working out - lots of the higher rated TEs (by my production ratings or by estimated draft order) didn't run - but generally I take not working out to be a sign that a guy thinks he won't do so well. Likely & McBride did jump, pretty good from Likely & middling from McBride. And maybe we'll get pro day numbers from some of these guys.

Two guys who didn't even make my list, Chigoziem Okonkwo & Daniel Bellinger, had the best size+athleticism ratings among TEs at the combine, ahead of Jelani Woods. Okonkwo smaller & more athletic, Bellinger bigger and still with good athleticism. Austin Allen joins Calcaterra & Dulcich on the averageish tier. Allen had okay production, Okonkwo & Bellinger had below average production, so they wind up rated similarly overall.

Here's how my overall formula ranks the most relevant TEs in this class (including the guys who rate well & the guys with earlish projected draft position):

Greg Dulcich
Isaiah Likely *

Trey McBride *

James Mitchell *
Jelani Woods

Austin Allen
Daniel Bellinger
Chigoziem Okonkwo
Derrick Deese, Jr. *

Cole Turner
Charlie Kolar *
Jalen Wydermyer *
Grant Calcaterra

Cade Otton *
Jake Ferguson
Jeremy Ruckert

* using estimated 40 time

 

ZWK

Footballguy
London is the guy who I'm most looking forward to seeing combine numbers from, both size & athleticism. His production is merely pretty good; he's ranked this highly based on his size & could move a fair amount in either direction once we have accurate numbers. I might like him more than Williams, partly because I think my formula isn't punishing Williams enough for his lack of production in his first 2 seasons.
And he didn't work out, so no athleticism numbers on London.

Size numbers were good news/bad news, trending towards less notable size. Good news: he weighed in heavier than expected, and ended up with a 26.7 BMI which is safely above the range where it might be concerning, despite having a listing & estimate on the skinny side. Bad news: he measured in a bit shorter than expected (.75"), and has arms that are very slightly shorter than usual for his height (by .25"), which keeps him below the Mike Evans / Calvin Johnson level of hugeness. Instead, his length (height+arm) is in the big but less ginormous range Miles Boykin, Brandon Marshall, Mike Williams (Clemson/LAC), Chase Claypool, Kenny Britt, Denzel Mims, Julio Jones, Michael Pittman, & Josh Gordon.

London did settle into 2nd in my rankings, ahead of Jameson Williams, without me needing to do anything to downgrade Williams for his lack of early production, since Williams came in smaller than expected.

 

ZWK

Footballguy
I've only seen rounded heights for the RBs, and the 40 times up now seem kinda sketchy so I'm considering them unofficial, but if I just take the numbers at face value then here are my RB rankings, with standard tier names

Guys I Like A Lot: Kenneth Walker III, Breece Hall
Guys I Like: [none]
Guys Who Have A Decent Chance: Tyler Allgeier, Keaontay Ingram, Rachaad White, Zamir White, Ty Chandler, Tyler Badie, Pierre Strong(?)
Guys I Can't Rule Out: Kennedy Brooks, Isaiah Spiller*, Jerome Ford, Max Borghi*, Bryant Koback*, James Cook, Kevin Harris*, Hassan Haskins*, Dameon Pierce, Jerrion Ealy, Abram Smith*, Brian Robinson Jr., Shermari Jones*, Tyrion Davis-Price, Tyler Goodson, D'vonte Price

* don't have full workouts

Pierre Strong (FCS) is rated here based solely on size & athleticism, assuming he had average production. I might be able to do better than that after taking a closer look.

So, a really obvious top 2 in Walker & Hall. They currently rate extremely close to each other, and also extremely close to my standard border between "like a lot" and just "like". Clearly the best two of this class, but not up to the standard set by the top backs in other draft classes.

After those two, a huge chasm and a lot of question marks for each player.

Other guys like Kyren Williams, Bam Knight, ZaQuandre White, and Sincere McCormick don't make the cut.

 

ZWK

Footballguy
If I instead used the initially reported "unofficial" 40 times for RBs (which some people on twitter think are more accurate), the RB tiers would look like this.

Guys I Like A Lot: [none]
Guys I Like: Breece Hall, Kenneth Walker III
Guys Who Have A Decent Chance: Tyler Allgeier, Rachaad White, Keaontay Ingram, Pierre Strong(?)
Guys I Can't Rule Out: Kennedy Brooks, Tyler Badie, Zamir White, Isaiah Spiller, Ty Chandler, Max Borghi, Jerome Ford, Bryant Koback, Kevin Harris, Jerrion Ealy, Hassan Haskins, Abram Smith, Shermari Jones

Hall & Walker would drop to firmly within the "like" tier (and flip-flop on who has the narrow lead), the "decent chance" tier would shrink from 7 to 4, and the total number of listed players would drop from 25 to 19 as Cook, Pierce, Robinson, Davis-Price, Goodson, and Price all fall off the board.

 

ZWK

Footballguy
My current guess is that, for RBs, the unofficial 40 times are closer to reality than the official times.

Evidence:

Simulcam shows Breece Hall (4.39o, 4.44u) finishing his 40 clearly between Jonathan Taylor (4.39) and Ezekiel Elliott (4.47).

Our old friend Fusue calculates 40 times by counting video frames & I've generally found his numbers to be pretty close. The RB times he checked -  Breece Hall (4.45), Kyren Williams (4.70), D'Vonte Price (4.43), Isiah Pacheco (4.47), and Pierre Strong (4.40) - basically match the unofficial times rather than the official ones.

RB 40 times are unusually fast this year if we go by the official times. Vert & broad jumps are only slightly better than average. I tried translating vert, broad, and weight into an expected 40 time (based on linear regression using past combine data) and found that these expected times were .044 slower than the official 40 times, and very close to the unofficial times (.005 faster). These expected times also correlated more strongly with unofficial times (r=.57) than official times (r=.43). In other words, "guys who jumped good also ran fast" was more true with unofficial times than with official times.

From what I've heard, the official WR 40 times are good. I'm not sure about other positions.

Walter Football has both official & unofficial times on their combine results pages.

 

Hot Sauce Guy

Footballguy
ZWK said:
Good news: he weighed in heavier than expected, and ended up with a 26.7 BMI which is safely above the range where it might be concerning, despite having a listing & estimate on the skinny side.
i appreciate your optimism, but considering his long layoff after injury, I don’t necessarily see his being heavier as a positive. 

Especially in light of the fact that he didn’t work out. Was a reason given? Is the leg giving him trouble? I can’t imagine why he wouldn’t want to showcase his speed/skills otherwise - it can only hurt his draft stock, no? 

Was there any indication that he would be running a 40 or doing any of the agility drills? 

I don’t understand  why he wouldn’t participate unless he’s still recovering. 

 
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ZWK

Footballguy
Yeah, my impression is that Drake London didn't work out at the combine because he thought his numbers would be bad. Maybe he'll do more training and then work out at a pro day, or maybe he'll just dodge the workouts entirely.

I've downgraded his estimated 40 time by 0.10, from draftscout's predraft 4.49 to an estimated 4.59. I usually downgrade guys by about half that much when they opt out of running at the combine. This year I've become more willing to do player-by-player manual adjustments of estimated speed. Pre-combine I adjusted the estimated 40 times that I was using for Kyren Williams & Tyler Allgeier to be slower than what draftscout/risendraft had and Breece Hall to be faster, and was 3 for 3 (directionally; all 3 adjustments were too small). So I'm emboldened.

London still comes in as WR2 in my formula at that speed, and I'm not planning on adjusting the weight I have for him.

 

32 Counter Pass

Footballguy
My current guess is that, for RBs, the unofficial 40 times are closer to reality than the official times.

Evidence:

Simulcam shows Breece Hall (4.39o, 4.44u) finishing his 40 clearly between Jonathan Taylor (4.39) and Ezekiel Elliott (4.47).

Our old friend Fusue calculates 40 times by counting video frames & I've generally found his numbers to be pretty close. The RB times he checked -  Breece Hall (4.45), Kyren Williams (4.70), D'Vonte Price (4.43), Isiah Pacheco (4.47), and Pierre Strong (4.40) - basically match the unofficial times rather than the official ones.

RB 40 times are unusually fast this year if we go by the official times. Vert & broad jumps are only slightly better than average. I tried translating vert, broad, and weight into an expected 40 time (based on linear regression using past combine data) and found that these expected times were .044 slower than the official 40 times, and very close to the unofficial times (.005 faster). These expected times also correlated more strongly with unofficial times (r=.57) than official times (r=.43). In other words, "guys who jumped good also ran fast" was more true with unofficial times than with official times.

From what I've heard, the official WR 40 times are good. I'm not sure about other positions.

Walter Football has both official & unofficial times on their combine results pages.
Can someone explain to me why the times we see on tv are not accurate? I was under the impression that the league was using the most advanced timing equipment available. It also feels like an inordinate amount of times are being revised.

 

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