Editor’s Note: Money in the Banana Stand focuses on the NFL during football season, but it’s never too early to start looking at the 2013 Draft. In order to give you a sneak peak at the WR position, we’re bringing you an early look by a true college football expert, Jon Moore. I first heard from Jon after posting about the Dominator Rating and Height-adjusted Speed Score for 2012 Draft prospects. Although we employ slightly different models, both of us believe in the use of two central concepts: market share of receiver production over raw numbers and a 40 score that incorporates height and weight elements. Jon’s current methodology results in a wide receiver projection system with an r^2 value near .5, an incredibly high number for this type of project. We won’t have the athletic variables until after the Combine – so this is only the earliest iteration of the rankings – but it’s never too early to look at how players are performing on the field. I give you the College Football Experiment’s mid-season look at the wide receiver position with numbers through Nov. 8.
The 2012 College Football season has reached November, which means it’s time to start zeroing in on the top performers. Most teams have at least three games left (plus conference championship and bowl games) so you still have plenty of time to scout these players for yourself before NFL Draft season gets here. It’s easy to watch highlight reels and get excited; it’s another to watch games as they’re unfolding to see who stands out in the moment.
College offenses are very diverse. Some will throw for 40 touchdowns over a season, some will throw for 20. We must keep things in perspective relative to the offense in which the player exists. In evaluating college wide receivers, we need to see which players achieve a ‘hurdle rate’ of production within the context of their offense. For us, we want them to have accounted for about 30% of their teams receiving yards and about 30% of their teams touchdowns. Add them together, that gives you 60%, or just 60, for the sake of simple numbers. We’ll call this their ‘productivity grade.’ 60 is the hurdle. Higher numbers are better.
Next, we want to see a player that has continually gotten better within the context over their offense across two season, but preferably three. THIS is where ‘upside’ is relevant. To see a players production level off over their final two college seasons is to assume they’ve hit their ceiling. To see their numbers continue to grow means that they’re evolving. Evolution is good.
Finally, we will check a player’s performance within the context of their program and their conference. If a player meets the above requirements and is also historically dominant within the context of his school or his conference, we might be onto something.
1) Terrance Williams, SR, Baylor (6’2” 205lbs)
Draftability Comparison: Justin Blackmon, Mohamed Sanu
81 productivity grade
#1 in last decade of Baylor
#14 in last decade of Big12
Improved in 8 of 9 metrics from 2011 to 2012
Williams might be the most dominant wide out in college football this year. He has at least 130 receiving yards in every game but one. Consider his averages: 8.9 catches–167 yards–1.25 TDs. To find some historical Big 12 comparisons, one would have to look at Dez Bryant, Danario Alexander, and Justin Blackmon. Don’t believe me? See for yourself when Baylor faces Kansas State next week. Continue reading Early Look 2013 Draft – WR Rankings
As is the case with the QB and RB rankings, these reality rankings are a combination of eyeball evaluations and my work with the advanced stats at PFF. Since power rankings are pretty self-explanatory, I’ll just mention that the Strength of Schedule evaluation is based on prior schedule not future opponents.
Mike Holmgren Divison: Beyond Befuddlement
32. Kansas City Chiefs 1-7 SOS: Very Easy
K.C. plays three more very easy games, so keeping the current clowns in place is the next best thing to actively tanking games (although short of only fielding 10 players, it would be impossible to differentiate blatant tanking from what Kansas City is currently doing).
31. Jacksonville Jaguars 1-8 SOS: Difficult
Gene Smith has assembled a team that is just below average at every position. Although Kansas City is more embarrassing, Jacksonville is going to be harder to fix.
30. San Diego Chargers 4-4 SOS: Very Easy
San Diego only has four wins because they’ve beaten KC twice, Oakland, and Tennessee. A sign displayed late in last week’s game summed up the situation perfect. It read simply, “I’m Norvous.” Continue reading The Contrarian – Mid-Season NFL Power Rankings
This is Part 2 in our series taking a Contrarian look at where offensive skill players rank in reality. They are mid-season 2012 rankings meant to reflect where the back is right now. The rankings combine deep analysis of the PFF signature stats with my own eyeball evaluations. Unlike most pundits – and many scouts – I’ve watched every game played so far this season. Part One looks at QBs.
1. Jamaal Charles – Ignore what’s going on with the current Chiefs and their historically inept coaching staff/general manager. Everything you need to know about Charles can be summed up in his section of this JL3 piece from earlier in the year.
2. C.J. Spiller – Spiller was absolutely dominating the NFL running back scene when I wrote my first month recap for Advanced Touches. He currently leads the NFL in both Elusive Rating – because he leads in after contact yards by more than a yard per carry – and Breakaway Percentage. Spiller is essentially a thicker and more powerful version of the back that Chris Johnson was in 2009.
3. Ray Rice – Rice is averaging 2.3 Vision Yards per carry and makes his offensive line look much better than it is. While not as explosive as the top two, he’s broken a bevy of long runs the past two seasons. The most well-rounded back in the NFL, Rice is the biggest RB threat in the passing game outside of Darren Sproles. He’s caught 78, 63, and 76 passes over the last three seasons.
4. Doug Martin – The rookie struggled early but has been on fire as of late and is up to 8th in EPA/P. With 224 receiving yards, he ranks third among backs in that category. Like the three players above him, he’s a three down back who excels in all facets. I take a closer look in Advanced Targets – Week 8.
5. LeSean McCoy – This has been an undeniably down season for McCoy. His yards per touch are in the Marshawn Lynch impotency range. Still, he was too electric in 2010 and 2011 to stay down for long. While far short of the Barry Sanders level, his lateral explosiveness is unparalleled among active backs, and like the other backs mentioned so far, McCoy is a threat in the open field, in the pass game, and around the goal line. At 24 years of age, he’s barely older than a few of the rookies. Continue reading The Reality Rankings: RB