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Author Topic: WR rankings according to ESPN  (Read 497 times)
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Mr Jack

« on: Apr 12, 2013 at 15:50 »

AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
Combine his attributes with his production and Baylor's Terrance Williams is a tempting target.
The NFL may have the greatest amount of quality quarterback depth in the league's history right now, so many teams that are looking to upgrade passing attacks will aim to do so via the wide receiver position.

This year's NFL draft has a slew of starting-caliber prospects, yet it doesn't have a slam dunk leader like Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald (two of Mel Kiper's all-time top wide receiver prospects).

So how can we separate the cream of the crop? A thorough examination of the numbers helps identify the leaders of the receiving pack.

Each of the top nine prospects was ranked in the following categories: age (as of the 2013 draft), height, weight, 40-yard dash time, overall yards per attempt, vertical yards per attempt, stretch vertical yards per attempt, targets per game and success rate (completion percentage with penalty pass plays included as completions).

(Note: vertical passes are aerials that travel 11 or more yards downfield; stretch verticals are thrown 20 or more yards.)

Each player's metrics are based on a tape review of a minimum of nine games against BCS-caliber competition, with the exception of Cal's Keenan Allen, who played in only seven BCS-caliber games.

The player's rankings were then tabulated on a 1-9 scale, with the best score getting a rating of 9. Each player's overall total can be found under the raw points listing.

Since some categories deserve more weight than others, this year's rankings also had the addition of a modified point structure that added a 20 percent weight to targets per game, a 30 percent weight to YPA, VYPA, SVYPA and success rate and a 50 percent weight to the 40-yard dash time. This total can be found under the modified points listing.

Each player also has a modified point listing for productivity, which includes his rankings in YPA, VYPA, SVYPA, success rate and targets per game, and for attributes, which includes the rankings for the 40-yard dash, height, weight and birth date.

Now that the preliminaries are out of the way, let's take a look at how the rankings turned out.

1. Terrance Williams, Baylor Bears

Birth date: Sept. 18, 1989 (23 years old)
Height/weight: 6-foot-2, 208 pounds
40-yard dash time: 4.5
YPA: 12.6
VYPA: 19.4
SVYPA: 26.0
Targets per game: 11.9
Success rate: 72.3 percent

Raw points: 60 (ranked first)
Modified points: 72.7 (first)
Productivity points: 42.9 (first)
Attributes points: 29.8 (fifth)

Williams won both the raw and modified points categories on the strength of his metrics, as he led this group in YPA, VYPA and SVYPA and did so while ranking fourth in success rate. He rated near the top in height (tied for second tallest) and weight (third heaviest), but that size advantage was a likely factor as to why he ranked next to last among our top nine receivers in the 40-yard dash. Williams is by far the oldest player in the group, more than a full year older than the next oldest player (Stedman Bailey), so his first place ranking still comes with some negatives.

2. DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson Tigers

Birth date: June 6, 1992 (20 years old)
Height/weight: 6-1, 214
40-yard dash time: 4.49
YPA: 11.2
VYPA: 15.4
SVYPA: 22.6
Targets per game: 10.2
Success rate: 65.2

Raw points: 56 (second)
Modified points: 66.9 (second)
Productivity points: 33.8 (fourth)
Attributes points: 33.1 (tied second)

Hopkins is the youngest and second-heaviest wide receiver in this analysis. He ranked second in YPA, third in VYPA and second in SVYPA. He ranked seventh in targets per game, a stat that might seem like it is due to sharing the receiving workload with Sammy Watkins, but Watkins missed three games last year and the Clemson offense generated more plays than any team in ACC history. Ranking seventh in success rate also brings up some questions about his consistency.

3. Tavon Austin, West Virginia Mountaineers

Birth date: March 15, 1991 (22 years old)
Height/weight: 5-8½, 174
40-yard dash time: 4.4
YPA: 10.0
VYPA: 15.8
SVYPA: 17.0
Targets per game: 10.3
Success rate: 79.6

Raw points: 49 (third)
Modified points: 63.2 (third)
Productivity points: 37.7 (second)
Attributes points: 25.5 (eighth)

Austin is the fastest player here and combined that mark with the best success rate and second-best VYPA rate. The major negative is that he is by far the smallest player of the group, as he finished last in height and weight. Those totals led him to rank next to last in attributes points. Austin has elite skills, but he may not have the frame to deal with the type of target volume his draft slot suggests he'll deserve.

4. Stedman Bailey, West Virginia

Birth date: Nov. 11, 1990 (22 years old)
Height/weight: 5-10¼, 193
40-yard dash time: 4.49
YPA: 11.0
VYPA: 15.3
SVYPA: 19.1
Targets per game: 11.5
Success rate: 73.2

Raw points: 47 (fourth)
Modified points: 59.2 (fourth)
Productivity points: 35.1 (third)
Attributes points: 24.1 (ninth)

Bailey nearly topped his much more highly heralded West Virginia teammate, as he bested Austin in YPA and SVYPA. Bailey has a bigger frame than Austin, yet he was still next to last in height and seventh in weight. He is also the second-oldest player in this analysis. All of those measurements led to his ranking last in attributes and give him the same durability question marks as Austin.

5. Robert Woods, USC Trojans

Birth date: April 10, 1992 (21 years old)
Height/weight: 6-0⅜, 201
40-yard dash time: 4.47
YPA: 7.9
VYPA: 10.5
SVYPA: 12.7
Targets per game: 9.0
Success rate: 73.7

Raw points: 43 (sixth)
Modified points: 52.3 (fifth)
Productivity points: 23.4 (sixth)
Attributes points: 28.9 (sixth)

It would seem like Woods would have a metric edge playing in a USC offense with Matt Barkley and Marqise Lee, yet he ranked next to last in YPA, sixth in VYPA and SVYPA and eighth in targets per game. Woods made up some ground in the attributes category, as he ranked third in the 40-yard dash and age categories, but gave up some of that ground in his height and weight rankings (sixth and fifth, respectively).

6. Keenan Allen, California Golden Bears

Birth date: April 27, 1992 (21 years old)
Height/weight: 6-2, 206
40-yard dash time: 4.53
YPA: 8.3
VYPA: 8.7
SVYPA: 7.1
Targets per game: 11.5
Success rate: 68.1

Raw points: 44 (fifth)
Modified points: 50.0 (seventh)
Productivity points: 16.9 (seventh)
Attributes points: 33.1 (tied second)

Allen has an odd combination of traits, as he is the second-youngest, second-tallest and slowest wideout in this analysis. That mixture did not lead to quality totals in the productivity realm, as he had the second-lowest VYPA and SVYPA in this group. Those numbers could have been even worse had he not missed the final three games of the season when the Golden Bears faced three of the Pac-12's toughest pass defenses (Oregon, Oregon State and Washington), but that fact still does damage since he is the only player in this review to have missed any significant playing time last year due to injury.

7. Markus Wheaton, Oregon State Beavers

Birth date: Feb. 7, 1991 (22 years old)
Height/weight: 5-11, 189
40-yard dash time: 4.45
YPA: 9.3
VYPA: 12.7
SVYPA: 16.2
Targets per game: 10.3
Success rate: 65.3

Raw points: 40 (tied seventh)
Modified points: 50.7 (sixth)
Productivity points: 24.7 (fifth)
Attributes points: 26.0 (seventh)

Wheaton's positive is also his negative, as he was good in many YPA areas but not great in any (fifth in YPA, VYPA and SVYPA). He is the second fastest, third oldest, third shortest and second lightest among this group, a collection of traits that led to his ranking seventh in the attributes category.

8. Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee Volunteers

Birth date: March 17, 1991 (22 years old)
Height/weight: 6-1⅞, 216
40-yard dash time: 4.48
YPA: 8.1
VYPA: 8.8
SVYPA: 11.1
Targets per game: 6.7
Success rate: 55.0

Raw points: 40 (tied seventh)
Modified points: 46.5 (eighth)
Productivity points: 14.3 (eighth)
Attributes points: 32.2 (third)

The YouTube footage of Patterson's juco days in some cases looks very similar to Randy Moss' Marshall highlights and illustrates part of why he ended up ranking third in attributes points. The issue for Patterson is he is, by his own admission, still a raw prospect and therefore would be best suited to go to a team that could invest the proper amount of time to harness his skills over the long term.

9. Justin Hunter, Tennessee

Birth date: May 20, 1991 (21 years old)
Height/weight: 6-4, 196
40-yard dash time: 4.49
YPA: 7.2
VYPA: 8.1
SVYPA: 5.1
Targets per game: 10.6
Success rate: 53.7

Raw points: 34 (ninth)
Modified points: 38.9 (ninth)
Productivity points: 5.2 (ninth)
Attributes points: 33.7 (first)

Hunter may be the biggest enigma of this group, as his top-ranked attributes total would suggest he should be an elite player yet he ranked last in YPA, VYPA, SVYPA and success rate on his way to placing last in productivity points. Some of the lack of production can be blamed on Tyler Bray's inaccuracy, but three of his teammates (Patterson, Zach Rogers and Mychal Rivera) all bested Hunter in YPA, so it cannot all go on Bray's arm. A good amount of the blame can go on Hunter's hands, as ESPN Stats & Information had him credited with 11 drops last year, a total that was highest among wideouts on BCS conference teams. Simply put, Hunter has superb physical skills but has yet to show that he can get enough out of them.

"He'll just smile and be cordial out there. Then he'll kill you."
--Aaron Smith, Defensive Lineman, on Troy Polamulu
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« Reply #1 on: Apr 12, 2013 at 18:05 »

Heard a mock today that had Pittsburgh taking Tavon Austin at 1.17.


Not a fan, but TBH, I don't know that much about him.
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« Reply #2 on: Apr 12, 2013 at 18:16 »

Would love to get Austin.

Rankings are OK, except... Terrance Williams #1?  Ummm, erkay.

Haven't done the detailed review of WRs, but IMO 1. Austin, 2. Patterson, 3. Allen, 4a. Hopkins, 4b. Hunter, 5. Bailey, 6. Patton, 7. Rogers, 8. Allen, 9. Swope, 10. Williams. 

So that's 11.

Out of my mind on Saturday night...
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