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Old 03-03-2014   #51
Playoffs 
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Default Re: NFL.com writers on 2014 Draft

Bucky Brooks Scout's take: Putting NFL draft analytics to the test
Quote:
I've often wondered why analytics have been used prominently in the pre-draft evaluations in other major sports leagues, but haven't been fully incorporated into the scouting process in the NFL. The old-school mentality of scouts in pro football prompts decision makers to rely more on gut instincts and feel instead of statistical analysis when making player evaluations and comparisons.

That's why I initially resisted taking on a project that asked me to examine player comparisons based solely on the NFL Insight (a statistical database developed by NFL's IT department) examination of the empirical data gathered at the NFL Scouting Combine since 2003. While I certainly believe statistical analysis should play a role in evaluating players, I don't believe the numbers can accurately portray a prospect's talent or potential without factoring in key variables (scheme, opponent, weather conditions, etc.) that ultimately affect performance. Additionally, I believe the impact of pre-combine training has skewed the measurements in several drills, namely the 40-yard dash, pro-agility shuttle and three-cone drill. Thus, the combine numbers are no longer indicative of a prospect's pure speed or athleticism on the field.

Finally, I believe a prospect's DNA is actually revealed on game film. Astute evaluators are able to assess a player's talent, performance and overall potential by digging into the tape to see how well he has performed against elite competition. Although past performance is certainly not an accurate predictor of future results, it does provide a host of clues that allow scouts to make solid assessments on a player's long-term potential in the right environment.

With that as a backdrop, I would like to play a game of man vs. computer over the next week to test my evaluation skills against NFL Insight and the NFL Media research team. I will analyze their pro comparisons on a handful of prospects, and let you know where they were right or wrong on their assessments. Given the importance of the quarterback position, I believe it is only right that we start with two of the top quarterbacks in the 2014 class, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles, to see what past prospects they're connected to based on their combine test results...
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