I have been watching football for a long time. This certainly does not make me a scout, but moreso I tend to think of myself as qualified to at least lay down some opinion from time to time that people tend to agree with. The way this draft seems to be shaking out, I think it is going to be pretty hard for the Bucs brass to really butcher this first selection tomorrow night.
There is one thing that continues to haunt my mind though. I have a good friend who works at a restaurant in the Tampa Bay Area. About a month and a half ago, he called me after work and said that Radio Raheem, Ronde Barber and Sabby “SoSo Awful” Piscatelli had been eating dinner at his restaurant that evening. This particular friend, is not one that you would call a die hard sports fan. He did call me to let me know that Radio was gushing over Jason Pierre-Paul the whole evening. He happened to know who this was, despite his lack of any real in depth sports knowledge, because he graduated from USF.
I don’t watch a plethora of college football games. I tend to watch a lot of highlights, video of highlights and games for top level teams moreso than watching games between SMU and Hawaii at 11pm on Saturday night. I did watch quite a few USF games though, and while JPP seems like a physical freak, he was just not a player that I watched and thought, holy shit, this guy is going to be an NFL star. This of course is about as non-scientific of an evaluation as you can get. I think the fancy Youtube video of him backflipping all over the field is nice and all, but I could care less about back flips from my DE’s, I want sacks.
His 6 college sacks, only 2 of which came against top 3 round level tackle talent, is a little troubling for a guy who some are claiming to be the premier edge rusher of the draft. He just didn’t seem to have that explosive first step that is necessary to produce double digit sacks. Hell, he barely had half of a double digit sack total in a below average BCS conference.
FootballOutsiders, one of my favorite websites to read, put out an article yesterday about a new stat they have called SackSEER. It evaluates edge rushers based on the following criteria:
There are four main factors that correlate to sack success in the NFL: vertical leap, short shuttle time, sacks per game in college (with some playing time adjustments), and how many eligible games worth of NCAA football the player missed for any reason (except early entry into the NFL Draft). SackSEER projects each prospect’s total sacks through five years, which is roughly the average length of the rookie contract received by a first- or second-round pick. Although the individual trends are small, when considered together, they project sack production approximately three times more accurately than a player’s draft position within the first two rounds. Overall, SackSEER accounts for approximately 40 percent of the historical variation among these players’ accumulated five-year sack totals.
Very interesting stuff, and completely unsold on JPP as a pro prospect. He actually ranked out as one of the lowest edge rushers that has top 2 round potential. There was one stat that correlated to combine numbers that I thought was very interesting…No elite edge rusher has emerged from any round of the NFL Draft since at least 1999 with a short shuttle slower than 4.42 seconds. JPP was one of the worst at the combine out of the guys that have top 2 round talent or rankings.
I like the Buccaneers accumulation of picks over the last 5 months. I think they have done a good job recognizing this draft as a deep one, and trying to obtain as many picks as possible to be able to move around the draft as they please. I just hope they don’t get infatuated with collecting as many picks as possible, not draft Gerald McCoy at 3, trade down and target JPP. Please don’t do this Mark, pretty please, my 2nd plea of the day.