The Combine Drills That Really Matter For Wide Receivers
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We’re going to expand the regression tree analysis applied to NFL combine measurables/drills for running backs, and now take a look at the physical profiles for successful NFL wide receivers. Our results give us a few big picture takeaways, some intuitive, some not. The exercise isn’t meant to definitively answer the question of whether or not a particular wide receiver will be successful based on his physical profile. Instead, we’re going to use NFL combine data from 2000-2013 and find physical profiles that tend to perform better than others in the NFL. This analysis does not incorporate production — which I’ve already explored somewhat — or draft position, but is meant to only look at measurables to see how focused we should be when the combine results get picked apart across the interwebs. I’m defining early success for a wide receiver prospect as having at least one top-24, or WR2 season (PPR scoring), in his first three years. Here’s how to read the regression tree nodes. The “yval”, or predicted value, in this case is the likelihood of success (from 0 to 1). The darker the node, the higher the yval. Unlike our running back analysis, the initial results for wide receivers included some counterintuitive decisions and divided into so many nodes that overfitting, or creating an overly complex model with poor predictive value, became a major concern. Here is the original, complex decision tree that is generated when using all the combine measurements.