Collegiate Wide Receiver Production Isn’t Everything, It’s The Only Thing

The NFL combine has come and gone and now we’re left to make sense of what we learned. Who are the risers and fallers? How will the results affect draft positions? And most importantly, does it even matter? The combine regression trees were helpful to figure out which combine drills matter for wide receivers and running backs, and allowed us to identify the 2016 prospects who “won” the combine at the respective positions. That said, a major piece of what we currently know is missing from the combine regression trees: collegiate production. I added collegiate production to the wide receiver combine model to see how production and measurables work in conjunction with each other. This is the result:

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By Kevin Cole | @Cole_Kev | Archive

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  1. Awesome stuff Kev, have been debating this in regards to players like Boyd and Higgins. Now I know my favoring of the production is at least logically sound.

  2. Three questions Kevin:
    1) I know some other people and myself have considered the possibility that workout measures don't show as productive for WRs because there is such a huge disparity in what WRs do and what kind of players play it (The difference between Megatron and Jarvis Landry for instance) and that specific workout measures might matter for specific types of WRs. Am I correct in that if that were the case this analysis would have shown as much, and it did not?

    2) Have you ran this analysis with draft position?

    3) Am I correct in assuming you're already working on a followup showing what WRs end up in what bracket?

  3. One thing I've begun wondering is as follows.

    Do prospects ever "game" their weight/height adjusted speed by adding or losing water weight?

    For instance a WR or RB could over hydrate, have a belly full of water for weigh ins and then flush it for his 40 two days later.

    I know it is a popular technique in boxing and MMA just wondering how much has that practice crossed over if at all?

    Not saying the metrics have no value, but back to the point of this article it will still come back to their production in college.

  4. Can anyone tracking this thread point me to a database / list that shows 2016 NFL WR prospects final year market share? I have one that has career MS but I'm trying to incorporate all @colekev_FF's regression tree data for RBs & WRs (the combine trees and production trees) into my rookie drafts spreadsheets


  5. Just doing some napkin math on Juju (since he seems to be the most controversial), and the tree doesn't love him as a prospect, but seems like it could be worse (if my math is right). I have him in the 3rd node from the right, which looks like the 30% success node.

    It looks like the regression tree hates Mike Williams (I excluded his freshman year since (a) he was a freshman, but more importantly (b) Sammy Watkins was there, so perhaps not fair to include. Also completely excluded the year he got hurt). It appears that even if you run ding him for his freshman year and put him on the other side of the tree, the model STILL hates him.

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