Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Kangaroo Court: The 2016 DEs & 3-4 OLBs

Sometimes occupying this weird and quiet little corner of the internet makes us feel like the 52 hz whale, the loneliest whale in the world.  Other times, we imagine ourselves more like cookiecutter sharks, vicious and disturbing creatures taking little bites out of the NFL's belly.  While we occasionally question why we continue to put up these demented posts, there does seem to be a shark-like compulsion to continue moving forward.  So, much like we did last year, and in the years before that, we'll just keep swimming along as we take a look at this year's crop of outside pass rushers. 

We've been a bit busy lately, which has slowed down our progress in examining this year's prospects.  Perhaps too much our our time has been invested in trying to arrange a parade to march Courtney Upshaw out of town.  His impending departure absolutely fills us with joy, though it doesn't appear to have infected the other nearby sports fans with the same sort of enthusiasm.  That has left just Reilly and myself to construct our parade float, artistically depicting Upshaw's athletic ability in the form of a papier-mache tree stump. 

It's fair to say that we have never been fans of Upshaw.  We've expected him to turn into a dismal failure for quite a while now.  The odd thing is, that while his performance would seem to have confirmed our initial assessment of him, the locals have tended to be much more forgiving of his shortcomings than we ever would have imagined.  The argument they raise in his defense consistently seems to refer to his supposed ability to "set the edge", as they say.

This has made us curious about how people can see the silver lining in a bad situation.  After all, what does "setting the edge" really mean, other than "he is a fairly immobile/unmovable lump, who opponents could potentially trip over"?  While we certainly wouldn't want to deny that having the ability to hold your ground is a worthwhile trait in a defensive linemen, it doesn't suggest that a player is terribly dynamic or impactful, if that is all they are really doing.  Surely, this sort of "stand in one place and don't fall down" skill set can be accomplished fairly easily, can't it?

So, let's pretend that we decided that an unexceptional lump-like presence, similar to what Courtney Upshaw offered, was a perfectly acceptable outcome from one of our defensive ends or outside linebackers.  Like Upshaw, this imaginary player would not need to show any real ability to drop into coverage.  Also, like Upshaw, we would feel no great need for this player to reach the quarterback more frequently than a fat man touches his toes.  We also would have very limited expectations that this player would be able to pursue running backs to the sideline.  Nope, we just want a guy who can occasionally make a tackle when an opponent runs straight into his waiting arms.  How the Ravens managed to find such a rare gem with just a mere 2nd round pick is a bit amazing.

Then, while contemplating Upshaw's glorious accomplishments, a thought crossed our mind.  If this is all we want out of our DE/OLB, why not just put one of the team's defensive tackles on the field, in Upshaw's place.  Would he be any less likely to match Upshaw's incredible 7 defensed passes over the past 4 years?  Or what about the 5 sacks Upshaw produced during the same period of time?  Would a typical 3rd string defensive tackle likely be any less stout against the run?  It may sound a bit stupid, but we even think the team could have put a random undrafted nose tackle on the field, and there would have been very little difference in the actual outcome.  It's not like such a player would have been sacrificing any sort of athleticism at the position, because Upshaw really possessed none in the first place.

Yet, despite our complaints about Upshaw, a surprisingly significant portion of local fans seem willing to defend him.  The Ravens have put him on the field for every single game since the day he was drafted, even listing him as the starter in 52 games (81.2% of the time).  It is...confusing.  All we can really figure is that this is an amazing testament to the power that a player's draft status has on the opportunities that are presented to him.  We also have little doubt that we still have not seen the end of this peculiar and vexing anomaly.  Some other team will surely employ him, though it is hard to guess whether they will be as forgiving.

Oh well, I suppose that's all we have to say on this little rant, so let's move on to this year's crop of future disappointments.

As always, we will list the player's Kangaroo Score (our measure of lower body power), and their Agility Score (which comes from the short shuttle drill and the 3-cone drill).  The scores are shown in the form of how many standard deviations that a player is above, or below, the average result for a player in their position group.  The ideal prospect, in our opinion, would have a Kangaroo Score that is at least one standard deviation above average, at least an average Agility Score, and be averaging about 15 tackles for a loss in his final two college seasons.  Of course, in the end, we often have to make some compromises here.

While we know that many people prefer to take a more subjective approach to judging NFL prospects, we generally feel that produces much more erratic and undependable results.  To illustrate this, we had the computer play a little game to demonstrate what players it would have selected over a ten year period, under fairly restrictive guidelines.  We then made a separate post to show how this compared to the results of a select group of NFL teams, during the same period.  While there is no way to guarantee success, we do think the more objective approach of the computer does tend to improve a team's chance of a positive outcome.  Maybe you will agree, or maybe you won't.

We should also mention that while we tend to use the Kangaroo Score as a general tool to capture a player's explosiveness and power, there are are some times where this runs into potential issues.  Particularly with a position group like this, where the weights of the players covers a broader range than in most position groups (perhaps from 235 pounds to 285 pounds).  So, we sometimes need to clarify things a bit more.  Generally, lower body power and explosiveness go hand in hand to a large degree.  Sometimes they don't.  The discrepancies that arise are all a product of how we value mass, and sometimes we need to sort things out a bit more, in order to get a better picture of how a player is likely to perform.

For instance, you could have a heavier player, say a 275# defensive end, with a Kangaroo Score of 1.500.  That would suggest a rather impressive amount of lower body power.  Despite that, this player might also have a non-weight adjusted explosiveness result of perhaps 0.500, which is fine but not nearly as impressive.  This is a player that we might expect to be stout against the run, and perhaps capable of pushing his opposing blocker backwards, but not what we might consider a speed rusher.

At the same time, you might have a smaller 240 pound defensive end, with a mildly respectable Kangaroo Score of 0.500.  This player's relative lack of mass is not doing them any favors.  Still, this player might have a non-weight adjusted explosiveness result of 1.500, which would be exceptional.  We would expect this player to be a bit less likely to hold his ground in the running game, but have much more of an explosive first step when rushing the passer.  This is perhaps a player who is more likely to fit the mold of a speed rusher, who can get to the quarterback very quickly (assuming that other physical traits don't hamper him).

This is just an issue that tends to come up a bit more frequently with this group of players, and something that we will try to make additional comments about. We wouldn't say that one type of player is necessarily better than the other, just that there is more than one way to skin a cat.  The way these results can tilt things in one direction or another just helps to better understand how a player might succeed, and perhaps how they should best be utilized.

This list will continue to be modified/updated as new data and prospects come to my attention.  I don't plan to list every prospect here, but instead will just show the ones that I think are interesting for either good or bad reasons.  Last Updated: 4/16/2016

Joey Bosa, DE/OLB, Ohio State
Kangaroo Score:  0.763   Agility Score: 1.064   Avg TFL:  18.5
Based on our normal methods for doing this, Bosa is someone we should probably be excited about.  When examining his athletic traits and college production, this is someone that the computer would allow us to select in the 1st round.  Still, there are some odd details and concerns about Bosa that make us scratch our heads a bit.  His Kangaroo Score suggests that he should have the lower body power to bull rush, as well as stand up against the opponent's running game.  The score above actually might underestimate his power a bit, as the results from his broad jump would produce a result of 1.601, which is a significant improvement on his overall result.  Then we have his agility results, which are also really quite good, especially for someone of his size.  The one odd thing about his results was what happened when we removed mass as a factor.  Suddenly, his lower body explosiveness was appearing to be just "okay", with a result that came in between 0.208 and 0.823.  That result is a tad lower than what we normally see in most of the NFL's top level pass rushers, but not necessarily a significant problem.  These results would suggest that he is probably more of a bull-rushing torque machine, and less of a blow past the tackle at the snap kind of player.  That also probably fits with what we have seen of Bosa in the few games we have watched.  The most similar athletic comparison we can make, is probably Kyle Vanden Bosch.  Yes, we feel a bit awkward about making a white-guy-to-white-guy comparison.  Then we come to Bosa's statistical production in college, which is a whole other can of worms.  Because of the recent successes of the Ohio State football program, it is a bit more difficult to tell who is benefiting from being in an potentially advantageous situation.  In 2014, we would say that Bosa's production was quite good, though still perhaps a hair short of what we typically find with top level pass rushers.  In 2015, we run into much bigger problems.  Bosa took a rather severe tumble in production, and we don't have an adequate explanation for why that is.  Some people will say that it was caused by Bosa being double-teamed more often, but we're not so sure about that.  Considering that his team was actually improving the rate that they were getting to the opposing quarterback (going from an 8.3% sack rate in 2015, to an 8.4% in 2015), and that Bosa was frequently benefiting from being able to go after the opponent's right tackle, his slump bothers us a bit.  We'd also say that while Bosa appears to be active against the run, he was probably making about 10% fewer plays in this area than we would really like to see.  Admittedly, part of the reason we are being so critical of Bosa is because of some of the similarities he possesses to another former Ohio State player, Vernon Gholston.  Like Bosa, Gholston was an extremely gifted athlete whose market share of his team's pass rushing success was less impressive than his stat sheet might make you suspect.  You could say, that for as gifted as Bosa/Gholston appeared to be physically, we actually think they both should have been even more productive in college, especially considering the beneficial environment they found themselves in.  Maybe that seems like nitpicking.  Despite all of this criticism, we still think Bosa is probably one of the better pass rushing prospects in this draft, and worth a 1st round pick.  We just aren't certain that he should go in the top 5.

Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
Kangaroo Score:  0.700   Agility Score: 0.544   Avg TFL:  18.5
What can we really say about Lawson?  Well, he did produce the sort of good but not great athletic results that would allow the computer to give him a 1st round grade.  Lawson also had the sort of statistical production that would merit a 1st round grade from the computer.  So, why are we feeling so underwhelmed by him as a draft prospect?  Of the three outside pass rushers that the computer gave a 1st round grade to this year, Lawson was the one that seems to bother us the most.  We could complain that he was a bit of a late bloomer, who only really produced to a significant level in his final collegiate season.  We could point to the way that Clemson seems to currently be able to turn anyone into a productive pass rusher, similar to what Missouri has done in the past few years.  Along with this, there is the concern that Lawson's numbers in 2015 might have been inflated due to the overall success of the Clemson pass rush, which lessened the extent to which opponents could focus on stopping just him.  Really though, Reilly and I were mainly disturbed by how little excitement we felt when we watched him play, and we think this might be related to a potential athletic deficiency that gets ignored in the scores we listed above.  While Lawson has respectably adequate agility, and his Kangaroo Score suggests he has good lower body power (which could be rated at an even higher 1.202 if we only looked at his broad jump), there is still something missing.  When we remove weight as a factor from his vertical and broad jumps, to just look at his explosiveness, his results fall somewhere between 0.264 and 0.655.  Those aren't bad results, but they also aren't particularly exceptional.  In the end, this creates a fairly specific sort of athletic profile.  It would suggest that Lawson is probably stout enough to hold up against the run, as well as having the power to occasionally push offensive tackles around, but he probably isn't going to consistently explode past/through the blocker to create the sort of quick sacks that we associate with some of the more exciting pass rushers.  None of this should necessarily change the grade that the computer gave him, of alter our expectations that he can become a good player, we just suspect that he might be a bit less of a dynamic player than the top NFL players at his position.  We're leaning towards the idea that his best position might be as a left end in a 4-3 defense, since we think his physical traits would probably match up better against the types of athletes you typically find among right tackles.

Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia
Kangaroo Score:  0.829   Agility Score: 0.201   Avg TFL:  9.5
With Leonard Floyd, we have a very different sort of prospect than what we see among the other players that are generally projected to be taken in the 1st round.  Athletically, he is actually kind of interesting, and his overall results would allow the computer to give him a 1st round grade.  Unfortunately, when the computer looks at his statistical production, the best assessment it can give Floyd is a 6th round grade.  That imbalance between physical potential, and proven productivity is a huge problem for us.  As a pass rusher, he simply never reached any of the benchmarks that we generally associate with top level players at his position.  His athletic results also point in a different direction than many of the other prospects for this year.  While he appears to have perfectly adequate agility, and above average lower body power, his explosiveness (when weight isn't factored into it) appears to be his best trait.  Here, his result would be about 1.773 standard deviations above average, which is pretty exceptional.  His results would suggest to us that his best opportunity might come as an OLB in a 3-4, or perhaps even in a 4-3, where he could be positioned further outside, in order to try to explode past the offensive tackle rather than bull rushing through him.  Based on the little we have seen of him, our observations seemed to line up with the computer's suspicions.  He does appear to be less inclined to try to physically maul his opponents.  While some people have talked about adding weight to his relatively slim 6'6" and 244 pound frame, we think that could be a bit of a complicated proposition.  That added mass shouldn't really improve his Kangaroo Score, but it should reduce his agility and explosiveness to some degree.  Overall, we don't think that would be a great idea.  We also have some concerns about the fact that Floyd will already be turning 24 this upcoming September, and the possibility that his Georgia teammate Jordan Jenkins might present better value as a draft pick.  While Floyd is a somewhat interesting physical specimen, and has the physical traits to perhaps exceed our conservative expectations, the computer would suggest that his overall results present too much risk relative to where he is expected to be selected.

Noah Spence, DE/OLB, Eastern Kentucky
Kangaroo Score:  0.213   Agility Score: 0.060   Avg TFL:  18.5*
Reilly and I really have no idea what to make of Noah Spence.  Based on the little we have seen of him, our lying eyes thought he looked fairly impressive.  Of course, these things are a bit hard to judge when he was typically playing against such a low level of competition.  Athletically, there was little to complain about with his results, but also little to praise.  His numbers were pretty much average across the board.  While his Kangaroo Score doesn't suggest that he has the sort of lower body power we typically like to see in these sorts of prospects, when mass was removed as a factor, his results did suggest a slightly above average level of explosiveness (with a result of 0.599), though nothing terribly impressive.  We think those results generally fit with what we saw of him.  He seemed like he wanted to be more of a speed rusher, rather than someone who could consistently drive an offensive tackle backwards.  At the end of the day, we just don't like to bet on players with these sorts of physical traits, especially not with high draft picks.  Though they can occasionally succeed, we feel falling into a pattern of making these sorts of selections will eventually get you into trouble.  If somebody wanted to select Spence in the 4th or 5th round, sure, we could perhaps understand that gamble.  In the 2nd round, not so much.  Of course, all of this speculation doesn't even take into account his issues with ecstasy.  We're not trying to be judgmental, because drugs can be a great way to get through the weekend, but there are some clear reasons to be concerned here.  I mean, what's going to happen if an opposing offensive tackle pulls out a glow stick, and starts to wave it around?  Is he just going to start dancing as if he is attending a rave, and forget to go after the quarterback?  It seems like a legitimate risk.

Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma St
Kangaroo Score:  1.326   Agility Score: -0.450   Avg TFL:  15.25
The main thing we like about Ogbah is his potential lack of complicating issues.  Unlike Bosa or Lawson, the only two other players that the computer gave a first round grade to, Ogbah is a bit more straightforward.  While the rate at which Ogbah made plays behind the opponent's line of scrimmage is a tad short of what we associate with top level pass rushers (which also applies to Bosa and Lawson), the were fewer issues to suggest he was benefiting from other players on his own team's defense.  His results were also a bit more consistent over the past two years, though we personally think his 2014 season was more impressive (relative to the opponents he faced), at least as a pass rusher.  Athletically, because of the way Ogbah's athletic results tilt significantly towards power over agility, we would probably say that he is best suited to remaining as a 4-3 defensive end.  Like Bosa and Lawson, his results suggest he is somewhat less explosive than he is powerful, though he probably has more of a burst than Lawson.  We would also mention that Ogbah's exceptional arm length of 35.5" makes our nipples tingle a bit.  Based on the little we have seen of him, there did seem to be a bit of inconsistency to his performances, but at his best he still struck us as fairly impressive.  Another thing we like about Ogbah, is the possibility that he will be taken a bit later than some of the other top prospects, perhaps even as late as the end of 1st to early 2nd round range.  If so, that sort of relative potential value would be rather appealing to us.

Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
Kangaroo Score:  -0.204   Agility Score: -0.400   Avg TFL:  13
Just like we said when discussing his teammate, Shaq Lawson, we have some concerns about how these two players might have benefited from each other's presence, as well as the overall environment at Clemson.  That they were similar in being one year wonders, also makes us nervous.  Unfortunately for Dodd, he has significantly more issues that worry us than Lawson did.  For one, Dodd will already be turning 24 this coming July.  We don't particularly like it when players take this long to start performing at a high level.  Secondly, Dodd's athletic traits suggest just average lower body power, below average agility and significantly below average explosiveness (-1.133).  For someone who is often projected to be taken in the first 2 rounds of the draft, these issues would make us extremely concerned.  While we could try to draw parallels to someone like Tamba Hali, who also had extremely questionable athletic traits, trying to find future successes by looking towards past anomalies doesn't strike us as a great idea.  Even if he fell to the 7th round, we would have a hard time selecting someone with these issues.

Jonathan Bullard, DE, Florida
Kangaroo Score:  0.949  Agility Score: -0.713   Avg TFL:  13
We still haven't really made up our mind about the possibility of using Bullard as a defensive end.  As we suggested in an earlier post, we kind of prefer the idea of using him as a defensive tackle.  It should also be noted how differently his athletic traits appear under these two different scenarios.  While we can't rule out the possibility of using him as a defensive end, we just think lining him up inside might give him more physical advantages with fewer potential weaknesses, than putting him on the edge of the line.  He's a fairly interesting guy, but we suspect that the way he is utilized could have a much larger impact on his ability to succeed than what we see with many other players.

Shilique Calhoun, OLB, Michigan St.
Kangaroo Score:  -0.188  Agility Score: 0.800   Avg TFL:  13.75*
Players like this tend to be a great source of annoyance to us.  It's hard to say that there is necessarily anything wrong with them, and there are clearly a few positive traits that they bring to the table.  They just aren't the sort of athletes we prefer to bet on.  Calhoun's results would place him in the high agility group of pass rushers, which can be a strange and unpredictable group to deal with.  Even when players like this do well, they still don't tend to become nearly as productive as their peers who have a higher degree of lower body power and explosiveness.  When these players do thrive, we also tend to suspect that they do better when given a bit more space to operate, because if an offensive tackle gets their hands on them, they frequently get buried.  This usually means that a player like Calhoun would do better if they went to a team that uses a 3-4 defense.  We should also say that while Calhoun may be agile, his results probably still aren't quite good enough for us to feel very optimistic about how this will turn out.  His agility results are just good, not great.  As far as his statistical production is concerned, we would say that his results were a bit mediocre.  While he produced okay results as a pass rusher, this appeared to come at the expense of his efforts as a run defender.  He seemed to either reach the opposing QB, or he just got run over.  People seem to think that he will be selected somewhere in the 2nd round, but we think he presents way too man risks, and would probably avoid him completely.

Carl Nassib, DE, Penn St.
Kangaroo Score:  -0.070  Agility Score: -0.110   Avg TFL:  11.5
For someone who is often projected to be selected somewhere around the 3rd round, we don't have a great deal of confidence in Carl Nassib.  While we could try to pick apart his athletic results, and say that there was at least some evidence of lower body power suggested by his broad jump, but we don't want to pursue that argument.  His overall results point to the possibility that Nassib has only moderate lower body power, average agility, and significantly below average explosiveness.  When we also consider that he will be turning 23 in April. and didn't show significant statistical production until this past season, that creates additional areas of concern.  That this late statistical surge coincided with somewhat similar difficult to explain performances from teammates Austin Johnson and Anthony Zettel (to a lesser degree), makes us suspicious about how this all occurred.  Much like Nassib, these other players also seemed to lack the sort of athletic traits that we normally associate with highly successful NFL players.  While it is impossible to say that a player is doomed to become a failure, we would suggest that consistently overlooking the objective and measurable facts that a prospect like this presents should eventually erode a team's chances of success in the draft.  We currently don't see any potential situation in which we would select Carl Nassib as an outside pass rusher.  The computer does, however, view Nassib as a moderately interesting prospect as as a 3-4 defensive end, as his athletic results come out much better when compared to players in that weight class.

Kamalei Correa, OLB, Boise St.
Kangaroo Score:  -0.567  Agility Score: 1.011   Avg TFL:  15
Since we finally have updated information from Correa's pro day, we've had to adjust his results a bit.  While he did improve his Kangaroo Score since the combine, his results still suggest that he has below average explosiveness and lower body power for a 3-4 OLB.  On the other hand, we did expect him to turn out to be a fairly agile player, and his results in that area were significantly better.  Unfortunately, we usually find that high agility pass rushers don't tend to be quite as productive as the more explosive and powerful players in this position group, and also have a lower rate of success in general.  Because of this, we tend to be wary of selecting these sorts of players in the first couple of rounds.  While his statistical production looks impressive at first glance, there are some potential problems there as well.  First of all, it is troubling how his numbers dropped in 2015, versus what they were in 2014 when his team's overall pass rushing success was much better.  It creates the possibility that Correa was making plays behind the line of scrimmage because his opponents were more engaged with some of his teammates.  Even if that wasn't the case, the rate at which he was making plays behind the line of scrimmage in 2014 (his best season) still falls a fair bit below what we would expect to see in a top level prospect.  Based on the information we currently have, we would have a hard time envisioning a situation where the value that the computer places on Correa lines up with the 2nd to 3rd round grade that some people have proposed.  On a more positive not, we think his results do a rather nice job of fitting the mold for an outside linebacker in a 4-3. 

Charles Tapper, DE, Oklahoma
Kangaroo Score:  0.881  Agility Score: ?   Avg TFL:  7.5
Without having all of the data we would like on Tapper, it is a bit difficult to speculate about his future.  It becomes even more challenging when we consider the way that Oklahoma frequently used him as an undersized defensive tackle on so many snaps, which makes examining his production a bit murky, and somewhat problematic.  While we can give him credit for appearing to have somewhat above average lower body power, we wouldn't say that his results suggest he has a matching level of explosiveness.  If we can eventually get some agility results for Tapper, that would probably help to clarify what sort of athletic potential he really has, so we may have to reevaluate him once that comes in.  So far, and based on what we have seen of Tapper, the expectations that some people have that he will be selected in the 2nd or 3rd round strikes us as a bit ridiculous.

Kyler Fackrell, OLB, Utah St.
Kangaroo Score:  -0.137  Agility Score: 0.113   Avg TFL:  14
At 245 pounds, Fackrell is sort of on the fringe when it comes to whether he could fit as a 3-4 OLB, or whether he would be a better fit as a 4-3 OLB.  Since we now have Fackrell's pro day results, we can toss out our wild and irresponsible hunches about his future.  Athletically, he sort of falls into a no man's land, where there seems to be nothing particularly interesting about him, but also nothing worth condemning.  Since some people seem to be projecting him as a 3rd round pick, we would hope to see more dynamic physical traits.  If it wasn't for his statistical production, we would probably ignore him completely.  The problem is, while he was quite productive, he didn't produce exceptional results in the areas that interest us for an outside pass rusher.  Right now we are leaning towards the 4-3 OLB option as being a better fit for someone with his physical traits, which we'll explore in a later post. 

Bronson Kaufusi, DE, BYU
Kangaroo Score:  0.371  Agility Score: 0.684   Avg TFL:  15
We already kicked around the idea of using Kaufusi as a 3-4 defensive end in one of our earlier posts, but we thought we should include him here as well.  Depending on what position he is going to play, we have to compare him to a different set of athletes, so his scores come out quite a bit differently on this list.  He's kind of an odd prospect, who may not perfectly fit any one particular position.  Teams may need to move him around a bit, in order to get the most out of him, though that isn't necessarily a bad thing.  At the end of the day, he is a fairly gifted athlete, who was rather productive in college.  Those are things we appreciate.  Based on his overall results, the computer would give him a 3rd round grade.

Jordan Jenkins, OLB, Georgia.
Kangaroo Score:  1.042  Agility Score: -0.241   Avg TFL:  10.75
The similarities and differences that exist between Jenkins and his college teammate Leonard Floyd, strike us as rather interesting.  While Jenkins Kangaroo Score suggests he might have slightly more lower body power than Floyd, their agility results would give a slight edge to Floyd.  When weight isn't a factor, Floyd is clearly quite explosive, though Jenkins result of 1.158 is still quite impressive.  While Floyd's athleticism might suggest he would benefit from being utilized as a 3-4 or 4-3 outside linebacker, where he would have more space, Jenkins results might point towards a career as a 4-3 defensive end.  While their are potential differences, we wouldn't say that their is really an enormous divide between them when it comes to athletic ability.  They are perhaps different sorts of athletes, but not from entirely different planets.  When we look at their statistical production, we also don't see much to separate them, as the computer feels that both of them were just fairly average in college.  The real difference, at least to us, comes in the possibility that Jenkins might only be selected somewhere between the 3rd to 5th  round range, while Floyd is talked about as someone who will be taken much higher.  We think that might tilt the potential question of value in Jenkins direction.  We would also say that the fact that Jenkins is about 2 years younger than Floyd is another factor we appreciate.  Based on our normal method of doing things, the computer gives Jenkins a 5th round grade.

Jason Fanaika, DE, Utah
Kangaroo Score:  0.735  Agility Score: 0.239   Avg TFL:  10
We have a very, very, very modest level of interest in Fanaika.  Athletically, his results suggest that he has a respectable amount of lower body power, and could be someone that can hold up against the run, and perhaps bully his way towards an occasional sack.  At the same time, he probably only has average agility and explosiveness.  These are not the results of a highly dynamic player, but perhaps a serviceable one. From what we have seen of Fanaika, he plays pretty much the way his athletic results would suggest.  When we consider his statistical production, there was a similar pattern of being serviceable but not spectacular.  He was probably more of a contributor to his team's run defense, than he was to their pass rush, where his results were rather bland.  In the end, the computer views him as possibly being worth a pick in the 6th round, though that appears to be a bit later in the draft than many are expecting him to be selected.

Matt Judon, DE, Grand Valley State
Kangaroo Score:  0.590  Agility Score: -1.296   Avg TFL:  21.25
Because of the rather wildly divergent outcomes from Judon's vertical jump and broad jump, it is possible that his Kangaroo Score is underestimating his lower body power a fair bit.  If we only considered the results from his vertical jump, his result would move to 1.032, which is a bit more impressive.  Still, while he may have some measure of power, his results don't suggest a high degree of explosiveness.  We also worry that his rather poor agility results might make him a bit too stiff to really capitalize on the few strengths he does have.  His statistical production is arguably more impressive than anyone else in this position group, and even more notable for having extended over multiple seasons.  Granted, he was playing at a lower level of competition, but even when we attempt to adjust for that, his results are still quite good.  Based on the very limited amount that we have seen of him, he made a reasonably good impression on us.  Of course, we don't trust our lying eyes very much.  Unless he shows significantly improved results at his pro day, we would have a hard time feeling that he has the sort of athletic traits that can produce any sort of consistent success in the NFL.  Some people seem to think he will be a mid-round selection, but that strikes us as a bit too much of a gamble for our tastes.

Tyrone Holmes, OLB, Montana
Kangaroo Score:  0.196  Agility Score: 0.603   Avg TFL:  19
Every single year there is some small school player who puts up goofy pass rushing stats, and 50% of the time they seem to come from Montana.  We've had Zach Wagenmann in 2015, and Brock Coyle and Jordan Tripp back in 2014.  Really though, we should primarily just be comparing him to Zach Wagenmann, who went undrafted last year but has a temporary home with the Cardinals.  Like Wagenmann, Holmes overall athletic scores were fairly pedestrian, but there are some moderately interesting signs of potential buried underneath it all.  If we separate the two aspects of the Kangaroo Score, and only looked at the results from his vertical jump, we would wind up with a result of 0.879, which suggests a moderately intriguing amount of lower body power.   Also, like Wagenmann, Holmes statistical production clearly stands out as being unusually strong, though Holmes period of productivity was mainly limited to one season, unlike his former teammate.  Initially, we suggested giving Holmes a 6th or 7th round grade, but we've changed our minds about this.  Our cowardice, that stems from a lack of confidence in the Montana football program, might have been clouding our minds.  If we strictly adhered to what the computer was telling us to do, our Banana 6000 Data Thresher would allow us to pick him as high as the 4th round.  Holmes may be one of the few mid-to-late round pass rushing prospects who has a legitimate chance to exceed peoples' expectations.


  1. Speaking of dismal failures:

    I'm so so sorry

    1. Yup, the Ravens do like to frustrate me. I wouldn't be surprised if Wallace's numbers improve a bit over what he has done in the past couple years, but he's certainly no savior.

    2. There's a lot of talk about how Flacco/Wallace are gonna "tear the roof off of defenses.

      Apparently, everyone's forgotten about the invention of the zone defense.