DraftHistory.com Congratulates Vikings Kirk Cousins and Unveils New Quarterback Rating System
By Chris Malumphy
Congrats to Kirk Cousins on the fully-guaranteed three-year contract he is expected to sign with the Minnesota Vikings that will make him, at least temporarily, the highest paid player in league history. The Vikings have twice made strong playoff showings over the past three seasons but a missed chip-shot field goal against the Seahawks in 2015 and running into the eventual Super Bowl champs in 2017 did them in. Minnesota accomplished all this with questionable quarterback talent and hope to get over the hump during their window of opportunity with the signing of Cousins.
Still, many have questioned how talented Cousins actually is. It is truly difficult to tell whether or not he is a top grade talent. His supporting cast in Washington has always been suspect ever since he joined the team as the eighth quarterback selected in the 2012 NFL Draft. It hasn't helped either that the ownership and front office has also been erratic. Cousins was selected in the fourth round, the 102nd player, and wasn't even the first quarterback drafted that year by the Redskins who used the second pick of that draft on Robert Griffin III.
So it is here that DraftHistory.com unveils its own DraftHistory Quarterback Rating System. The DraftHistory method is very similar to the ANY/A (average net yards per attempt) statistic that is frequently published but in addition to pass attempts, yards gained passing, touchdown passes, interceptions, sacks and yards lost from sacks it also seeks to give proper due to a quarterback's running ability by incorporating rushing attempts and yards gained rushing while also taking into consideration a quarterback's fumbles and fumbles lost. The DraftHistory approach also excludes as overly excessive the 20-yard bonus ANY/A provides for every touchdown pass, whether it's a one or 99-yarder. Let's see if our perceptions of the running abilities of Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Tyrod Taylor, Marcus Mariota, Deshaun Watson match their ability to improve their average gain per play and let's penalize players as thoroughly for fumbles lost as for interceptions.
At first blush, the results appear to be very reasonable and enlightening. Quarterbacks readily accepted as having good seasons are at the top, those with poor seasons at the bottom, and mediocrity sits in the middle as it should. Although you could disagree about the order, virtually everyone would accept that Alex Smith (Chiefs), Drew Brees (Saints), Jimmy Garoppolo (49ers), Philip Rivers (Chargers), Tom Brady (Patriots), Jared Goff (Rams), Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers), Matt Ryan (Falcons), Case Keenum (Vikings) and Carson Wentz (Eagles) had pretty good seasons. Those players top the ratings. Conversely, pretty much everyone was disappointed with the play of quarterbacks like Mike Glennon (Bears), Tom Savage (Texans), Blaine Gabbert (Cardinals), DeShone Kizer (Browns), Bryce Petty (Jets), Brett Hundley (Packers) and Trevor Siemian (Broncos) who can be found at the bottom of the ratings.
Running quarterbacks didn't fare too well in 2017 according to these ratings. To get a ratings benefit from running, the average gain per rushing attempt has to be greater than the average gain per pass while also accounting for interceptions and fumbles. When even Cam Newton and Russell Wilson can't rise from the middle of the pack, perhaps teams and fans should recognize that while having the ability to extend plays and pick up valuable yardage on some plays can be beneficial, a big diet of quarterback rushes is bad for productivity. Much like how baseball now eschews the strategy of bunting, perhaps the overall impact of running quarterbacks has also been over-rated. It's a skill that you like to have when needed, but it is not the primary purpose of the quarterback position and may very well negatively impact the quarterback's overall offensive productivity. Michael Vick and Randall Cunningham never won a big one, nor has Cam Newton. Russell Wilson did once, with the aid of a stellar defesne. Of course, if you gotta run, it's nice if you have the ability.
A few points of interest. Both Tom Brady and Nick Foles ratings rose when I added the playoffs (as reported here) to the regular season statistics. Brady rose a few spots, Foles a boatload. Aaron Rogers play was mediocre in 2017, even before his injury, and ranked 25th. Ryan Fitzpatrick played soundly and ranked 12th when he filled in on a limited basis for an injured Jameis Winston, unlike in recent seasons when he was a turnover machine. Cousins was 20th of the 44 quarterbacks with 100 or more attempts. The Ravens should seriously consider the future of Joe Flacco who was ranked 34th as should the Giants with Eli Manning ranked 33rd. Blake Bortles (14th) ain't so bad. Buffalo Bills fans either love or truly hate Tyrod Taylor (23rd), but he ranked between some quarterbacks considered pretty decent, directly below Dak Prescott and barely ahead of Cam Newton by some thousandths of a point, as well as Aaron Rogers. The Bengals' Andy Dalton is another quarterback fans like to doubt, and for good reason in 2017 when he finished 29th behind rookie Mitch Trubisky and directly ahead of Brock Osweiler, Brian Hoyer and Jay Cutler. Carson Palmer (18th) could still help many teams if he wanted to continue playing, Jay Cutler (32nd) should have kept his television job.
Of course I'll be the first to admit that no quarterback rating system is perfect but at least now DraftHistory.com has one of its own.
|Final 2017 DraftHistory.com Quarterback Ranking|
|Name||Team||Draft History Rating|
|The DraftHistory.com quarterback ranking is very similar to ANY/A but also includes rushing attempts, rushing yards, fumbles and fumbles lost and excludes the bonus yards ANY/A grants for touchdown passes. The formula is:|
First Round NFL Draft Order
By Chris Malumphy
|2018 NFL Draft Order - First Round|
|Pick||Value||Team||Record / Strength of Schedule||Needs|
|1||3000||Cleveland Browns||0-16 (.520)||QB, RB, CB|
|2||2600||New York Giants||3-13 (.531)||OT, QB, RB|
|3||2200||Indianapolis Colts||4-12 (.480)||ILB, OL, Edge|
|4||1800||Cleveland Browns||via Texans 4-12 (.516)||QB, RB, CB|
|5||1700||Denver Broncos||5-11 (.492)||OG, QB, OT|
|6||1600||New York Jets||5-11 (.520)||QB, RB, OT|
|7||1500||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||5-11 (.555)||DE, RB, CB|
|8||1400||Chicago Bears||5-11 (.559)||WR, OL, CB|
|9||1350||San Francisco 49ers||6-10 (.512)||WR, OL, CB|
|10||1300||Oakland Raiders||6-10 (.512)||CB, ILB, OT|
|11||1250||Miami Dolphins||6-10 (.543)||OG, ILB, RB|
|12||1200||Buffalo Bills||via Bengals 7-9 (.465)||QB, LB, DT|
|13||1150||Washington Redskins||7-9 (.539)||QB, LB, S|
|14||1100||Green Bay Packers||7-9 (.539)||CB, OL, WR|
|15||1050||Arizona Cardinals||8-8 (.488)||QB, OL, WR|
|16||1000||Baltimore Ravens||9-7 (.441)||WR, TE, RB|
|17||950||Los Angeles Chargers||9-7 (.457)||OT, QB, LB|
|18||900||Seattle Seahawks||9-7 (.492)||OT, CB, OG|
|19||875||Dallas Cowboys||9-7 (.496)||TE, DT, CB|
|20||850||Detroit Lions||9-7 (.496)||DE, OG, LB|
|21||800||Cincinnati Bengals||via Bills 9-7 (.492)||OL, QB, LB|
|22||780||Buffalo Bills||via Chiefs 10-6 (.477)||QB, LB, DT|
|23||760||Los Angeles Rams||11-5 (.504)||CB, OL, LB|
|24||740||Carolina Panthers||11-5 (.539)||OL, WR, DE|
|25||700||Tennessee Titans||9-7 (.434)||Edge, OG, TE|
|26||720||Atlanta Falcons||10-6 (.543)||DT, OG, S|
|27||680||New Orleans Saints||11-5 (.535)||QB, C, WR|
|28||640||Pittsburgh Steelers||13-3 (.453)||ILB, QB, S|
|29||660||Jacksonville Jaguars||10-6 (.434)||TE, OG, WR|
|30||620||Minnesota Vikings||13-3 (.492)||OT, OG, DL|
|31||590||New England Patriots||13-3 (.484)||CB, QB, Edge|
|32||600||Philadelphia Eagles||13-3 (.461)||LT, LB, CB|
|Teams without a First Round Selection|
|Pick||Value||Team||Record / Strength of Schedule||Needs|
|Houston Texans||4-12 (.516)||OL, S, CB|
|Kansas City Chiefs||10-6 (.477)||CB, WR, S|
|Note: Coin flips at the NFL Combine broke the ties between the 49ers and the Raiders to determine the order of selection for the 9th and 10th picks and between the Redskins and the Raiders for the 13th and 14th picks.|
Quarterback Changes Aplenty from 2016-2017; More to Come in 2018
By Chris Malumphy
Ten NFL teams changed their primary quarterback (the passer with the most attempts for the team) from the 2016 to 2017 seasons, some by choice, the others due to injury. Thus, nearly a third of the league had significant changeover at the games most important position. Only two of the ten teams ended 2017 with above .500 records. Both had Case Keenum in common. The Rams moved away from Keenum who was their primary passer in 2016 by turning the reigns over to Jared Goff. The Vikings added Keenum to the roster to backup starter Sam Bradford but an injury suffered in the season opener thrust Keenum into a starting role where he flourished.
The Jets, Rams, Bears, Texans, 49ers and Browns moved away from top passers in 2016 by choice after determining that Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum, Matt Barkley, Brock Osweiler, Colin Kaepernick and Cody Kessler were not the answer. The Rams, Bears, Texans and 49ers seem set going into 2018 with Goff, Mitchell Trubisky, the return of the injured Deshaun Watson and the mid-season acquisition of Jimmy Garappolo, respectively. The Jets, who merely stabilized their quarterback situation with the aged Josh McCown in 2017, and the Browns, who seemed to have missed the mark with rookie DeShone Kizer, are still looking.
Injuries forced changes for the Vikings, Dolphins, Colts and Packers. The Vikings fared the best when Keenum helped the team improve from 8-8 in 2016 to 13-3 and a playoff victory in 2017, but it doesn't appear to be enough to ensure his continued employment with the team as the Vikings appear to be willing to jettison both Keenum and Bradford if they can find anything better. The Dolphins, Colts and Packers were doomed when injuries hit Ryan Tannehill, Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler, Jacoby Brissett and Brett Hundley couldn't match their play, although Brissett displayed some promise.
NFL teams have come to realize that mediocre play at quarterback is not likely to lead to long term success or Super Bowl victories. The upcoming draft could witness four or more quarterbacks being taken in the first round, perhaps challenging the record set in 1983 when John Elway, Todd Blackledge, Jim Kelly, Tony Eason, Ken O'Brienand Dan Marino went in the first round with four of them ultimately playing in Super Bowls. Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen are all touted as first-round talents. Former Heisman winner Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph could easily join the mix with so many teams in need of good or young talent at the position including most of those who draft early in the first round. Teams in the hunt for quarterback talent undoubtedly include the Browns, Giants, Broncos, Jets, Cardinals, Bills, Jaguars and Patriots. Some are obviously more desperate than others. One thing that could limit the number of quarterbacks taken in the first round in 2018 is the abundance of free agents that will be on the market that could provide immediate solace to teams in need. Available quarterbacks could include: Kirk Cousins, Sam Bradford, Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater, AJ McCarron, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown, Chase Daniels and a host of other wannabes. The next two months have the potential to radically alter the league's starting quarterback lineup for a long time to come.
|Quarterback Changes from 2016 to 2017|
(QB with Most Pass Attempts)
|Jets||Ryan Fitzpatrick||403||228||2710||6.7||56.6||12||17||69.6||5-11-0 (0.313)||Josh McCown||397||267||2926||7.4||67.3||18||9||94.5||5-11-0 (0.313)||24.9|
|Rams||Case Keenum||322||196||2201||6.8||60.9||9||11||76.4||4-12-0 (0.250)||Jared Goff||477||296||3804||8.0||62.1||28||7||100.5||11-5-0 (0.688)||24.1|
|Bears||Matt Barkley||216||129||1611||7.5||59.7||8||14||68.3||3-13-0 (0.188)||Mitchell Trubisky||330||196||2193||6.6||59.4||7||7||77.5||5-11-0 (0.313)||9.2|
|Texans||Brock Osweiler||510||301||2957||5.8||59.0||15||16||72.2||9-7-0 (0.563)||Tom Savage||223||125||1412||6.3||56.1||5||6||71.4||4-12-0 (0.250)||-0.8|
|Vikings||Sam Bradford||552||395||3877||7.0||71.6||20||5||99.3||8-8-0 (0.500)||Case Keenum||481||325||3547||7.4||67.6||22||7||98.3||13-3-0 (0.813)||-1.0|
|Dolphins||Ryan Tannehill||389||261||2995||7.7||67.1||19||12||93.5||10-6-0 (0.625)||Jay Cutler||429||266||2666||6.2||62.0||19||14||80.8||6-10-0 (0.375)||-12.7|
|Colts||Andrew Luck||545||346||4240||7.8||63.5||31||13||96.4||8-8-0 (0.500)||Jacoby Brissett||469||276||3098||6.6||58.8||13||7||81.7||4-12-0 (0.250)||-14.7|
|49ers||Colin Kaepernick||331||196||2241||6.8||59.2||16||4||90.7||2-14-0 (0.125)||C.J. Beathard||224||123||1430||6.4||54.9||4||6||69.2||6-10-0 (0.375)||-21.5|
|Browns||Cody Kessler||195||128||1380||7.1||65.6||6||2||92.3||1-15-0 (0.063)||DeShone Kizer||476||255||2894||6.1||53.6||11||22||60.5||0-16-0 (0.000)||-31.8|
|Packers||Aaron Rodgers||610||401||4428||7.3||65.7||40||7||104.2||10-6-0 (0.625)||Brett Hundley||316||192||1836||5.8||60.8||9||12||70.6||7-9-0 (0.438)||-33.6|
Antonio Brown, DeAndra Hopkins and Julio Jones were the Most Dominant Receivers in 2017
By Chris Malumphy
Football Perspective has an interesting article on total rushing yards gained over 50 yards in a game. The author, Chase Stuart, says that his analysis "helps remove less material games and places more of an emphasis on dominance." His stats verify that the Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott dominates just as we would have thought, but that the Colts' Frank Gore and Texans' Lamar amass yards in a slow, consistent, but far from dominating manner. It's an interesting article, so check it out.
Inspired by that research, I took a look at similar statistics for receivers who gained over 500 yards. In 2017, Antonio Brown led the NFL in receiving yards gained after having already amassed 50 yards receiving in a game. The Steelers' wideout had 101 receptions for 1,533 yards overall. The 878 yards gained after having already gained 50 yards in a game accounted for 57.3% of his total yards gained, nearly 10% more than his closest rivals DeAndra Hopkins of the Texans and Julio Jones of the Falcons who each had 47.8%. Other dominant receivers in this category were: Keenan Allen, Chargers, 44.8%; Adam Thielen, Vikings, 43.4%; Rob Gronkowski, Patriots, 42.8%; T.Y. Hilton, Colts, 42.8%, Tyreek Hill, Chiefs, 41.6%; JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers, 41.4%; Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals, 40.5%; and Sterling Shepard, Giants, 40.2%.
At the other end of the spectrum, players with 500 or more yards receiving for the season included three players with fewer than 10% of their yards accrued after having gained 50 yards in a game. It is not surprising that the Ravens' Kyle Rudolph or the Bengals' Brandon LaFell were at the bottom of the list, but they were joined by Seattle tight end Jimmy Graham, who has certainly been a much more productive player in prior seasons.
Looking deeper into Sterling Shepard's figures shows how this stat can enlighten but also reveals its limitations. Shepard's overall stats are pedestrian, 50 receptions for 731 yards. The raw numbers don't reveal, however, that he missed five games. He averaged 66.5 yards per game played. All that a player needs to gain to reach 1,000 yards in a season is an average of 62.5 yards a game for 16 games. So absent the injury, Shepard was on target to meet that benchmark. Yet his production was far from consistent. In his 11 games, Shepard was held to less than 50 yards on 5 occasions and in two other occasions he was held to just 54 and 56 yards. So in 7 of 11 games he was far from on pace to reach 1,000 yards or be a dominant force in the game. He was mildly better versus the Rams in week 9 when he gained 70 yards, but he was wildly productive against the 49ers in week 10 as well as in both games versus the Eagles in weeks 3 and 15 when he gained 142, 133 and 139 yards respectively. Thus Shepard amassed 264 of his total 294 yards over 50 in just three games, leaving him mediocre the rest of the season. Most telling is that the Giants were 0-11 in the games Shepard played, even those in which he performed admirably. The Giants were 3-2 otherwise. Shepard would have fit right in with the Cleveland Browns.
|Receiving Yards Over 50 in a Game|
Cardinals Receive Most Value; Bengals, Packers, Cowboy & Raiders Most Picks in 2018 NFL Compensatory Draft
By Chris Malumphy
The NFL has awarded 32 compensatory draft choices to teams in the 2018 NFL Draft. Teams that lost more or better eligible free agents than they signed the prior year are eligible for additional selections. Fifteen teams received additional draft picks.
Although the Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders were each awarded four additional draft picks, the Arizona Cardinals, with three additional choices, will receive the most value according to the draft value charts. The Houston Texans also received three additional picks while the Minnesota Vikings were awarded two and the Denver Broncos, New York Giants, New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Chargers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons each got one additional choice.
Seventeen teams were not awarded a compensatory pick: San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers, Los Angeles Rams, Washington Redskins, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans.
|2018 Compensatory Draft Picks|
|Teams with no compensatory draft picks: 49ers, Bears, Bills, Browns, Colts, Dolphins, Eagles, Jaguars, Jets, Lions, Panthers, Rams, Redskins, Saints, Seahawks, Steelers, Titans.|
|Total Value of 2018 Compensatory Draft Picks by Team|
|2018 Compensatory Draft Picks by Team|
4 Compensatory Picks with a total value of 125.55
1 Compensatory Pick with a total value of 104.00
1 Compensatory Pick with a total value of 0.45
3 Compensatory Picks with a total value of 151.50
1 Compensatory Pick with a total value of 0.65
1 Compensatory Pick with a total value of 8.80
4 Compensatory Picks with a total value of 93.90
1 Compensatory Pick with a total value of 0.40
1 Compensatory Pick with a total value of 38.50
4 Compensatory Picks with a total value of 95.50
1 Compensatory Pick with a total value of 38.00
4 Compensatory Picks with a total value of 27.60
1 Compensatory Pick with a total value of 6.40
3 Compensatory Picks with a total value of 122.80
2 Compensatory Picks with a total value of 12.40