Browsing Posts published in April, 2017

Through the first three rounds of the NFL Draft, fans have witnessed unexpected trades, picks, and antics. We’ve been tracking each pick and have inputted the results into our analytics-based model. The model accounts for several inputs, namely weight-adjusted speed, agility, strength, and collegiate productions. Here’s a brief overview of the Top 5 drafts, by defense.

Defense:

  1. Green Bay Packers: Kevin King, CB (Pick 33), Josh Jones, FS (61), Montravious Adams, DT (93)
  2. New Orleans Saints: Marshon Lattimore, CB (11), Marcus Williams, FS (42), Alex Anzalone, OLB (76),  Trey Hendrickson, DE (103)
  3. Indianapolis Colts: Malik Hooker, FS (15), Quincy Wilson, CB (46), Tarell Basham, DE (80)
  4. Baltimore Ravens: Marlon Humphrey, CB (16), Tyus Bowser, OLB (47), Chris Wormley, DE (74), Tim Williams, OLB (78)
  5. Oakland Raiders: Gareon Conley, CB (24), Obi Melifonwu, FS (56), Eddie Vanderdoes, DE (88)

After a tough loss in the NFC Championship, the Green Bay Packers addressed their secondary by adding Kevin King and Josh Jones. King, who ranked in the 95th percentile in Speed Score and Agility Score, is arguably the best athlete in the draft. Likewise, Jones is an excellent athlete. Both King and Jones did not grab many interceptions in college, so ball skills will be a priority. Adams was the third ranked defensive tackle in a weak class, but should help generate inside pressure.

The New Orleans’ Saints has been a laughing stock, but four new additions will try to change that. Lattimore is an excellent athlete and is one of the best playmaking corners in recent memory. Alike, Williams showed his play-making ability by grabbing eight interceptions in 2016. Anzalone is a speedy outsider linebacker that graded highly as a coverage player. Hendrickson is undersized as a defensive end, but showed big time production at Florida Atlantic. Will that carry over to the NFL? That remains to me seen!

With new General Manager, Chris Ballard in tow, the Colts have gone ‘all-in’ on defense in free agency and in the draft. In the draft, the Colts’ added the best free safety in recent memory, Malik Hooker. Hooker slid in the draft due to some injury concerns, but he’s a flat out stud that ranked in the 87th percentile (or above) in Speed Score and Production Score. Joining Hooker in the secondary will be, Quincy Wilson, a playmaking corner from Florida. Wilson ranked in the 78th percentile of Speed Score and 85th percentile in Agility Score. The Colts rounded out their first three picks by taking defensive end, Tarell Basham. Basham, alike Hendrickson, is undersized, but displayed playmaking ability at Ohio University.

The Baltimore Ravens keep churning out strong draft after strong draft. Humphrey ranked in the 80th percentile of Production Score, Speed Score, and Agility Score. He’ll play immediately and Baltimore got a steal at Pick #16. Bowser ranked in the 75th percentile of Production Score, Speed Score, and Agility Score. He reminds me of Brian Cushing. Baltimore finished their first three rounds of picks by selecting Wormley and Williams. Wormley, a large, productive defensive end from Michigan, ranked in the 90th percentile for Speed Score and Agility Score. Williams, who has some off-field concerns, was a bit of a reach, but shows playmaking ability.

The Oakland Raiders round out the Top 5 with three intriguing picks. As a player, Conley, a ball-hawing corner from Ohio State, graded out as a 2nd rounder after posting a 72th percentile Speed Score and 71th percentile Production Score. Melifonwu, a 225-pound safety who can also play corner, is big, fast, and intimidating. Melifonwu ran a 4.40 40-yard dash and a 7.09 3-cone. Vanderdoes, a former 5-star recruit, ranked in the 78th percentile in Speed Score.

Through the first three rounds of the NFL Draft, fans have witnessed unexpected trades, picks, and antics. We’ve been tracking each pick and have inputted the results into our analytics-based model. The model accounts for several inputs, namely weight-adjusted speed, agility, strength, and collegiate productions. Here’s a brief overview of the Top 5 drafts, by offense and by defense.

Offense:

  1. Los Angeles Chargers: Mike Williams, WR (Pick 7), Forrest Lamp, T/G (38), Dan Feeny, G (71)
  2. Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey, RB (Pick 8), Curtis Samuel, WR (40), Taylor Moton, OT (64)
  3. Buffalo Bills: Zay Jones, WR (37), Dion Dawkins, OT (40)
  4. Cincinnati Bengals: John Ross, WR (9), Joe Mixon, RB (45)
  5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB (4), Cam Robinson, OT (34)

The Chargers added two of our highest graded offensive linemen. Of note, Lamp, who graded out as our top-ranked linemen, was selected with Pick #38. Feeny, a player who started 45 games for Indiana and displayed elite agility, will compete to start. Mike Williams did not grade out highly in our metrics and seems somewhat of a redundant talent. Rivers, however, is a great deep ball thrower and having another big target will help this offense.

The Carolina Panthers need to limit hits on Cam Newton, so they added two super-agile, speedy players. McCaffrey, the third-highest rank player on our running back model, can play all four downs. He’ll bring elite pass-catching upside to Carolina’s backfield. Samuel, who graded out as a Top 10 wide receiver, has a similar skill set to McCaffrey, but will likely be split out wide and play on special team. Moton, our sixth highest graded offense lineman, has elite athleticism and started 44 games for Western Michigan.

With Sammy Watkins’ future in jeopardy, Buffalo selected speedy slot receiver, Zay Jones. Jones, who amassed 158 catches for Buffalo last season. Jones graded out as our sixth-ranked receiver after amassing a huge catch total and displaying 4.45 speed. Dawkins, who is arguably the best value in the draft, is a large, mauling, athletic tackle in the same cut as former first rounder, D’Brickashaw Ferguson.

The Cincinnati Bengals secured our second highest-ranked wide receiver, John Ross. Blessed with 4.22 speed and impressive deep-ball tracking ability, Ross has garner comparisons to Desean Jackson. Ross and Corey Davis were the only receivers that graded out as first rounders. Joe Mixon graded out as our fifth-highest ranked running back in a stacked class, but may be the most talented back in this class.

With Tom Coughlin in fold, many were expecting Jacksonville to become a more physical team. Coughlin didn’t waste any time changing the identity of this team by drafting Fournette, our highest ranked running back and Cam Robinson. Fournette ranks in the 92nd percentile (or better) in production premium and speed score. Mauling left tackle, Cam Robinson, brings toughness and physicality to the offensive line. Robinson graded out as our second highest ranked offensive lineman after starting 42 games for Alabama and posting an elite speed score.