Draft comparables, spider charts and comments worth highlighting

April 12, 2013

I’ve got a bit of a late-morning grab bag here, but it’s Friday, don’t hold it over me.

If you’ve exhausted all the mock drafts you can find that project picks for the Redskins at No. 51 and beyond, there are, believe it or not, other ways to obsess about the draft. At the site mockdraftable.com (h/t to BloggingthebEast for pointing this out), there’s a player measureables database, which comes in handy if you can’t decide which free safety you’d rather see the Redskins take in Round 2. A grid comparing heights, weight, 40 times and other combine and pro day data lets you look at the pool of players at any position and see whose “raw talent” projects best.

But what’s more interesting is when you click on a particular player to get their “spider chart” and comparables. Now you can visualize his talent, and look at how the NFL careers of similar players turned out.

You’re probably familiar with former LSU player Tyrann Mathieu, better known as The Honey Badger. Here’s a shrunken version of his chart:

Then you look at N.C. State cornerback David Amerson, who visited the Redskins on Wednesday. Here’s his:

Not hard to decide which player you’d rather have, at least based on how they test. If you don’t believe much in measurables — and certainly Mathieu is an eye-test guy — then maybe it’s not as useful. But if you’re a draft fanatic, it can be mesmerizing.

Those names on the lower left are players who showed similar raw talent at the combine and pro days. So maybe you really like the idea of drafting Baccarri Rambo, until you realize that he compares to current Redskin Reed Doughty and struggling Eagles safety Nate Allen. Two of Mathieu’s comparables are Asante Samuel, and Insider reader favorite Chase Minnifield.

Certainly measureables don’t predict the success of a player — London Fletcher, for example, might not have tested well, but has a drive inside him that no test can measure. But look at Robert Griffin III’s chart. Easily the most athletic quarterback to come out. The comparables range from Michael Vick to D.J. Shockley to Jake Locker, but it’s pretty likely Griffin’s career won’t resemble any of theirs.

Here’s Kirk Cousins, Rex Grossman and Pat White. One of Grossman’s comparables is Drew Brees, and he’s in the zero percentile on one of the measurements.

It’s not perfect — CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson is listed as North Alabama, not U-Conn. But it’s a fun tool to play around with pre-draft, especially if you’re looking at those players who the Redskins might draft at or near No. 51, No. 85, No. 119 and beyond.

Readers’ wisdom

Here are a few comments worth highlighting from the past couple days. They are far from the only good ones, but sometimes good points get buried and deserve a nudge up so everyone can read them. From yesterday’s Alfred Morris doesn’t count against the salary cap post:

smack-smack:

The rest of the story about Morris’s pay is that the NFL annually gives bonuses to players who outplay their contracts. For 2012, they awarded more than $100 million in bonuses. These come from the league and do not count against a team’s salary cap.

The top bonus was $299,000 and it went to Vontaze Burfict. Remember Bobbie Massie, who a lot of guys wanted us to draft instead of Kirk Cousins? He got the fourth largest bonus — $283,000.

So how much did Morris get? Don’t know, because the NFL only released the names of the top 25, and Morris wasn’t in the top 25! In fact, there was not a single RB in the top 25. This is probably because the bonuses are based on the number of plays a player makes and RBs, even starters, aren’t on the field as much as LBs or RTs.

Smack/beep is right, the NFL has a system for rewarding players Here’s the link to the top 25 he mentions.  The Redskins were lucky to have gotten such a great season out of Morris, but they were also prudent by not using a high pick on a runner.

mistamoe:

Another interesting point is, does it even make sense to draft a top round running back when 2-3 guys getting 600 rushing yards apiece is a much cheaper, smarter way to go.

Shanahan, as you all know, has made a killing with running backs taken lower in the draft (we’ll all pretend Maurice Clarett never happened). But as a general rule, unless a back is special, there’s a good argument, especially in today’s NFL, for not using a high pick on one. There’s also an argument for having multiple backs touch the ball even if most of the offensive sets are one-back.

A lot of people made the below point on Wednesday’s post about cornerbacks, in how a poorly performing secondary is intertwined with how much pass rush a team is getting:

drscoundrels:

I think that one thing you might have forgotten, Keith, was the absence of a pass rush. When the Redskins, or any team, are able to bring pressure on a QB — you can improve your pass defense immensely.

With Carriker and Orakpo hurt, the O line could key more towards Kerrigan and shut down our pass rush — even with blitzers. Know where the kid is — you can shut them down.

Any time, any team that has no pass rush? They have a porous secondary.

It’s easy to talk a big game — bring in this big name or that big name and viola — solved. But it didn’t happen before. With no pressure, a QB can sit in a pocket for 7-8 seconds and I don’t care how good your secondary — after that much time — you will lose in this WR-happy league. Don’t touch the WR, pull up at the last second so you don’t drip sweat on the QB and other rules changes have made the pass rush more difficult and coverage much more so. Without getting in the face of the QB, you WILL have a bad pass defense.

Also from Wednesday, as part of a discussion on reasons for optimism this season despite Griffin’s injury:

Squinns:

Besides the greatest injury of all, RGIII, below is a list of other injured players from last year that we are hoping will be back and improve the team this year:

Rak
Carriker
Garcon
Davis
Meriweather
Helu

I would also throw Minnifield in the Mix, but the others are really starters, and Minnifield, even if healthy, probably wouldn’t be a starter. Same with Keenan Robinson, possibly as our future starting ILB to fill the future loss of Fletch, and to give him some rest during this season from time to time.

Am I missing anyone?

I would be happy to see 4-5 of these players fully healthy next year – hoping that they’re all healthy is probably not realistic.

Solid points. Many more are made, and I won’t get to highlight them all, but I’ll pull out some from time to time, especially those that move the discussion forward.

More Redskins from The Post:

D.C. Sports Bog: Garcon says RGIII will be as good as Peyton Manning

Garcon says he’ll be healthy enough to play

Safety Jordan Bernstine hopes to return from knee injury by training camp

Alfred Morris does not count against the salary cap

D.C. Sports Bog: Doug Williams’s ‘Old RGIII’ nametag

D.C. Sports Bog: Kirk Cousins called Redskins kicker by hometown paper

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Mark Maske · April 11, 2013