In In

Of Combines and Correlations – Part 4


In Part 1 of this series, applying Joe Landers’ statistical analysis of NFL combine performances , we assessed the likelihood of Chiefs #1 draft pick Dontari Poe becoming a success in the NFL. In Part 2 and Part 3, we covered, respectively, the Chiefs 2nd round pick  OG Jeff Allen and 3rd round pick OT Donald Stephenson. It should come as little surprise then that in today’s installment, we’ll apply Landers’ combine performance analysis to the Chiefs 4th round pick, WR/PR Devon Wylie.

In Wylie’s case, we must first take note of a certain caveat; Wylie only participated in 4 events at the Combine, to wit, the 40 yard dash, the broad and vertical jumps, and bench reps. For a full assessment of the WR position using Landers methodology, we should have numbers from at least 2 other combine metrics. As such, I’ve elected to bend the rules a bit by drawing from Wylie’s Pro Day scores in the Short Shuttle and 3 Cone Drill. I’ll let readers be the judge as to whether, or to what degree,  Pro Day numbers contribute signficantly to this review of Devon Wylie. 

For the WR position, Landers concludes that if a prospect can exceed peer average in the 40 yard dash and vertical jump “their odds for success will be very good.” Landers further notes that his 5 year dataset showed that 83% of WR prospects who EPA’d in the 40 and vertical were starters in 2008.  That seems like a pretty impressive stat in and of itself. Overall, according to Landers, a WR prospect should score at least 4 EPAs and optimally 6.

Continuing on  –

Landers’ WR peer averages and 1st teamer EPA percentages (bolded metrics being the most important) :

Short Shuttle: 4.26 sec; 39% of 1st teamers scored an EPA

Long Shuttle: 11.49 sec; 26% of 1st teamers scored an EPA

Three Cone: 7.01 sec; 57% of 1st teamers scored an EPA

Vertical Jump: 36.05”; 83% of 1st teamers scored an EPA (66% of two deep WRs also scored an EPA) 

Broad Jump: 121”; 65% of 1st teamers scored an EPA (65% of two deep WRs also scored an EPA) 

Forty yard dash: 4.53 sec; 83% of 1st teamers scored an EPA (76% of two deep WRs also scored an EPA) 

Bench Reps: 15.14; 37% of 1st teamers scored an EPA

To summarize, 40 yard dash and vertical jump scores are the leading indicators while broad jump and 3 cone are also strong, though lesser, indicators.

Now for Devon Wylie’s (5’9″, 187 lbs) Combine Results:

Vertical Jump: 39”; EPA

Broad Jump: 124”; EPA

Forty yard dash: 4.39 sec; EPA

Bench Reps: 17; EPA

Without even factoring in Wylie’s supplemental Pro Day metrics, we plainly see that he achieved EPAs in the 2 most signficant categories, the 40 and the vertical, and in one other significant category, the broad jump.  He further added an EPA for bench reps, bringing his total to 4 EPAs which, standing alone, suggests he has a strong likelihood of seeing success as a WR in the NFL based only on his 4 Combine results. Nevertheless, let’s go ahead and look at his Pro Day numbers in other three categories.

Devon Wylie’s Pro Day Results:

Three Cone: 6.82 sec; EPA (referencing Lander’s Combine based averages)

Short Shuttle: 4.16 sec; EPA (again referencing Landers’ Combine based averages)

Long Shuttle: 11.50 sec;

A popular knock on Pro Day scores is that they are done on friendly turf, in a much more relaxed and sanitized environment, thus favoring inflated results. Nevertheless, Wylie did not barely beat Landers’ Combine based averages in the Short Shuttle and 3 Cone, he beat them in pretty convincing fashion, thus perhaps discounting a bit the home turf criticism. As for the Long Shuttle score, which is not by any means horrible,I’ll simply draw from Landers observation that it is least important indicator for WRs, noting that 74% of 1st team WRs did not achieve EPAs in the Long Shuttle event.

All considered, I do not have any solid basis for believing that Wylie would not also have achieved EPAs in the 3 cone and Short Shuttle, had he done them at the Combine instead.

Regardless of how one slices it, Wylie appears to lie somewhere  between a very good to excellent NFL prospect based on his Combine and Pro Day results using Landers forecasting model. If we only take into consideration Wylie’s Combine results, he achieves the 4 EPA result that Lander’s concludes is a very strong indicator for WR success. If we also factor in Wylie Pro Day results, he achieves Landers’ optimal indicator of 6 EPAs.

As long as he stays healthy (perhaps the biggest concern of all) and is properly utilized, Wylie certainly possesses the athletic qualities that one seeks in a wide receiver.  His size of course dictates that he will be featured primarily in the slot. Might Devon Wylie be the next Wes Welker? Or, might he turn out to be even better than Welker? In both cases, it seems the potential is there.

Going off of Landers’  predictive model, this is a pick one can’t help but feel pretty good about, especially considering he was not acquired until the 4th round. His upside potential as a slot receiver aside, I personally am even more encouraged about the potential he brings for making an immediate impact in the Chiefs return game, and I will be absolutely thrilled if that is how Chiefs’ fans first learn to fall in love with the guy. My hope is that his 4.39 speed, combined with his size and shiftiness (plus new-ness to the league), somehow catches our first six opponents enough offguard to put them consistently on their heels and the Chiefs in consistently good field position.

That’s my Double Take.

What’s your take Addicts? Do you similarly envision Devon Wylie being an immediate impact player, or difference maker, as a returner? What about his long term potential as a slot receiver? What, if any, are your concerns about Devon Wylie?  Sound off!