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2014 NFL Combine: A Metrics Odyssey…Results, Winners, Losers

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You’re a smart person who sees through the media story lines, right?

Ok, good, because what you’re about to read is probably the quickest, dirtiest, most necessary article you’ll read about the 2014 NFL Combine as it pertains to all forms of Fantasy Football.  Regardless of what Twitter says about Sammy Watkins‘ beastliness or Ka’Deem Carey‘s itdoesntmatterness or Dri Archer‘s overlookedness… these are the results to care about.

If you read the precursor to this– The Thinking Man’s Guide to 40 times at the 2014 NFL Combine— you’ll know that numbers aren’t always what they seem (for better and worse).  Case in point:  Tevin Reese‘s 4-point-whatever is totally irrelevant and Allen Robinson‘s 4.6 is pretty respectable.  Below I have sliced and diced the pass catchers and runners in a way that can help you focus your attention on the prospects that actually do matter.

The Pass Catchers

I am lumping Wide Receivers and Tight Ends together for this exercise.  Why?  Because, thanks to Jimmy Graham, the lines are being blurred between what it means to be a wide receiver or an in-line tight end.  The prime examples from 2014 are Eric EbronKelvin Benjamin and Jace Amaro.  At the end of the day, we can all agree that the bigger, the taller and the faster a player is, the more likely they are to be useful.  Oh and being younger probably helps too.

In the Thinking Mans Guide you were given some numbers to follow as you watched the Combine to see if a player fell within his respectable Height Adjusted Speed Score range (HaSS).  Well, here are the actual results in a usable format.  If you want to talk more about HaSS, tweet at Shawn Siegele.

Note that Explosion Score was introduced last year and was furthered in the unified theory of athleticism.  It’s the sum of broad jump and vertical jump.  This is more relavent in the pursuit of a true #1 WR.

Agility score, which Shawn Siegele developed herechampioned here and then used to win $200,000 is a combination of 3cone and 20shuttle times.  This is typically applied to RBs, but can be useful in finding slot WR types.  Lower is better.

*Feel free to sort this table, but know that it might take a few clicks to get things back in place after sorting*

NameCollegeHtWt40 OfficialBenchExplosionAgility
HaSS
Leonard, A.C.Tennessee State74.3752524.5201500125.02
Moncrief, DonteOle Miss74.3752214.413171.511.32120.00
Dobson, Aaron*Marshall74.752104.371615611.52118.11
Ebron, EricNorth Carolina76.3752504.6241520118.08
Janis, JeffSaginaw Valley State74.8752194.4220160.510.62117.96
Evans, MikeTexas A&M76.752314.53123711.34116.98
Enunwa, QuincyNebraska742254.451900115.87
Bryant, MartavisClemson75.752114.421616311.33115.69
Eifert, Tyler*Notre Dame77.52504.6522154.511.24115.52
Benjamin, KelvinFlorida State772404.6113151.511.72113.75
Coleman, BrandonRutgers782254.562132.511.84113.72
Amaro, JaceTexas Tech77.3752654.742815111.72112.97
Lyerla, ColtOregon75.8752424.61151550112.19
Fiedorowicz, C.J.Iowa77.52654.7625147.511.36111.32
Matthews, JordanVanderbilt75.1252124.4621155.511.13110.67
Watkins, SammyClemson72.752114.431616011.29107.89
Washington, L'DamianMissouri75.751954.46814711.54103.09
Fowler, BennieMichigan State732174.5216211.24102.92
Hopkins, DeAndre*Clemson732144.511515111.33102.4
Lucas, MarcusMissouri762184.62016011.32102.21
Evans, ShaqUCLA732134.5113156.511.28101.92
Lynch, ArthurGeorgia76.6252584.8228145.511.73101.30
Jensen, MarcelFresno State77.752594.852415011.98101.27
Robinson, AllenPenn State74.6252204.616611100.41
Hoffman, CodyBYU75.8752234.6513135.511.0999.83
Cooks, BrandinOregon State69.751894.331615610.5799.58
Burton, TreyFlorida74.1252244.6214211.4699.50
Norwood, KevinAlabama741984.4881541199.26
Gillmore, CrockettColorado State77.8752604.89153.511.8698.54
Beckham, OdellLSU71.251984.437160.510.6398.26
Adams, DavanteFrseno State72.8752124.5614162.511.1296.84
Wilson, AlbertGeorgia State69.3752024.4310160.511.2196.58
Denham, AnthonyUtah76.52354.7732.5096.03
Rodgers, RichardCalifornia762574.8716147.511.795.65
Hazel, MattCoastal Carolina731984.515154.511.2895.58
Huff, JoshOregon71.252064.5114151.5095.24
Jordan, ReggieMissouri Western74.8752404.772414611.5295.11
Street, DevinPittsburgh74.8751984.5516110.994.89
Abbrederis, JaredWisconsin731954.54147.510.8894.14
Brown, JohnPittsburg State (KS)701794.34155.511.0393.93
Najvar, JordanBaylor77.8752564.9318144.511.6193.85
Ellington, BruceSouth Carolina69.3751974.4515159.510.6492.55
Hurns, AllenMiami(FL)73.251984.551415111.7391.91
Richardson, PaulColorado72.3751754.41627.0991.25
Jones, T.J.Notre Dame71.6251884.4815211.0989.90
Campanaro, MichaelWake Forest69.3751924.462016110.7889.41
Lee, MarqiseUSC71.751924.521654.0188.86
Herron, RobertWyoming69.1251934.4818160.511.1187.88
Pedersen, JacobWisconsin75.52384.89139.511.9586.33
Boyd, ChrisVanderbilt762064.73120086.28
Copeland, DamianLouisville711844.51216010.4385.40
Grant, RyanTulane72.3751994.648154.510.7984.00
Franklin, AustinNew Mexico State711894.56716011.483.25
Brown, CoreyOhio State71.3751784.5114911.3882.49
Snead, WillieBall State711954.6211146.511.5881.56
Burse, IsaiahFresno State70.3751884.581614610.6880.41
Gallon, JeremyMichigan671854.49150080.14
Powell, WaltMurray State71.3751894.6310151.510.9378.94
Reese, TevinBaylor70.51634.4617310.8177.60
Saunders, JalenOklahoma68.8751634.44156076.49
Landry, JarvisLSU71.52054.7712138.5076.28
Stewart, JoshOklahoma State69.8751784.691115211.4368.69
Tialavea, D.J.Utah State7526700
Blanchflower, RobUMass76256000
Duncan, Joe DonDixie State7526835000
Grimble, XavierUSC76257139.500
Colter, KainNorthwestern70198000
Murphy, JakeUtah762492414711.45
Seferian-Jenkins, AustinWashington772622000
Niklas, TroyNotre Dame782702714612.120
Latimer, CodyIndiana7421523000
Davis, MikeTexas7219710000
Jacobs, NicMcNeese State7726915000

Winners

Donte Moncrief — If you read The RotoViz Skeleton Key, you would know that Moncrief was an 18 year old breakout, which bodes well for his future ability to contribute.  He’s in the 170 club with the freakish Charles Johnson but has an SEC pedigree, rather than an FCS one.   The fact that he is a bigger, more explosive, more agile version of Aaron Dobson is pretty terrifying.   Oh and did you know he is the 4th youngest receiver in the 2014 Draft?  Buy Buy Buy!

Jeff Janis — Matthew Freedman recently said that Janis is the frontrunner to be the first non-FBS WR selected in the 2014 Draft.  The fact that he dominated the agility, explosion, bench and HaSS metrics make that a foregone conclusion, I think.

Mike Evans — Davis Mattek was worried about Mike Evans and whether he would run a 4.55.  He beat that target and posted excellent agility numbers for a man his size.  All systems are go with Evans.

Quincy Enunwa — I’m hoping you may have skipped ahead to the running backs by now.  Enunwa looked spectacular on his 40 run, especially considering his 225lb frame.  He pulled his hammy on his second run and didn’t do any other drills.  The HaSS score is fascinating, but, thankfully, the injury will keep the buzz quiet, for now.  Did I mention he posted a 62% redzone TD rate this year?

*Conduct your own research using the Wide Receiver Career Graph app.*

Brandin Cooks — Shawn Siegele hypothesized that Cooks needed to run 4.34 or better to remain relevant, which he did (WOW!).  After passing that test, he set agility score records while also being fantastically strong.  Bonus points for being the youngest receiver in the 2014 NFL Draft and becoming the youngest receiver drafted since before 2006.

Sammy Watkins — Watkins did what he needed to, but is by no means, athletically, a beast.  His numbers were marginally better than DeAndre Hopkins last year, who some questioned if he was athletic enough to be a #1 WR.  I like Watkins and he had a nice Combine, but let’s stop acting like he’s from another planet than DeAndre Hopkins.  Speaking of the devil…

Bennie Fowler / Shaquelle Evans — If you look at their workout numbers, they look A LOT like “indisputable disappointment DeAndre Hopkins.  If you look at their performance with the WR Career Graph app, you can see that their on field production doesn’t add up.  Interesting names though.

Allen Robinson — Robinson’s 40 time was acceptable, but all of his other workouts were FANTASTIC!  His overall physical profile is nearly identical to Dez Bryant and his production was almost as good.  The only difference is the suspension and the un-sexiness of the B1G Ten.

Losers

Chris Boyd — I thought maybe…possibly…Boyd was the biggest sleeper in the 2014 NFL Draft.  His results (and exit) were a massive disappointment.

Cody Hoffman — Big dude.  Nice breakout age.  Horrible explosion numbers.  The great agility number and respectable HaSS keep him as a possession receiver candidate, but nothing more.

Jarvis Landry — From a production perspective, Landry could be an elite small receiver.  From a workout-performance perspective, that seems like a remote possibility.

Allen Hurns — His final season production and all-star game performance led me to believe that he might be a hidden gem.  Athletically, there is almost no chance this happens.

A quick rant on the importance of the biggest day of your life

Imagine it’s your senior year of college.  You go to career fair, line up a handful of interviews for November and feel great about yourself.  Then, come interview time, you show up to your interview in jeans and a tank top or, worse, you don’t show up at all.  When the employer contacts you to find out what happened they receive an automated response informing them that you (or your brain) “are on vacation for November and December, but will be back in touch in January,” do you think you would EVER get another shot?  No.  Absolutely not.

Why does it happen at the NFL Combine?  Why are Terrance West, Isaiah CrowellTre MasonJeremy HillCarlos HydeLache SeastrunkStorm JohnsonDavid FluellenKapri BibbsSilas ReddAdam Muema and DeAnthony Thomas doing that EXACT SAME embarrassing thing?!?!  W.T.F?  It’s not like they got a text over the weekend like “bro, report to Indy ASAP, these rich dudes wanna see you work out”.  They’ve known about this for months.  It’s embarrassing.  And even more so for guys who declared early only to pass up on their chance to make a splash.  UGH!

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming…

The Running Backs

Confession: I really don’t care that much about running backs until now.  I’m not especially savvy on this position, but thanks to the great work of other RotoVizians, I know what to look for.  Weight and Agility are at the top of that list.  Explosion score can be useful too.  nQBDR is sneaky-awesome too, but I’ll wait for Matt the Oracle to calculate those.  Here you have the raw data that you need to start focusing your attention on who does and doesn’t matter.  At least until pro-day data starts rolling in, this is your reference point for finding studs.

Note that Weight Adjusted Agility Score was made by creating z-scores for both weight and agility and then dividing those indexes by each other.  This isn’t a metric I’ve backtested, this is just an easy way to sort players so that you can look at them in order of their Agility Scores relative to their weight.

NameCollegeHtWt40 OfficialBenchExplosionAgilitySpeed ScoreWt Adj. Agility Index
Sankey, BishopWashington50942094.4926161.510.75102.842.58
Stacy, Zac *Vanderbilt682164.552715510.87101.262.23
Bell, Le'Veon *Michigan St732304.624149.510.99102.742.22
Gaffney, TylerStanford51142204.490152.510.96108.251.96
Taliaferro, LorenzoCoastal Carolina60022294.581815111.1104.081.81
Wilder, JamesFlorida State60252324.861815611.1683.171.74
Hewitt, RyanStanford60412464.870138.511.3987.461.62
McKinnon, JerickGeorgia Southern50872094.4132172.510.95110.511.56
Williams, AndreBoston College51132304.56016711.33106.381.36
Copeland, J.C.LSU51112714.9523139.512.2690.271.12
Bernard, Gio *UNC682024.5319155.511.0395.941.11
Cornett, TimUNLV60022094.480159.511.27103.760.96
Atkinson, GeorgeNotre Dame60132184.481915911.53108.230.89
Blue, AlfredLSU60232234.631315311.6597.050.89
Williams, DamienOklahoma51122224.4516156.511.62113.220.89
Sims, CharlesWest Virginia51112144.4817163.511.46106.250.87
Andrews, AntonioWestern Kentucky51012254.8220135.511.7383.370.86
White, JamesWisconsin50912044.572314611.2593.530.86
Freeman, DevotaFlorida State50822064.580149.511.3793.630.792
Carey, Ka'DeemArizona50932074.719147.511.4684.840.74
Josey, HenryMissouri50811944.4320152.511.2100.740.65
Smith, JeromeSyracuse51102204.841415412.1380.180.60
Perkins, LaDariusMississippi State50731954.4623159.511.3898.560.54
Archer, DriKent State50731734.262016010.92105.060.15
Millard, TreyOklahoma6020247DNP019910
Grice, MarionArizona State6000208DNP019910
Hyde, CarlosOhio State51172304.6619148.59997.540
Hill, JeremyLSU60052334.6620142.59998.810
Crowell, IsaiahAlabama State51102244.572315599102.710
Thomas, De'AnthonyOregon50851744.581569984.860
Mason, TreAuburn50842074.50164.599100.960
Bibbs, KapriColorado State50932124.67241359989.140
Johnson, StormCentral Florida60002094.616153.59993.350
Seastrunk, LacheBaylor50942014.5115175.59997.160
Flanders, TimSam Houston State50852074.75201459981.320
Fluellen, DavidToledo51112244.720156.59990.260
West, TerranceTowson50922254.5416153.599105.920
Redd, SilasUSC50962124.7181599986.890
Muema, AdamSan Diego State5100202DNP019910

Winners

Bishop Sankey — If you loved agility score all-star LeVeon Bell or his sidekick Zac Stacy, you’re going to love Bishop Sankey.  Seriously, look at the chart and the similarities across the board.  If you could go back and draft the 2013 Rookie RB class over again, you’d take Bell and Stacy higher right?  Well here is your chance to make up for that.

Tyler Gaffney — More so than Stepfan Taylor, this is a Stanford running back we can get excited about.  Gaffney’s performance was spectacular, but he is going at a MAJOR DISCOUNT right now.  (Seeing him ranked between RB14 and RB30+ in different places).  I’m a tad worried that he didn’t bench, which usually translates into weaker frame, but even if he does need some more maturing, that means he’ll likely not be pressed into action this year  —> greater discount.

Lorenzo Taliaferro — Have you ever heard of this guy?  Candidly, I hadn’t until a few weeks ago.  He’s basically LeVeon Bell…who nobody has ever heard of.  Jon Bales recently said that drafting guys from non-BCS conferences is the one simple trick for identifying better rookie running backs, so maybe you should take note here.  Seriously, will you do a quick search for 2014 RB Prospect rankings and tweet at me with where he is ranked?  The person who can find the worst rank on a respectable draft site gets to be in the next RotoViz Rookie Mock Draft.

Jerick McKinnon — Another FCS wonder you’ve probably never heard of McKinnon was arguably the biggest beast in Indianapolis.  Interestingly, he actually played QB for an option offense, but the profile is unmistakably running back.  Do yourself a favor and sort this chart by WT and then compare McKinnon to KaDeem Carey.  Now do you feel me?

Keep an eye on James Wilder‘s and Andre Williams‘ pro-day results.  They’re within range, but still have more to show me.

Losers

KaDeem Carey — what a disaster.  My first thought is: “So he was a Rich Rod/Steve Slaton system-runner this whole time!”  It would be one thing if a single number was out of whack, but his whole combine stunk.  This is NOT your RB1 in rookie draft and might not even be your RB5.

Devonta Freeman — Freeman was underwhelming across the board and his decision to not bench furthers the thought that he was utterly unprepared for this event.  Don’t worry, it wasn’t the biggest day of your life or anything…we’re on your schedule, Devonta.

Antonio Andrews — props to Andrews for posting two of the best 36 all-purpose yardage seasons in NCAA history, but the story ends here.  His athletic profile simply will not cut it.


Jon Moore is a coach at RotoAcademy and creator of The College Football Experiment.  Continue this conversation with him on Twitter or Google+.

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