Ranking the Top "Big WRs"

MOBILE AL - JANUARY 29: Wide receiver Leonard Hankerson #86 of the South Team is tackled by Ryan Kerrigan #91 and Da'Norris Searcy #22 of the North Team during the fisrt quarter of the Under Armour Senior Bowl January 29 2011 at Ladd Peebles Stadium in Mobile Alabama. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images for Under Armour)

I regularly check in on R.C. Fischer and team over at Fantasy Football Metrics, just to see what they've been doing lately regarding the upcoming draft.  I know many of the CSR faithful find this information interesting, as do I.  Whether Hurney/Rivera should utilize this information in formulating their draft strategy is debatable, of course. 

Most of our regular readers know by now that FFM uses complex algorithms to project future NFL success.  They plug in numbers from their final years' college production/pre-draft testing, and the computer provides a numeric "grade."  Similar statistics are also input for current NFL stars and busts, providing the baseline for comparison.  I like (very much) that the computer doesn't give the proverbial rat's arse about what is said by media experts, coaches/scouts, or even by the players themselves.  It isn't looking at a players drop back technique, off-field antics, or anything else that can't be measured statistically.  FFM does provide information on "red flags," because such factors are relevant.  Ultimately, the proof, as they say (and R.C. certainly hopes), will be in the pudding.

The latest analysis provides a look at some potential Wide Receivers that should be available in the mid-to-later rounds:  Jonathon Baldwin, Greg Little, and Terrence Toliver.
Could these guys be tremendous "value" picks relative to where they're selected? 

For the full story, you should proceed to the article, but I'll summarize below. 

In looking at current NFL Receivers, who do the three in this analysis best compare to?  Let's start with Baldwin:

Jonathan Baldwin -- Looking for a physically tall/dominant WR with decent speed and an underperformance on-the-field in our system; and we really couldn't (find) a perfect match. Baldwin has a lot in common physically with Vincent Jackson and Marques Colston...but both of them way outperformed Baldwin on the field. A bigger WR who was closer to a performance letdown was Aaron Kelly...but Kelly was a much smaller framed WR, not as physically imposing as Baldwin. Baldwin's physical metrics and his poor performance really don't make much (historical sense)...which may make him very intriguing in the NFL Draft, or bust waiting to happen.

I'd have to call that a "high skills, low thrills" projection. 

Greg Little -- Another WR that is hard to match up in our system, part of a new breed of very high physical metric WR's with softer/non-dominant/non-jaw dropping actual game/stat performance metrics. Dorin Dickerson, Dewayne Jarrett and Robert Meachem had some things in common with Little...but all performed ahead of him on the field. Little was on the cusp (but just missed some of our cutoffs) of having more performance metrics at an elite level -- which would have potentially pushed Little up as high as our #1 rated "Big WR" of 2011.

 "Ummm... did he say Dewayne Jarrett?  Honey? ...HONEY, how 'bout runnin' out and gassin' up the flame thower.  I reckon I'm gonna need it." 
Still, overall (see below), FFM has Little scoring as the best of these three; actually the third best WR in the draft. 

Terrence Toliver -- Looking in our system for taller WR's who did not have blazing vertical speed, but despite that were very highly agile. Also looking for "Big WRs" who were above average on-field stat/performers in college relative to strength of schedule and style of Offense played in -- coincidentally former LSU standout Dwayne Bowe is a nice fit for a potential profile for Toliver, with Toliver not as sturdy (physically) of frame as Bowe...and is an injury risk (in our system), because of it.

  Dwayne Bowe?  Not bad for a 5th or 6th round potential pick, if he falls that far.

Ranking the Top "Big WRs" that we have profiled so far

(0.900+ we start to take the "big WR" serious as a potential NFL elite, 0.800+ is a WR to take seriously as potentially very good and potentially great, below 0.800 is the more probable NFL mediocre WR, and a higher potential bust) * See this story for background on our system scoring methodology -- NFL Draft 2011 - In Search of the Next Great NFL WR -- a Mathematical Analysis of College WRs - Fantasy Football 2011

  1. 0.981 = Leonard Hankerson, Miami

  2. 0.934 = Julio Jones, Alabama

  3. 0.898 = Greg Little, UNC

  4. 0.847 = Terrence Toliver, LSU

  5. 0.811 = Jonathan Baldwin, Pittsburgh

  6. 0.714 = A.J. Green, Georgia

A. J. Green's the 6th best WR in the draft?  I know that can't be right, because my friend Flowing Willow (he's a dude) says A. J.'s the best. 

The only 2011 "Big WR" that we haven't found a major flaw with is Leonard Hankerson. After that, questions arise with the rest of our top "Big WR" field. As you may know from previous articles, I am very much against high draft pick WRs...it is possibly the worst business decision that is repeatedly made in the NFL by bad teams with lots of needs. Given the fact that the high pick WR/bad business decision is likely to happen again in 2011 with Green and Jones, I would be much happier passing on Green/Jones and taking my chances with a Baldwin, Little or Toliver at a much cheaper pick/price...if their background check turned out to be something I could live with (on Baldwin and Little).

Anybody got a hankering for Hankerson, should he slip to say, pick #97?

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