The Not-So-Secret Sleeper Among Edge-Rushers

There are many difficulties with performing statistical analysis on college edge-rushers. Sacks are relatively rare, which can distort results. Blockers range from future NFL starters to pudgy future high school phys ed teachers. Many top edge-rushers rack up big sack totals against Middle Nowhere State or benefit from schemes that give them unblocked paths to the quarterback. Others are double-teamed on every snap.
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There are several methods for sidestepping these problems. One is to meld analysis with game study. Anthony Chiado does just that each year for the Optimum Scouting Draft Guide, tracking how often each top pass-rusher is double-teamed, how often he’s unblocked, where he lines up, which of his pass-rush moves are most successful and so forth.

NC State’s Bradley Chubb looks as solid as you might expect in the breakdowns. Marcus Davenport of Texas-San Antonio blows the field away, albeit against lower competition levels. But Chiado’s research uncovers a variety of secrets about other edge-rushers, most notably Oklahoma’s Ogbonnia Okoronkwo.cheap custom nfl jerseys
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Okoronkwo pressed opposing quarterbacks on 25.4 percent of passing plays, second only to Davenport. He was rarely unblocked (just 3.6 percent of his pressures) and beat his opponent with some sort of countermove 25.0 percent of the time.

The countermoves reveal Okoronkwo’s ability to do more than just explode out the gate and beat a left tackle to the edge. The Optimum Scouting analysis quantifies Okoronkwo’s ability to work through blocks and find alternate routes to the quarterback, two important skills for success as an NFL pass-rusher.cheap customized nfl jerseys

Okoronkwo also performed well at the combine and the Senior Bowl and was a major-program superstar, cheap nfl custom jerseys so he’s hardly a “sleeper.” Analytics aren’t just about evaluating players but also describing them in more precise and useful terms than “he’s explosive” or “he’s a winner.”

(And if you are protesting that counting double-teams and countermoves is scouting, not Moneyball, then here’s a news flash: That’s a false distinction. Good analysis and careful observation always go hand-in-hand. It’s when one rejects the other that teams start making foolish decisions.)

Feeling the Need for Speed (and Size) at Running Back

Moneyball principles may not recommend drafting a running back early, but the analytics love big, fast running backs just as much as scouts do.best nfl jerseys

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell developed Speed Score for Football Outsiders in 2008. It’s a deceptively simple way to combine a running back’s weight and 40 time into one easy-to-understand number. That way, no mental arithmetic must be done to compare a 233-pound back with 4.40 speed (Saquon Barkley) to a 198-pounder with 4.38 speed (NC State’s Nyheim Hines) or a 250-pounder with 4.69 speed (Texas’ Chris Warren).45b55945a7c07c3a3870ad73e9f83dbb_crop_exact

Barkley blew this year’s crop of running backs away with a 124.3 Speed Score. Hines and Warren also posted very good results for projected mid-rounders.nfl jersey for cheap  You can find the full list here, which has its share of surprises, like Nick Chubb beating Georgia teammate Sony Michel.

Speed Score is far from foolproof. After all, it’s just a blend of two combine results. But it’s a handy item to keep in the toolkit nfl jerseys cheap authentic  for informing the scouting process. A 1,000-yarder from a powerhouse program with a low Speed Score could be a product of his system. On the other hand, an unheralded rusher with a great Speed Score could be a diamond in the rough.

For example, Arizona State’s Kalen Ballage finished second to Barkley in Speed Score despite low production totals as part custom nfl jerseys cheap of a committee backfield in college. The measurables indicate that he deserves a closer look. You may want to keep an eye on him when it’s time to draft your fantasy team as well.customized nfl jerseys