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ZWK's 2014 Rookie Rankings


ZWK

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This post has my fantasy rankings of the 2014 rookies, before the draft. My opinions haven't changed much from what I've posted elsewhere about RBs & WRs, but I figured I should make a post to put all my mistakes in one place before these opinions become obsolete.

Background/Methodology
There are two types of player ratings that I make: (1) ratings that are my own independent evaluation (based on college stats, combine workouts, what I see on video, and other facts about the player), and (2) ratings that try to incorporate all of the information out there (including other people's opinions, projected draft position, etc.). These are the first type of rating - I've tried to ignore other people's opinions and do my own analysis & evaluation.

My general approach could be called the weighted sum method. Roughly, I (1) identify the numbers which I think are predictive of NFL success, (2) put each number in the format which I think is most informative/relevant for predicting NFL success, and then (3) take the weighted sum of those numbers (giving more weight to the numbers that I think are more important). Sometimes this process is informed by statistical analyses (regressions to see which variables are predictive), but often it's more ad hoc. Two big advantages of this approach are that it allows me to combine a lot of different sources of information, and it forces me to be systematic, evaluating every player on the same factors and taking each factor into account to the same extent.

Though there are some complications to this method. Sometimes (with step 1) I start out identifying a factor that is relevant to NFL success and then I work to turn it into a number. Sometimes (with step 3) I do something more complicated than taking a straight weighted sum, like taking the smaller of two numbers instead of adding them together. And sometimes (after step 3) I shuffle the final rankings around a bit based on my opinions.

I've put a lot more work into my RB & WR ratings than my QB & TE ratings; my QB & TE ratings are more subjective and less systematic. Here are posts from 2013 (from when my rating systems were more under construction) on rating RBs and WRs. This year, I went into more depth on RB elusiveness and WR production.

Now, on to the rankings. Note that if a player isn't listed that usually means that he ranked below the guys who are listed, although in some cases (especially at QB) it just means that I haven't looked at him.

RB
Ratings are mostly based on...
Athleticism: 40 time, vertical, broad jump, and to a lesser extent the agility drills and my impressions
Size: weight, and to a lesser extent BMI (low is bad) & height (tall is bad)
Elusiveness: yards after contact & broken tackles, from my tracking & Greg Peshek's
Production: long runs, short yardage/goalline success rate, receiving, and other stats
Age & Workload: younger is better, non-RB1 workload is negative

My Evaluation: my opinion based on watching game cutups

Carlos Hyde

Lache Seastrunk
Tre Mason

Jeremy Hill
Jerick McKinnon
Bishop Sankey
Stephen Houston
Henry Josey
Isaiah Crowell
Andre Williams
Charles Sims
Dri Archer

Devonta Freeman
David Fluellen
Robert Godhigh
George Atkinson III
Terrance West
Tim Cornett
James White
De'Anthony Thomas

Carlos Hyde has it all except athleticism. Unfortunately, athleticism is really important for an RB. But he still has enough to top this year's weak RB class. He's similar to Lacy (who I loved a year ago), except his elusiveness is merely very good while Lacy's was off the charts.

Seastrunk is the one guy who really wows me on tape (well, him & Archer), with explosion that jumps off the screen. His workout numbers sorta back that up. But he may struggle to find a role in the NFL. His elusiveness numbers are great in space but only meh in traffic, he's an awful pass blocker, and he was almost never thrown the ball in college (and apparently he dropped a huge percentage of the passes he was thrown).

Mason & Sankey are solid / above average across the board but not outstanding on any dimension. Mason's edge over Sankey primarily comes from stronger elusiveness numbers.

Hill is like Hyde, but slightly worse on pretty much every measure. Take another step down and you get David Fluellen.

McKinnon won the combine, but had his most success as an option QB at a small school, and had only average elusiveness.

Houston & Josey have limited tape to judge their elusiveness by, but strong workout numbers and good per-carry performance. Josey is hurt by his lack of size, Houston by his lack of workload.

Archer blew up the combine (nflds is now reporting his 40 time as 4.16!) and had amazing elusiveness numbers and per-carry production, but he's not a great bet to be able to carry this success into the NFL at 173 pounds (especially since he seems to drop a lot of passes). He's currently being talked about more as a WR. Strictly by the numbers, he'd be at the top of this tier instead of the bottom.

Godhigh has a Sproles-like profile, but without the same agility, and his numbers were presumably inflated by the Georgia Tech offense.

Ka'Deem Carey (not in my top 20) was a good college player but it looks like he just doesn't have the athleticism to do much in the NFL (especially at his size). This year's Stepfan Taylor (though Carey was a better college back than Taylor, and projects somewhat better than Taylor did).


WR
Ratings are mostly based on...
Production: TDs, yards per team pass attempt, long receptions, yards per target, and other stats
Athleticism: 40 time, vertical, broad jump
Size: Height, BMI, and weight
Peshek's Stats: drop rate, capped yards after catch, route diversity

Sammy Watkins
Mike Evans
Brandin Cooks
Jordan Matthews
Donte Moncrief
Allen Robinson
Marqise Lee
Davante Adams
Odell Beckham Jr.
Cody Latimer

Albert Wilson
Paul Richardson
Chandler Jones
Alex Neutz
Jalen Saunders
Robert Herron
Josh Huff
Steve Hull
Jeff Janis
Austin Franklin
TJ Jones
Tevin Reese
Mike Davis
Devin Street
Alex Amidon
Michael Campanaro
Jeremy Gallon
Jared Abbrederis
Bernard Reedy
Chris Gant

You could think of the top tier as "10 WRs who made the cut." I'm not all that confident about the order within the top 10. But there is a very clear gap after Latimer, and everyone from Latimer up rates within the range that successful NFL WRs tend to come from.

This is an extremely strong WR class, and for the most part my top 10 did very well in terms of size, athleticism, production, hands, and yards after the catch. It's quicker to just give the negatives. Size: Cooks, Lee, and Beckham are small; Watkins & Adams are just a bit above average. Athleticism: Robinson, Adams, and Evans are only averageish; Matthews & Lee are just a bit above average. Production: Latimer, Moncrief, and Beckham only had good production rather than elite numbers. Lee dropped a lot of passes this year, and Matthews' hands were a little iffy. Beckham, Cooks, and Lee were only okay in terms of yards after the catch this year.

I put even less stock in the order within the second tier; I'd treat it mostly just a list of guys to keep an eye on.

Albert Wilson is someone to watch as a potentially electric slot guy & return man, with a build close to a RB's.

Jeff Janis is a small school guy who I don't have college stats for; he makes this tier solely by virtue of blowing up the combine.

My metrics don't like Kelvin Benjamin or Martavis Bryant, who both had high efficiency on a low target rate, but I suspect that they do belong somewhere in that tier 2 "on your radar" group. Football Outsiders' Playmaker Rating and Rob Pitzer's system, which are both fairly similar to what I'm doing, both like them both around the top of tier 2 (WR11ish). I may look to tinker with my system to see if there's a plausible improvement which could bring them into that range. They currently don't make it because their low volume keeps their production ratings below threshold, and my system is very harsh on receivers who are below the production threshold regardless of their size & athleticism.

QB
Ratings are mostly based on...
Lewin Career Forecast: a formula from Football Outsiders which includes starts, completion percentage, BMI, and other variables
Peshek's Stats: completion percentage when pressured, completion percentage at various distances (especially on medium/long throws)
Darren Page's Stats: completion percentage to various locations (especially on medium/long throws & passes outside the numbers)
Throwing Speed: MPH clocked at the combine

Johnny Manziel
Teddy Bridgewater
Blake Bortles

Jimmy Garoppolo
A.J. McCarron
Derek Carr
Zach Mettenberger
Aaron Murray

David Fales
Logan Thomas
Tajh Boyd
Tom Savage

Connor Shaw

3 quarterbacks clearly stand out from the rest in my numbers, with good accuracy across almost every split including under pressure and on deep & intermediate throws. Manziel is 3rd by the numbers in this tightly packed tier, but he jumps to first in fantasy value because of his legs.

Garoppolo & McCarron are neck-and-neck at the top of tier 2, with the other 3 in a pack behind them. McCarron and Carr both struggled at completing deep balls, Mettenberger ranked last in the Lewin Career Forecast, and Murray was beloved by Lewin but had bad splits across the board in Peshek & Page's numbers.

The tier 3 guys are pretty mediocre across the board, except for some nice arm strength from Thomas & Savage and good deep passing numbers from Boyd. Fales & Thomas don't have Lewin Career Forecast numbers, and could conceivably belong at the bottom of tier 2b if their Lewin numbers are decent.

Shaw struggled across the board, was especially disastrous under pressure, and threw one of the slowest balls on record.


TE
Ratings are mostly based on...
Athleticism: 40 time, jumps, agility drills, bench
Production: touchdowns, long receptions

Size: height, weight (bigger is better)
Peshek's Stats: Drop rate, yards after catch, yards after contact

Eric Ebron

Jace Amaro

Austin Seferian-Jenkins
A.C. Leonard
Colt Lyerla

C.J. Fiedorowicz
Troy Niklas
Joe Don Duncan

6 TEs make the cut in terms of athleticism (with the top 2-3 a step ahead of the rest): Leonard, Ebron, Lyerla, Duncan(?), Fiedorowicz, and Amaro; ASJ is a question mark.

Ebron & Amaro also had the college production, and nice YAC. The only flag on Ebron is his high drop rate. Amaro is also less special as an athlete, with more strength than speed/explosiveness.

Seferian-Jenkins's production is a step down from them. He also had a poor YAC this year, and the only measures of his athleticism are rumors.

Leonard & Lyerla are basically the same guy - great athleticism, but character problems got them knocked out of school (which leaves a hole in their college production record). They have risk & upside, and fantasy TE value is all about upside. Leonard gets the edge based on a better combine (by every measure but height) and more indications that his character problems are behind him (he stuck at Tennessee State), even though Lyerla had more FBS production.

Fiedorowicz lacks long receptions (but has ok athleticism & TDs), Niklas lacks athleticism (but has decent production & good YAC), and Duncan is a small school question mark who only benched at the combine (but dominated that one drill). They have enough going for them to at least be on the radar in deeper leagues.

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Sammy Watkins

Mike Evans

Brandin Cooks

Jordan Matthews

Donte Moncrief

Allen Robinson

Marqise Lee

Davante Adams

Odell Beckham Jr.

Cody Latimer

I find this to be a somewhat frustrating group because, while there are lots of good prospects, I'm not sure there are any great ones. There is always a "but.." with every one of these guys. The players who have size don't move that well. The players with great movement are small. There's not a Dez Bryant type of guy where you can pretty much take it to the bank that he's going to be a perennial top 10 dynasty WR. Maybe the best way I'd describe this group (and this rookie class in general) is that there are no guys I'd want to take between picks 2-5 and 12 guys I'd be happy to take at pick 8. Lots of B+ talent out there. Not a lot of grade A.

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EBF's point is a good one. I suspect ff drafts will look more to the team among this group. Making those who can afford to wait for production better off if they can trade down.

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First off, absolutely great work ZWK! Even if one does not agree with these rankings, you put a lot of thought and work into it and it is appreciated.

I agree with EBF that I am glad I am not in the picks 2-5 range. I am very happy with getting Watkins at 1.1 and sitting at the end of the first and waiting to see what falls to me.

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I like the rankings and pretty much everything falls in line with roughly how I see all these guys. The only surprise to me was not seeing Carey in your top 20 for RB's. I know some people have him in their top 5 and others aren't so hot on him, but I don't know if I've ever seen him that low.

From the YouTube highlights (yeah, I know not the best way to grade a player) I've seen on him he appears to have some great moves and it's not always the same predictable one. He's one of the very few RBs that I said "Wow" when watching his highlights. Maybe all the non-highlight plays that I didn't see are what people are knocking him for, I'm not sure. From what I saw, he looks like he could be something special. Not to mention he's a threat in the passing game as well.

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I like the rankings and pretty much everything falls in line with roughly how I see all these guys. The only surprise to me was not seeing Carey in your top 20 for RB's. I know some people have him in their top 5 and others aren't so hot on him, but I don't know if I've ever seen him that low.

From the YouTube highlights (yeah, I know not the best way to grade a player) I've seen on him he appears to have some great moves and it's not always the same predictable one. He's one of the very few RBs that I said "Wow" when watching his highlights. Maybe all the non-highlight plays that I didn't see are what people are knocking him for, I'm not sure. From what I saw, he looks like he could be something special. Not to mention he's a threat in the passing game as well.

Carey's combine (and pro day) numbers paint a pretty clear picture of a guy who doesn't meet the minimum standard of athleticism to make it as a starting NFL RB. He ran a 4.69 40 (according to the updated nflds numbers, which run fast), to go along with a 32.5" vertical and a 9'07" broad jump (and nothing special on the agility drills). What sub-215 lb. RBs have been successful with those kind of numbers? I guess there's Pierre Thomas, who had slightly better numbers across the board, and that might be it. Unless you want to count guys like Aaron Stecker, Kahlil Bell, and Mike Hart?

Pre-combine, when I thought Carey had averageish athleticism (nflds projected him to run a 4.53), he was my 7th ranked RB based on above average (but not spectacular) performance on the other measures (elusiveness, college stats, etc.). When his lack of athleticism was revealed, he fell way down the rankings (as did Antonio Andrews, James Wilder, and Tim Flanders).

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What sub-215 lb. RBs have been successful with those kind of numbers? I guess there's Pierre Thomas, who had slightly better numbers across the board, and that might be it.

Worth mentioning that Thomas packed on something like 15 pounds onto his pre-draft weight of 209 before getting into his role in New Orleans.

Also worth mentioning that the Saints have now done the exact same thing with Khiry Robinson -- who bulked up a lot from 206.

I suspect they're going down the same path with Tim Flanders (207) to try for the UDFA trifecta.

Domanick Williams did the same thing with Houston, but didn't have as far to go since he was already at 213 in Indy.

Overall though it's an uncommon thing, and generally doesn't happen for guys from major programs who've already been bellcow starters.

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There are a lot of changes with the draft. My first stab at post-draft rankings (which I also posted here):

WR Sammy Watkins 4
WR Mike Evans 7

WR Brandin Cooks 20
WR Odell Beckham, Jr. 12
TE Eric Ebron 10
RB Carlos Hyde 57
RB Bishop Sankey 54
WR Davante Adams 53

WR Jordan Matthews 42
WR Marqise Lee 39
WR Kelvin Benjamin 28
RB Tre Mason 75

WR Cody Latimer 56
WR Allen Robinson 61

QB Johnny Manziel 22
QB Blake Bortles 3
RB Jeremy Hill 55
RB Jerick McKinnon 96
RB Devonta Freeman 103
WR Donte Moncrief 90
TE Jace Amaro 49
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins 38

RB Terrance West 94
RB Andre Williams 113
QB Teddy Bridgewater 32

WR Paul Richardson 45

RB Charles Sims 69
RB Dri Archer 97
RB Lache Seastrunk 186
RB Isaiah Crowell udfa

TE Colt Lyerla udfa
WR Jarvis Landry 63
RB Ka'Deem Carey 117
WR Josh Huff 86
RB De'Anthony Thomas 124
WR John Brown 91
QB Derek Carr 36
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz 65
WR Martavis Bryant 118

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McKinnon above Freeman/West/Williams (just looking at other RB's) sticks out, big time.

The simple explanation is that I liked McKinnon more predraft, and the draft didn't change things all that much. He's clearly the most explosive athlete of the bunch, and was drafted around the same place as the others. Freeman clearly has the best situation of the bunch, but McKinnon's situation isn't much worse than the others (Peterson is 29, and on a contract that won't stick if his game slips).

Another way to think about it is to start with a ranking based on draft position, and then adjust up & down from there based on the other relevant factors. McKinnon starts out 2nd of the 4 (just behind West) in draft position, but they're all pretty close together.

First adjust based on type of RB - how much fantasy value do they have relative to their NFL value? That consideration slides Freeman down because he might just be a change of pace guy, slides Williams down (but less so) because he might just be a two down guy who does nothing in the passing game, and moves McKinnon up because he has a high risk / high upside boom-bust profile as someone who had a weird role in college (option QB at a small school) (though he also is hurt a bit by maybe just being a CoP guy).

Then look at situation. None of them has a great situation for this year, but Freeman has the best going forward with SJax aging and not much else behind him, plus the best offense. The others are fairly similar - Tate is the youngest starter but injury-prone and on a two-year deal. Peterson is obviously the best current starter, but he's 29. West & Williams have addition competition from Crowell & Wilson. Net effect is to slide Freeman up a bit, and not do much with the others. That would probably leave them in the order Freeman-McKinnon-West-Williams.

Finally adjust based on my opinions of their talent. That moves McKinnon up a bit, and West down a bit.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey ZWK, can you comment more about Stephen Houston? He was fairly high on your pre-draft list. You said he had limited tape and a lack of workload hurting his evaluation. Obviously he fell out of the draft, but landed in a pretty interesting situation in NE.

A Seahawks fanblog ran regressions and other analysis to attempt to recreate the Nike SPARQ formula which is no longer available to the public. They highlighted your boy McKinnon (who I also like quite a bit) but had Houston right behind him.

Houston is a freaky athlete -- doesn't mean he's a great RB, but you must have seen something initially to put him so high on your pre-draft list. Feel like he's flying way under the radar right now, and perhaps we should be paying more attention.

Here's the article: http://www.chatsports.com/seattle-seahawks/a/NFL-Draft-2014-SPARQ-Profiling-Part-3-Running-Back-2-9610617

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Hey ZWK, can you comment more about Stephen Houston? He was fairly high on your pre-draft list. You said he had limited tape and a lack of workload hurting his evaluation. Obviously he fell out of the draft, but landed in a pretty interesting situation in NE.

A Seahawks fanblog ran regressions and other analysis to attempt to recreate the Nike SPARQ formula which is no longer available to the public. They highlighted your boy McKinnon (who I also like quite a bit) but had Houston right behind him.

Houston is a freaky athlete -- doesn't mean he's a great RB, but you must have seen something initially to put him so high on your pre-draft list. Feel like he's flying way under the radar right now, and perhaps we should be paying more attention.

Here's the article: http://www.chatsports.com/seattle-seahawks/a/NFL-Draft-2014-SPARQ-Profiling-Part-3-Running-Back-2-9610617

It's not a coincidence that I like many of the same RBs as SPARQ, since a formula similar to SPARQ is a big part of my ratings. My pre-draft RB rating is basically based on a weighted sum of a bunch of different numbers, and 40 time, jumps, and weight feature prominently.

As you say, Stephen Houston had excellent workout numbers at his pro day. He also had really good per carry stats in college. I've only been able to watch 2 of his games (with 23 touches total), but in that tiny sample size he did a good job of making guys miss and picking up yards after contact. (Although he was not so good in traffic, which is not what I want to see from a back his size.) So that's why I had him ranked 7th pre-draft.

On the other hand, there have now been repeated signs that the decision makers in college & pro football don't think very highly of him. Indiana's coaches never gave him more than 161 carries in a season. He was not invited to the combine. Then none of the 32 NFL teams considered him to be worth a draft pick. (He was also not among the top 200 prospects in the consensus opinion of evaluators or forecasters.) And Houston doesn't have much of an excuse for going unnoticed - Indiana is not an obscure little college, and he generated plenty of tape for NFL teams to look at (even though there aren't many convenient cutups online).

At this point, I think he's probably not worth rostering in a standard dynasty league (with about 250 position players rostered), but he is worth keeping an eye on. I have him at RB84 in my post-draft dynasty rankings. NE is a nice landing spot for him - they have shown a willingness to give UDFAs like BJGE & Bolden a shot, and Ridley clearly does not have the starting job locked down long-term. But he's still just an UDFA who hasn't (as far as I know) shown anything special in camp. I'll try to pick him up a week before other owners do if he starts showing signs of life, but I think he's too much of a long shot to use a roster spot on now as he's still fighting to win a roster spot. (Henry Josey & David Fluellen are two other rookie UDFAs who I put in the same category.)

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How worried are you about Hyde's lack of measured athleticism? Slow 40 with an incredibly slow 10 yard split. Poor broad jump. Even the vertical is a little lackluster. I love the draft slot and the situation like everyone else, but I'm wondering how he'll translate to the NFL. One speed power backs aren't exactly the rage these days. And while the Niners are a good organization, they've made some suspect picks on skill guys in recent years. AJ Jenkins and LaMichael James have given them very little. Jury is still very much out on Vance McDonald, but at least after one year he hasn't flashed much.

Intrigued by McKinnon. He's a guy who caught me asleep at the wheel in my early drafts. There's a strong tweener vibe to him. Like he could end up being a positionless athlete ala Darius Reynaud. But the athletic ability is compelling and it's no joke for a small school guy to go day 2. Low pre-draft profile and the Peterson factor are pushing his ADP way, way down.

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McKinnon weighs 209, with a 31.0 BMI. Similar to Sankey (209, 30.4) & Mason (207, 31.0). He doesn't have much experience in the traditional RB role, but he is built like a RB. His non-traditional background means that he is more of a boom-bust pick (rather than a safe mediocre guy), which is a good thing for his expected fantasy value.

Hyde's meh athleticism is definitely a concern. But if he had good athleticism (just Mason level workout numbers, not McKinnon level) then he probably would've been drafted a round earlier and he might be a top 5 dynasty RB right now - everything else about his profile is very good. He was very effective at picking up yards after contact (especially in traffic), and in the red zone, and in short yardage, which is what you want to see out of a big RB.

I don't pay much attention to teams' track records at drafting players. With a small number of possible exceptions, I don't think there's much difference between teams in their drafting ability (just random variation). And if we reshuffled the NFL draft order and took away the Niners' picks, then Hyde probably would've gotten taken by some other team team around the same spot in the draft where the Niners actually did take him. So the Niners' draft history doesn't tell us much about how to evaluate Hyde as a player.

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Finally read through this in detail. I like the approach taken here. the overall philosophy and method is explained. Can't ask for more.

ZWK is easily one of the top handful of posters overall in the SP. Guy is straight $$$.

Thanks, to the both of ya.

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Great stuff ZWK!....thanks

Any thoughts on Bruce Ellington?

I like him less than a typical 4th rounder, since he looks like a slot receiver and did not end up on one of the few teams that is slot receiver friendly for fantasy purposes. His college production also wasn't particularly impressive (see row 80 of this spreadsheet). And he's probably someone who you'll have to wait at least a year on before you get much new information, given the players ahead of him on the depth chart.

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How worried are you about Hyde's lack of measured athleticism? Slow 40 with an incredibly slow 10 yard split. Poor broad jump. Even the vertical is a little lackluster. I love the draft slot and the situation like everyone else, but I'm wondering how he'll translate to the NFL.

Much has been made about Hyde's slow 40 but he claimed to have hammy issues IIRC.
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How worried are you about Hyde's lack of measured athleticism? Slow 40 with an incredibly slow 10 yard split. Poor broad jump. Even the vertical is a little lackluster. I love the draft slot and the situation like everyone else, but I'm wondering how he'll translate to the NFL.

Much has been made about Hyde's slow 40 but he claimed to have hammy issues IIRC.

Yes, and I claim to run a 4.1 40.

If the combine time isn't a reflection of his real speed, why didn't he run again at his pro day?

I don't see him as a fast guy on the field either. He's got some agility and some quickness. He's not a home run threat though.

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How worried are you about Hyde's lack of measured athleticism? Slow 40 with an incredibly slow 10 yard split. Poor broad jump. Even the vertical is a little lackluster. I love the draft slot and the situation like everyone else, but I'm wondering how he'll translate to the NFL.

Much has been made about Hyde's slow 40 but he claimed to have hammy issues IIRC.

Yes, and I claim to run a 4.1 40.

If the combine time isn't a reflection of his real speed, why didn't he run again at his pro day?

I don't see him as a fast guy on the field either. He's got some agility and some quickness. He's not a home run threat though.

His 10-40 and 20-40 splits are very close to Andre Williams'.

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How worried are you about Hyde's lack of measured athleticism? Slow 40 with an incredibly slow 10 yard split. Poor broad jump. Even the vertical is a little lackluster. I love the draft slot and the situation like everyone else, but I'm wondering how he'll translate to the NFL.

Much has been made about Hyde's slow 40 but he claimed to have hammy issues IIRC.

Yes, and I claim to run a 4.1 40.

If the combine time isn't a reflection of his real speed, why didn't he run again at his pro day?

I don't see him as a fast guy on the field either. He's got some agility and some quickness. He's not a home run threat though.

His 10-40 and 20-40 splits are very close to Andre Williams'.

And his 0-10 splits are very close to Taylor Lewan and Greg Williams. He is sloth-like off the mark.

I don't buy his game speed being similar to Williams's. I don't know where to find NCAA stats on long runs besides looking at individual box scores. If someone could point me towards a site with that info (if such a site exists), I would appreciate it. Just looking at the game logs...

Hyde had a 55 yard run against Indiana and a 42 yard run against Purdue. Williams had at least four runs of 55+ yards last season. An 80 yarder against NMSU, a 66 yarder against NC State, a 62 yarder against Virginia Tech, and a 56 yarder against UNC. He also had a 10'9" broad jump at the combine. Another sign of his solid north-south explosiveness. Subjectively, he seems to run to daylight when he gets into space. Certainly LOOKS faster than Hyde and the numbers bear that out.

There are reasons to like Hyde, but north-south explosiveness isn't one of them. That shouldn't be all that controversial when you look at his 4.6/9'6" 40/broad combo and when you watch some clips of him. I think he picks his way through traffic better than Williams. More agile and elusive. Not at all fast though. When you watch a couple of his games and then switch over to watching somebody like Tre Mason, the difference in explosiveness is apparent. And Mason isn't exactly CJ Spiller.

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How worried are you about Hyde's lack of measured athleticism? Slow 40 with an incredibly slow 10 yard split. Poor broad jump. Even the vertical is a little lackluster. I love the draft slot and the situation like everyone else, but I'm wondering how he'll translate to the NFL.

Much has been made about Hyde's slow 40 but he claimed to have hammy issues IIRC.

Yes, and I claim to run a 4.1 40.

If the combine time isn't a reflection of his real speed, why didn't he run again at his pro day?

I don't see him as a fast guy on the field either. He's got some agility and some quickness. He's not a home run threat though.

His 10-40 and 20-40 splits are very close to Andre Williams'.

And his 0-10 splits are very close to Taylor Lewan and Greg Williams. He is sloth-like off the mark.

I don't buy his game speed being similar to Williams's. I don't know where to find NCAA stats on long runs besides looking at individual box scores. If someone could point me towards a site with that info (if such a site exists), I would appreciate it. Just looking at the game logs...

Hyde had a 55 yard run against Indiana and a 42 yard run against Purdue. Williams had at least four runs of 55+ yards last season. An 80 yarder against NMSU, a 66 yarder against NC State, a 62 yarder against Virginia Tech, and a 56 yarder against UNC. He also had a 10'9" broad jump at the combine. Another sign of his solid north-south explosiveness. Subjectively, he seems to run to daylight when he gets into space. Certainly LOOKS faster than Hyde and the numbers bear that out.

There are reasons to like Hyde, but north-south explosiveness isn't one of them. That shouldn't be all that controversial when you look at his 4.6/9'6" 40/broad combo and when you watch some clips of him. I think he picks his way through traffic better than Williams. More agile and elusive. Not at all fast though. When you watch a couple of his games and then switch over to watching somebody like Tre Mason, the difference in explosiveness is apparent. And Mason isn't exactly CJ Spiller.

I don't necessarily disagree with most of all that. But Hyde isn't any less talented than Eddie Lacy from an "athletic" standpoint. RBs don't need freak measurables to succeed. Andre Williams having better measurables don't automatically make him a "safer" RB.

As you said, Hyde is better picking his way through trash. That's something that may or may not show up in Combine numbers. He's a "multi-cut" runner, whereas Williams is more of a "one-cut" runner. If Williams is on a team with great blocking, he'll do well. Hyde is better at creating for himself.

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I don't necessarily disagree with most of all that. But Hyde isn't any less talented than Eddie Lacy from an "athletic" standpoint. RBs don't need freak measurables to succeed. Andre Williams having better measurables don't automatically make him a "safer" RB.

As you said, Hyde is better picking his way through trash. That's something that may or may not show up in Combine numbers. He's a "multi-cut" runner, whereas Williams is more of a "one-cut" runner. If Williams is on a team with great blocking, he'll do well. Hyde is better at creating for himself.

I agree with all of that. That's why I have Hyde ranked higher.

In general though, the fewer question marks I have about a player, the more confident I'll be in his success. Hyde seems to be pushing the limits of how tangibly unathletic a RB can be and still have success in the NFL. Benson and Ingram are examples of workout flops who disappointed in the NFL. On the other hand, Gore and Foster have been solid without having great measurables. Those would be appropriate worst-case and best-case scenarios for Hyde.

My hunch is that he'll be pretty effective for the first 5-6 yards, but very poor at generating explosive plays. That description isn't too far removed from what Lacy and Bell looked like in year one of their NFL careers. Whether or not that's a good thing or a bad thing for a dynasty career, I'm not totally sure.

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How worried are you about Hyde's lack of measured athleticism? Slow 40 with an incredibly slow 10 yard split. Poor broad jump. Even the vertical is a little lackluster. I love the draft slot and the situation like everyone else, but I'm wondering how he'll translate to the NFL.

Much has been made about Hyde's slow 40 but he claimed to have hammy issues IIRC.

Yes, and I claim to run a 4.1 40.

If the combine time isn't a reflection of his real speed, why didn't he run again at his pro day?

I don't see him as a fast guy on the field either. He's got some agility and some quickness. He's not a home run threat though.

His 10-40 and 20-40 splits are very close to Andre Williams'.

And his 0-10 splits are very close to Taylor Lewan and Greg Williams. He is sloth-like off the mark.

I don't buy his game speed being similar to Williams's. I don't know where to find NCAA stats on long runs besides looking at individual box scores. If someone could point me towards a site with that info (if such a site exists), I would appreciate it. Just looking at the game logs...

Hyde had a 55 yard run against Indiana and a 42 yard run against Purdue. Williams had at least four runs of 55+ yards last season. An 80 yarder against NMSU, a 66 yarder against NC State, a 62 yarder against Virginia Tech, and a 56 yarder against UNC. He also had a 10'9" broad jump at the combine. Another sign of his solid north-south explosiveness. Subjectively, he seems to run to daylight when he gets into space. Certainly LOOKS faster than Hyde and the numbers bear that out.

There are reasons to like Hyde, but north-south explosiveness isn't one of them. That shouldn't be all that controversial when you look at his 4.6/9'6" 40/broad combo and when you watch some clips of him. I think he picks his way through traffic better than Williams. More agile and elusive. Not at all fast though. When you watch a couple of his games and then switch over to watching somebody like Tre Mason, the difference in explosiveness is apparent. And Mason isn't exactly CJ Spiller.

cfbstats.com has stats on long runs. And here they have number of 20+ runs in the same table as number of rushing attempts. Hyde had a 20+ run on 5.8% of his carries, which ranked 17th out of 82 RBs with 151+ rushing attempts.

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cfbstats.com has stats on long runs. And here they have number of 20+ runs in the same table as number of rushing attempts. Hyde had a 20+ run on 5.8% of his carries, which ranked 17th out of 82 RBs with 151+ rushing attempts.

Just spent some time looking at those numbers. I'm surprised Mason was so bad at busting long runs. Probably not a great sign. Not too many great backs were worse. On the other hand, guys like Beanie Wells, Felix Jones, Jonathan Dwyer, and Alex Green look like monsters according to their long run percentages. Not quite how it turned out in the NFL.

Situation and scheme are obviously a big variable in all this. Dyer was an animal on Auburn in 2010 with Cam Newton. In 2011 when he was the whole offense his efficiency stats plummeted. Looks like a different guy on paper.

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cfbstats.com has stats on long runs. And here they have number of 20+ runs in the same table as number of rushing attempts. Hyde had a 20+ run on 5.8% of his carries, which ranked 17th out of 82 RBs with 151+ rushing attempts.

Just spent some time looking at those numbers. I'm surprised Mason was so bad at busting long runs. Probably not a great sign. Not too many great backs were worse. On the other hand, guys like Beanie Wells, Felix Jones, Jonathan Dwyer, and Alex Green look like monsters according to their long run percentages. Not quite how it turned out in the NFL.

Situation and scheme are obviously a big variable in all this. Dyer was an animal on Auburn in 2010 with Cam Newton. In 2011 when he was the whole offense his efficiency stats plummeted. Looks like a different guy on paper.

Felix Jones looked like a monster according to his NFL long run percentage, too. 6.5 yards per attempt over his first two years. It wasn't until Dallas tried to bulk him up and use him against type that everything fell apart for him.

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cfbstats.com has stats on long runs. And here they have number of 20+ runs in the same table as number of rushing attempts. Hyde had a 20+ run on 5.8% of his carries, which ranked 17th out of 82 RBs with 151+ rushing attempts.

Just spent some time looking at those numbers. I'm surprised Mason was so bad at busting long runs. Probably not a great sign. Not too many great backs were worse. On the other hand, guys like Beanie Wells, Felix Jones, Jonathan Dwyer, and Alex Green look like monsters according to their long run percentages. Not quite how it turned out in the NFL.

Situation and scheme are obviously a big variable in all this. Dyer was an animal on Auburn in 2010 with Cam Newton. In 2011 when he was the whole offense his efficiency stats plummeted. Looks like a different guy on paper.

I had a post about this in a different thread. Percent of non-red-zone carries going for 20+ yards, 2012-13 (and including Josey's 2011):

9.1% Henry Josey (24/263)

8.5% James White (25/293)

8.0% Lache Seastrunk (21/261)

7.3% Devonta Freeman (16/220)

7.3% Ka'Deem Carey (38/523)

7.2% Andre Williams (30/418)

7.1% Charles Sims (20/282)

7.1% Antonio Andrews (33/467)

6.2% Carlos Hyde (20/325)

5.7% Bishop Sankey (29/510)

5.6% Marion Grice (12/215)

4.0% Tre Mason (16/402)

League average is about 5.5%.

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cfbstats.com has stats on long runs. And here they have number of 20+ runs in the same table as number of rushing attempts. Hyde had a 20+ run on 5.8% of his carries, which ranked 17th out of 82 RBs with 151+ rushing attempts.

Just spent some time looking at those numbers. I'm surprised Mason was so bad at busting long runs. Probably not a great sign. Not too many great backs were worse. On the other hand, guys like Beanie Wells, Felix Jones, Jonathan Dwyer, and Alex Green look like monsters according to their long run percentages. Not quite how it turned out in the NFL.

Situation and scheme are obviously a big variable in all this. Dyer was an animal on Auburn in 2010 with Cam Newton. In 2011 when he was the whole offense his efficiency stats plummeted. Looks like a different guy on paper.

Felix Jones looked like a monster according to his NFL long run percentage, too. 6.5 yards per attempt over his first two years. It wasn't until Dallas tried to bulk him up and use him against type that everything fell apart for him.

Well, he was off-the-charts explosive in college. It's kind of comical to look at how effective he was compared even to guys like Charles and CJ2K.

All he ever was in college and the NFL was a change of pace guy though.

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cfbstats.com has stats on long runs. And here they have number of 20+ runs in the same table as number of rushing attempts. Hyde had a 20+ run on 5.8% of his carries, which ranked 17th out of 82 RBs with 151+ rushing attempts.

Just spent some time looking at those numbers. I'm surprised Mason was so bad at busting long runs. Probably not a great sign. Not too many great backs were worse. On the other hand, guys like Beanie Wells, Felix Jones, Jonathan Dwyer, and Alex Green look like monsters according to their long run percentages. Not quite how it turned out in the NFL.

Situation and scheme are obviously a big variable in all this. Dyer was an animal on Auburn in 2010 with Cam Newton. In 2011 when he was the whole offense his efficiency stats plummeted. Looks like a different guy on paper.

I had a post about this in a different thread. Percent of non-red-zone carries going for 20+ yards, 2012-13 (and including Josey's 2011):

9.1% Henry Josey (24/263)

8.5% James White (25/293)

8.0% Lache Seastrunk (21/261)

7.3% Devonta Freeman (16/220)

7.3% Ka'Deem Carey (38/523)

7.2% Andre Williams (30/418)

7.1% Charles Sims (20/282)

7.1% Antonio Andrews (33/467)

6.2% Carlos Hyde (20/325)

5.7% Bishop Sankey (29/510)

5.6% Marion Grice (12/215)

4.0% Tre Mason (16/402)

League average is about 5.5%.

Have you done any work looking at past classes and trying to find a correlation between a high "big run" percentage and NFL success?

Just glancing at the lists, it seems like raw rushing yards alone might be the best single predictor of all the stats. Haven't looked into it though.

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Great stuff ZWK!....thanks

Any thoughts on Bruce Ellington?

I like him less than a typical 4th rounder, since he looks like a slot receiver and did not end up on one of the few teams that is slot receiver friendly for fantasy purposes. His college production also wasn't particularly impressive (see row 80 of this spreadsheet). And he's probably someone who you'll have to wait at least a year on before you get much new information, given the players ahead of him on the depth chart.

Thanks ZWK for the insight. I like him as a prospect but completely agree that in SF he is most likely not going to get as many opportunities as he would elsewhere.

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