Andre WareAreTheyNow? of the "Goodbye, Ladies" Draft Report blog has devised a statistical regression model that attempts to identify the possible stars and the likely busts from the rookie crop of pass rushers (4-3 DE’s and 3-4 OLB’s). It includes Short Shuttle time, Vertical Leap, and college production (sacks per game). He gives a projection for DE’s and OLB’s listed as a Top 100 prospect (pre-draft) that would be their expected sack total for the first seven years of their career. For instance, he has Aaron Maybin and Connor Barwin as the possible stars of the group, and Robert Ayers as an out-and-out bust. I’ll let you follow the link for the detailed methodology and the entire list of projections, but I wanted to focus on two in particular – Lawrence Sidbury and Everette Brown.
First, the bad news: the projection for Sidbury is poor. He is only projected for an average of 3 sacks per year – strictly backup material. He has slightly below average numbers on the measurables included in the metric, plus he didn’t really dominate the Football Championship Subdivision (Division 1-AA) until his senior year. One reason to be hopeful, though, is that he notes the model is far less accurate projecting prospects from non-BCS schools. I certainly have no problem with a "boom or bust" type player being drafted more than halfway through the 4th Round (#125 overall).
Which brings me to the good news: the projection says that Everette Brown will "suck out loud" in the NFL. Actually, the original projection has him slightly ahead of Sidbury, but an updated projection has him behind Sidbury, with an average of 2.5 sacks per year. Brown had pretty decent production in college, but he was terrible for his Short Shuttle time and his Vertical Leap. So, not only did Carolina draft a player in the 2nd Round (#43 overall) that is not expected to amount to much – they also gave away next year’s 1st Round Pick to San Fran to be able to grab him. Oh, happy day!
Sorry this wasn’t posted around NFL Draft time, but I just found the story myself. I think the projections are so fascinating and the research so compelling that I had to share.