Successful NFL receivers almost always start out as successful college receivers. They catch a high percentage of their college team’s passes, score a lot of touchdowns, rack up high yards-per-catch rates and run fast and jump high in their predraft workouts.
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Boy, Moneyball sounds more like plain-old common sense with every new header, doesn’t it? But college production can be tricky to interpret because of all of the different systems, levels, calibers of quarterback and other variables.
Calvin Ridley’s raw stats look pretty good—224 career catches, 2,781 yards and 19 touchdowns in three seasons—especially factoring in Alabama’s run-heavy offense and option-style quarterbacking. But for someone touted as a DeSean Jackson-level deep threat, Ridley caught a relatively low percentage of his team’s touchdown passes, cheap custom nfl jerseys and his vertical leap at the combine (just 31″) suggests that he may not be as explosive or capable of hauling in a contested pass as the NFL’s elite receivers.
By contrast, D.J. Moore’s raw numbers in three seasons at Maryland are less impressive than Ridley’s (146-2,027-17), cheap customized nfl jerseys but his career yards-per-catch rate is higher (13.9 to 12.4) and his production came in a Maryland scheme that’s even more run-oriented than the Alabama offense. Throw in a 39.5-inch vertical leap, and there are many reasons to believe Moore will outperform Ridley at the start of his NFL career.
Football Outsiders’ Playmaker Score takes the variables mentioned above, and others, and turns them into projection cheap nfl custom jerseys ratings for all of the top wide receiver prospects. You can read more about the method and find this year’s ratings here.
Keep in mind that variables like the vertical jump weren’t chosen randomly or picked by some Alabama hater who wants to see Ridley fail. They were selected based on years of analysis to determine what variables were true indicators of future success.
That’s analytics in a nutshell: finding useful variables and eliminating meaningless or misleading ones. Often, the results end up sounding a lot like common sense.