Here's an interesting article from Dave Brooks' Eagles Scout blog over at the Trenton Times. Brooks uses Football Outsiders latest ESPN.com column to assess the overrated and underrated among this year's deep crop of running backs:
Running Back Metrics
I've been meaning to comment on this article published by Football Outsiders via ESPN.com, but life has gotten the best of me. Without further ado:
FO.com studied historic combine performance and how it translates into future success in the National Football League. Turns out 40-yard times actually do matter, however, 40-yard times are a better predictor of success when adjusted for a player's weight.
An explanation of the mathematics involved:
Ready for a math headache? The formula for the adjusted 40 score is (Weight * 200)/(40 Time^4). The multipliers are as such in the formula to ensure both accuracy as well as simplicity -- the scores that result revolve around a 100-point scale. The average adjusted 40 score of all running backs is 98.5; for all drafted running backs, it's 102.4; for all running backs selected in the first round, it's 112.1. Consider adjusted 40 score to be a sort of speed score -- a higher number is better.
However, FO.com didn't enlighten us with the scores of the prospective selections of the 2008 NFL Draft.
The Eagle Scout will take care of it. It's my pleasure.
First off, my math skills are like my skills at creating conversation with women - they are severely diminished since my college days. However, combine an excel spreadsheet with a defined formula, and I'm macking chicks like a dynamical fractal.
The historical demarcation line for 1st round picks is noted by the underlining below Jalen Parmele. The demarcation line to be drafted is represented by all players above and including Richmond Spider's Tim Hightower. Very interesting. Steve Slaton undrafted? Not going to happen, but considering Slaton's stock has dropped like Michael Irvin's lead crack pipe sets off an alarm or two.
The heavy hitters all show up as first round picks - McFadden, Mendenhall, Stewart. However, the fastest player I've seen on tape in quite a long time, Chris Johnson, bests them all. Chris Johnson as a 2nd round pick to the Birds? Yes please. Other notables:
Felix Jones? Overrated.
Ray Rice? Overrated.
Jamaal Charles? Right where he should be.
Tashard Choice? Right where he should be.
Jalen Parmele? Underrated.
Chad Simpson? Underrated.
Xavier Omon? Underrated.
The Birds have had Chris Johnson, Tim Hightower, and Justin Forsett (91.3) in for private workouts thus far. They've also shown interest in Omon, Woodhead, and Green-Ellis.
One caveat: Football Outsiders only used combine times to calculate this metric - thus, a guy like Brian Westbrook who ran a 4.57 at the combine wouldn't register a blip. Yet, Westbrook ran a 4.37 at his Pro Day, which may have been a more accurate measure of his potential value. So the moral of the story here is: take these numbers with a grain of salt - they're interesting to contemplate, but far from doctrine.
By the way, Reno Mahe scored a 82.5, which would constitute an undrafted grade in your typical lesbian intramural league.