FanPost

Draft Science 2014 - the WRs

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

From the FanPosts -Joel

Hello AP!

Here’s the first post in a series focused on what we can see about draft prospects based on the data that is available on them. There is a lot that goes into a draft board, including scheme evaluation, the player interviews and evaluating how a young player will handle the learning curve of the more physical pro game. All those variables and evaluations are in the hands of the personnel staff, scouts and coaches. But, we can look at the available data and draw some conclusions.

The series will focus on the potential draft choices on the first two days of the 2014 draft. For John Dorsey and the Chiefs, that is currently two picks. So I’ll look at the top two needs for the Kansas City Chiefs.

This post is looking at the wide receivers.

In breaking down the wide receiver prospects in the draft, I have included the top four wide receiver prospects that could possibly to be available at pick No. 23. I have excluded the top two prospects, who likely will not be available. The analysis were separated into two categories: Physical Capability and Functional Capability. This is a "could do" versus "does do" distinction.

Wide receivers create receptions in three ways: Using speed to gain separation from defensive backs; using quickness (in tandem with route running) to gain separation from DBs and using their body to deny defensive backs a chance to defend the reception.

For Chiefs fans, its plain to see that Dwayne Bowe, the primary WR target, is a "body" receiver, that his size to put his body in position to create receptions. Because Bowe is the only known quantity, I went back a pulled the pre-draft data on the 2013 KC receivers and included them in the comparison below.

Physical Capability - Explosion and Explosive Range

The Explosion Rating is the index developed to show the capability to accelerate directly off the snap on intermediate and short routes. Again, this is physical power and cannot account for the player’s ability (or lack of) to get off the line of scrimmage.

The Explosive Range rating is similar but emphasizes the deep "stretch the field" routes with the intermediate routes.

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Current roster observations

1) The most prominent KC receiver is also the Chiefs least physically explosive. Note that his data is the oldest and he seemed to have improved a small amount through the 2011 season.

2) Dexter McCluster is the only loss from last years receiving corps and new signee Weston Dressler’s workout data is not readily available. He may be a viable slot replacement.

3) The Explosive Range rating for Donnie Avery and AJ Jenkins are best on the current rooster but are dramatically offset by their inability to get off the line of scrimmage and their problems with drops.

Draft prospects

1) Odell Beckham’s ability to explode off the snap as well get deep is dramatically better than anyone on the roster.

2) Short-intermediate Explosion: Brandin Cooks has very similar explosion and both Beckham and Marqise Lee would be upgrades over McCluster’s explosion.

3) Both Cooks and Lee also offer an improvement over McCluster in Explosive Range, getting into deep routes.

Physical Capability - SA (Short Area) Quickness index

The SA Quickness rating represents the players’ ability to quickly change direction. It is most applicable to the "cut" routes and therefore is generally thought of as most important for the slot receivers. You can hear Mike Mayock refer to this ability as being "quicker than fast".

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Current roster observations

1) Donnie Avery is very physically talented. It illustrates his success in the underneath routes last season.

2) The biggest surprise of the current receivers is that Junior Hemingway is the second highest current receiver in SA change of direction.

Draft prospects

1) This is Brandin Cooks’ biggest strength. He is a drastic improvement over any current Chief receiver other than Avery.

2) Beckham has a lot of quickness in in addition to his explosive abilities.

3) Kelvin Benjamin and Mike Evans’ abilities are straight-line as their size would indicate.

Functional Capability

This is the analysis of what the prospects have done in their college careers. While both the offense and what players were asked to do within each offense varied, this will show what the players strengths and on-field tendencies are. Players may certainly be able to grow into other roles but these numbers illustrate what their game is and what they were successful at and that success and confidence may indicate what the player will most likely be successful in the NFL.

This analysis is an extension of the impressive research that was done by Greg Peshek, at Rotoworld. For the initial data he posted, please check his WR metrics Here and Here. I have drawn my conclusions so I won’t re-post his data.

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Scoring

My first calculation is "Reception Per TD". This is a revealing calculation as it shows how much work the receiver has to do to score.

1) Benjamin had the least receptions to score touchdown at one touchdown every 3.6 catches.

2) Cooks had one more touchdown than Benjamin while leading the top four prospects. However, it took Cooks eight catches to score each touchdown, while it took Benjamin less than four.

3) Beckham was second in this calculation as well as second in overall yards

Yardage

This table shows both where they made the catch (in yards), as well as the yards after the catch. This also reflects the types of routes these receivers most often run.

1) Beckham had the most percentage of catches beyond 11 yards. Benjamin was second in this category with half of his catches coming beyond 11 yards.

2) Both Cooks and Lee had over 50 percent of the receptions at less than six yards. And the bulk of their overall receptions at less than 10 yards.

3) Benjamin and Beckham run the most downfield routes -- Go's, Corners and Posts. Benjamin ran downfield almost six out of 10 routes.

Conclusions

There are of course a lot of possibilities for what young receivers can grow into. Three years of getting "coached up" can make a significant difference to some player’s success. But, without adding my opinion, and after looking at both type of capabilities, some things have become evident.

1) While at opposite ends of the speed/quickness spectrum, the deep threats in this group of receivers are clearly Beckham and Benjamin.

2) Cooks has the surest hands and the best experience for a slot receiver.

3) After his injury, Lee was not used as a downfield threat.

4) With his freakish size, average reception yardage and touchdown production, Benjamin was the most productive of these four receivers.

5) Beckham may be the best pro ready due to his high average reception yardage, receptions per touchdown and variety of routes run.

Notes: Use what you have

⁃ Some teams prefer a big slot receiver. Junior Hemingway could be growing into that role.

⁃ It would be interesting to see Avery work out of the slot more. Seam routes and corners should be successful if he can improve his hands.

⁃ Wild cards are whether Dressler and Jenkins could make an impact with more reps and more coaching from David Culley.

Who do you think is the best WR for the Chiefs offense?

Thanks for your comments.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.

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