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ZWK's 2018 Prospect Analysis


ZWK

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With target data updated to include all the bowl games, here is the 10.0 YPT club:

13.85    Emanuel Hall    Missouri    
13.62    Tre'Quan Smith    UCF    
13.43    Cody Thompson    Toledo    *
13.38    James Proche    SMU    
13.35    Marquise Brown    Oklahoma    
13.32    A.J. Brown    Miss    
13.29    Marcell Ateman    Okla St    
13.24    James Washington    Okla St    
12.85    DJ Chark    LSU    
12.48    Byron Pringle    Kansas St    
12.34    Diontae Johnson    Toledo    
12.04    CeeDee Lamb    Oklahoma    
11.84    Malcolm Williams    Coast Car    
11.81    Keke Coutee    Texas Tech    
11.79    Chris Platt    Baylor    *
11.70    Jordan Lasley    UCLA    *
11.41    Terren Encalade    Tulane    
11.34    Kwadarrius Smith    Akron    
11.27    J'Mon Moore    Missouri    
11.11    Cedrick Wilson    Boise St    
11.11    Justin McInnis    Ark St    
11.02    Parris Campbell    Ohio State    
10.94    Mark Andrews    Oklahoma    
10.79    Tyler Vaughns    USC    
10.68    Anthony Johnson    Buffalo    
10.59    John Ursua    Hawai'i    *
10.49    Johnathon Johnson    Missouri    
10.45    DaeSean Hamilton    Penn State    
10.44    Thomas Owens    FIU    *
10.41    JJ Arcega-Whiteside    Stanford    
10.41    Trent Sherfield    Vanderbilt    
10.18    Trevon Brown    ECU    
10.08    James Gardner    Miami (Oh)    
10.03    Adonis Jennings    Temple    
10.00    Javon Wims    Georgia    
10.00    Jaylen Smith    Louisville    *

* less than 11 games played

If we use 11 YPT as the cutoff for making the leaderboard (to keep it more similar in length to the other 3 receiving leaderboards that I posted), then zero receivers make all 4 leaderboards and fourteen receivers make 3 of the 4 leaderboards: Cody Thompson*, Anthony Johnson, Jordan Lasley*, James Washington, John Ursua*, A.J. Brown, Diontae Johnson, Tre'Quan Smith, Byron Pringle, Anthony Miller, Cedrick Wilson, Chris Platt*, Greg Dortch*, and DJ Chark.

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Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, James Washington, and Courtland Sutton look to be the four highest touted receiving prospects.

I'm relatively pessimistic about Calvin Ridley and Christian Kirk. Since 2007, only 5 of the 43 first round receivers had worse college production by my numbers. And those 5 were:

Darrius Heyward-Bey    Maryland    2009
Laquon Treadwell    Miss    2016
Anthony Gonzalez    Ohio State    2007
Cordarrelle Patterson    Tennessee    2013
Craig Davis    LSU    2007

The next 5 least-college-productive first round receivers have also not been that great in the NFL thus far (Jon Baldwin, Kelvin Benjamin, Mike Williams Clemson, John Ross, Michael Floyd).

James Washington has excellent production, and Courtland Sutton has pretty good production (mostly based on his strong 2016 season).

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There are 6 quarterbacks who are being talked about as potential first rounders: Baker, Mason, Sam, Josh, Josh, and Lamar. Looking at each player's most productive college season (now in the By Draft Pick tab of my spreadsheet), here is how they compare to the other QBs who have been drafted in the first 2 rounds since 2009:

Player           Best Season
Baker Mayfield    2016
Jameis Winston    2013
Sam Bradford    2008
Johnny Manziel    2013
Marcus Mariota    2014
Robert Griffin III    2011
Andrew Luck    2010
Sam Darnold    2016
Mason Rudolph    2017

Cameron Newton    2010
Tim Tebow    2008
Matthew Stafford    2008
Brandon Weeden    2011
Mark Sanchez    2008
Jared Goff    2015
Teddy Bridgewater    2013
Deshaun Watson    2016
Lamar Jackson    2017
Geno Smith    2012
Patrick Mahomes II    2016
Andy Dalton    2010
Ryan Tannehill    2010
DeShone Kizer    2015
Colin Kaepernick    2010
Mitch Trubisky    2016
Jimmy Clausen    2008
Christian Ponder    2009
Paxton Lynch    2015
EJ Manuel    2012
Blake Bortles    2013
Josh Rosen    2017
Josh Allen    2016

Brock Osweiler    2011
Jake Locker    2009
Derek Carr    2012
Josh Freeman    2008
Christian Hackenberg    2013
Pat White    2008
Blaine Gabbert    2009

College production is far from perfect as a predictor of NFL success, but at this stage this seems like a plausible tiering. PFF agrees with putting Mayfield on top. The biggest problem with this tiering is that I'd add another gap between the Joshes - I think Allen deserves to be farther back based on his awful 2017 season (which was significantly worse even than Gabbert's 2009), and shouldn't get drafted in the first 2 rounds.

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On ‎1‎/‎3‎/‎2018 at 2:12 AM, ZWK said:

This RB class is looking really strong. RB ratings can change a lot between now and the draft, since size & athleticism are so important at the position and we won't have solid numbers there till the combine (plus I'll be adding elusiveness data), but for now my formulas are high on the top 8 RBs: Royce Freeman, Saquon Barkley, Nick Chubb, Rashaad Penny, [tier break], Bryce Love, Ronald Jones II, Damien Harris, and Derrius Guice.

Out of the 8, Barkley and Guice are the only 2 who didn't have great rushing efficiency this year, but Barkley makes up for it with his big receiving numbers and Guice partially makes up for it with his 2016 production (but still rates last out of these 8). Love & Jones are projected to have sub-4.4 speed, while the other 6 all have good size. Harris's committee-sized workload is a concern, but his yards after contact were ridiculously good according to PFF.

where is Sony Michel in your formulas??

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14 minutes ago, bicycle_seat_sniffer said:
On 1/2/2018 at 11:12 PM, ZWK said:

This RB class is looking really strong. RB ratings can change a lot between now and the draft, since size & athleticism are so important at the position and we won't have solid numbers there till the combine (plus I'll be adding elusiveness data), but for now my formulas are high on the top 8 RBs: Royce Freeman, Saquon Barkley, Nick Chubb, Rashaad Penny, [tier break], Bryce Love, Ronald Jones II, Damien Harris, and Derrius Guice.

Out of the 8, Barkley and Guice are the only 2 who didn't have great rushing efficiency this year, but Barkley makes up for it with his big receiving numbers and Guice partially makes up for it with his 2016 production (but still rates last out of these 8). Love & Jones are projected to have sub-4.4 speed, while the other 6 all have good size. Harris's committee-sized workload is a concern, but his yards after contact were ridiculously good according to PFF.

where is Sony Michel in your formulas??

Michel in the next tier, behind Kerryon Johnson and Josh Adams. There are also a bunch of RBs in that next tier who aren't entering the draft: JK Dobbins, Devin Singletary, Mike Weber, Myles Gaskin, Ty Johnson, Jonathan Taylor, and Benny Snell.

If you have questions about anyone else, the link should take you to your answer.

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We now have accurate size data on all the players from the Senior Bowl, Shrine Game, and NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

As I've written about previously, WRs with a BMI below 26.0 do not have a very good track record, and the main exceptions seem to be superfast WRs. (Though it's probably better to think of it as a scale, rather than imagining that there's a sudden switch that happens between 25.9 and 26.1.) Here are all the WRs who weighed in with a BMI of 26.5 or lower:

23.5    Devonte Boyd
23.9    Kalib Woods
24.1    Je’Mari Luper
24.6    Brandon Shed
24.7    Russell Gage
24.7    DJ Chark
24.8    Davon Grayson
24.9    Adonis Jennings
25.0    Cedrick Wilson
25.0    Marquez Valdes-Scantling
25.4    Jeff Badet
25.7    Jaleel Scott
26.0    Bryce Bobo
26.1    Marcell Ateman
26.2    Tre'Quan Smith
26.2    Michael Gallup
26.3    Dontez Byrd
26.3    Austin Proehl
26.4    J'Mon Moore
26.4    Braxton Berrios
26.4    Jake Wieneke
26.5    Byron Pringle

Byron Pringle gets the biggest boost - he weighed in 9 pounds heavier than estimated by nfldraftscout, and is basically clear of the flag area at 26.5 rather than down at 25.2 BMI. Cedrick Wilson actually weighed in 11 pounds higher than nfldraftscout had estimated (at 194 instead of 183) but is still only at a 25.0 BMI. DJ Chark and Michael Gallup measured up about as expected; Chark will benefit a lot in my eyes if he runs a great 40.

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For RBs, low weight is generally more predictive than low BMI. Here are the sub-205 RBs from this year's Senior Bowl, Shrine Game, and NFLPA Collegiate Bowl:

180    Dalyn Dawkins
182    Trenton Cannon
185    Phillip Lindsay
188    Akrum Wadley
196    Diocemy Saint Juste
199    Anthony Philyaw
199    Justin Jackson
200    Ralph Webb
201    Ito Smith
202    Detrez Newsome
203    Chase Edmonds
204    Martez Carter
204    D'Ernest Johnson

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  • 4 weeks later...

2017 didn't have many great WR seasons by my numbers, and the WRs with good numbers don't overlap that much with the WRs who have good reputations, and a lot of the WRs who have good numbers have chosen to return to school (Toledo's Cody Thompson, Stanford's JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Buffalo's Anthony Johnson, etc.). So the 2018 WR class is looking weak right now.

Here are the top 26 WR prospects by numbers, with the 14 who are entering the draft in bold:

James Washington    Okla St

A.J. Brown    Miss *
Jordan Lasley    UCLA

Cedrick Wilson    Boise St
Cody Thompson    Toledo *
JJ Arcega-Whiteside    Stanford *
Denzel Mims    Baylor *
Anthony Johnson    Buffalo *
Courtland Sutton    SMU
Darren Carrington II    Utah
Tyler Johnson    Minnesota *
DJ Chark    LSU
Tre'Quan Smith    UCF

DJ Moore    Maryland
Anthony Miller    Memphis

Stanley Morgan Jr.    Nebraska *
Marcell Ateman    Okla St
Keke Coutee    Texas Tech
Greg Dortch    Wk Forest *
Equanimeous St. Brown    Notre Dame
Nick Westbrook    Indiana *
Michael Gallup    CSU
David Sills V    WVU *
Diontae Johnson    Toledo *
Chris Platt    Baylor *
Thomas Owens    FIU

* not entering the 2018 draft

The numbers are basically saying "yes" to Washington and Lasley, "no" to the guys not listed here (Ridley, Kirk, Tate, Pettis, Cain, etc.), and "we'll see what happens at the combine" to the other 12 guys listed here. (And Lasley of course has question marks about off-the-field issues and, relatedly, small sample size.)

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James Washington has a really weird build according to his Senior Bowl measurements: 5'10.9", 210 lbs., 29.4 BMI, 33.9" arms. Basically he's built like a RB with freakishly long arms.

Height: 5'10.9" is on the short side for a WR; at last year's combine 81% of WRs were taller than that.

Arms: 33.9" is unusually long for WR arms; at last year's combine no WR had arms that long (the longest were Jamari Staples' 33.5" arms). Long arms are more common among successful WRs; out of the 53 successful NFL WRs with known arm lengths, 6 were at least that long (Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin, AJ Green, Michael Crabtree, Dez Bryant, and Kenny Britt). Which is weird for Washington, because all of those guys are tall - arm length is correlated with height.

Length: Washington's length (height plus arm length) of 104.75" is close to the average at last year's combine. That is probably the more important number; my sense is that an inch of arm length is about as useful as an inch of height (or maybe slightly more useful) - arm length improves catch radius by a little more, but doesn't help as much with boxing out defenders.

Weight: 210 pounds is heavier than average for a WR; only 30% of WRs at last year's combine weighed that much.

BMI: 29.4 is near the top of the WR BMI charts. Out of the 146 WRs who have been drafted in the first 3 rounds since 2007, only 2 had a BMI over 29: Ty Montgomery (30.1) and Greg Little (29.3). And both of them actually played some RB (Little in college, Montogmery in the pros). My sense is that a low BMI is a bad sign for a WR but a high BMI doesn't matter much, although it's hard to know because there haven't been many WR prospects with a BMI near there.

On the whole, I think it's good when a player has a prototypical build for his position and somewhat bad when his build is closer to an average adult male. In this case we aren't looking at either of those - we're looking at a prospect with a really weird build for a WR or for anyone. I guess that increases the chances that he'll be a bust and also increases the chances that he'll be a star.

My formulas just see Washington as someone with averageish length and above-threshold BMI, and so give him an averageish size rating.

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On 1/18/2018 at 11:36 PM, ZWK said:

There are 6 quarterbacks who are being talked about as potential first rounders: Baker, Mason, Sam, Josh, Josh, and Lamar. Looking at each player's most productive college season (now in the By Draft Pick tab of my spreadsheet), here is how they compare to the other QBs who have been drafted in the first 2 rounds since 2009:

Player           Best Season
Baker Mayfield    2016
Jameis Winston    2013
Sam Bradford    2008
Johnny Manziel    2013
Marcus Mariota    2014
Robert Griffin III    2011
Andrew Luck    2010
Sam Darnold    2016
Mason Rudolph    2017

Cameron Newton    2010
Tim Tebow    2008
Matthew Stafford    2008
Brandon Weeden    2011
Mark Sanchez    2008
Jared Goff    2015
Teddy Bridgewater    2013
Deshaun Watson    2016
Lamar Jackson    2017
Geno Smith    2012
Patrick Mahomes II    2016
Andy Dalton    2010
Ryan Tannehill    2010
DeShone Kizer    2015
Colin Kaepernick    2010
Mitch Trubisky    2016
Jimmy Clausen    2008
Christian Ponder    2009
Paxton Lynch    2015
EJ Manuel    2012
Blake Bortles    2013
Josh Rosen    2017
Josh Allen    2016

Brock Osweiler    2011
Jake Locker    2009
Derek Carr    2012
Josh Freeman    2008
Christian Hackenberg    2013
Pat White    2008
Blaine Gabbert    2009

College production is far from perfect as a predictor of NFL success, but at this stage this seems like a plausible tiering. PFF agrees with putting Mayfield on top. The biggest problem with this tiering is that I'd add another gap between the Joshes - I think Allen deserves to be farther back based on his awful 2017 season (which was significantly worse even than Gabbert's 2009), and shouldn't get drafted in the first 2 rounds.

After looking some more at the 6 QBs that everyone's talking about, here is how I'd rank them for the NFL draft:

Tier 1: Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold
Tier 2: Josh Rosen, Mason Rudolph, Lamar Jackson
Tier 3: Josh Allen

(This is taking into account things like scouting reports and other people's rankings, in addition to my own numbers and analyses.)


Starting with Tier 1:

My numbers have QB1 Baker Mayfield with 2 of the top 3 college QB seasons of the past decade (Russell Wilson 2011 is still #1). PFF has him with similarly elite numbers, including in breakdowns like passing under pressure and difficult "NFL throws". [Edited to add:] Football Outsiders loves him too, and reports that he has elite numbers across various breakdowns in Sports Info Solutions charting. Pass velocity tracking at the Senior Bowl has him with good arm strength (though I wish they'd broken it down into more bins). Consensus first round pick. Scouting reports praise him for what I see as key QB traits like accuracy and progressing quickly through his reads.

The main negatives are his size (just a shade bigger than Drew Brees), inconsistent mechanics, concerns about Oklahoma's QB-friendly offense, and character questions. Those all matter somewhat, and the fact that most experts don't have him among their top 2 QBs is a negative, but it's not enough to knock him out of the #1 spot. Size: see Drew Brees. Mechanics: not clear if they're worse than Darnold's. QB-friendly offense: Mayfield's lead on the #2 quarterback this year was larger than the gap between Rosen and the average QB; he'd still have very impressive production even if you took a substantial discount for his situation. And Oklahoma doesn't seem to have off-the-charts levels of QB-friendliness; Landry Jones's production in Oklahoma was in the same ballpark as what Cody Kessler, Matt Barkley, and Brett Hundley did at USC and UCLA (and Trevor Knight & Blake Bell did significantly worse), and Mayfield's receiving corps has been pretty good but not close to Beckham+Landry level. Character: the main question is whether he puts in the work to be good at his job, and I haven't heard negatives about that.

QB2 Sam Darnold is the other obvious candidate for the #1 slot. He is neck-and-neck with Rosen for the top spot in most rankings, and he had great numbers in 2016. So he checks both the "reputation" and "production" boxes, and he has good size. But he doesn't check either box resoundingly. In expert rankings he is neck-and-neck with Rosen, and often ranked about 5th overall, rather than being an obvious #1. And his 2016 production was still well behind what Mayfield did in both 2016 and 2017, and his numbers slid to merely "above average" in 2017. So I have him slotted in behind Mayfield on the top tier.


Taking things out of order, let's jump to Tier 3:

QB6 Josh Allen had terrible 2017 season - my numbers have him ranked 86th out of the 100 QBs with the most attempts. In his favor his 2016 production was above average, so he has a better track record than Hackenberg, but his 2016 season still involved a 56% completion percentage and a worse-than-average sack rate. On the whole, it's a pretty bad track record. Evaluators tend to see him as a 1st round pick, but the strengths they talk about are mostly things like arm talent, having all the tools, protypical frame, can make all the throws. Nice traits to have if you're making a highlight video, but not what it takes to consistently drive your team down the field. If I try to force myself to be optimistic about Allen's future, I feel like I'd also have to tear into Wyoming's coaching staff who somehow managed to run such a horrible offense (105th in scoring) with a first round NFL talent at the helm; apparently they failed to surround him with talent, failed to design good plays to get guys open, and failed to coach him up to help Allen develop from a raw kid with a big arm into someone who was actually good at quarterbacking. But Craig Bohl seems to be pretty well-respected, and it seems more likely that Allen just isn't a first or second round talent. So I have Allen down here on tier 3; I'd be very unlikely to wind up taking him at his market value but I wouldn't give up on him entirely just yet because I'm far from perfect and this and evaluators might be seeing something that I'm missing.


Back to Tier 2:

QB3 Josh Rosen is neck-and-neck with Darnold for the top QB spot, in the expert rankings I've seen. I have him at the top of tier 2 in deference to those rankings. But his track record is surprisingly unremarkable, given his reputation, and is closer to Allen's than to Darnold's. He was an above average quarterback in each of his three seasons, with production (in my numbers) similar to Allen's peak year in 2016 and a bit behind Darnold's down year in 2017. In Rosen's favor, his scouting report praises him for things like his footwork in the pocket and his accuracy, which are the sorts of skills that seem important at the NFL level. And PFF's grading system seems to like his production a bit more than my numbers do; they have him as the #5 pick (and 3rd QB) in their latest mock. On the whole, Rosen checks the "reputation" box but he doesn't check the "production" box well enough to be on tier 1, but his production has been decent enough to still lead this tier. One more negative which is more relevant for fantasy than for NFL (though it matters for NFL too): Rosen has negative rushing yards (with sacks counting as rushes), with just one 15+ yard run during his college career. That will put him in a fpt hole relative to most QBs under age 33, with Carr & Goff as exceptions, and Football Outsiders has also found that negative rushing yards is a predictor of lack of NFL success.

QB4 Mason Rudolph checks the production box as well as Darnold, but he is generally seen as a rd 2 prospect. And OK St. has been pretty QB-friendly - probably even moreso than OK - just look at J.W. Walsh's career stats, plus Washington & Ateman are a nice WR duo. I'll be relatively optimistic about Rudolph if he's a top 40 pick, but he could be another Bryce Petty.

QB5 Lamar Jackson has obvious limitations as a passer but he's electric as a runner and seems to have improved this year as a passer. His overall production rating this year was similar to what Watson & Mahomes did in 2016; if we just look at that bottom-line number and ignore how he got it then he slots in right behind Rudolph. Skill as a passer seems more important than skill as a runner, which is a reason to discount Jackson a bit relative to his bottom-line production rating, but Rudolph is also getting discounted some due to his offense. And Watson's early success in Houston seems like a good sign for Jackson's NFL potential. It'll help if Jackson gets a coaching staff that will play to his strengths and a good go-up-and-get-it WR1; from what I've seen he likes to throw sideline passes that give his receiver a chance to make a play on the ball. For fantasy rankings I'd move Jackson up to QB3, and to tier 1.5, because of the fantasy value of rushing production.

Edited by ZWK
added link to a new Football Outsiders article on Mayfield
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Some more QB stats.

First, sack rate by season:
1.6%    Sam Darnold    2016
3.0%    Josh Rosen    2015
4.7%    Mason Rudolph    2017
4.8%    Baker Mayfield    2016
5.3%    Josh Rosen    2016
5.4%    Josh Rosen    2017
5.7%    Sam Darnold    2017
5.8%    league avg    
6.0%    Baker Mayfield    2017
6.3%    Lamar Jackson    2017
6.5%    Mason Rudolph    2016
6.6%    Mason Rudolph    2015
6.8%    Josh Allen    2016
7.5%    Josh Allen    2017
9.0%    Baker Mayfield    2015
9.5%    Lamar Jackson    2015
10.1%    Lamar Jackson    2016

Taking a lot of sacks might be an issue for Allen and Jackson, though they do both scramble a lot and that leads to more sacks (since that how it goes in the books when the attempted scramble gets stopped short of the line of scrimmage). Jackson also improved a lot in 2017.

The others look to be average or better on the whole (and especially over the past year or two).


Next, passer rating vs. teammates (2010-2017).

I took the career passer rating of each of the big 6 QBs, and subtracted the average passer rating for all of the other passing attempts by their team from 2010-2017 (which is each other player's passer rating, weighted by number of attempts).

+35.0    Baker Mayfield (175.4) - other Oklahoma/Texas Tech QBs (140.4)
+11.1    Mason Rudolph (159.7) - other Oklahoma State QBs (148.6)
+5.7    Josh Allen (137.7) - other Wyoming QBs (132.0)
+4.4    Josh Rosen (140.1) - other UCLA QBs (135.7)
+3.5    Sam Darnold (153.7) - other USC QBs (150.2)
-2.8    Lamar Jackson (142.9) - other Louisville QBs (145.7)

Mayfield produced way ahead of other Oklahoma QBs, and Rudolph has a decent lead on the OK St. competition, while the others don't stand out from their teammates.

Mayfield breaks down into 77% Oklahoma +50.9 (189.4 - 138.5) and 23% Texas Tech -18.9 (127.7 - 146.6), since 77% of his career pass attempts came at Oklahoma.


Who are those teammates? Some of them are in the NFL while others are guys you've never heard of. Here is the list of all of them with 200+ attempts, sorted by passer rating:

175.4 on 1497 att    Baker Mayfield    Oklahoma/Texas Tech    2013-2017
159.7 on 1447 att    Mason Rudolph    Oklahoma State    2014-2017

157.2 on 1142 att    Teddy Bridgewater    Louisville    2011-2013
157.1 on 1075 att    Brandon Weeden    Oklahoma State    2010-2011
156.4 on 1261 att    Cody Kessler    USC    2012-2015
153.8 on 1210 att    Matt Barkley    USC    2010-2012
153.7 on 846 att    Sam Darnold    USC    2016-2017
153.3 on 474 att    J.W. Walsh    Oklahoma State    2012-2015
153.2 on 553 att    Nic Shimonek    Texas Tech    2015-2017
152.0 on 1349 att    Patrick Mahomes    Texas Tech    2014-2016
150.8 on 1241 att    Brett Hundley    UCLA    2012-2014
147.0 on 241 att    Cameron Coffman    Wyoming    2015
146.1 on 1126 att    Seth Doege    Texas Tech    2010-2012
144.2 on 1734 att    Landry Jones    Oklahoma    2010-2012
143.1 on 537 att    Clint Chelf    Oklahoma State    2010-2013
142.9 on 1086 att    Lamar Jackson    Louisville    2015-2017
141.1 on 551 att    Taylor Potts    Texas Tech    2010
140.8 on 242 att    Kyle Bolin    Louisville    2013-2016
140.1 on 1170 att    Josh Rosen    UCLA    2015-2017
139.4 on 233 att    Will Gardner    Louisville    2013-2015
139.3 on 1212 att    Brett Smith    Wyoming    2011-2013
138.4 on 747 att    Davis Webb    Texas Tech    2013-2015
137.7 on 649 att    Josh Allen    Wyoming    2015-2017
136.5 on 218 att    Adam Froman    Louisville    2010
128.7 on 253 att    Blake Bell    Oklahoma    2011-2014
124.9 on 490 att    Trevor Knight    Oklahoma    2013-2015
123.3 on 252 att    Austyn Carta-Samuels    Wyoming    2010
122.4 on 395 att    Colby Kirkegaard    Wyoming    2011-2014
122.4 on 277 att    Daxx Garman    Oklahoma State    2014
120.2 on 342 att    Richard Brehaut    UCLA    2010-2012
118.2 on 322 att    Kevin Prince    UCLA    2010-2012
112.6 on 265 att    Mike Fafaul    UCLA    2013-2016

Mayfield and Rudolph top the list (with a huge gap between them), and they're also the only 2 of the 6 who are their school's leader. Rosen is down near Allen (the raw tools guy) and Jackson (who is exciting because of his running).

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With RB combine weighin results mostly in:

A lot of good big RBs in this class, with Barkley, Freeman, Chubb, Guice, and Penny all weighing in at 220+ (and 6'0" or less).

My general take on RB size is that weight is the most important variable: heavier is always better, but extra pounds matter more for small guys (205 vs. 200 matters a lot more than 230 vs. 225). Low BMI is bad but high BMI isn't any better than average BMI. Tall is bad.

The 5 biggest movers based on weighin results are Josh Adams (moving down), John Kelly (moving up), Akrum Wadley (moving up), Kalen Ballage (moving up), and Ronald Jones (moving up).

Adams weighed in at 213, which is 12 pounds under his nfldraftscout projection, and measured 6'1.6" which is half an inch taller than projected; his weight isn't bad but his height and low BMI are both negatives. Kelly weighed in 11 pounds heavier than nfldraftscout projected, at 216 rather than 205. Wadley gained 6 pounds since the Senior bowl, from 188 (which is pretty hopeless for anything other than a scat back) to 194 (which is less hopeless). Ballage, like Wadley, gained 6 pounds since the Senior Bowl, and he also lost 0.6" inches in height; those are mainly relevant because his Senior Bowl measurements put him in the same "tall, low BMI" category as Adams. And Jones came in 5 pounds heavier than expected, at 205 lbs., and also 0.5" shorter; good news because extra pounds are especially important in that range plus Jones is in the low BMI range.

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35 minutes ago, Hankmoody said:

You have some height typos on the WR, I don't think Washington's BMI is truly 40.08 ;)

Steven Mitchell too.

The combine tracker doc is somebody else's (@kneeshooter linked to it in the combine thread), so I can't fix those typos.

I'll see if I can find a better source which has tables, heights to a 1/8", and accurate information.

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26 minutes ago, ZWK said:

The combine tracker doc is somebody else's (@kneeshooter linked to it in the combine thread), so I can't fix those typos.

I'll see if I can find a better source which has tables, heights to a 1/8", and accurate information.

Try

 

http://walterfootball.com/combine2018WR.php

http://walterfootball.com/combine2018TE.php

http://walterfootball.com/combine2018RB.php

http://walterfootball.com/combine2018QB.php

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With combine numbers in, here is what my formulas say about this year's draft class compared to the past 5 years:

Saquon Barkley    2018
    
Eddie Lacy    2013
Nick Chubb    2018
    
Todd Gurley    2015
Melvin Gordon    2015
Christine Michael    2013
Carlos Hyde    2014
Ezekiel Elliott    2016
    
Joe Mixon    2017
Rashaad Penny    2018
Lache Seastrunk    2014
Jay Ajayi    2015
Tre Mason    2014
Giovani Bernard    2013
Ameer Abdullah    2015
Knile Davis    2013
Ronald Jones II    2018 *
Royce Freeman    2018

Derrick Henry    2016
Dalvin Cook    2017
Curtis Samuel    2017
Darius Jackson    2016
    
Jeremy Hill    2014
C.J. Prosise    2016
Christian McCaffrey    2017
Jerick McKinnon    2014
Kenneth Dixon    2016
    
Jonathan Franklin    2013
Tevin Coleman    2015
Jordan Howard    2016
Duke Johnson    2015
Alvin Kamara    2017
Samaje Perine    2017
Kerryon Johnson    2018 *
Bishop Sankey    2014
DeAndre Washington    2016
David Johnson    2015
D’Onta Foreman    2017
Marcus Lattimore    2013
Jeremy McNichols    2017
Aaron Jones    2017
Jhurell Pressley    2016
Stephen Houston    2014
Daniel Lasco    2016
Henry Josey    2014
Zac Stacy    2013
D.J. Harper    2013
Le'Veon Bell    2013
Kareem Hunt    2017
Cierre Wood    2013
Kenjon Barner    2013
Paul Perkins    2016
Montee Ball    2013
Latavius Murray    2013
Isaiah Crowell    2014
Derrius Guice    2018
Leonard Fournette    2017
Andre Williams    2014
Marlon Mack    2017
Charles Sims    2014
Josh Adams    2018 *
Joe Williams    2017
Dri Archer    2014
Elijah Hood    2017
Alex Collins    2016
James Conner    2017
Devonta Freeman    2014
Jaylen Samuels    2018
David Cobb    2015
Devontae Booker    2016
Matt Breida    2017
    
T.J. Yeldon    2015
Bo Scarbrough    2018
Cameron Artis-Payne    2015
Karlos Williams    2015
Josh Robinson    2015
I'Tavius Mathers    2017
Corey Grant    2015
Kenyan Drake    2016
David Fluellen    2014
Sony Michel    2018
Jamaal Williams    2017
Treavor Scales    2013
Jeremy Langford    2015
Elijah McGuire    2017
Michael Ford    2013
Robert Godhigh    2014
Matthew Tucker    2013
Mike Davis    2015
George Atkinson III    2014
Keith Marshall    2016
Terrance West    2014
Anthony Wales    2017
Teriyon Gipson    2017
Brian Hill    2017
Michael Dyer    2015
Wendell Smallwood    2016
Wayne Gallman    2017
Ito Smith    2018 *
Nyheim Hines    2018

Tim Cornett    2014
Jonathan Williams    2016
C.J. Anderson    2013
Andre Ellington    2013
James White    2014
Kalen Ballage    2018
Stanley Boom Williams    2017
De'Anthony Thomas    2014
Lorenzo Taliaferro    2014
Christopher Carson    2017
John Kelly    2018 *
Tyler Ervin    2016

 

Players with an asterisk (*) did not run the 40 at the combine; I am currently using old nfldraftscout estimates for their 40 times: 4.39 for Ronald Jones, 4.45 for Kerryon Johnson, 4.48 for Josh Adams, 4.50 for Ito Smith, and 4.53 for John Kelly). Most of those are probably too fast, especially for Johnson, Adams, and Kelly who intentionally chose to skip the 40.

My formulas are madly in love with Saquon Barkley, just like everyone seems to be. 4.40 forty and a 41" vertical at 233 will do that, when you pile it on top of his great production. He profiles as the best RB prospect since I started crunching these sorts of numbers in 2013.

I've stopped doing RB elusiveness charting this year - I'll be incorporating PFF's yards after contact & missed tackle numbers where I can get them. But the elusiveness numbers from the charting that I did over the past few years still count in my formula, in the cases where I have that data. That helps Chubb, since I'm giving him credit for his great pre-injury tackle-eluding in 2014 and 2015; if we remove those numbers he drops down to the same range as Penny & Freeman.

Rashaad Penny, Royce Freeman, and Ronald Jones all come out strong in my numbers, though Jones is getting credit for a 4.39 estimated forty which he didn't actually run. Penny and Freeman are both big backs who have pretty good speed for their size, and they've had some strong college production.

Kerryon Johnson moves up the rankings with great jumps. He suspiciously chose to skip the 40, though; I should probably downgrade him from the earlier 4.45 estimate.

Derrius Guice's profile looks eerily similar to Fournette's from a year ago. Big back with pretty good speed but a poor showing in the vertical, came into his last season with strong production but then was much less effective in his final season at LSU while playing through injuries.

Sony Michel doesn't look like anything special according to my formulas. He had solid rushing production this year, and solid elusiveness numbers this year, but other than that his profile doesn't stand out. Averageish size, averageish speed, skipped the jumps at the combine, meh production in previous years, meh elusiveness numbers in previous years, didn't do that much in the passing game, relatively old, generally played behind Chubb.

Bo Scarbrough has size and athleticism, but a limited workload and mediocre rushing efficiency stats.

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2 hours ago, Zyphros said:

Can you fiddle with numbers and see different results?  I'm curious if you put a slower 40 time in for Ronald Jones where he might be.  I doubt he has 4.39 wheels too, but I wouldn't be surprised if he was sub 4.55.  

Ronald Jones with 4.50 speed comes in between Bishop Sankey and DeAndre Washington, just behind where I have Kerryon Johnson (assuming 4.45 speed for Johnson). With 4.60 speed he'd come in just ahead of where I have Jaylen Samuels.

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Looking only at size and athleticism (height, weight, BMI, 40, vertical, broad, 3cone, short shuttle, bench), here is how this year's RBs rank in comparison to all of the other RBs who have appeared at the combine since 1987 (data from nflcombineresults).

Percentile   Player
99.8%    Saquon Barkley
97.0%    Nick Chubb
91.2%    Bo Scarbrough
90.6%    Kalen Ballage
88.9%    Rashaad Penny
85.9%    Nyheim Hines
84.5%    Royce Freeman
83.0%    Kerryon Johnson
81.1%    Jaylen Samuels
81.0%    Nick Bawden
76.1%    Sony Michel
74.1%    Derrius Guice
70.9%    John Kelly
70.0%    Chase Edmonds
67.7%    Ryan Nall
64.2%    Jordan Wilkins
61.2%    Ronald Jones II
60.3%    Justin Jackson
58.0%    Jeff Wilson
57.9%    Chris Warren
53.1%    Lavon Coleman
52.6%    Josh Adams
50.5%    Roc Thomas
49.7%    Jarvion Franklin
41.8%    Kyle Hicks
37.2%    Kamryn Pettway
36.5%    Mark Walton
30.5%    Darrel Williams
28.3%    Demario Richard
24.6%    Akrum Wadley
24.3%    Justin Crawford
17.3%    Donnie Ernsberger
8.7%    Dimitri Flowers

The percentiles are a bit inflated because this includes fullbacks, and players used to not prepare as much for the combine.

Saquon Barkley is the second-best RB since 1987 in terms of his size/athleticism combo, by my numbers, behind only Ben Tate (who had a 4.34 40 and 40.5" vertical at 220 pounds).

Nick Chubb makes the top 30, which puts him at roughly once-per-year levels of size/athleticism. He comes in close to guys like David Johnson, Jonathan Stewart, Doug Martin, Edgerrin James, Chris Johnson, and Adrian Peterson (though also Montario Hardesty, Roy Helu, Keith Marshall, Daniel Lasco, and some others).

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On 1/23/2018 at 7:00 PM, ZWK said:

At 188 pounds, it seems unlikely that Wadley will get many carries in the NFL. Maybe he can be effective in a Darren Sproles / Chris Thompson / Tarik Cohen kind of role.

Yes that is the type of role I think most envision. In today’s NFL, these guys still get fantasy teams points and can be had late.

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On 2/19/2018 at 5:36 PM, ZWK said:

James Washington has a really weird build according to his Senior Bowl measurements: 5'10.9", 210 lbs., 29.4 BMI, 33.9" arms. Basically he's built like a RB with freakishly long arms.

Height: 5'10.9" is on the short side for a WR; at last year's combine 81% of WRs were taller than that.

Arms: 33.9" is unusually long for WR arms; at last year's combine no WR had arms that long (the longest were Jamari Staples' 33.5" arms). Long arms are more common among successful WRs; out of the 53 successful NFL WRs with known arm lengths, 6 were at least that long (Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin, AJ Green, Michael Crabtree, Dez Bryant, and Kenny Britt). Which is weird for Washington, because all of those guys are tall - arm length is correlated with height.

Length: Washington's length (height plus arm length) of 104.75" is close to the average at last year's combine. That is probably the more important number; my sense is that an inch of arm length is about as useful as an inch of height (or maybe slightly more useful) - arm length improves catch radius by a little more, but doesn't help as much with boxing out defenders.

Weight: 210 pounds is heavier than average for a WR; only 30% of WRs at last year's combine weighed that much.

BMI: 29.4 is near the top of the WR BMI charts. Out of the 146 WRs who have been drafted in the first 3 rounds since 2007, only 2 had a BMI over 29: Ty Montgomery (30.1) and Greg Little (29.3). And both of them actually played some RB (Little in college, Montogmery in the pros). My sense is that a low BMI is a bad sign for a WR but a high BMI doesn't matter much, although it's hard to know because there haven't been many WR prospects with a BMI near there.

On the whole, I think it's good when a player has a prototypical build for his position and somewhat bad when his build is closer to an average adult male. In this case we aren't looking at either of those - we're looking at a prospect with a really weird build for a WR or for anyone. I guess that increases the chances that he'll be a bust and also increases the chances that he'll be a star.

My formulas just see Washington as someone with averageish length and above-threshold BMI, and so give him an averageish size rating.

James Washington's arms shrank by an inch and a half between the Senior Bowl and the combine. Or rather, measurement error led to him getting measured with 33.9" arms at the Senior Bowl and 32.4" arms at the combine. This is an unusually large amount of measurement error - larger than any player had when I looked at these measurement changes in 2016 - but it's not unique this year. DaeSean Hamilton got measured with 32.0" arms at the Shrine Game, 32.6" arms at the Senior Bowl, and 31.0" arms at the combine, and TE Jordan Thomas and WR Jester Weah each lost more than 2" from their arms between the Shrine Game and the combine.

Neither source of measurements is perfect, so I'm going to count Washington as having 32.9" arms (following my policy of giving 2/3 weight to the combine measurement and 1/3 weight to the Senior Bowl measurement). Still pretty long, but not quite as freakish as it looked before. But his RBesque BMI actually went up a little more to 29.7, as he gained 3 pounds (and 1/8" of height).

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On 1/23/2018 at 11:32 AM, ZWK said:

We now have accurate size data on all the players from the Senior Bowl, Shrine Game, and NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

As I've written about previously, WRs with a BMI below 26.0 do not have a very good track record, and the main exceptions seem to be superfast WRs. (Though it's probably better to think of it as a scale, rather than imagining that there's a sudden switch that happens between 25.9 and 26.1.) Here are all the WRs who weighed in with a BMI of 26.5 or lower:

23.5    Devonte Boyd
23.9    Kalib Woods
24.1    Je’Mari Luper
24.6    Brandon Shed
24.7    Russell Gage
24.7    DJ Chark
24.8    Davon Grayson
24.9    Adonis Jennings
25.0    Cedrick Wilson
25.0    Marquez Valdes-Scantling
25.4    Jeff Badet
25.7    Jaleel Scott
26.0    Bryce Bobo
26.1    Marcell Ateman
26.2    Tre'Quan Smith
26.2    Michael Gallup
26.3    Dontez Byrd
26.3    Austin Proehl
26.4    J'Mon Moore
26.4    Braxton Berrios
26.4    Jake Wieneke
26.5    Byron Pringle

Byron Pringle gets the biggest boost - he weighed in 9 pounds heavier than estimated by nfldraftscout, and is basically clear of the flag area at 26.5 rather than down at 25.2 BMI. Cedrick Wilson actually weighed in 11 pounds higher than nfldraftscout had estimated (at 194 instead of 183) but is still only at a 25.0 BMI. DJ Chark and Michael Gallup measured up about as expected; Chark will benefit a lot in my eyes if he runs a great 40.

Updating the WR BMI watch, here are all the WRs at the combine with a BMI below 26.5:

23.6    Tavares Martin, Jr.
24.9    Dante Pettis
25.0    DJ Chark
25.1    Marquez Valdes-Scantling
25.1    Cedrick Wilson
25.3    Calvin Ridley
25.4    Darren Carrington II
25.4    Robert Foster
25.5    Deontay Burnett
25.5    Equanimeous St. Brown
25.6    Chris Lacy
25.9    Marcell Ateman
26.0    Jaleel Scott
26.0    Deon Cain
26.1    J'Mon Moore
26.2    Keke Coutee
26.2    Richie James
26.4    Davon Grayson
26.4    Cam Phillips

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Post-combine WR rankings:

DJ Moore    Maryland
James Washington    Okla St
Tre'Quan Smith    UCF
Jordan Lasley    UCLA
DJ Chark    LSU
Courtland Sutton    SMU
    
Anthony Miller    Memphis
Cedrick Wilson    Boise St
Equanimeous St. Brown    Notre Dame
Darren Carrington II    Utah
Keke Coutee    Texas Tech
Marcell Ateman    Okla St
Michael Gallup    CSU
    
Jester Weah    Pittsburgh
Thomas Owens    FIU
Byron Pringle    Kansas St
J'Mon Moore    Missouri

 

The WR class is looking stronger after the combine than it was before; there are now 6 guys in the top tier instead of just Washington & Lasley.

DJ Moore and Tre'Quan Smith both had strong production, but it wasn't clear if they had NFL caliber size & athleticism to go with it. They both had great combines, showing tons of explosiveness on the jumps. DJ Moore also represented one of nfldraftscout's biggest prediction errors - they estimated him at as a tiny 5'9.75", but he measured up at an averageish 6'0". So they both jump up into this top tier after previously appearing farther down my rankings.

James Washington fell back to the pack with a mediocre showing at the combine, including a 4.54 forty when nfldraftscout thought he had 4.45 speed and unimpressive jumps. That pulled him back to the pack, with a bit of an assist from his shrinking arms. Jordan Lasley also had mediocre combine numbers, including a lousy 9'4" broad jump, but those were closer to predictions so he didn't move much. They are both still in the top back thanks to their huge production numbers.

DJ Chark: I previously said "Chark was one of the more effective deep threats in college football this year, with 8 40+ yard receptions and 12.9 yards per target. He made 3 out of the 4 WR leaderboards that I posted. I'll be on board if he has the sub-4.4 speed to match the role." With a 4.34 forty and great jumps, Chark jumps into the top pack despite being on the thin side.

Courtland Sutton is sort of between tiers; he gets a bit of a boost from above average jumps and a 4.54 forty which was a bit faster than expected. Decent athleticism given his size of 6'3.4" and 218 lbs.

The next tier of guys rate more as "rd 3 of the NFL draft" types, although Anthony Miller still has a shot at joining the top tier with a good pro day (he skipped the combine drills as he's recovering from a foot injury). And if you love size then maybe St. Brown (6'4.5") and Ateman (6'4.75") have a case for going sooner, though they're already getting a boost in my ratings because of their size.

Edited by ZWK
removed James Gardner from tier 3 - he didn't declare for the draft
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I've been relatively pessimistic about Calvin Ridley based on his unimpressive production, and things look even worse for him after his unimpressive combine.

His 4.43 forty was good, but that was the only bright spot. His lousy vertical and broad jump raise questions about his explosiveness. And he weighed in undersized at 6'0.5", 189 pounds, with a 25.3 BMI. Since 2007, only 2 of the 43 first round receivers had a lower BMI, and they were Ted Ginn and Will Fuller - those two haven't had great NFL results (so far) and they both had blazing speed. Only 2 others had BMI below 25.9, Anthony Gonzalez and AJ Jenkins. Plus Ridley is relatively old for an incoming NFL rookie. Warts all over his profile.

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The top 12 RB/WRs in this class, by my formulas, are:

RB: Saquon Barkley, Nick Chubb, Rashaad Penny, Royce Freeman, Ronald Jones, Kerryon Johnson
WR: DJ Moore, James Washington, Tre'Quan Smith, Jordan Lasley, DJ Chark, Courtland Sutton

Derrius Guice should probably also be in here; it would be a top 13 with him included if I also let myself use a small amount of judgment about things that the formulas seemed to be getting wrong (in Guice's case, punishing him too much for a down 2017 after an excellent 2016).

Saquon Barkley is the clear and obvious #1, as the highest-rated RB by my formulas since I started doing this in 2013. And he'd probably rate highest going back much further than that, based on his ridiculously good size + athleticism combo along with his strong production (including great numbers in the receiving game). Pretty much everyone agrees, so my formulas seem to be picking up on the same things as everyone else.

Nick Chubb should probably be #2, even if we downgrade him a bit from his formula rating to avoid giving him too much credit for his pre-injury numbers.

After that it gets trickier to rank them, especially in PPR leagues. Penny is the next-highest-rated RB, but he didn't do much in the receiving game and there are questions about his pass blocking and receiving; in addition to that (or because of it) he is generally ranked by experts as a later pick. So maybe Freeman, especially if we buy that his 26/348/2 receiving line in 2015 is a sign of his ability to contribute in the receiving game as a pro, though experts don't rank him that highly either. Jones, Johnson, and Guice haven't done a whole lot in the receiving game either, plus Jones & Johnson don't have combine 40 times (so they're included here based on a guess at their speed / pending pro day runs) while Guice is trailing this group in my numbers.

And the WRs rate pretty well but not spectacularly by my formulas. None of them rate within the top 35 WR prospects since the 2006 draft class; Moore rates about as well as the 3rd or 4th highest-rated WR prospect in a typical draft class. Plus experts' rankings are pretty different from what my formulas say.

So for picks 3-13 I'm going to wind up deferring to the NFL draft order a fair amount; I could imaging ranking these 11 guys (after Barkley & Chubb) in pretty much any order. And other guys outside of this group could make it into my final post-draft top 12 based on the NFL draft order, although I am unlikely to end up drafting guys like Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, and Sony Michel at their market price.

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4 hours ago, ZWK said:

I've been relatively pessimistic about Calvin Ridley based on his unimpressive production, and things look even worse for him after his unimpressive combine.

His 4.43 forty was good, but that was the only bright spot. His lousy vertical and broad jump raise questions about his explosiveness. And he weighed in undersized at 6'0.5", 189 pounds, with a 25.3 BMI. Since 2007, only 2 of the 43 first round receivers had a lower BMI, and they were Ted Ginn and Will Fuller - those two haven't had great NFL results (so far) and they both had blazing speed. Only 2 others had BMI below 25.9, Anthony Gonzalez and AJ Jenkins. Plus Ridley is relatively old for an incoming NFL rookie. Warts all over his profile.

This seems like a Mike Williams situation from last year.  All your formulas had him rated low but for some reason he got drafted top 10 in the NFL draft.  So far it looks like he's a bust.  Have a feeling some NFL team is going to draft Ridley high as well despite his horrendous profile.

I didn't like M.Williams last year...especially after seeing your rankings.  Got sucked into drafting him based on how high he went in the NFL draft.  Never again.  Some other sucker can draft Ridley.

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On 10/16/2017 at 11:12 PM, Just Win Baby said:

Wanted to mention 2 NC State players.

RB Nyheim Hines (JR):

  • 2017: 116/648/6 (5.59 ypc) rushing, 16/89/0 receiving, 7/137/1 punt returns, 16/375/0 kickoff returns
  • Career TDs: rushing (7), receiving (1), kickoff returns (2), punt return (1) - read: versatile
  • Played WR in first 2 seasons, career average of 11.0 ypr - perhaps has a future as a pass catching RB in NFL
  • 2016 All-American as the leadoff leg for the 4x100m relay squad (outdoors) that won the ACC title - read: speed

Those accomplishments are in spite of sharing the backfield with all purpose player Jaylen Samuels (SR):

  • 2017: 31/191/7 (6.2 ypc) rushing, 54/453/3 (8.4 ypr) receiving, 1/2 for 25 yards passing
  • Career TDs: rushing (23), receiving (18), passing (1)
  • Career averages: 6.6 ypc, 9.5 ypr
  • Preseason 2nd team All American and 1st team All ACC at "All Purpose" position; has also been listed at RB and TE in career

Probably a long shot for either of these players to make an impact in the NFL, but both are playing great right now for a top 20 team. :wolf: 

 

Good call here. Both of these NC State guys are looking fairly intriguing now. Hines with his 4.38 forty, Samuels with a solid combine too while weighing in at a good HB size. They still seem to have an uphill battle to fantasy relevance, but they both made my top 15 RB prospects.

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10 hours ago, ILUVBEER99 said:

This seems like a Mike Williams situation from last year.  All your formulas had him rated low but for some reason he got drafted top 10 in the NFL draft.  So far it looks like he's a bust.  Have a feeling some NFL team is going to draft Ridley high as well despite his horrendous profile.

I didn't like M.Williams last year...especially after seeing your rankings.  Got sucked into drafting him based on how high he went in the NFL draft.  Never again.  Some other sucker can draft Ridley.

Well in fairness to Mike Williams, and you, he was hurt all year with real injuries. 

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I was pretty down on Mike Williams, and I like Calvin Ridley less. Williams's best two seasons were each a bit more productive than Ridley's best season, Williams's overall size/athleticism combo seems better than Ridley's, and Williams entered the draft almost a year younger than Ridley.

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Ourlads data on QB passing velocity at the combine. Short version: Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, and Josh Rosen threw with plenty of speed. Flags on Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph for not getting much zip on the ball. Flag on Sam Darnold for not throwing at the combine.

62    Josh Allen
60    Baker Mayfield
59    Josh Rosen
57    Tanner Lee
56    Kurt Benkert
56    Danny Etling
55    Chase Litton
55    Nic Shimonek
55    Mike White
54    Austin Allen
54    Riley Ferguson
52    JT Barrett
52    Luke Falk
52    Kyle Lauletta
52    Mason Rudolph
52    Logan Woodside
49    Quinton Flowers
49    Lamar Jackson
DNT    Sam Darnold

Generally I think of 55 mph as a rough cutoff for reasonably good arm strength, although last year Deshaun Watson also threw at 49 mph and he had a great start to his NFL career so maybe this isn't essential (at least for QBs who are good runners). See also previous discussion from my threads in 2017, 2016, and 2015.

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Here is how my formulas rate this year's TE class:

Mike Gesicki

Mark Andrews
Ian Thomas
Tyler Conklin
Jaylen Samuels

Hayden Hurst

everyone else at the combine

 

Mike Gesicki blew up the combine, with a 4.54 forty and similarly impressive numbers on the vertical, broad jump, and 3 cone drill. Nowhere close to Vernon Davis numbers, but in contention for the second-best TE combine on record. Add in his solid production at Penn State, and I have him rated as the 5th best TE prospect since 2006, behind Vernon Davis, Evan Engram, Ladarius Green, and Coby Fleener.

Mark Andrews had strong production at Oklahoma and a middle-of-the-road combine, with a nice 40 time but mediocre numbers in the other drills. He has a bit of a gap on the rest of his tier, though not nearly as big as the gap between Gesicki and Andrews.

Ian Thomas, Tyler Conklin, and Jaylen Samuels each came in above average in terms of both production and size/athleticism. Though Samuels is RB-sized rather than TE-sized and my formulas probably aren't penalizing him enough for that; I'm more optimistic about his prospects as a RB than as a TE. Hayden Hurst is a step back from those 3 because he had worse college production.

Dallas Goedert is not included since he went to a non-FBS school and didn't do anything besides the bench at the combine, though he did have big numbers for the Jackrabbits (including 92/1293/11 in 13 games in 2016). He's supposed to work out at his March 30 pro day.

Chris Herndon IV, Jordan Akins, and Troy Fumagalli also got combine invites but didn't work out.

Modifying the rankings a bit to account for what I think my formulas are missing, I'd subjectively divide these guys into three tiers: excited about Gesicki, on board with Andrews, Thomas, Conklin, and Goedert insofar as NFL teams like them, and can't rule out Samuels, Hurst, Herndon, Akins, or Fumagalli. Not much interest in the other guys.

Edited by ZWK
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Sony Michel comes in at RB11 in my ratings. Decent size, average 40 time, skipped the vertical & broad jump. He has consistently been his team's #2 RB as long as Chubb was on the field, even when Chubb was at less than 100%. Averageish career efficiency stats, although he did have very good rushing efficiency this season. Older than most RBs entering the draft - about 1 year older than Chubb, Penny, and Freeman, about 2 years older than Barkley, Guice, RJones, and KJohnson, which makes his strong senior season less impressive.

Decent profile on the whole but it doesn't look like anything special. If scouts who have watched him on tape like him more then I'll bump him up some but it doesn't matter much since someone else is going to take him before me.

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45 minutes ago, ZWK said:

Sony Michel comes in at RB11 in my ratings. Decent size, average 40 time, skipped the vertical & broad jump. He has consistently been his team's #2 RB as long as Chubb was on the field, even when Chubb was at less than 100%. Averageish career efficiency stats, although he did have very good rushing efficiency this season. Older than most RBs entering the draft - about 1 year older than Chubb, Penny, and Freeman, about 2 years older than Barkley, Guice, RJones, and KJohnson, which makes his strong senior season less impressive.

Decent profile on the whole but it doesn't look like anything special. If scouts who have watched him on tape like him more then I'll bump him up some but it doesn't matter much since someone else is going to take him before me.

@Joe Bryant   Hire this guy. 

Just let him keep doing his own thing on the message boards but he already does very thorough/thoughtful rankings that could be added to the site's rookie and dynasty rankings. 

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ZWK, like others I really appreciate that you share your rankings and thinking regarding the rookies. That said, it fell like you may be over emphasizing the combine numbers at the expense of production. I always wonder where Jerry Rice would be ranked using your metrics. He ran a 4.71 40. Sure he is just one example, but it shows where you methodology may be lacking. I am guessing someone in previous year rankings, but can you explain how much weight you put on the numbers from the combine/pro days as opposed to production?

Keep on doing your thing. It is much appreciated!

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50 minutes ago, 32 Counter Pass said:

ZWK, like others I really appreciate that you share your rankings and thinking regarding the rookies. That said, it fell like you may be over emphasizing the combine numbers at the expense of production. I always wonder where Jerry Rice would be ranked using your metrics. He ran a 4.71 40. Sure he is just one example, but it shows where you methodology may be lacking. I am guessing someone in previous year rankings, but can you explain how much weight you put on the numbers from the combine/pro days as opposed to production?

Keep on doing your thing. It is much appreciated!

With wide receivers production comes first - guys without good production cannot rate highly overall by my formulas, and guys with amazing production are pretty much guaranteed to have at least a decent overall rating. If you look through the early round WRs to see which ones my formulas disliked, for example, they're generally guys who had mediocre college production and great size (Clemson Mike Williams, Laquon Treadwell) or great athleticism (Darrius Heyward-Bey, Cordarrelle Patterson). In this draft class, the top 5 in career production all make the top 2 tiers in my overall rankings and the top 15 in career production all make the top 3 tiers. James Washington, who is #1 in production but had a middle-of-the-road combine, ranks #2 overall just barely behind DJ Moore (#8 in production with a great combine). There is in fact a trend where WRs who turn out to be successful in the NFL tend to be ones who did better at combine drills.

I do put more weight on combine performance for RBs & TEs; for RBs it gets the largest share of the weight and for TEs athleticism+size gets weighted about as much as production. This is based on the track record of guys like David Johnson and Jimmy Graham turning into NFL stars while guys like Ka'Deem Carey didn't do much.

Here is an overall summary of what sources of info I use for each position, modified slightly from this old post:

Quote

RB ratings are mostly based on (in order of importance):
Athleticism: 40 time, vertical, broad jump, and to a lesser extent other drills
Size: weight, and to a lesser extent BMI (low is bad) & height (tall is bad)
Production: long runs, short yardage/goalline success rate, receiving, and other stats
Elusiveness: yards after contact & broken tackles
Age & Workload: younger is better, non-RB1 workload is negative

WR ratings are mostly based on (in order of importance):
Production: TDs, yards per team pass attempt, long receptions, yards per target, and other stats
Athleticism: 40 time, vertical, broad jump
Size: height, BMI, weight, arm length
Advanced Stats: success rate (Harmon's Reception Perception), drop rate, capped yards after catch, and others

TE ratings are mostly based on (in order of importance):
Production: touchdowns, long receptions, yards per target, and other stats
Athleticism: 40 time, jumps, agility drills, bench
Size: height, weight, BMI (bigger is better)

About Jerry Rice: workouts in 1985 are different from the combine today. For one thing, players back then didn't train as much for the drills - Rice might've had bad technique at starting a sprint on a track; nowadays pretty much every WR puts in some work on that (or if they don't then that's a flag on their work ethic). For another thing, measurements back then were less precise - it was people with stopwatches, which introduced more errors (that probably explains Bo Jackson's "4.12", and errors happen in both directions). Also, the times that we hear from workouts of yore are spread like gossip through word of mouth rather than recorded for every player using the same systematic procedure - different sources claim different times for Rice; I'm inclined to treat 4.59 as the most plausible number for him.

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I can't accept Sony being ranked 11th in your ranking, @ZWK

I LOOOOVE your work, and I use it for all my dynasty drafts and will continue doing so. But in Sony's case, one has to imagine splitting time was a major factor in his ranking, but then Chubb is sky high.

Sony came on hot later in the year, but he's always been good. I loved watching him play.

Ugh. Im torn.

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2 hours ago, Soulfly3 said:

I can't accept Sony being ranked 11th in your ranking, @ZWK

I LOOOOVE your work, and I use it for all my dynasty drafts and will continue doing so. But in Sony's case, one has to imagine splitting time was a major factor in his ranking, but then Chubb is sky high.

Sony came on hot later in the year, but he's always been good. I loved watching him play.

Ugh. Im torn.

I agree.

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Sony Michel 2017: 156 / 1227 / 7.9 / 16

Missed one game, off memory against Samford, that likely would've been an addition hundo yds and a TD (Chubb went off in his absence)

The only knock on Sony this season, was the inexplicable lack of receptions. 26 and 22 in past 2 seasons, only 9 this season (4 of which came in the Rose Bowl).

Man can definitely catch, so no idea what that was about.

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