Of Combines and Correlations – Part 7


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Finally, we arrive at the last installment of this statistical forecast for the Chiefs 2012 draft class. In the 7th round, the Chiefs selected DL Jerome Long and WR Junior Hemingway.  Hemingway participated at the Combine but Long did not and so in the latter’s case, we’ll need to use alternative physical attribute data (e.g., Pro Day results) when applying Joe Landers’ methodology for projecting future NFL success.

We’ll begin with Long (6’4″, 290 lbs), who will presumably serve in the role of a 43-type DT. Landers’ DT peer average metrics (bolded being the most important) and first teamer EPA percentages follow:

Short Shuttle: 4.61 sec; 57% of 1st teamers scored an EPA

Long Shuttle: 12.44 sec; No 1st teamers scored an EPA

Three Cone: 7.67 sec; 65% of 1st teamers scored an EPA

Vertical Jump: 30.10”; 43% of 1st teamers scored an EPA

Broad Jump: 106”; 52% of 1st teamers scored an EPA

Forty yard dash: 5.11 sec; 61% of 1st teamers scored an EPA

Bench Reps: 26.43; 43% of 1st teamers scored an EPA

As we can see, the leading indicator for DT’s is the 3-cone drill, wherewith 2/3rds of DT prospects earning an EPA made first team within 5 years of being drafted based on Landers combine database. Cutting straight to the chase, Landers concludes that optimal number of EPA’s for a DT is 6, and other than that, somewhere in the range of 3 to 5 EPAs still makes for a “respectable” outcome at this position in terms of players serving in depth roles.  Put another way, anything less than 6 EPAs, and the percentage of guys who made 1st team drops into the teens.  Bottom line, successful DTs need to not only be ugly, they better also be hellacious athletes.

All that said, here’s how Longs’ Pro Day numbers looked:

Short Shuttle: No data available

Long Shuttle: No data available

Three Cone: No data available

Vertical Jump: 23″

Broad Jump: 102”

Forty yard dash: 5.04 sec (source – nfldraftscout.com); EPA

Bench Reps: 23

Lacking critical attribute data, particularly in the 3 Cone Drill, makes the overall assessment of Long both difficult and a bit of a mystery in terms of evaluating his athleticism. What we can safely say is that the statistical likelihood of him becoming a starter is extremely slim based just on these limited results. Beyond that, if hypothetically given the opportunity, he would need to score EPAs in both the short shuttle and 3 Cone to be considered statistical viable to even make roster.  In other words, Landers’ forecast for Jerome Long is not a very promising one. Perhaps there are mitigating circumstances, injury or whatever, that account for Long’s apparent lack of athleticism? I have not heard anything particularly encouraging about him so far out of training camp so it seems that Landers’ model holds water with Long, at least preliminarily. Moreover, if the recently published (unofficial) depth chart is any indicator, Long certainly has his work cut out for him.

Let’s move on to the Chiefs’ final pick of the 2012 draft, WR Junior Hemingway (6’1″, 225 lbs).

As previously detailed in Part 4 of this series, here are the peer averages and 1st teamer EPA percentages (bolded metrics being the most important)  for WRs:

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

A WR prospect should ideally get EPA’s in both the 40 Yard Dash and the Vertical Jump and then at least 2 more EPAs in addition. With 65% of 1st teamers receiving an EPA as well, the broad jump also seems to be a significant indicator.

Hemingway’s combine numbers were as follows:

Short Shuttle: 3.98 sec; EPA

Long Shuttle: No data available

Three Cone: 6.59 sec; EPA

Vertical Jump: 35.5″

Broad Jump: 124”; EPA

Forty yard dash: 4.53 sec;  

Bench Reps: 21; EPA

Okay, so what we see here is that Hemingway is pretty decent athlete, scoring 4 EPAs total but the downside, and it’s a pretty big downside at that, is that he did not score EPAs in either of the most critical attribute tests, namely the 40 Yard Dash and the Vertical Jump. In each case, only 17% of the prospects in Landers 5 year study were able to make 1st team without scoring an EPA in each respective category. Still, considering Hemingway did score 4 EPAs overall AND scored very respectably in both the 40 and vertical, I feel that he was without question worth a late 7th round pick all considered. To what degree he is able to parlay his above average athleticism onto the field remains to be seen.

That’s my Double Take, Addicts.

What do you think? Do you envision either of these players making some kind of impact, as Chiefs, over the next few years? What do you think it will take for these prospects to overcome the odds and be exceptions to the rule?

Lastly, sound off if you would be interested in seeing Landers’ predictive model put to the test at each position of the current roster (so, not just rookies).  Word of warning: if you’re looking for some insights into predicting quarterback success based on combine numbers and how Cassel and company stack up against their peers, that unfortunately is one position where Landers analysis showed virtually no correlation between Combine performance and Quarterback success– yet one more reason why drafting a “franchise” QB and recognizing “it” factor at that position continues to be a high risk proposition. On the other hand, evaluating say our WR corps and other critical positions might offer a little insight into team athleticism, the chances for long term success, and overall depth.