Demarco Murray and the Hidden Value of Special Teams Stats
Earlier this month I detailed the hidden value of college special teams stats for wide receiver prospects and how they might help us identify undervalued commodities. Perhaps unsurprisingly, special teams stats matter for running backs too.
In a recent round of testing I solved for 24 different variables, including a mix of rush yards, rushing touchdowns, receptions and receiving touchdowns and their per-game siblings over the first one, two and three years of a running back’s career. In those 24 tests, at least one special team variable was significant in 23 of the models. In short, college special teams stats matter for running back prospects.
To be clear, draft position is overwhelmingly the most significant predictor of future success for running backs, and rushing production absolutely matters too, but I think our evaluations can be improved through the inclusion of return game stats. Let’s dig into specific applications, case studies and importance for 2015 prospects.