Some interesting draft nuggets from Pro Football Focus.
Beginning in 2007, Pro Football Focus graded every NFL player on every play and produced reports and statistics on player performance for its own website as well as about half the teams in the NFL. Last season, PFF added college football. The tape junkies analyzed 870 major-college games from every major conference, producing data similar to the NFL analysis.
PFF has some good information on the draftable players. Such as:
Overrated? A sure-fire top-five pick, USC defensive tackle Leonard Williams, was under-productive in obvious passing situations. On third-and-long, he recorded only eight pressures (two hits, six hurries) on 94 pass rushes. That earned a Pass-Rush Productivity number of 6.4, well below the class average for interior defensive linemen of 7.6.
Mariota loves play-action. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota led the nation using play-action, going with it on 53.8 percent of his dropbacks. Alex Smith led the NFL last season with 31 percent play-action.
Mariota took more sacks than he should. Mariota was sacked 23 percent of the time he was pressured, the sixth-highest rate among quarterbacks in the draft class. Florida State’s Jameis Winston was sacked only 11.5 percent of his pressured dropbacks, second-best in the class.
Rising star of the week. Because NFL teams are more interested than ever in safeties who can play down in the box and can cover slot receivers and occasional tight ends, versatile Penn State product Adrian Amos is generating buzz lately. At 6-1 and 214, his work as a slot corner resulted in opposing quarterbacks having a 3.4 NFL passer rating when throwing at him in those situations, lowest of any coverage player on slot receivers in 2014.
Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty has a good deep arm. Petty completed 34 of 95 passes on balls thrown at least 20 yards downfield. They went for 1,472 yards, 20 touchdowns and one interception. The 20 touchdowns led all FBS quarterbacks on such deep throws, while the yardage total was second-highest.
A surprising three-technique prospect. In the PFF pass-rushing system that takes into account where the player rushes from and the game situation, Missouri defensive end Shane Ray was the most productive player. Interestingly the second-ranked player was Louisiana-Lafayette defensive tackle Christian Ringo.
There’s another cornerback in Oregon. Ducks corner Ifo Ekpre-Olomu has received plenty of attention from the draft community, but he wasn’t the most impressive draft-eligible corner on the team. That was Troy Hill. Ekrpe-Olomu allowed a 58.7 percent completion rate and a passer rating of 82.2 on throws into his coverage, while Hill held opponents to a 45.3 percent completion rate, and opposing quarterbacks to a 63.9 rating. Hill did that while being targeted more often.
6. I think the guy I’m starting to hear more and more about from personnel people is USC wide receiver Nelson Agholor. He caught 160 balls the last two seasons; he had a 16-catch game against Cal last seasons, and a 220-yard game against Washington. I know a few teams praying he makes it well into the second round, or even the top of the third. With the ardor for him in recent weeks, I doubt he makes it out of the second round.