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ZWK's 2015 Prospect Analysis


ZWK

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This year I'll be putting my analysis of the 2015 draft class together in one thread, here. You can see the kinds of things I'll be doing by taking a look at this post, which has my analysis of the 2014 draft class just before the draft.

In short, I try to find the numbers which I think are most predictive of whether a college player will be successful in the NFL, and then I put them together in the way that seems most likely to be predictive. Occasionally I watch video of prospects, mostly to obtain numbers which aren't otherwise available (like RB yards after contact). I mostly focus on RBs & WRs.

I have spreadsheets of RB elusiveness stats (missed tackles, yards after contact, etc.) and WR production stats (yards per target, percent of team's receiving yards, 40+ yard receptions, etc.) which I'll keep updating throughout the offseason.

I just collected my full set of WR stats for this season, and put together my first pass WR rankings (strictly by the numbers). The stats are here, the leaderboard is below.

These ratings are based on production (2014 & previous seasons), size (estimated ht & wt from nfldraftscout), and athleticism (projected 40 time from nfldraftscout). They'll probably change a decent amount after the combine when I have accurate height & weight numbers and actual athleticism measurements (40, vertical, broad). If Greg Peshek shares his stats again this year (yards after the catch, drop rate, etc.) then those will also be incorporated.

Here is the leaderboard (including non-draft-eligible players):

Rtg Player Team

8.44 Amari Cooper Alabama
8.40 DeVante Parker Louisville

7.26 Sammie Coates Auburn

6.09 Leonte Carroo Rutgers
5.61 Phillip Dorsett Miami (Fl)
5.53 Rashard Higgins CSU
5.30 Devin Smith Ohio State
5.27 Corey Coleman Baylor
5.22 John Harris Texas
5.10 Ty Montgomery Stanford
4.93 Devante Davis UNLV
4.85 Vince Mayle Wash St
4.61 Tyler Boyd Pittsburgh

4.04 Kevin White WVU
3.98 Stefon Diggs Maryland
3.97 Sterling Shepard Oklahoma
3.74 Titus Davis C Mich
3.58 Tyler Lockett Kansas St

Cooper, Parker, and Higgins stand ahead of the pack in production; Cooper and Parker also have the size to go with it. Coates, Montgomery, Davis, and Diggs are relying on previous years' production for their high ratings - they all had mediocre 2014 numbers. Carroo seems to be flying under the radar, but he has strong numbers across the board. Rutgers doesn't pass very often, but he still accounted for over a quarter of the team's offensive TDs.

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Fair to say only your 3 top tier WRs have comparable ratings to your top 10 last year?

Dorsett is actually right at the bottom of last year's top 10 (basically even with Beckham & Latimer). Here is the combined top 25:

Year Player Rtg

2014 Sammy Watkins 10.61

2014 Mike Evans 10.52

2014 Brandin Cooks 9.47

2014 Donte Moncrief 8.97

2014 Jordan Matthews 8.69

2015 Amari Cooper 8.44

2015 DeVante Parker 8.41

2014 Allen Robinson 7.29

2015 Sammie Coates 7.26

2014 Marqise Lee 6.88

2014 Davante Adams 6.17

2015 Leonte Carroo 6.09

2014 Odell Beckham Jr. 5.64

2014 Cody Latimer 5.62

2015 Phillip Dorsett 5.62

2015 Rashard Higgins 5.53

2015 Devin Smith 5.31

2015 Corey Coleman 5.28

2015 John Harris 5.22

2015 Ty Montgomery 5.10

2015 Devante Davis 4.93

2015 Vince Mayle 4.86

2015 Tyler Boyd 4.61

2014 Albert Wilson 4.07

2015 Kevin White 4.05

Last year was weird both because of the extremely strong top 10 and because of the big gap after the top 10 (although Benjamin, Richardson, and Landry all wound up being drafted in the first 2 rounds, even though they weren't in that top 10). There are 9 guys this year between last year's #10 and #11.

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Kevin White seems to be sticking out like a sore thumb as the guy whose number does not match the current hype he's getting.

Yeah, and I'm struggling to figure out why. He's got the size and the production.

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Let's take a closer look at seasons by 7 productive big WRs: Amari Cooper (2014), Devante Parker (2014), John Harris (2014), Ty Montgomery (2013), Devante Davis (2013), Vince Mayle (2014), and Kevin White (2014).

First, the height-weight comparison:

6'3 219 Vince Mayle
6'3 210 Devante Davis
6'3 210 Kevin White
6'3 209 DeVante Parker
6'2 218 John Harris

6'2 215 Ty Montgomery
6'1 210 Amari Cooper

They're basically all listed within a 1 inch and 10 pound range, except Cooper is an inch shorter.

Receiving yards per game

127.4 Amari Cooper 2014
123.6 Vince Mayle 2014
122.5 DeVante Parker 2014
109.8 Kevin White 2014
99.2 Devante Davis 2013
84.6 John Harris 2014
68.4 Ty Montgomery 2013

Cooper, Mayle, and Parker on top, and Montgomery trailing the pack.

Yards per team passing attempt
3.99 Amari Cooper 2014
3.83 DeVante Parker 2014 **
3.08 Ty Montgomery 2013
2.70 Kevin White 2014
2.67 Devante Davis 2013
2.58 John Harris 2014
1.92 Vince Mayle 2014

Cooper & Parker on top again, but Montgomery & Mayle swap because Washington State threw the ball a lot more than Stanford. (Note that Parker's stats are pro-rated because he missed games.)

Yards per target
12.89 DeVante Parker 2014
10.77 Amari Cooper 2014
10.25 John Harris 2014
9.78 Ty Montgomery 2013
9.15 Kevin White 2014
9.10 Vince Mayle 2014
8.95 Devante Davis 2013

Extremely impressive numbers for Parker, and to a lesser extent Cooper & Harris.

Receiving TDs per game
1.08 Devante Davis 2013
1.08 Amari Cooper 2014
0.83 DeVante Parker 2014
0.75 Vince Mayle 2014
0.75 Kevin White 2014
0.71 Ty Montgomery 2013
0.58 John Harris 2014

Davis & Cooper lead the way, with Harris trailing here.

Percent of team's passing TDs
52% Devante Davis 2013
50% John Harris 2014
50% DeVante Parker 2014 **
48% Ty Montgomery 2013
47% Amari Cooper 2014
39% Kevin White 2014
20% Vince Mayle 2014

Most of these are tightly bunched, with White trailing a bit and Mayle lagging by a lot. (Parker's number is pro-rated.)

40+ yard receptions per game
0.67 DeVante Parker 2014
0.62 Amari Cooper 2014
0.54 Devante Davis 2013
0.50 Vince Mayle 2014
0.36 Ty Montgomery 2013
0.33 Kevin White 2014
0.17 John Harris 2014

Harris trails the pack here, with White & Montgomery also lagging.

Those are 6 stats which cover much of the range of what I have in the spreadsheet. And you may notice a pattern here: two names keep appearing among the top 3: DeVante Parker (on all 6 stats) & Amari Cooper (on 5 of 6). Kevin White makes the top 3 on... 0 of the 6 stats.

These are all at least fairly promising prospects, with good college numbers and good size. They're all good enough to rank among my top 15 WR prospects, and if scouts like them then I probably will too. But two of them stand out as being on the top tier, pretty clearly ahead of the rest.

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Montgomery is going to kill the combine. Might be the best pure measurables guy in this class. I wonder what his stats would be like if Stanford's offense were more aggressive and Kevin Hogan didn't suck most of the time. Problem with him is that he's not necessarily a great pure receiver. He still drops more passes than he should, he's more straight-line fast than quick or slippery, and in his entire career I can hardly remember him making a play on a jump ball. He will be a gold medalist in the underwear olympics though.

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Montgomery is going to kill the combine. Might be the best pure measurables guy in this class. I wonder what his stats would be like if Stanford's offense were more aggressive and Kevin Hogan didn't suck most of the time. Problem with him is that he's not necessarily a great pure receiver. He still drops more passes than he should, he's more straight-line fast than quick or slippery, and in his entire career I can hardly remember him making a play on a jump ball. He will be a gold medalist in the underwear olympics though.

This WR group as a whole is going to kill the combine. Montgomery, Coates, Dorsett and Hill are going to post insane numbers.
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Any chance you add Dorial Green-Beckham 2013 stats or is he not Coming out?

I think he will b the best pro wr out of this draft if he keeps his head on straight

Green-Beckham's 2013 numbers are in there - see row 63 of the 2013 Season tab. Not especially impressive production compared to other college WRs (you can see on row 74 that his teammate L'Damian Washington put up extremely similar numbers). He was just a 20-year-old sophomore, though, and college receivers do tend to get better with age.

With my method, there is basically no way for a receiver to make up for a lack of dominant college production (a career production score below 3 or 4). Usually that's the right call - guys who seem to have talent but don't turn it into production in college rarely pan out in the NFL. But I expect that a lack of elite production should not be such a deal-breaker for guys like DGB & Josh Gordon who didn't have as much opportunity to produce in college because off-the-field issues took them off the field.

Also, my formula may be underrating very tall receivers. Kelvin Benjamin & Martavis Bryant are also down there near DGB in 2013, and Devin Funchess is rated similarly this year. I may try tinkering with the formula a bit to at least keep more big receivers in the "has a shot" range. (Interesting, many of the guys that my RB formula has missed on have been successful big backs, like Arian Foster, Alfred Morris, and Stevan Ridley.)

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Do you have an analysis on Breshad Perriman?

He's ranked right after Lockett, 19th overall. His numbers are in row 21 of the spreadsheet. Pretty good numbers across the board, including a lot of big gains and a high percentage of his team's passing TDs. Good size.

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Fair to say only your 3 top tier WRs have comparable ratings to your top 10 last year?

Dorsett is actually right at the bottom of last year's top 10 (basically even with Beckham & Latimer). Here is the combined top 25:

Year Player Rtg

2014 Sammy Watkins 10.61

2014 Mike Evans 10.52

2014 Brandin Cooks 9.47

2014 Donte Moncrief 8.97

2014 Jordan Matthews 8.69

2015 Amari Cooper 8.44

2015 DeVante Parker 8.41

2014 Allen Robinson 7.29

2015 Sammie Coates 7.26

2014 Marqise Lee 6.88

2014 Davante Adams 6.17

2015 Leonte Carroo 6.09

2014 Odell Beckham Jr. 5.64

2014 Cody Latimer 5.62

2015 Phillip Dorsett 5.62

2015 Rashard Higgins 5.53

2015 Devin Smith 5.31

2015 Corey Coleman 5.28

2015 John Harris 5.22

2015 Ty Montgomery 5.10

2015 Devante Davis 4.93

2015 Vince Mayle 4.86

2015 Tyler Boyd 4.61

2014 Albert Wilson 4.07

2015 Kevin White 4.05

Last year was weird both because of the extremely strong top 10 and because of the big gap after the top 10 (although Benjamin, Richardson, and Landry all wound up being drafted in the first 2 rounds, even though they weren't in that top 10). There are 9 guys this year between last year's #10 and #11.

Great post ZWK. Thanks! I'm wondering why does the spreadsheet come out so low on Cooper? What are the factors dragging him down? He seems like he would be in the mix with Watkins and Evans to me. What am I missing?

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Thanks for this. Why so low on Odell Beckham last year? He's producing in the NFL so is there something your rankings aren't including or was he hurt or in a bad system?

Any chance you add Dorial Green-Beckham 2013 stats or is he not Coming out?

I wouldn't call Odell Beckham's 5.64 a low rating. That's a rating that suggests that he had a reasonable shot to become a star NFL WR. It's good enough so that, if the NFL likes a player with that rating enough to take him in the first round, then I'm basically on board. Here's how I described last year's top 10 (through Beckham & Latimer) before the draft: 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.

My system is not always going to have the best pros at the very top of the list. I don't think any system will (the NFL draft certainly doesn't). But the guys who have scored well (above 4 or 5 or so) have been more likely to turn into good NFL receivers than the guys who scored below that, even equating for draft spot.

Fair to say only your 3 top tier WRs have comparable ratings to your top 10 last year?

Dorsett is actually right at the bottom of last year's top 10 (basically even with Beckham & Latimer). Here is the combined top 25:

Year Player Rtg

2014 Sammy Watkins 10.61

2014 Mike Evans 10.52

2014 Brandin Cooks 9.47

2014 Donte Moncrief 8.97

2014 Jordan Matthews 8.69

2015 Amari Cooper 8.44

2015 DeVante Parker 8.41

2014 Allen Robinson 7.29

2015 Sammie Coates 7.26

2014 Marqise Lee 6.88

2014 Davante Adams 6.17

2015 Leonte Carroo 6.09

2014 Odell Beckham Jr. 5.64

2014 Cody Latimer 5.62

2015 Phillip Dorsett 5.62

2015 Rashard Higgins 5.53

2015 Devin Smith 5.31

2015 Corey Coleman 5.28

2015 John Harris 5.22

2015 Ty Montgomery 5.10

2015 Devante Davis 4.93

2015 Vince Mayle 4.86

2015 Tyler Boyd 4.61

2014 Albert Wilson 4.07

2015 Kevin White 4.05

Last year was weird both because of the extremely strong top 10 and because of the big gap after the top 10 (although Benjamin, Richardson, and Landry all wound up being drafted in the first 2 rounds, even though they weren't in that top 10). There are 9 guys this year between last year's #10 and #11.

Great post ZWK. Thanks! I'm wondering why does the spreadsheet come out so low on Cooper? What are the factors dragging him down? He seems like he would be in the mix with Watkins and Evans to me. What am I missing?

8.44 is an extremely good rating. Two main reasons why it's not quite as high at Watkins & Evans: measurables and missing data.

First, measurables. Cooper is the same size as Watkins but not as fast/explosive (according to Watkins's combine numbers and the estimates for Cooper at nfldraftscout). Evans is significantly bigger than Cooper and equally athletic.

Second, missing data. Watkins and Evans both had a low drop rate (in Greg Peshek's stats). I don't know Cooper's drop rate (or anyone else's in this draft). Evans and especially Watkins had very good yards after the catch; I don't know Cooper's. If Cooper is above average on these metrics then his rating will go up once I add those numbers to the spreadsheet. If he's below average then his rating will go down.

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Here is a first pass at RB prospect rankings.

This set of rankings are strictly by the numbers (not based on my impressions of players). They take into account rushing production (as measured by stats like 20+ yard carries per non-red-zone attempt), receiving production, workload, age, elusiveness (as measured by my hard to tackle ratings), size, and speed (with these last two using nfldraftscout's estimates).

My elusiveness tracking numbers are online here, and I have previously posted some stats on rushing production. I'll try to put more stats online sometime this offseason, but first I'll need to put them into a format that is more comprehensible than what I have now.

These are a bit rougher than my WR ratings, which means that they'll probably change more between now and the draft. Mainly this is because RB ratings depend more on size & athleticism (while WR ratings depend more on production), and the size & athleticism numbers are fairly sketchy until the combine. It can make a pretty big difference if a RB weighs 207 or 197, or if he runs a 4.40 or a 4.55, and for now we just have guesses at those numbers. I'm also still missing some sources of RB production data that I used last year, including elusiveness tracking that I plan on doing and numbers from Greg Peshek & Bill Connelly.

Here is the leaderboard for FBS running backs (including non-draft-eligible players):

Yr Player Team
JR Duke Johnson Miami (Fl)

JR Todd Gurley Georgia

JR Jay Ajayi Boise St
SR Karlos Williams FSU
JR Melvin Gordon Wisconsin
FR Samaje Perine Oklahoma
SR Ameer Abdullah Nebraska
JR Josh Robinson Miss St

JR Mike Davis S Carolina
JR T.J. Yeldon Alabama
SO Elijah McGuire La-Lafytte
SR David Cobb Minnesota
FR Royce Freeman Oregon
JR Kenneth Dixon La Tech

JR D.J. Foster Ariz St
FR Nick Chubb Georgia
SO Shock Linwood Baylor
JR Tevin Coleman Indiana
SR Cameron Artis-Payne Auburn
SO Ezekiel Elliott Ohio State
SR Noah Copeland Navy
SR Corey Grant Auburn
SO Alex Collins Arkansas
JR Jonathan Williams Arkansas
JR Byron Marshall Oregon

David Johnson is not in my data set because he's not at an FBS school. Some other guys aren't on my leaderboard because their numbers didn't make the top 25, including Jeremy Langford, Derrick Henry, Javorius Allen, Corey Clement, Malcolm Brown, Matt Jones.

The biggest surprises near the top are probably: Gordon & Gurley not ranking 1-2 on their own tier, Duke Johnson at #1, and Karlos Williams & Josh Robinson showing up on the Gordon tier. Farther down the rankings, guys who aren't ranked as high as they're conventionally seen include TJ Yeldon and Tevin Coleman. Why do the rankings look this way? A few important variables:

Size/speed combo. The 4 RBs in my data set with the best size/speed combo (based on nfldraftscout estimates) are Corey Grant, Karlos Williams, Royce Freeman, and Duke Johnson. That helps explain why Karlos & Duke are so high. Duke Johnson is considered small, but (according to his estimated size) he's bigger than Gio Bernard, 11 pounds bigger than Ameer Abdullah, and only 1 pound lighter than Melvin Gordon despite Gordon's extra 4 inches of height. Also with pretty good size+speed estimates: Mike Davis, Yeldon, Gurley, and Ajayi. On the other end, Gordon, Abdullah, and Coleman all come in slightly below average.

Receiving. Jay Ajayi, Duke Johnson, and Josh Robinson are all excellent receiving RBs - they all make the top 10 in Bill Connelly's ranking, and have similarly good numbers by my metrics. Mike Davis, Karlos Williams, and Gurley are pretty good too (as long as we include Gurley's 2013 numbers). Gordon, Yeldon, and Coleman are averageish.

Elusiveness. Most of the guys in this class that I've charted have good yards after contact / missed tackles numbers (including Abdullah, Karlos Williams, Gurley, Duke Johnson, Gordon, and Mike Davis), but Cobb & Ajayi are a bit ahead of the pack and Yeldon is merely averageish. Guys who I haven't watched yet (like Coleman) could move up significantly once I have their numbers.

Rushing production. This is where Gordon really shines. Gurley, Coleman, Johnson, Robinson, and Abdullah have quite good numbers as well, though Coleman's aren't as good as you might expect (considering his 2000 rushing yards on 7.54 YPC). Numbers weren't as good from Ajayi, Cobb, Yeldon, and Mike Davis. Karlos Williams was in between, and not as bad as you might expect (given his 4.41 YPC this year). Coleman was much better than Williams this year at breaking off long runs (Coleman had 13 carries of 40+ yards, while Williams's long run was 28 yards), but Williams was better in the red zone (10 TDs on 33 carries vs. 5 TDs on 27 carries), a bit better in short yardage (converted 10/13 vs. 8/12 on 3rd and short), and gained a first down on a higher percentage of his carries (25.4% vs. 23.7%). If you include 2013 numbers as well, Williams gains some ground in YPC and long runs, and widens his lead in those other stats (his first down percentages is 29.7% over the past two seasons, which is nearly as good as Gordon's).

To sum up, according to the numbers I have so far: Duke Johnson does well on all 4 of these metrics, and outshines most of the other top backs in terms of receiving & size/speed combo. Karlos Williams's rushing production & workload haven't been that good, but his rushing hasn't been as bad as the raw 138/609 line suggests and the rest of his numbers look good (especially his size/speed combo). Gordon & Gurley have excellent rushing production (especially Gordon) but aren't as good as receivers (especially Gordon) and aren't all that fast; Gordon is also on the small side (especially for his height). Jay Ajayi's poor rushing stats are puzzling, given his size & excellent receiving numbers plus what I've seen on video. Josh Robinson seems fairly solid across the board, but I've only been able to find one game video of his so far. Abdullah is mostly just held back by his lack of size.

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Interesting stuff. Where would you put Kareem Hunt from Toledo? I am a little surprised that he's not on the list. His explosiveness looks suspect, but he's big with excellent production. I certainly like him more than guys like Linwood and Foster, who are probably UDFAs for me.

It's surprising that Duke Johnson and Karlos Williams are so high on your list. Those are two of my picks for most overrated. I'd think Karlos would have been punished more given that he has basically flopped in his audition as a starter. IMO he is too upright and linear with no elusiveness. Doesn't play up to his listed size because of the way he's built. As for Duke, he just doesn't look the part to me. Fails the eyeball test with flying colors. Also brittle to boot.

I'm surprised you're not higher on Nick Chubb. IMO he's the best 2016 or 2017 prospect in a walk and potentially a better talent than Gurley and Gordon. Maybe it's because of his 40 time on DraftScout. One of my issues with that site is that they tend to be overly conservative in their 40 estimates. For example, Thomas Tyner ran in the 10.3 range in the 100m in high school and they have him at 4.46. Nick Chubb ran a 10.69 in the 100m in high school and they have him at 4.57. Bullocks. I know from investigating this stuff that anything below 11 seconds in the 100m likely equates to sub 4.50 speed. I'll eat my keyboard if Chubb doesn't run below 4.50. Put him at his rightful 4.40-4.45 and I wonder where your formula would slot him.

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Interesting stuff. Where would you put Kareem Hunt from Toledo? I am a little surprised that he's not on the list. His explosiveness looks suspect, but he's big with excellent production. I certainly like him more than guys like Linwood and Foster, who are probably UDFAs for me.

It's surprising that Duke Johnson and Karlos Williams are so high on your list. Those are two of my picks for most overrated. I'd think Karlos would have been punished more given that he has basically flopped in his audition as a starter. IMO he is too upright and linear with no elusiveness. Doesn't play up to his listed size because of the way he's built. As for Duke, he just doesn't look the part to me. Fails the eyeball test with flying colors. Also brittle to boot.

I'm surprised you're not higher on Nick Chubb. IMO he's the best 2016 or 2017 prospect in a walk and potentially a better talent than Gurley and Gordon. Maybe it's because of his 40 time on DraftScout. One of my issues with that site is that they tend to be overly conservative in their 40 estimates. For example, Thomas Tyner ran in the 10.3 range in the 100m in high school and they have him at 4.46. Nick Chubb ran a 10.69 in the 100m in high school and they have him at 4.57. Bullocks. I know from investigating this stuff that anything below 11 seconds in the 100m likely equates to sub 4.50 speed. I'll eat my keyboard if Chubb doesn't run below 4.50. Put him at his rightful 4.40-4.45 and I wonder where your formula would slot him.

According to the numbers I have, Hunt is a small (200 pounds) slow (4.59) guy who has been a very productive runner against bad competition. He also has been pretty bad as a receiver (20 catches for 112 yards). Foster is faster & a bit bigger, and has been an amazing receiver (1800 receiving yards in 3 years, over 11 ypr), though only averageish as a runner. Linwood only makes the list because of his speed.

Chubb with 4.40-4.45 speed would be up in the Melvin Gordon tier, near the top or the bottom depending on where in that range he ran (it's a pretty tightly packed tier).

I'm not sure what to do about potential inaccuracies in nfldraftscout estimates of 40 times (and size). I think I remember looking at some of their previous estimates and testing if they were well-calibrated, and they were. That means that, if you take a bunch of prospects who they estimated at 4.45, and a bunch who the estimated at 4.55, the average 40 time of the first group will be about 0.10 faster than the average time of the second group. But they could still be wildly off on a few players (plus, I only looked at the estimates that they made a few months before the combine, not their estimates for freshmen). One thing I could do is just make manual adjustments on a few players if I think they're off. Or, if someone (like you) publishes their own list of estimated 40 times, I could use that too. Or, if someone publishes a list of track times (for the players who have them), I could try to make estimates based on those and make adjustments for those players.

I share the impression that Karlos Williams shouldn't be that high, but I can see why he ended up there. The two main questions about my formula that are most relevant for him are: what do you do about guys who were much better in their next-to-last season than in their last season? And, what do you do about guys with a smallish workload? My current solution for guys who declined as seniors is to basically split the difference, and rate them halfway between their last season numbers and their combined last two seasons numbers. For guys with a smallish workload, I penalize them a bit for the small workload, plus I regress their stats towards the mean, which generally keeps them out of the very top of the rankings but lets them be among the contenders.

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I would definitely consider revising your numbers for Kareem Hunt in that case. He is listed at 215 on Toledo's official site and that actually seems conservative based on how he runs in the clips I've seen. I don't know if he is explosive enough to be a starting NFL RB, but he is certainly big enough. DJ Foster is too skinny to be a starter in the NFL. He's purely a receiving specialist. Think Marion Grice all over again. For reference, here is a picture of Hunt and a picture of Foster. Hunt is jacked with some serious lower body strength. Foster is wispy and thin like a WR. One thing that would give me pause with Hunt is that David Fluellen (a pretty weak prospect) put up huge numbers in that same offense over the previous couple years. Hunt may be a product of the system to some extent, but I think he's at least in the frame for the top 10 RBs in 2016, if not the top 5.

As for the 40 estimates, I have studied the relationship between 100m times and 40 times in the past. Here's one post on that subject:

Got bored and compiled some track results for some current and past NCAA prospects. These are just the player's personal best according to the all-athletics.com database. Some of these times were run in high school and some were run in college, so keep in mind that these players might have been at different stages of their development when they put up these numbers. For example, Reggie Bush did not run track as a senior. Thomas Tyner was injured during his junior track season and did not run as a senior. Others like Brandin Cooks and De'Anthony Thomas continued to run even in college.

100m (seconds)

QB Usain Bolt, Jamaica (2008) - 9.58

RB Jamaal Charles, Texas (2006) - 10.13* (10.23 best wind-legal)

RB Keith Marshall, Georgia (2011) - 10.20

RB CJ Spiller, Clemson (2009) - 10.22* (10.29 best wind-legal)

RB Khalfani Muhammad, Cal (2012) - 10.22* (10.33 best wind-legal)

RB Jahvid Best, Cal (2007) - 10.31* (10.36 best wind-legal)
RB De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon (2013) - 10.31* (10.61 best wind-legal)

RB Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma (2003) - 10.33* (10.56 best wind-legal)

RB Thomas Tyner, Oregon (2011) - 10.35

RB Reggie Bush, USC (2002) - 10.42

WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson (2011) - 10.52

WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee (2012) - 10.54

WR Andre Johnson, Miami (2002) - 10.59

RB Byron Marshall, Oregon (2012) - 10.61

RB Shane Vereen, Cal (2009) - 10.66* (10.74 best wind-legal)

RB Karlos Williams, Florida State (2011) - 10.70

RB Todd Gurley, Georgia (2011) - 10.70

WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State (2012) - 10.72

WR Marqise Lee, USC (2011) - 10.74*

RB Maurice (Jones) Drew, UCLA (2002) - 10.80

RB Lache Seastrunk, Baylor (2010) - 10.81

WR Santana Moss, Miami (1999) - 10.82

WR Ty Montgomery, Stanford (2011) - 10.84

WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee (2012) - 10.86

WR Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri (2011) - 10.92

RB Shock Linwood, Baylor (2011) 10.98

WR Leonte Carroo, Rutgers (2011) - 11.01

WR Marquez North, Tennessee (2012) - 11.11

RB Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska (2011) - 11.19

Long Jump (meters)

WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee (2010) - 7.89

WR Marqise Lee, USC (2011) - 7.76*

WR Kendall Wright, Baylor (2007) - 7.33

RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin (2011) - 7.16

WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee (2012) - 6.82

The fact that the difference in speed between Usain Bolt and Jamaal Charles is roughly equivalent to the difference in speed between Jamaal Charles and Todd Gurley is pretty scary. I guess if you're the fastest man of all-time you're bound to be pretty freakish. Disappointed that a lot of the NFL's top burners (Mike Wallace, Chris Johnson, Darren McFadden) have no apparent track background to help put their speed in context. I suspect Johnson would've been able to do something similar to Charles and Spiller, if not a little faster. In his prime he looked like probably the fastest football player I've ever seen.

And another:

I think 10.8 in the 100m equates to faster than 4.55. Especially with specific training for the 40m distance.

Here are some 100m times from the California State Meet over the years, along with corresponding combine 40 times from Draft Scout:

Jahvid Best - 10.36 - 4.34

Reggie Bush - 10.42 (junior) - 4.37 (pro day)

Taiwan Jones - 10.53 - 4.33 (pro day)

Justin Fargas - 10.58 - 4.35

Matt Slater - 10.67 - 4.44 (pro day)

Shane Vereen - 10.76 (junior) - 4.49

Maurice Drew - 10.80 (junior) - 4.39

Chris Owusu had a 10.65 PR in high school and clocked a 4.31 at the combine. DeAnthony Thomas had a wind-aided 10.57 in 2010 and most people consider him a burner.

I ran track in high school and I always thought of 11 flat as the cutoff for a "fast" 100m sprinter. If you can run below 11 flat automatic then I think you probably have the capacity to run sub 4.50 in the 40m unless you're just an awful starter who builds speed.

That should give you an idea of what a 100m might equate to in the 40. In my mind I roughly equate an 11.0 in the 100 with a 4.50 in the 40 and a 10.50 in the 100 with a 4.40 in the 40. I would guess that Chubb at 10.69 in high school can crank a 4.45 without too much trouble. Incidentally, he was clocked at 4.47 at the Nike SPARQ combines coming out of high school. You can access his results under the "testing results" tab.

Apart from that, just watch him run. The dude is very fast. Especially for a 5'10" 228 pounder. He broke numerous long runs this season.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRwKjAHmMBY

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=11918640

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=11722671

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=11953236

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=11840821

DraftScout must be smoking stuff to give him a 4.57 time. That is off the mark.

If you want to find more accurate times, many of the players with a track background are in the database at all-athletics.com. Just search by name. Apart from the track guys, there will be times on record for most people who participate in the Nike SPARQ combines as high schoolers. For example, they have Derrick Henry at 4.72. Not everyone is there, but a lot of the big name 4-5 star guys go through the testing.

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Alright, here's what I can do with estimated 40 times.

For any player who I find a 100m time for, I'll wind-adjust it (adding 0.06s for each 1mph of wind) and translate it into a 40 time using a linear scale where 10.00-->4.30, 10.50-->4.40, 11.00-->4.50, etc. (If I can find a longer list of players with 100m & 40 times then I'll run some stats on it instead of using this scale that I just made up.) Then I'll credit each player with whichever is faster, that number or the nfldraftscout estimate.

Looking up the RBs on my leaderboard at EBF's link, I found 100m times for 9 of them (fastest to slowest: Grant, Williams, Chubb, Marshall, Gurley, Elliott, Coleman, Linwood, and Abdullah). They translate into a 4.40 for Grant, ..., and a 4.54 for Abdullah. (I also found a couple more birthdates; still missing Ajayi, Chubb, Freeman, Cobb, Foster, Artis-Payne, and some others).

Using the new numbers, Chubb moves up 2 tiers, Gurley, Coleman, and Elliott each move up one tier, and Marshall moves near the top of his tier. Duke Johnson remains at #1, but Gurley is now right with him.

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Alright, here's what I can do with estimated 40 times.

For any player who I find a 100m time for, I'll wind-adjust it (adding 0.06s for each 1mph of wind) and translate it into a 40 time using a linear scale where 10.00-->4.30, 10.50-->4.40, 11.00-->4.50, etc. (If I can find a longer list of players with 100m & 40 times then I'll run some stats on it instead of using this scale that I just made up.)

This is a bad practice IMO. The 100 and the 40 are not linear in function or practicality. You don't come out of blocks in the 40 and there is a reason the NFL is also looking at the splits in 10 yd increments. Some guys are short area bursters who reach top speed within 10 to 20 yds while others are longer striders who require greater distance to build speed. The fastest man in the world is one such guy. Do you really ever see Bolt get out of the blocks 1st in his races? No, it's rare. He dominates from around 40m to the finish line.

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That spreadsheet gives some interesting numbers, it supports my idea of Ty being overrated by the fantasy community and I'm very interested in this Higgins kid. Need to find some games so I can watch him play.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

RB Update:

After charting a couple games for each of them, Nick Chubb and Josh Robinson are rivaling Eddie Lacy for the best Hard to Tackle Rating in the 4 years that I've been charting. They actually both have higher ratings than Lacy right now, but on smallish sample sizes (less than 50 touches). Chubb's game against Auburn is the best game that I've watched in terms of broken tackles & yards after contact.

Chubb & Robinson both look short, stocky, slippery, and powerful, bouncing off guys and running through arm tackles. I'm worried that Robinson is kinda slow / lacking in burst (he gets caught from behind a lot). I don't have that worry about Chubb. Chubb's elusiveness numbers (along with the faster estimated 40 times that I'm giving him based on his 100m time) vault him to the #1 RB prospect by my numbers (across all years). Robinson rises to #4, behind Chubb, Duke Johnson, and Todd Gurley.

My updated elusiveness numbers are in this spreadsheet. For this draft class, I'm hoping to find more game cutups of Robinson, Tevin Coleman, Cameron Artis-Payne, Jeremy Langford, Michael Dyer, and Matt Jones. I'm also curious about some of the guys in future draft classes, including Chubb, Ezekiel Elliott, Samaje Perine, Elijah McGuire, Royce Freeman, Kenneth Dixon, Kareem Hunt, and Leonard Fournette. (Kareem Hunt looked really good in the one game I've seen, but I'm wondering if the Arkansas State defense is just terrible.)

I've also put together a spreadsheet with many of the RB stats that I use in my ratings. Who broke off more 20+ yard runs (per non-red-zone attempt), Tevin Coleman or Todd Gurley? Who picked up more first downs per 1st down carry, Josh Robinson or Jeremy Langford? How do Ezekiel Elliott and Samaje Perine compare at converting 3rd & short? Jay Ajayi & Duke Johnson both had a bunch of receiving yards, but who had a higher yards per target? The answers are in the spreadsheet. (Note that the "rating" in that spreadsheet is based on a single season's stats, so it doesn't quite match the rating that I'm using for my ranking here, which also includes previous years' stats.)

My RB stats now include the full season, bowl games included. I've also tinkered a bit with the formula for their overall rating (including adding the stat first downs per 1st down carry). I've updated a few players heights & weights (to match the numbers from the Senior Bowl weighin), I've added ages for a few more players, and (as described here) I've updated a few players' estimated 40 times based on their 100m times.

Here is the resulting RB leaderboard (including non-draft-eligible players; previous leaderboard here):

FR Nick Chubb Georgia

JR Duke Johnson Miami (Fl)
JR Todd Gurley Georgia

JR Josh Robinson Miss St
FR Samaje Perine Oklahoma
SR Karlos Williams FSU
JR Jay Ajayi Boise St
SO Ezekiel Elliott Ohio State
JR Melvin Gordon Wisconsin
SR Ameer Abdullah Nebraska
JR Tevin Coleman Indiana

JR Byron Marshall Oregon
JR Mike Davis S Carolina
JR T.J. Yeldon Alabama
SO Elijah McGuire La-Lafytte
FR Royce Freeman Oregon
SR David Cobb Minnesota
JR Kenneth Dixon La Tech

SO Alex Collins Arkansas
JR Jonathan Williams Arkansas
JR D.J. Foster Ariz St
SO Kareem Hunt Toledo
SO Derrick Henry Alabama
SO Shock Linwood Baylor
FR Leonard Fournette LSU
SR Cameron Artis-Payne Auburn
SR Jeremy Langford Mich St
JR Devon Johnson Marshall
SR Corey Grant Auburn
SR Noah Copeland Navy

Here are the main players moving up since last time. Because of faster estimated 40 times (due to fast 100m times): Chubb, Gurley, Coleman, Elliott, and Marshall. Because of good elusiveness on video: Chubb, Robinson, and Hunt. Because of good stats (either in bowl games or tweaks to my formula) Elliott and Marshall.

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RB Update:

I'm worried that Robinson is kinda slow / lacking in burst (he gets caught from behind a lot).

:yes:

I think that's the biggest question with him. Strong, but looks a bit sluggish. Sort of like Michael Turner after he'd lost half a step.

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