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Booms Busts and Big School Sleepers at DE since 2000

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by PonyExpress, Apr 24, 2006.

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  1. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    Booms Busts and Big School Sleepers at DE since 2000.

    First off, let me admit I have a "draft problem" and I am currently seeking help...;)

    I’m calling a “boom†a perennial pro-bowler, a “bust†a 1st rd player who was unproductive and/or out of the NFL, and a Big School Sleeper an impact non-1st rd DE from a BCS conference school. Also included is each player’s college production over his final two years, compared to players in this year’s draft class.

    Note: *** means stats vary prior to 2000 due to inconsistent record-keeping at Official University Athletic Sites.

    CPC means “College Production Comparison†with DE prospects in the 2006 class (see “Study of Draft Prospects with Stats†thread, if you can bear it:eek: ). The numbers include total tackles, tackles for loss, sacks, passes broken up and forced fumbles (TT/TFL/S/PBU/FF).

    I didn’t include non-BCS conference players like Osi Umenyiora because their lesser competition made their college stats incomparable.

    Part I. The Prospects.

    2000 Draft

    #1 Browns: Courtney Brown, PSU (Bust): Brown sustained the following injuries in a 3 year span: a knee injury missing the first 6 games of 2001; a left ankle sprain, missing 6 more games; a neck injury, missing one game in 2002; a knee injury requiring microfracture surgery, missing the last 4 games of 2002 and the playoff loss to Pittsburgh; a ruptured bicep tendon, missing the last 3 games of 2003; A torn foot ligament in September 2004 that cost him the whole 2004 season.
    CPC: 102/52/28/5/3 (2006 player ranking: @pass: 6; @run 5; @total: 11) If Brown were a member of the 2006 draft class, he would be tied with Kiwanuka at #1.

    #12 Jets: Ellis, Tenn (Good)
    CPC: 82/26/9.5/2/(4)*** (2006 player ranking: @pass: 17; @run: 7; total: 24). Ellis would have been tied with Victor Adeyanju at #10 in the 2006 class.

    #26 Buff: Eric Flowers, Ariz St (Bust): Flowers was a combine workout warrior. His rookie year was his most productive: In 16 games he had 20 tackles and 2 sacks. A tweener, he was considered too small to play end but too slow to play OLBer. Couldn’t bull rush and had no speed rush ability. Buffalo didn’t protect him in the 2002 expansion draft and Houston took him. He played one year in Houston, registered 4 tackles, and was cut. He bounced to St. Louis, played sparingly for two years, and is out of the league. http://www.bfloblog.com/
    CPC: 101/25/13/6/2; (2006 player ranking: @pass: 12; @run: 10; total: 22)
    Flowers would have ranked #9 in this year’s class, below Parys Haralson and just above Rob Ninkovich, the Purdue DE.

    big school sleeper.
    #33 NO: Darren Howard, KSt
    CPC: 104/35/16/12/8*** (2006 player ranking: @pass: 14; @run: 7; total: 21)
    If Howard were a member of the 2006 draft class, his production would have been comparable with Parys Haralson, the Tennessee DE. What distinguishes Howard from all other college DE prospects was his activity in coverage. In 1999 alone at Kstate he broke up 9 passes from the DE position, Julius Peppers type numbers. As a comparison, Manny Lawson led all the 2006 class with 9 breakups over two years. Howard’s production was no fluke, and hinted at NFL caliber athleticism.

    NOTE: John Abraham was drafted as a 3-4 OLB by Parcells, and played LBer as a senior in college, therefore, despite the fact he currently plays 4-3 DE, he is not included here.

    2001 Draft

    #4 Cin: J. Smith, Missou (good)
    CPC: 167/37/19/2/4 (2006 player ranking: @pass: 10; @run: 4; total: 14)
    Smith’s production ties him with Manny Lawson and Mario Williams at the #2 slot in this year’s class. Smith has been a solid contributing pro who has avoided the injury bug and registered 9 sacks in his rookie year.

    #10 GB: J. Reynolds, FSU (bust): Florida State product blew out his knee in rookie training camp and never was the same again. Hardly played for three years with the Packers before being traded to the Colts in 2004. Another Florida player who struggled with the culture shock of a cold weather city. http://www2.jsonline.com/packer/news/jul04/242133.asp
    CPC:115/26/19/3/4 (2006 aggregate rankings: @pass: 9; @run: 12; @total: 21) Reynolds’ college production was on par with Eric Flowers, and he would have ranked #9 among DEs in this year’s class.

    big school sleeper:
    #87 Den: R. Hayward, Iowa St
    CPC: 151/23/10/5/4. (2006 player ranking: @pass: 14; @run: 7; @total: 21)
    Hayward’s production was equivalent to 1st rounders Reynolds and Flowers. The difference is he was selected #87 overall, learned as a back-up for a few years, worked hard and finally emerged as an impact player.

    2002 Draft

    #2 Car: Peppers, NC (boom)
    CPC: 127/43/25/11/4. (2006 player ranking: @pass: 3; @run: 4; @total: 7)
    Pepper’s college production laps the field. If he were coming out this year he would easily have been the #1 DE according to the numbers. Sometimes they don’t lie!

    #11 Ind: Freeney, Syr (boom)
    CPC: 81/45/31/3/11 (2006 player ranking: @pass: 3; @run: 11; @ total: 14)
    If Freeney were coming out in 2006, he would have been ranked #2 DE in production behind Kiwanuka, tied with Manny Lawson and Mario Williams. His college impact against the pass was astounding, against the run? Not so much. The same pattern continues in the pros.

    #25 NO: Grant, Georgia (good)
    CPC: 86/21/8/9/2. (2006 aggregate rankings: @pass: 15; @run: 10; @total: 25)
    Grant is not a game-changer, but a solid, run-stuffing DE with limited pass-rush ability; still, he is a contributing, motivated player. His college production was on par with Stanley McClover and Ray Edwards, and would have placed him at #13 in this year’s class.

    big school sleeper
    #104 Chi: A. Brown, FLA
    CPC: 106/26/18/7/4. (2006 aggregate rankings: @pass: 7; @run: 12; @total: 19)
    Brown’s college production was on par with Elvis Dumerville, and would have placed him at #6 in this year’s class.

    2003 Draft

    #10 Bal: Suggs, Ariz St (boom)
    CPC: 94/43/29/5/9. (2006 aggregate rankings: @pass: 3; @run: 10; @total: 13)
    Suggs’ college production was similar to Freeney’s and would have placed him #2 in this year’s class.

    #13 Chi: Haynes, PSU (bust): - a huge bust. Shows no sense of urgency and played behind a street free agent last year. Drafted under Blache in system prior to Lovie Smith, current management’s excuse is Haynes doesn’t fit Lovie’s scheme. Shows no pass rush ability. A back up at best. No injury history to speak of, just can’t play or doesn’t want to.
    CPC: 121/34/19/5/7. (2006 aggregate rankings: @pass: 6; @run: 5; @total: 11)
    Haynes’ college production was on par with Kiwanuka, and would have placed him tied for #1 in this year’s class.

    #15 Phi: McDougle, Mia (bust): the Iggles traded up 15 slots to take this Miami DE in the first rd. After only one year McDougle had already suffered a sprained ankle, a bum knee a sore hip and an irregular heartbeat. His most infamous play was leveling Eli Manning in Manning’s first action of the season in 2004. In July of 2005 McDougle was the victim of a robbery and was shot in the stomach, missing the entire 2005 season due to complications.
    CPC: 116/32/14/6/4. (2006 aggregate rankings: @pass: 10; @run: 4; @total: 14) McDougle’s production was on par with Manny Lawson and Mario Williams, and would have placed him tied for #2 in this year’s class.

    #18 Ariz: C. Pace, WF (bust): Pace was considered a 3rd or 4th rdr entering the draft but in his first year presiding over the draft Arizona VP Rod Graves decided to make a splash, trading out of the 6th pick overall for the 17th and 18th, and drafted Pace #17 overall in what many considered the draft’s biggest reach. After two unproductive years, Pace astoundingly “cut himself while horsing around with a childhood friend†in 2005. The cut on his arm was so severe he had surgery, missed most of the 2005 season and was forced to apologize to his teammates. “These are the kind of accidents that can happen in the home,†remarked Denny Green (10/25/05).
    CPC: 112/30/19/1/2 (2006 aggregate rankings: @pass: 12; @run: 9; @total: 21)
    Pace’s production was on par with Flowers and Reynolds and would have placed him #9 in this year’s class.

    2003 big school sleepers: none

    2004 Draft

    #18 NO: W. Smith, Ohio St (boom)
    CPC: 108/33/16/8/3. (2006 aggregate rankings: @pass: 8; @run: 5; @total: 13)
    Smith’s college production was on par with Suggs and would have placed #2 in this year’s class.

    #20 Min: Udeze, USC (bust): - (injury) injury prone and under whelming over his first two years, Udeze has likely lost his job to Erasmus James, who holds up better against the run. His stock prior to the 2004 draft dropped due to whispers about structural damage in his shoulder, but on draft day the Vikings were congratulated for “stealing†him at #20. However, that shoulder gave him problems all year and he had surgery in the offseason and missed the Viking’s offseason program. Hurt again on Sept 25, 2005, Udeze had microfracture surgery to repair cartilage in his left knee and missed the rest of the season, an injury some players never return from. “Oh gosh, here we go again,†remarked DC Ted Cotrell upon learning the news.
    CPC: 100/42/24/4/11. (2006 aggregate rankings: @pass: 3; @run: 7; @total: 10)
    Udeze’s college production was below Pepper’s but better than Haynes, Courtney Brown and Kiwanuka. He would have stood alone at #1 in this year’s class.

    2004 big school sleeper: none.
     
  2. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    Part II. Patterns and Observations.

    More on Kiwanuka: No player since 2000 with college production as high as Kiwanuka has been anything other than a boom or a bust. There’s no in between. If Kiwanuka can avoid injury (Brown, Udeze), a bad attitude (Haynes) and stray bullets (McDougle) he should become a pro-bowler.

    “Boom†prospects: Taking all the “Boom†players drafted in the five year period 2000-2004 (Peppers, Freeney, Suggs and W. Smith), everyone had a score of 14 or lower compared with the 2006 class (see “study of draft prospects with stats†thread). The only players eligible for the 2006 draft who scored a 14 or lower this year are Kiwanuka, Lawson, and M. Williams. I believe draft history 2000-2004 makes the case that in 2006 only Lawson, Williams and Kiwanuka have BOOM potential. That is not to say they won’t be busts; Brown, Haynes, McDougle, and Udeze are examples of equally elite talents who ended up as busts.

    Impact prospects: Taking all the “impact†BCS players drafted 2000-2004 at DE (Darren Howard, Reggie Hayward, J. Smith, S. Ellis) the production rankings range from 14-24. This suggests that between 14-24 in this year’s draft we can find solid contributing starting players. The candidates in the ’06 draft are: Manny Lawson, Mario Williams, Daryl Tapp, Tamba Hali, Elvis Dumerville, Charlton Keith, Parys Haralson, Rob Ninkovich, Victor Adeyanju, and James Wyche of Syracuse.

    Sleeper trend: The big school sleepers had production rankings that exceeded those of first rd prospects. Also, the University of Florida seems to produce potential sleepers at DE. In addition to Alex Brown, Florida’s Bobby McCray, drafted #249 overall by Jacksonville in 2004, is becoming a productive player. Could 2006 Florida DE Jeremy Mincey be next? Probably not.

    Bust trend: Penn State produces busts along the DLine, from Brown (injuries) to Haynes (attitude) to J. Kennedy (talent). That puts a warning tag on Tamba Hali.

    Looking at the reasons, or excuses for elite busts (production rankings under 14)
    Brown: nfl injury
    McDougle: nfl injury, random gunfire
    Haynes: attitude
    Udeze: pre-draft injury

    Second tier busts (production rankings 21-22)
    Reynolds: nfl injury, attitude
    Flowers: talent
    Pace: attitude, talent

    In the end, if you avoid DLine players from Penn State like the plague, don’t let your #1 pick get shot by robbers, pass on prospects with serious injury histories, and draft a player with a production score of 24 or less, you have the best chance of coming away with a productive, impact player. Sounds easy…

    My take on the potential impact 2006 DE prospects:

    Limited risk

    Lawson: great attitude, elite production, no injury history, great athleticism= Boom ceiling, impact floor.


    Tapp: great attitude, good production, no injury concerns, average athleticism= impact potential.

    Haralson: no attitude concerns, good production, no injury concerns, average athleticism= impact potential.

    Ninkovich: great attitude, average production, no injury concerns, average athleticism= solid potential.

    Adeyanju: good attitude, average production, no injury concerns, average athleticism= solid potential or bust. Solid potential.

    Some risk:

    Kiwanuka: great attitude, elite production, injury concerns, good athleticism= Boom and bust potential (due to possible injury). No player since 2000 with production as high as Kiwanuka has been anything other than a boom or a bust. If he can avoid injury (Brown, Udeze), a bad attitude (Haynes) and stray bullets (McDougle) he should become a pro-bowler.

    Hali: great attitude, good production, no injury concerns, average athleticism, Penn State product= impact or bust potential.

    Dumerville: good attitude, good production, no injury concerns, below average athleticism= impact or bust potential.

    Risk:

    M. Williams: attitude concerns, elite production, no injury concerns, great athleticism= Boom and bust potential (due to possible attitude problems). Only turned it on when he could see the finish line. Is this Michael Haynes or Kevin Williams?

    Wyche: attitude concerns, average production, no injury concerns, average athleticism= solid potential or bust. Couldn’t take the losing at Syracuse, and gave inconsistent effort.

    Keith: attitude concerns, good production, injury concerns, average athleticism= impact or bust potential. Checkered past.
     
  3. Flying Fungi

    Flying Fungi In the Starting Line-Up

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    nicely done as always...
     
  4. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    I think I have successfully bored even the Draft forum into submission...:bricks:
     
  5. bucky

    bucky 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Not at all. It's quite interesting. The next step would be to look at the college systems where the players racked up their production and see how that would compare to some of the systems/techniques they'd be asked to play in the NFL. I'm not asking you to do that because I think it's incredibly hard. But like I said before, projecting a guy from one system to another is a very important part of the grading process.

    That said, I do believe production, attitude and raw ability are 3 VERY important factors and it'll be very interesting to see how your predictions pan out.
     
  6. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #11 Jersey

    Never! :p One think it made me wonder...from a Patsfan perspective, we've been treating Lawson exclusively as 3-4 OLB prospect and wondering whether he'll get past Cleveland and Dallas. But by your analysis, is it possible that Lawson might be more attractive as a straight 4-3 rush end than we've given him credit for? Suppose you're a KC at #20...
     
  7. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    If I were a 4-3 team I would draft him. J. Taylor, J. Kearse and KGB were all in the 240 range when they got drafted and all made an impact at DE. Lawson actually holds up well against the run.
     
  8. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Concur 4-3 teams will be interested, just look at Indy's pass rush duo.
     
  9. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    I would like to edit my original post and transfer Adeyanju to the "some risk" category due to some attitude concerns. It was an oversight...
     
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