Archive for the 'Football' Category

Hickey and Analytics, what does he know?

NFL GMs over rate the value of high round draft picks.  Take a look at the NFL trade value chart.  The 5th  pick in the draft is worth almost the entire 5th and 6th rounds.  Does that make sense?    That is 60 picks versus one pick.  The 5th pick is worth 1700 points picks 129-188 are worth 1698.6.  Take a look at the last 10 years.  By year sometimes you might have preferred the 5th pick and sometimes you might have preferred picks 129-188.  I think mostly you would have preferred 129-188.

2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
Patrick Peterson Eric Berry Marck Sanchez Glenn Dorsey Levi Brown
Richard Sherman Greg Hardy Chris Clemons Carl Nicks Kevin Boss
Charles Clay Reshad Jones Brandon Carr Brent Celek
Buster Skrine Riley Cooper John Sullivan Nick Folk
Deanrius Moore Kam Chancellor Antonio Johnson
2006 2005 2004 2003 2002
AJ Hawk Cadillac Williams Sean Taylor Terence Newman Quentin Jammer
Kyle Williams Michael Boley Michael Turner Robert Mathis Aaron Kampman
Rob Ninkovich Bo Scaiffie Antonio Smith David Diehl Scott Fukita
Dawan Landry Chris Kemoeatu Corey Williams Aubrayo Franklin Rocky Bernard
Erik Coleman Dan Koppen Kenyon Coleman

But cumulatively the difference is large.

5th Pick 129 – 188 129 – 188 129 – 188 129 – 188
Patrick Peterson Richard Sherman Aaron Kampman Nick Folk David Diehl
Quentin Jammer Greg Hardy Reshad Jones Antonio Johnson Aubrayo Franklin
Terence Newman Robert Mathis Riley Cooper Dawan Landry Tony Pashos
Eric Berry Carl Nicks Chris Clemons Michael Boley Scott Fukita
Sean Taylor Kyle Williams Brandon Carr Bo Scaiffie Rocky Bernard
AJ Hawk Rob Ninkovich John Sullivan Antonio Smith Kenyon Coleman
Glenn Dorsey Michael Turner Buster Skrine Corey Williams
Levi Brown Dan Koppen Deanrius Moore Erik Coleman
Marck Sanchez Charles Clay Kevin Boss Gibril Wilson
Cadillac Williams Kam Chancellor Brent Celek Jake Scott

 The top guys from the 5th and 6th round match up well with what you would get with the 5th pick.  I say better but on top of that you get a whole team of players that started 3 or more years in the NFL of varying quality.  Some aren’t so hot, but some made one or more pro-bowls, mostly average NFL starters.  The real value of NFL draft positions is something more like this.

Trade down.  Trade this year’s picks for more pick’s next year.  Stock pile picks by taking advantage of the misperceived value of higher round picks.  Take advantage of GM’s trying to make a splash and hang one more year.  Build a long term winner.

More Jordan less Wheeler, please.

I hope Jordan is dominant full time DE next year but Jordan is a tweener.   The player he most reminds me of coming out of college is Manny Lawson, same height /weight/position questions, and he ended up as a 4-3 line backer.    This isn’t just me, this what the Dolphin’s coaching staff thought of him this past year.  I do not want that to happen next year.  If Jordan is not a full time DE play him at OLB.  He has the ability and Phillip Wheeler was horrible.

Going into to next year with the same linebackers and expecting different results is not smart.  It was not the coaching that caused Wheeler to miss tackle after tackle.    The guaranteed part of Wheeler’s contract is a sunk cost.  If Jordan is not a full time DE next year,  I want to see him force Wheeler off the field.

The problem wasn’t, the Offensive Line, It wasn’t the O-Line Coach, it was Tannehill.

 Armando is dead wrong.  As much as anything else sacks are a function of QB play.  Anyone who watched Marino should know this.  Tannehill has no pocket sense and holds onto the ball way too long.  That is the problem.

The Offensive Line pass blocking was average.  Run Blocking is another story.  Pro Football focus which Armando likes to link to when it shows he is right but not when it shows he is wrong rated the Dolphins Offensive Line 14 in Pass Blocking Efficiency.   The Dolphin’s gave up an average amount of pressure.  Actually they were slightly better than average.  Why did they give up so many sacks?   Tannehill held the ball too long.  Time after time.

 The worst part about it is that Tannehill rated 35th in the leagues in deep pass completion rating.  Completion percentage of passes greater than 15 yards.  He held onto the ball too long.  Hoping to make big plays down the field that he is not capable of making often enough.  If Sherman had a problem it was that he trusted Tannehill’s ability to make a play down the field too much.

Tannehill’s Unfortunate Career Arc

How QBs age.  Tannehill is 25.  His Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt ranked 28 last year.   From his current ANPA plot where he will be in a few years on the graph below.  From 25 to 28-29 we can expect a two year peak where Tannehill enjoys about plus .4 Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt.  That .4 increase would put him in Case Keenum territory at 24th in the league.  All this is based on the assumption that Tannehill is a 10+ year QB.  So Tannehill’s improvement curve looks to be from the bottom to a peak of below average for 2 – 3 years.

Rearranging the deck chairs on the SS Tannehill

In the NFL QB is by far the most important position on the field.  The Dolphin’s do not have a good QB.  If the Dolphin’s have an opportunity to either draft a QB ,that their scouts feel has a decent chance to be better than Tannehill, or pick up a veteran QB who has been better, they should make the move.  If the Dolphins do not get upgraded QB play, firing Ireland, Sherman, drafting or signing this or that Offensive Lineman is not going to make much difference.

 Ryan Tannehill did not make any kind of jump in 2013.  If he was any better he was only a little bit better.  His 2013 QBR was lower than his 2012 QBR.  His EPA per play was .01 in 2012 and .03 in 2013.  EPA and QBR are both better measures of actual  performance than passer rating and his passer rating was only 5.2 points better.

 You can talk all you want about Offensive Coordinators and Offensive Line play but QB play is what determines an Offense’s success.   Look at what Brady did in NE this year.  Look at what Rodger’s has done with a bad Offensive Line.  I am not expecting Tannehill to be Rodgers or Brady but how about as good as Jake Locker?  If Tannehill matches Locker’s .10 EPA per play he generates an extra 52 points on the season, almost 2 full wins, the difference between easily making the playoffs and finishing 8-8.

 Can Tannehill get better?  Yes, I think he probably will get better, but let’s not fall into the Eli fallacy.   Eli was a pretty bad young QB who became average to above average and got hot at the right time to win 2 Super Bowls.  How often does that happen?  The reverse could also happen and Tannehill could get worse.  The more likely scenario is the Tannehill slowly improves over the next 4-5 years and gives the Dolphins 2-3 or so years of below average QB play at his peak.  Those are not the kind of returns that should make a player untouchable.

 This isn’t just about stats.   Tannehill missed Wallace deep once or twice in every Dolphin’s game this year.   Tannehill left throws all over the field on a regular basis not just the deep throws.  He missed outs and double moves to Hartline on a regular basis.  He missed throws and he consistently held on to the ball too long.   He just wasn’t that good.  I understand it hurts to say it but he gave the Dolphins bottom of the league QB play.  It is true and pretending otherwise, crossing our fingers and hoping otherwise, won’t change it.    From bottom of the league to below average is the baseline and the improvement curve we are looking at.  The only way to change that is to invest in a chance at a better QB.