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April

Packing the 2013 NFL Draft Stats: Production Ratio

Packing the StatsI have a confession to make: I’m completely clueless when it comes to NFL draft prospects. Okay, well maybe not clueless, but I don’t follow college football, so it’s hard to really know much about these guys moving around the draft boards. Once a guy gets drafted by the Green Bay Packers, then I take the time to read up on his scouting report and check out the highlight reels.

That means you won’t be getting a lot from me when it comes to evaluating players. However, as we get closer to the 2013 NFL Draft, I’m going to post some statistics articles that relate to the current rookie prospects. The nice thing about statistics is that I don’t really have to be that intimate with the players’ individual skills and deficiencies. I can take some of their important numbers, crunch them together, and make something useful out of them.

Of course, this is where I make my disclaimer that statistics don’t tell the whole story. They’re a useful tool when evaluating performance, but they’re just one item in the toolbox. Just like the “measurables” from the NFL Combine and pro days, statistics need to be combined with the rest of the puzzle to make the complete picture. (Okay, maybe that was one too many analogies in a single paragraph.)

My first endeavor is to determine the “production ratio” of front seven draft prospects. A few months ago, I finished reading Pat Kirwan’s book, “Take Your Eye Off the Ball,” and he mentioned a couple statistical tools he uses to help measure incoming players. (By the way, I highly recommend picking up this book if you haven’t read it. I got it on iBooks for about $10.) Production ratio is one of these measurements, and it’s a look at how often defensive lineman and linebackers made impact plays during their playing time in college. Here’s the formula:

(SACKS + TACKLES FOR A LOSS)/GAMES PLAYED = PRODUCTION RATIO

Obviously, this is an attempt to combine big plays into one number that’s comparable across the board. The sum of sacks and tackles for a loss are divided by the number of games played to essentially get an average number of impact plays per game.

There are two immediate drawbacks to be noted: (1) sacks are generally less important than total pressures, and (2) it would be more fair to measure this statistic in relation to snaps played rather than games played. As far as these problems are concerned, there’s not really any statistical data out there for them, so this is the best we have. And despite these two issues, the number is still a suitable way to gauge performance across the draft board.

Without further ado, here are some of the top draft prospects from DraftTek.com who they consider capable of playing in a 3-4 defense as a lineman or outside linebacker. Their rank is according to DraftTek’s “big board” as of April 1st, and included in the table are the players’ production ratio statistics, with raw data taken from Sports-Reference.com (click to enlarge):

2013 NFL Draft Stats: Production Ratio of 3-4 Defensive Front Prospects

2013 NFL Draft Stats: Production Ratio of 3-4 Defensive Front Prospects

 

I’m not going to go into too much detail about each of the players, but you can see how this type of information might hurt or help their draft status. You can also see that other factors must clearly affect their position on the draft boards outside of college production.

There is also one other thing to keep in mind as you peruse the above chart. While this data does attempt to look at big plays on a per game basis, there are some players whose numbers might be skewed one way or the other based on yearly performance. Pat Kirwan uses the example of Clay Matthews in his book. Though Matthews only had a 0.41 Production Ratio for his entire college career, he only started his last 10 games at USC. He was a late bloomer, and if you look at his senior season alone, his Production Ratio was 1.04.

Perhaps you can identify some players who fit that mold above.

From here, I’m going to let you discuss what you see in the numbers. It might seem like I’m copping out, but some of you have certain draft prospects that you follow more closely than others, so hopefully you can provide some additional insight for everyone else. Are some guys simply products or victims of their defensive system? Are there some guys whose biggest assets aren’t necessarily in making plays behind the line?

Share your thoughts below!

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Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for AllGreenBayPackers.com. You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski

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12 Responses to “Packing the 2013 NFL Draft Stats: Production Ratio”

  1. jay says:

    This stat would seem to disadvantage guys who play NT whose job is tie up blockers so others can make the play. While this would explain why guys like John Jenkins and Jesse WIlliams are low on this metric, the outlier that stands out here is Brandon Williams, whose size suggests he would be just that NT type of player. Can anyone who’s seen him comment on this?

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  2. PatMc says:

    The first thing I noticed is that at 87 ranking, Brandon Williams (an NT) has a Production Ration (PR) better than all but Jarvis Jones. Compared to Hankins of Ohio third from Bottom – It looks like Williams is a deal in the third round.

    I know that the competition is different from Missouri SOuthern and Ohio but it would make me want to review the tape. Hopefully MM and his team has already done that.

    If you look at Chase Thomas (187) and Bjoern Werner (#5) the production is very comparable. Again, a deal in the 3rd or 4th.

    I believe this draft is setting up for TT to trade down and pick up extra picks in the top 150 range and get really excellent value.

    At 26 there will be excellent players that other teams must have and I don’t think TT will actually draft until the 2nd round. Others on here will say I’m nutz but there are other TE’s to be had in latter rounds and several teams might want to jump up over SF to get them. QB’s, CB’s and DE will be sitting there and the other GM’s will be salivating. Let the trading begin – TT.

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    • Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

      I want to like Chase Thomas but I just cant. His arms are extremely short and he is just not an explosive athlete. Also, the guy looks awful when he has to drop in coverage. He makes plays with pretty good hand use, but with those short arms i think that will be completely negated in the NFL.

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      • Stroh says:

        I agree about Chase Thomas. Totally pass on him. Williams was helped greatly by playing against inferior talent. With Pickett and Raji I don’t see the Packers taking another NT, which also is the best position for Jenkins, Hankins and Jesse Williams. I want to see a true 34 DE w/ size, length, power and physicality. Some 6’4 or more 300+ lb power players. I think those types are lacking in this draft. I would look for a late round 34 DE to fit that mold.

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        • Packattack88 says:

          The thinking behind a NT is that Raji played better and an end last year and Pickett is 34 years old in the last year of his contract. Look at Kawann Short for a true playmaking 3-4 end.

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          • Packattack88 says:

            as an end*

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          • Stroh says:

            Thank you but I’m very well aware of Pickett age and contract status. However he’s playing ss well as ever and IMO will definitely be resigned. I don’t need you to explain it to me. Either way Raji is still the NT of the future.

            And I’ve been saying Short as a 34 DE for a couple months. I’m way ahead of you!

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            • Savage57 says:

              Are you also very well aware you sound like a d!ck? Cuz we’ve been thinking that for a couple of months and the rest of us are way ahead of you on that one!

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

              • Stroh says:

                Well he’s treating it like I needed him to explain Pickett and Raji’s roles ands situations. I’m very well aware of it. I keep very close tabs on the Packers and have been following them probably longer than he’s been alive. I thought he was condescending as if I don’t know the Packers or football and I absolutely do.

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      • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

        In my opinion, he’s a guard.

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