Kyler Murray
Getty Images

NFL Draft Analytics Top 300

by Hayden Winks
Updated On: July 28, 2019, 12:16 pm ET


QB model variables: draft capital, strength of schedule, age, completion percentage, overall passing efficiency, passing touchdown efficiency, and rushing production.

QB rankings without draft capital for those curious: 1) Kyler Murray, 2) Dwayne Haskins, 3) Will Grier, 4) Gardner Minshew, 5) Ryan Finley, 6) Easton Stick, 7) Drew Lock, 8) Nick Fitzgerald, 9) Brett Rypien, 10) Jake Browning, 11) Clayton Thorson, 12) Trace McSorley, 13) Tyree Jackson, 14) Jarrett Stidham, 15) Daniel Jones, 16) Jordan Ta'amu, and 17) Kyle Shurmur.

Underrated: Dwayne Haskins if he falls as reported, Will Grier, Gardner Minshew, Ryan Finley. … Overrated: Daniel Jones, Jarrett Stidham, Clayton Thorson, Tyree Jackson.

One thing I learned: Everything I've built for this column uses historical data because I need to be able to test it to build models. However, there are a lot of new metrics that I believe will be quite predictive once there is enough historical data to test its predictability. The two leaders in these new-age analytics are Pro Football Focus and Sports Info Solutions. Following both of them on Twitter is a must, but I'm sure you already are.

One metric I'm extra bullish on for quarterbacks is on-target percentage, especially when adjusted for air yards. Josh Hermsmeyer had a great column for FiveThirtyEight that showed there is some predictability in adjusted completion percentage, and Sports Info Solutions' on-target percentage is quite similar. Here's how the top four quarterbacks from this class rank up, but it's important to note that Will Grier is more accurate than Lock and Jones:



Running Backs

Small RB (under 215 lbs.) model variables: draft capital, weight, speed, weight-adjusted speed, agility, rushing market share, rushing touchdown efficiency, and receiving production. … Big RB (at least 215 lbs.) model variables: draft capital, strength of schedule, agility, breakout age, rushing market share, rushing yardage efficiency, and receiving production.

Underrated: Darrell HendersonDarwin Thompson, James Williams, Alexander Mattison, Mike Weber. … Overrated: Josh Jacobs if he goes top-25, David Montgomery, Alex Barnes.

One thing I learned: SPARQ, an athletic composite score, is really interesting, but it's a flawed metric. The SPARQ formula doesn't change from position to position, and I think we can all agree that the type of athleticism -- strength vs. long-speed vs. short-area burst -- changes from position to position. For example, the bench press doesn't matter for corners, but the SPARQ formula doesn't adjust for that, so the result for a particular player can trick us into thinking a prospect is more athletic than what they actually are. One perfect example is Kansas State RB Alex Barnes:



Wide Receivers

Small WR (under 6’0) model variables: draft capital, age, not being too short, speed, agility, strength of schedule, early-age production, and receiving market share. … Medium WR (between 6’0 and 6’1.99) model variables: draft capital, weight-adjusted speed, jumping, agility, early-age production, and receiving market share. … Big WR (At least 6’2) model variables: draft capital, speed, agility, jumping, early-age production, career production, and receiving market share.

Underrated: Andy Isabella, Emanuel Hall, Stanley Morgan, Ashton Dulin, KeeSean Johnson, Olamide Zaccheaus. … Overrated: Riley Ridley, Terry McLaurin if he goes top 75, Diontae Johnson, Hunter Renfrow, Penny Hart.

One thing I learned: Not all wide receivers are the same, so building models for different types of wide receivers was an absolute must for me. While production mattered for all types of receivers, there are differences in what type of "athleticism" is needed for bigger and smaller receivers:



There's also some good news for the D.K. Metcalf truthers out there:


Tight Ends

TE model variables: draft capital, age, speed, jumping, agility, strength of schedule, receiving market share, and receiving touchdown production. ... Next year's goal is to figure out how to measure blocking skills.

Underrated: Noah Fant to an extent, Kaden Smith, Caleb Wilson. … Overrated: Isaac Nauta, Dax Raymond.

One thing I learned: Most draft analysts largely ignore receiving production for tight ends because of the recency bias George Kittle created, but receiving production and market share are key components to predicting NFL success for tight ends. In fact, most of those on-field measures have r-squares in the high teens while SPARQ has been terrible:


Offensive Tackles

OT model variables: draft capital, height, weight, speed, weight-adjusted speed, agility, and All American honors.

Underrated: Kaleb McGary, Tytus Howard, Oli Udoh, Mitch Hyatt, Yosh Nijman. … Overrated: Jawaan Taylor if he goes top 10, Greg Little, Yodny Cajuste.

One thing I learned: It might not seem like it matters, but being super athletic as an offensive tackle is crucial to get into that elite tier. While some might like arm length (I've found that it's largely overrated), I like my offensive tackles to be agile and fast. Josh Norris has a fantastic threshold regarding short shuttle times, and I've found a similar one using weight-adjusted 40-yard dash times: 



Interior Offensive Linemen

IOL model variables: draft capital, age, thickness, weight-adjusted speed, agility, and strength of schedule.

Underrated: Chris Lindstrom, Connor McGovern, Ryan Bates, Deion Calhoun. … Overrated: Trevon Tate, Nate Herbig, Martez Ivey.