Second Round Stats: Welcome

Posted on February 1, 2013

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Football, rather uniquely among sports, is one that is difficult to break down into statistics. Stats have emerged in both basketball and baseball as a force to be reckoned with as GMs and coaches use them to build better teams. Football is harder to look at. When you have 22 players running around at the same time, all with totally different job responsibilities, how do you really quantify that?

There are some excellent stats striving to achieve that. The people at Football Outsiders compare a player’s production to the league average and replacements, among other such statistics. ProFootballFocus grades each snap to create a composite grade. Other sites adapt Sabremetrics stats like Win Probability Added that focus on the outcome of a play relative to other similar plays. Most of these focus on the outcome of a play and more importantly they all focus on players already in the NFL.

I love the NFL Draft, and as weird as it sounds, I find it more entertaining than the actual NFL season. What I’ve gone about doing for the past 2-3 years is trying to break down what happens inside of a play through watching film and recording everything about the play. For quarterbacks, I look at where the pass was caught and if it wasn’t caught, why? I find the yards after the catch for wide receivers and count the different types of pass rushing moves we see from defensive ends. At the end, there isn’t a set number to tell you that this player is better than that player. While that would be nice, I don’t think that’s going to tell us much in the draft evaluation process where almost nothing can be standardized.

Instead, I’ve been looking at all of these attributes and trying to see which ones are most important and how these players can translate them to the NFL. That’s what I’m going to do here. You’ll find “statistical scouting reports” which will tell you what a player was good at in college and for the most part, I’ll let you decide what’s important and what you might value in a quarterback or wide receiver. None of it is complicated, it’s just a lot of data. If you have the patience and interest, you’ll know exponentially more than you did before reading the posts.

To the best of my knowledge, there’s no place you can find this data, because it’s mostly a pain to collect. It requires watching every snap of a player and marking down what happens. Throughout the few years I’ve done this, I’ve always found the results to be fascinating. I hope you can too.

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