Monday, August 12, 2013

Interesting Prospects From The 2013 Draft

I feel like a lot of my posts may come across as overly negative, making me the Grinch of the NFL Draft.  Then again, history has shown that about 75% of the players do turn out be worth very little (damn it, there I go again).  So, I thought I would list some more players from this most recent draft that the computer suggests might have a better than decent chance of turning out to be successes.

While I may have doubts about some of these players, I think they all have interesting stories or characteristics that will make it worthwhile to keep an eye on their progress.  I tried to focus more on the oddballs, since high draft picks get plenty of attention already, unless I thought a highly regarded player was particularly interesting.  I also probably leaned a bit more towards players who I thought presented good value relative to where they were selected.  Obviously, I have to leave a lot of names off of this list, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the computer and I disliked such unmentioned players.  I had to make some weird judgment calls about who I would include here.

When I make a reference to a player's Agility Score, Kangaroo Score, or some other athletic measurement, it should be noted that these scores can't be compared to the results for players at different positions.  These scores only show how many standard deviations that a player is above or below average compared to others in his same position group.  References to the Stat Score may also come up, but this relates only to wide receivers.

Pick #4, Lane Johnson, OT, Philadelphia Eagles -  To some extent, it felt as if the press kind of dismissed Johnson as a guy who just "works out well", and felt he didn't belong in the same company as Eric Fisher, and Luke Joeckel.  With a Kangaroo Score of 1.482, and an Agility Score of 1.381, it is true that his numbers do appear to be too good to be true.  While I like Fisher, who also did well (but not as well), and to some extent Joeckel, the truth is that Johnson does more closely match the physical ideal standards for an offensive left tackle.  Tackles with Johnson's rare athletic ability rarely fail, and even if he should fail to become a star, having a near guarantee of at least becoming a decent journeyman type, is worth a lot in my eyes.  People often say that such players are boom or bust types, but this attitude that he appears "too good to be true, therefore it must not be true" is just peculiar.  I think the floor for Johnson is actually quite high, and well worth the risk for where he was selected.  Plus, he enjoys tormenting the press with made up stories about wrestling bears, which is another point in his favor.

Pick #13, Sheldon Richardson, DT, New York Jets - Again, some people seemed to think it was a reach to take Richardson earlier than Star Lotulelei, or Sharrif Floyd.  The computer feels that the Jets actually made the correct choice here (at least if you are determined to take a defensive tackle).  Athletically, Richardson was the superior prospect, with a 0.612 Kangaroo Score, and a 0.652 Agility Score.  Lotulelei fell more into the average range (0.199 Kangaroo, and -0.038 Agility), and Floyd performed rather poorly (-0.930 Kangaroo, and 0.133 Agility).  Richardson also averaged 9.25 tackles for a loss in his last two years, compared to Lotulelei's 9.5, and Floyd's 9.75, making them all fairly comparable in this area.  Overall, Richardson's numbers put him in good, but not necessarily great company.  Historically, defensive tackles who can jump over 30 inches, do over 30 repetitions on the bench press, and averaged 10 or more tackles for a loss, almost never fail (though they may turn out to be just average), and Richardson mostly meets these criteria (32", 30 repetitions, and 9.25 avg. TFL).  I might need to post a list of people who fall into this weird group at some point.

Pick #22, Desmond Trufant, CB, Miami Dolphins - In the eyes of the computer, Trufant more closely fit the ideal physical mold of a successful CB than the other top prospects, Xavier Rhodes and Dee Milliner.  His Ht/Spd Score (measuring his 40 time relative to his height) was a very good 0.732 standard deviations above average.  His Agility Score was a truly excellent 1.463.  While he slightly lagged behind the other prospects in creating turnovers in college, his numbers were still in the average range (6 total INTs, 3 FF).  Will he end up being the top corner from this class?  I don't know.  At the very least, I would expect him to be a solid reliable player, which is more than I can say about some of the other options.

Pick #26, Datone Jones, DE/DT, Green Bay Packers - With a -0.261 Kangaroo, and a 1.351 Agility Score, Jones isn't quite as explosively powerful as I would like, but still a very gifted athlete overall.  His average of 12.75 TFL during his last two years in college also reassures you that he made the most out of this physical ability.  Still, as a 3-4 DE prospect, I don't like him quite as much as Kendall Reyes (0.999 Kangaroo Score, and a 0.640 Agility Score, with a 11.75 TFL avg), or Derek Wolfe (0.279 Kangaroo Score, and a 1.145 Agility Score, with a 14 TFL avg.)from the 2012 draft.  If he had slid to the late 2nd round, or into the 3rd, I would have felt more comfortable with him.  Nonetheless, I think he has a reasonable chance of upgrading the Packers defensive line.

Pick #27 DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans- He was one of the computer's higher rated WR prospects, plus he gets to play opposite from Andre Johnson. Though there may have been other receivers that the computer liked even more, Hopkins probably wound up in one of the best situations to succeed.

Pick #52 Jamie Collins, OLB, New England Patriots- Hmm, I've pretty much covered this already, so I'll just move on.

Pick #53, Margus Hunt, DE/DT, Cincinnati Bengals -  Hunt is someone I have to mention, even if he makes me nervous that he might be a disappointment.  His 0.538 Kangaroo Score, and 1.279 Agility Score, are too significant to ignore.  On the other hand, he is an older than ideal rookie (26 years old), who only produced okay stats in college, until his senior year where he was quite good.  At 6' 8.5" tall, I also wonder if his height might actually become a disadvantage, particularly for someone who is merely 277# (it sounds weird to say "merely 277#").  Still, the announcers will have fun talking about how he is from Estonia, so that is worth something.  I would have been too nervous to take him this highly (though it was tempting), but he is very physically gifted.  In the end, I probably would have chosen him ahead of Datone Jones.

Pick #54 Jamar Taylor, CB, Miami Dolphins - He's not a big CB, but I thought he was quite scrappy.  His measurables weren't bad either.  His Ht/Spd Score was a solid 0.448, and his Agility Score was a similarly respectable 0.592.  He also possessed a 2nd Gear Score of 0.16, suggesting that his acceleration could be even more impressive than his excellent 4.37 forty time might suggest.  There might be guys with better stats, or combine numbers, but of the players who were acceptable in the eyes of the computer, he was one of the most fun to watch play.

Pick #62, Christine Michael, RB, Seattle Seahawks - I have no idea how he is ever going to get any playing time when stuck behind Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin.  Still, he is the most physically perfect running back in the 2013 class. You can see how he compares athletically to the other 2013 RBs here.

Pick #71, T.J. McDonald, S, St. Louis Rams - I've already gotten grief from people for being a fan of his, but I still think there was good value in this pick.  The computer has a harder time sorting out safeties, but still likes his measurables and college production.  At 6'2", 219#, he definitely has excellent size for a safety.  His 0.839 Ht/Spd Score was well above average, though his Agility Score of -0.063 is a bit more mundane.  Still, this score is only showing his agility in comparison to all defensive backs, so for a safety it's actually a good result.  He also had a 40" vertical jump, which shows some truly remarkable explosiveness.  Some people were critical about his coverage abilities, but I didn't really notice this too much when I watched him play.  To me, he was a guy who showed up all over the place, running up to make a tackle, and seeming equally adept dropping back.  His stats were also quite exceptional, with 8 career INTs, and 112 tackles in his senior year.  I think he will do better than a lot of people think, and that the 3rd round was just about the right place to pick him.

Pick #72, Brian Winters, G, New York Jets - It is somewhat embarrassing to have another Jets' selection on this list.  What can I say?  They appear to have had a good draft.  At 6'4", 320#, with a Kangaroo Score of 1.019, and an Agility Score of 0.344, Winters is quite an interesting guy.  His numbers would suggest that he will turn into quite the run blocker.  He also shouldn't be a liability as a pass protector, though this might not be his area of strength.  Compared to the guards who were taken in the 1st round, the computer thinks Winters could turn out just as well, if not better, so they probably got very good value with this pick.

Pick #75 Terron Armstead, OT, New Orleans Saints - Again, some people seemed to treat Terron's excellent athletic ability as something not to be taken too seriously.  His 1.259 Kangaroo Score, and 0.342 Agility Score, project well to the NFL.  I wouldn't be surprised in the least if he ends up being the starting tackle for the Saints this year, and performs quite well.  The Saints seem like an excellent landing spot for a guy from Arkansas Pine-Bluff, since Drew Brees probably helps his linemen look good, more than a guy like Blaine Gabbert would.

Pick #79 Markus Wheaton, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers - I've already included him in the list of interesting wideouts from 2013, so I'll just add that landing with Ben Roethlisberger only enhances the likelihood that his skills can be capitalized upon.  The Steelers have done quite well, recently, at making the most of somewhat small but speedy receivers.  His real value may not come until next year, when Emmanuel Sanders is likely to depart the team.

Pick #93 Will Davis, CB, Miami Doplhins - Again, the Dolphins take a CB that the computer likes, having already chosen Jamar Taylor.  His 1.161 Ht/Spd Score, and 0.899 Agility Score, actually measure even better than Taylor's results.  Still, his 2nd Gear Score of just 0.07, is a bit average.  The main reason I slightly prefer Taylor is because of how they looked when watching them play.  Davis seemed more nimble, but played with less violence and aggression.  Between the two of them, it's hard to say who will emerge as the better player, but by picking both I think the odds are strongly in favor of at least one becoming quite excellent.

Pick #94 Brandon Williams, NT, Baltimore Ravens - If you can accept the idea that simply being an immovable blob is a valuable trait, then you will like this pick.  Compared to Terrence Cody, who has been a dismal failure, this should prove to be an immediate upgrade.  Williams' Kangaroo Score of 0.874, and Agility Score of -1.397 (relatively unimportant for nose tackles), should quickly push Cody out of the way who only had a -1.242 Kangaroo Score, and a -1.864 Agility Score.  The Kangaroo Score is the name of the game for nose tackles, where raw explosive power is their most important trait.  Why people thought that Cody would succeed is a mystery to me.

Pick #97 Zaviar Gooden, LB, Tennessee Titans - Gooden is a rather odd physical specimen.  With a 0.402 Kangaroo Score, and a 1.494 Agility, while running a shocking 4.46 forty yard dash, he is clearly gifted.  Still, his production in college was just good, not great.  He only averaged 5 TFL in his last two years, which is a bit poor, and doesn't suggest much of a violent attacking disposition.  He did have a fair number of interceptions though.  So, as a coverage type linebacker, who can run people down, he is still fairly appealing for a late 3rd round pick.

Pick #102 Josh Boyce, WR, New England Patriots - He's also in the list of interesting 2013 receivers.  Personally, I think he has an excellent chance to eventually become the top receiver on the team.  The fact that the Patriots' other receivers aren't very good aids in this.  I think there is also a reasonable probability that he will outperform Aaron Dobson (selected by the Patriots with the 59th pick).  One of my favorite 'Small' receivers in the draft.

Pick #124 Trevardo Williams, DE/OLB, Houston Texans - This pick could have a huge payoff, or amount to nothing. His measurables are nothing shocking, with a 0.309 Kangaroo Score, and a 0.002 Agility Score.  Combined with his smaller size, at just 241#, I would normally have to bet against him.  Still, he was a very productive pass rusher, averaging 14.25 TFL in his last two years.  This is one of those odd times where my gut battles with my computer.  I just like watching him play, so I'm kind of hoping the computer is wrong about him.

Pick #128 Quinton Patton, WR, San Francisco 49ers - I've mentioned him before in the list of interesting 2013 wide receivers, so I'll keep this short.  He may not be as flashy as some guys, but he seems very solid.  A lot of people with gaudier 40 times were taken ahead of him, and are going to probably fare much worse.  Maybe he won't become a #1 type receiver, but I think he should become a dependable #2.  It made no sense for him to fall this far in the draft, while having bozos like Ace Sanders drafted ahead of him.

Pick #132 Devin Taylor, DE, Detroit Lions - From a physical perspective, Taylor is ideal.  Unfortunately, his production never lived up to this ability.  At 6'7", 266#, with a 1.346 Kangaroo Score and a 0.815 Agility Score, I would have expected him to average more than 8.5 TFL in his last two years in college, especially playing across from Jadeveon Clowney.  Still, for a late 4th round pick, his ability is quite enticing, as he at least has the physical potential to be great.  With the Lions loss of Cliff Avril and Lawrence Jackson, he also has a shot to get some playing time.

Pick #147 Steven Means, DE/OLB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - I'm not really sold on Steven Means, but at this point in the draft it's not unreasonable to take some gambles.  Means had a 1.408 Kangaroo Score, and a 0.075 Agility Score, while averaging a rather mediocre 7.25 TFL in his last two years.  His measurables suggest he could do okay as a 4-3 DE, but his college production fails to excite me very much.

Pick #150 Terry Hawthorne, CB, Pittsburgh Steelers -  He has decent size at 5'11.25", 193#, and generally seems willing to play a fairly physical game.  His Ht/Spd Score of 1.026 is excellent, as is his 2nd Gear Score of 0.21, so keeping up with receivers shouldn't be a problem.  On the other hand, his Agility Score of -0.175, is slightly below average, and suggests he could have a harder time against nimbler receivers who run sharp routes.  In the end, I still think there is decent potential value in this pick.

Pick #170 Eric Kush, C, Kansas City Chiefs - This pretty much sums up my views on this subject.  He was the computer's favorite center prospect in the draft.

Pick #176 Dave Quessenberry, OT/OG, Houston Texans - At the very least, Quessenberry should provide good depth and flexibility to the Texans o-line.  Athletically he shows just decent explosiveness with a 0.351 Kangaroo Score, but has an excellent Agility Score of 1.234.  The numbers would suggest that he might be better suited to playing guard, though I can't rule out the possibility of him doing well at the tackle position.  This seems like a rather safe pick, that should help to keep a very good offensive line well stocked.

Pick #181 Latavius Murray, RB, Oakland Raiders - I should be more of a fan of this pick, based on his measurables, but when I watch him play it just doesn't click for me.  Still, I have to keep him on the radar, to see if the computer's hunch turns out to be correct.  You can see how he compares athletically to the other 2013 RBs here.

Pick #189 Mike James, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers- I'm not going to say much here, since we'll probably never hear his name again.  His measurables were pretty good, though his college production was a bit anemic, since he always split carries with other backs.  I did enjoy watching him play though, and have to wonder if he could exceed people's expectations if given more of a chance.  Being stuck behind Doug Martin won't help the cause though.

Pick #198 Chris Jones, Houston Texans- His Kangaroo Score of -0.027 is merely average, but his Agility Score of 1.015 is simply excellent.  Combining that with his average number of tackles for a loss in his final two college years, of 16.5 per year, and you have a verrrrry intriguing player.  Seems well worth investing a late 6th round pick in a player like this, and could end up rewarding the Texans quite handsomely.

Pick #207 Mike Catapano, DE/OLB, Kansas City Chiefs - Every year their seems to be an odd duck like Catapano.  He's one of those guys who measures up as a potentially very interesting 3-4 OLB pass rusher, until you see the school that he came from, in this case Princeton.  Personally, I'm not terribly concerned about the Princeton issue, but I do have my doubts as to whether a team will give him much of a chance.  He had a 1.176 Kangaroo Score, and a 0.402 Agility Score, while averaging 12.75 TFL in his last two years.  Seems well suited to playing OLB in a 3-4.

Pick #216 Charles Johnson, WR, Green Bay Packers-  Johnson is probably on of the most physically gifted receivers in the whole draft class, and fits the mold of a conventional high end #1 receiver quite well.  His production at Grand Valley State was also quite good, so to some extent he lived up to his physical gifts.  Still, that is Grand Valley State, so it's not surprising that teams were nervous about selecting him.  Personally, I think this was a steal for the Packers, and though there is some risk, the potential reward is enormous.  I've mentioned him previously among the interesting wideouts of 2013, so you can see some comparisons to him in that post.  Why people let him fall this far, while taking the likely overrated Brian Quick (from the similarly goofy Appalachian State)in the second round of the 2012 draft, makes no sense.

Pick #223 Nicholas Williams, DT, Pittsburgh Steelers- At this point in the draft, I'm just happy if a player has some sort of potential.  Williams production in college was merely average (averaging 5.75 TFL in his final two years) , but his Kangaroo Score of 1.069 suggests he has some explosive power, and his Agility Score of 0.141 is at least in the average range.  It's a low risk, potentially decent reward type of pick.

Pick #235 Steve Beauharnais, LB, New England Patriots- I'm actually a bit of a fan of this player.  With a 0.899 Agility Score, and a -0.737 Kangaroo Score, he actually struck me as a reasonable prospect to play middle linebacker.  He was also quite productive in his time at Rutgers.  His 4.84 forty yard dash was somewhat concerning, though he improved this at his pro day to a 4.67 (if you can trust pro day results).  I think this pick could provide excellent value to the Patriots.

Pick #238 Aaron Mellette, WR, Baltimore Ravens-  I've already covered this subject, and my expectations aren't excessively high, but I can see the appeal of this pick.  It makes more sense than how the Ravens usually pick their receivers.

Undrafted Da'Rick Rogers, WR, Buffalo Bills - Like Charles Johnson, he arguably had the best combination of physical traits, and proven college production, among the 'Big' receivers in this draft.  Unlike Johnson, he had some proven success at a highly competitive college program (Tennessee).  Unfortunately, people also felt he had some character issues.  I had a high enough opinion of him to give him his own post.

Undrafted Eric Martin, DE/LB, New Orleans Saints - While he didn't get many opportunities at Nebraska, until his senior year, he made the most of his chances.  In his last year, he had 16.5 TFL, with 8.5 sacks, and was generally quite a menace to opposing QBs.  While his Kangaroo Score is only -1.094, this could be due to an odd imbalance when comparing his vertical jump to his broad jump.  Based on his broad jump, his Kangaroo Score would be closer to -0.553.  Though that is still well below what I am normally looking for, his Agility Score is an astounding 2.230 (the 3rd highest result I've ever seen), which suggest he could fit in amongst the high agility pass rushers.  Initially, I thought someone might try to move him to MLB, where his measurables are more favorable, but it looks like the Saints might give him a real shot as a pass rusher.  Considering their team's injuries, he has a legitimate shot at getting playing time.

Undrafted Paul Worrilow, LB Atlanta Falcons - I've already sung the praises of this oddball from Delaware.

Undrafted Ryan Spadola, WR, New York Jets - He's something of an oddball, coming from Lehigh University, but the computer like him a lot.  Though he's a bit of a longshot, I thought he deserved his own post.

Undrafted Cody Davis, S/CB, Rams - Athletically, Davis compares favorably to some of the elite cornerbacks in the league.  At 6'1", 204#, he has a Ht/Spd Score of 1.161, and an Agility Score of 0.899.  So, yes, he is big, fast, and agile.  He also averaged 90.5 tackles per year, in his four seasons at Texas Tech.  Unfortunately, a lot of this seemed to be in clean up duty for his teammates.  He also only produced 4 INTs in this time.  For a guy who will cost a team nothing to sign, he is a very intriguing and highly experienced player.

Undrafted Jayson DiManche, LB, Cincinnati Bengals - This is one of those prospects where the computer isn't as intrigued as I am.  At 6' 0.4", 231#, DiManche isn't exactly huge, and the computer penalizes him heavily because of this.  His Kangaroo Score of -0.027, and Agility Score of 0.127, are merely average.  The problem, in the eyes of the computer, is he lacks the mass to be a defensive end, and his agility would only be mediocre for a linebacker.  Still, if he could maintain his explosiveness (38" vertical jump, 10'7" broad jump) while gaining some weight, the computer's opinion would improve.  His 4.53 forty yard dash, was also fairly impressive.  Either way, I like the guy.  At Southern Illinois, he averaged 12.75 TFL in his last two years, and had 8 sacks as a senior.  Beyond all of that, he was just a fun and exciting player to watch.  Figuring out where to play him would seem to be the main obstacle.

Undrafted Glenn Foster, DT/DE, New Orleans Saints - In the computer's opinion, Foster is basically a somewhat shorter version of Mario Williams or J.J. Watt (6'3.5" vs. 6'7" and 6'5"), at least athletically.  With a 2.305 Kangaroo score, Foster shows absolutely shocking explosiveness and power, and his Agility Score of 1.300 is almost as remarkable.  Unfortunately his statistical production in college pales in comparison.  While Williams and Watt averaged 19.5 and 18.25 tackles for a loss in their final two college seasons, Foster only averaged 4.75.  Quite a big difference.  Still, an argument could be made that coming into college as a mere 255# DT, on an incredibly bad Illinois team, hindered his progress.  Playing now at 286#, he has not only filled out his frame, but is also moving to the 3-4 DE position, which might suit him better.  There is vast potential here, and no real risk for the Saints.

Undrafted Nick Driskill, S, Colts - I have no idea what will become of this guy, but his stats are cartoonishly ridiculous.  He deserved a post of his own, even if the odds are a bit stacked against him.


  1. T.J mcdonald wasn't the best in coverage... he's a run support safety like bernard pollard...

    1. That might true to some degree, but I think he still is capable of being a fairly versatile guy. He's probably not as good against the run as Pollard, nor as good against the pass as Reed, but I think he can do both well enough to be valuable.

  2. I think he'll be a solid safety at best who is weak in coverage.... he just didn't flash instincts or play making ability.... and he was burned pretty consitently...

    1. Yeah, I'm not sure how things will turn out for McDonald (I'm never sure about anything). For a third round pick, I do find him to be worth the risk, and just being "solid" but not spectacular, would still be an adequate outcome at that point in the draft. He does have a lot of upside potential though.