A Metrics Study of Overrated Draft Prospects

By Greg Peshek
April 23, 2013

In his second installment, Greg Peshak uses advanced stats to find the most overrated players in this year's NFL Draft.

See the most undervalued prospects »

Looking at the underrated players for my previous post exposed some prospects with less than desirable metrics. It’s not a concern if a top prospect has one or two bad metric categories if there are other positives to be had. It starts to be a problem when a player has universally bad stats across the board. Those are the type of players I picked out for these profiles.

I’ll explore those negative metrics and why these players may not be worth a high draft pick. All statistics are derived from the STATS ICE program which has data from every BCS game in the 2012 season.

Jawan Jamison, RB – Rutgers

Jawan Jamison is often considered a mid-round prospect in the mold of former Rutger’s RB Ray Rice. At first blush his extra yardage rating is above-average and he seems to be a fine prospect. However, when you delve into the statistics, there are some glaring problems. In third-and-short situations as well as runs in the redzone, he averaged under two yards per carry, much lower than every other RB. Only 40% of his rushes resulted in quality plays for his team, compared to an average of 55-60% for every other RB.

Even his ability to gain extra yardage is trumped up by gaudy broken tackle numbers against FCS Howard University. It might be a stretch to compare him to Ray Rice or any other NFL RB.

Kenny Stills, WR – Oklahoma

The numbers just don’t favor Kenny Stills. Many project him as a quick, slot receiver to be selected in the third round. Unfortunately, the things you’d want to see from a slot receiver weren’t there during college. His yards after the catch was extremely below-average, normally gaining only 3 yards after each reception. His hands were below-average at best, dropping 7.8% of all targets thrown his way.

Justin Hunter, WR – Tennessee

The metrics for Justin Hunter point to the same negative factors as Stills. Hunter dropped an astounding 12.1% of all targets thrown his way, which gives him the worst hands of any receiver slotted to be drafted in the first 5 rounds.

Hunter’s been billed as a physical specimen after his superb combine performance, but he was only able to garner 4.9 yards after the catch in 2012. That YAC isn’t as bad as Stills, but ideally you’d want more from a first round prospect. Other notable wide receivers such as Cordarrelle Patterson averaged 6.4 yards, Tavon Austin 8.2 yards, and Keenan Allen 6.8 yards.

Jesse Williams, DT – Alabama

College production is only a single part of the evaluation process, potential has to be included in any projection to the NFL. Williams’ production in college certainly leaves something to be desired.

When pass rushing, other first and second round DTs averaged a snaps per pressure (SPP) of 15.5, meaning they pressured the quarterback every 15.5 snaps. Williams had an SPP of 36, much lower than every other top prospect.  He also had the least amount of tackles near or at the line of scrimmage among top DTs. Even after adjusting for his snap participation against rushing plays, his impact on the run game was low.

Jon Bostic, LB - Florida

 There are many factors that go into a non-pass rushing LBs evaluation including coverage, pass rushing, and run support. Unfortunately, Bostic didn’t post quality metrics in any of those categories.

In run support he tied for the least amount of impact tackles with Manti Te’o at 14.5 (average was 23). In pass coverage, he was beat on 58.6% of targets and only defensed four passes. His pass rushing was about average, he garnered 11 pressures through the year- about the same as Te’o on a similar number of snaps. However, that may not be enough to make up for other deficiencies.

David Amerson, CB – North Carolina State

It’s well known that Amerson had a rough year in 2012, however may are still projecting him to be selected in the secound round. The metrics would suggest that he belongs among corners slotted to go in the fourth round and later. Amerson was targeted fifth-most among top CBs, which means he was thrown at every 5.1 snaps.

Unlike other top CBs such as Dee Milliner who were targeted frequently but not beat often, Amerson was beat 46% of the time. To contrast, top CBs like Xavier Rhodes and Milliner were only beat 38.2% and 40.6% of the time respectively. In addition, he also missed the most tackles by a wide margin (13) and gave up 8 touchdowns.

Eric Reid, S – LSU

There are many who like Reid as a first round safety, maybe even as the second one off the board. The numbers couldn’t tell a different story.  Reid’s burn rate is glaringly bad.

The safety class on the whole was beat on 52% of all targets. Eric Reid was beat on 61% of all targets, worst among the safety class this year. That may be acceptable if he played well as a box safety, but the metrics suggest that’s unlikely. He failed to make many impact tackles, 8.5 for Reid compared to an average of 10.5 for the group. On top of that he missed 14 tackles, second worst in the safety group behind Shamarko Thomas.

Other statistically overrated players:

  • Johnthan Banks
  • Johnathan Hankins
  • Kenjon Barner
  • Zaviar Gooden
  • Bacarri Rambo
  • Keenan Allen

See the most undervalued prospects »