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2011 3-4 OLB Prospects (A Study of Numbers & Indexes)

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by The LBC, Apr 8, 2011.

  1. The LBC

    The LBC I'm a Real Prick

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    With the response that my bits and pieces in other threads on the Kirwan Explosion Index and the use of the 3-cone drill to evaluate the viability of a DE prospect converting to OLB at the pro level, I figured I'd consolidate some and do an initial breakdown with respect to these findings on this year's draft class.

    First, I want to stress that these are not foolproof formulas - if they were then we would see far fewer busts at the OLB position, because I find it hard to believe there is a tool out there that isn't at least known to 90% of front office and scouting staffs, it's all a matter of how much value is placed in it. When I break guys down by the numbers like this, I tend to look at it as hedging my bets were I to bet on guys panning out - in that we can see that they have the physical tools that should allow them to succeed, given that similar measured physical tools are possessed by players who have succeeded. Because the 3-4 has only recently experienced a really major resurgence (basically since 2008-2009) the sample size is still relatively small compared to say 4-3 RDE's, so this has to be considered and taken into consideration as to why this is an imperfect approach.

    Second, I need to give credit to the man who formulated this Index that I keep speaking of so often. Yes, it is the very same Pat Kirwan that is now known as an NFL.com blogger, though people forget that he's a former coach as well as a former scout (Cardinals) and former front office personnel director (Jets). Yeah... this guy:

    [​IMG]

    The Kirwan Explosion Index, put simply, is a raw number found by adding the player's bench reps, vertical jump, and broad jump; a score of 70 or more is considered a good number. It's primary purpose is to sort out workout warriors and guys who may have good burst and timed speed from those that can actually deliver a quality hit to make use of that burst in a practical football sense. Additionally, we'll be looking at one of the better indicators of burst (which is essential for edge rushers) which is the 10-yard split of his 40 yard dash; the true 40 time is really only relevant to WR's and CB's. Finally, we'll be examining the areas of fluidity and speed & quickness. The simplest indicator of fluidity that we're given (at least that most players are put through) is the 3-cone drill; as we'll see from the control group, typically a sub-7.0 second 3-cone is a good indicator of having the fluidity necessary to play OLB in a 3-4. However, we can also look at and factor in another raw number formula that Kirwan provides us with known as the 'Speed & Quickness (or S&Q)' number which measures a players change-of-direction ability and can be found by subtracting the players Short Shuttle time from his 40-yard dash time; in this instance the higher the (positive) difference the better.

    Finally, I wanted to give a few (or as close as I can give to) "control" specimens so that we have frame of reference on the terms and references I'm making. For this I selected (3) 3-4 OLB's that were widely accepted as both recent draftees and consummate success cases at the position, which I'm calling Set "A," and (3) 3-4 OLB's that are recent to relatively recent (within the past 5-7 years) draftees who have not made Pro Bowls but are still, by production terms, serviceable if 'not-stellar' starters, called Set "B." With Set "C," just for shiz and giggles, I'll show - where available - the OLB's drafted or recently playing for the Chargers (or currently rostered).

    Set A consists of DeMarcus Ware, Clay Matthews, and Brian Orakpo.
    Set B consists of Manny Lawson, Frank Zombo, and Cameron Wake (Wake is a special case because he could well exceed this category with one more productive season).
    Set C consists of Shaun Phillips, Shawne Merriman, Larry English, Antwan Applewhite, and Brandon Lang.

    Set A:
    Ware (6'4", 251 lbs): 40yd - 4.56s, 10y-s - 1.62s, Bench - 27, Vert - 38.5", Broad - 10'2", Shuttle - 4.02s, 3cone - 6.85s
    Breakdown: KEI - 75 2/3, S&Q - +.54, 3-cone = Pass (i.e. sub-7.0s)

    Matthews (6'3", 240 lbs): 40yd - 4.62s, 10y-s - 1.49s, Bench - 23, Vert - 35.5", Broad - 10'1", Shuttle - 4.18s, 3-cone - 6.90s
    Breakdown: KEI - 68.5, S&Q - +.54, 3-cone = Pass

    Orakpo (6'3", 263 lbs): 40yd - 4.63s, 10y-s - 1.56s, Bench - 31, Vert - 39.5", Broad - 10'10", Shuttle - 4.45s*, 3-cone - 7.26s* (* Orakpo suffered a hamstring injury at the NFL Combine which was still lingering at his pro day when the Shuttle and 3-cone drills were run)
    Breakdown: KEI - 81.5, S&Q - +.18 (even with the injury), 3-cone = No pass (Injury?)

    Set B:
    Manny Lawson (6'5", 241 lbs): 40yd - 4.43s, 10y-s - 1.55s, Bench - 23, Vert - 39.5", Broad - 10'4", Shuttle - 4.21s, 3-cone - 6.90s
    Breakdown: KEI - 72 3/4, S&Q - +.22, 3-cone = Pass

    Frank Zombo (6'4", 254 lbs): 40yd - 4.75s, 10y-s - 1.61s, Bench - 23, Vert - 35.5", Broad - 10'2", Shuttle - 4.34s, 3-cone - 7.07s
    Breakdown: KEI - 68 7/12, S&Q - +.41, 3-cone = No pass (but not by much)

    Anthony Spencer (6'3", 261 lbs): 40yd - 4.70s, 10y-s - 1.64s, Bench - 30, Vert - 32.5", Broad - 9'4", Shuttle - 4.43s, 3-cone - 7.14s
    Breakdown: KEI - 71 5/6, S&Q - +.27, 3-cone = No pass

    Set C:
    Shaun Phillips (6'3", 255 lbs): 40yd - 4.78s, 10y-s - 1.68s, Bench - 19*, Vert - 33.5", Broad - 9'6", Shuttle - 4.21s, 3-cone - 6.95s (* Phillips strained his left pectoral at the combine on 3/5 and it's reasonable to assume he was still feeling the effects at Purdue's 3/25 pro day)
    Breakdown: KEI - 62, S&Q - +.57, 3-cone = Pass

    Shawne Merriman (6'5", 272 lbs): 40yd - 4.64s, 10y-s - N/A, Bench - 25, Vert - 40", Broad - 10'1", Shuttle - 4.21, 3-cone - N/A
    Breakdown: KEI - 75, S&Q - +.43, 3-cone = Unavailable

    Larry English (6'2", 255 lbs): 40yd - 4.74s, 10y-s - 1.59s, Bench - 24, Vert - 36", Broad - 8'11", Shuttle - 4.38s, 3-cone - 7.28s
    Breakdown: KEI - 68 11/12, S&Q - +.36, 3-cone = No pass

    Antwan Applewhite (6'3", 250 lbs): 40yd - 4.73s, 10y-s - 1.62s, Bench - 25, Vert - 35", Broad - 9'7", Shuttle - 4.36s, 3-cone - 7.50s
    Breakdown: KEI - 69 7/12, S&Q - +.37, 3-cone = No pass

    Brandon Lang (6'4", 266 lbs): 40yd - 4.85s, 10y-s - 1.62s, Bench - 20, Vert - 31.5", Broad - 9'3", Shuttle - 4.51s, 3-cone - 7.34s
    Breakdown: KEI - 60 3/4, S&Q - +.34, 3-cone = No pass

    So based off of our control groups there are a few things we can take away that the majority of the time seem to indicate a better success rate. One of those is a 10-foot or better broad-jump. All of the 3 high success cases (I've done further research and this applies to the other success cases at 3-4 OLB as well including Terrell Suggs and Cameron Wake) and the most successful of the 2nd set all jumped 10 feet or more. The other is the sub-7.0 second 3-cone. Hip fluidity is huge towards this success because it is what allows players with less than elite burst to bend and get around blockers. With regard to 10-yard split time, honestly, it looks like so long as a player comes in under 1.7 seconds then he has the burst to rush from the edge - I'd personally prefer a sub 1.65 to feel truly comfortable as I feel Phillips is far more the exception than the rule (he's a much more intelligent pass-rusher than he is uniquely physically gifted).

    So let's examine the OLB prospects for the 2011 draft class (I've broken them down into tiers for easier viewing):
    Tier 1 (Top 10 picks):
    Von Miller (6'3", 246 lbs): 40yd - 4.42s, 10y-s - 1.57s, Bench - 21, Vert - 37", Broad - 10'7", Shuttle - 4.06s, 3-cone - 6.70s
    Breakdown: KEI - 68 7/12, S&Q - +.36, 3-cone = Pass

    Robert Quinn (6'4", 265 lbs): 40yd - 4.59s, 10y-s - 1.60s, Bench - 24, Vert - 34", Broad - 10'6", Shuttle - 4.26s, 3-cone - 7.13s
    Breakdown: KEI - 68 1/2, S&Q - +.33, 3-cone = No Pass

    Tier 2 (1st Round Prospects):
    Ryan Kerrigan (6'4", 267 lbs): 40yd - 4.67s, 10y-s - 1.61s, Bench - 31, Vert - 33.5", Broad - 10'2", Shuttle - 4.39s, 3-cone - 7.18s
    Breakdown: KEI - 74 2/3, S&Q - +.28, 3-cone = No Pass

    Aldon Smith (6'4" 263 lbs): 40yd - 4.74s, 10y-s - 1.66s, Bench - 20, Vert - 34", Broad - 9'10", Shuttle - 4.50s, 3-cone - 7.19s
    Breakdown: KEI - 64 5/6, S&Q - +.24, 3-cone = No Pass

    Justin Houston (6'3", 270 lbs): 40yd - 4.62s, 10y-s - 1.62s, Bench - 30, Vert - 36.5", Broad - 10'5", Shuttle - 4.37s, 3-cone - 6.95s
    Breakdown: KEI - 76 11/12, S&Q - +.25, 3-cone = Pass

    Jabaal Sheard (6'3", 264 lbs): 40yd - 4.68s, 10y-s - 1.59s, Bench - N/A, Vert - 31", Broad - 9'7", Shuttle - 4.65s, 3-cone - 7.34s
    Breakdown: KEI - Inconclusive (would need 20 reps to broach score of 60 though), S&Q - +.03, 3-cone = No Pass

    Akeem Ayers (6'3", 254 lbs): 40yd - 4.81s, 10y-s - 1.68, Bench - 18, Vert - 31", Broad - 9'8", Shuttle - 4.28s, 3-cone - 7.49s
    Breakdown: KEI - 58 2/3, S&Q - +.53, 3-cone = No Pass

    Tier 3 (2nd and 3rd Rounders):
    Brooks Reed (6'3", 263 lbs): 40yd - 4.65s, 10y-s - 1.54s, Bench - 30, Vert - 30.5", Broad - 9'5", Shuttle - 4.28s, 3-cone - 7.11s
    Breakdown: KEI - 69 11/12, S&Q - +.37, 3-cone = No Pass

    Sam Acho (6'2", 262 lbs): 40yd - 4.67s, 10y-s - 1.66s, Bench - 23, Vert - 33.5", Broad - 9'4", Shuttle - 4.32s, 3-cone - 6.69s
    Breakdown: KEI - 66 5/6, S&Q - +.35, 3-cone = Pass

    Chris Carter (6'1", 248 lbs): 40yd - 4.58s, 10y-s - 1.59s, Bench - 27, Vert - 36", Broad - 9'6", Shuttle - 4.34s, 3-cone - 6.88s
    Breakdown: KEI - 71 1/2, S&Q - +.24, 3-cone = Pass

    --------------
    A few comments in closing:
    If, contrary to what I believe he'll do, AJ does select an OLB in the 1st without first trading back, I would hope that it's Justin Houston. Statistically speaking, he looks to have the highest probability of success (I might even venture to say - at least in the long-term - more than Von Miller or Quinn do... as 3-4 OLB's).

    If it weren't for his God-awful 3-cone time, Akeem Ayers wouldn't be such a bad pick to me (not at #18, because he doesn't have value there even though I think he's a safe pick as he can project inside if he fails outside). His initial burst isn't as bad as his poor 40 time would indicate. His change of direction is actually pretty good... laterally; it's just that his hips don't seem to have fluidity. The tape does seem to contradict this a bit, but the tape also shows him disappearing against some pretty weak opponents, which doesn't speak well of his consistency.

    In my book, Reed, Acho, and Carter project as better OLB's than Aldon Smith does. And the jury's still out on Ryan Kerrigan and Jabaal Sheard - their lack of preferred 3-cone time doesn't help their cases, but at least Kerrigan has the preferred broad jump, S&Q, and KEI scores. Again, this isn't saying they can't play the position, just maybe it's not their best fit - which has to be factored into determining their value at a particular position.

    I'll be happy to run the numbers for any other prospect anyone wants to put up here, provided I can get access to their workouts. And like I said, this is an imperfect science, but it remains a useful tool in predicting potential for success.
     
  2. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Very nicely done...... It's nice to read something well thought out and composed for a change.
     
  3. Bergo23

    Bergo23 BoltTalker

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    The guy I hope AJ takes a look at, and if he does we will know what Manusky thinks of him is Lawson. His measurables were off the charts. I couls see AJ taking Acho with one of those 4 2 & 3's we've got.
     
  4. The LBC

    The LBC I'm a Real Prick

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    One other guy I forgot to include in that actually does pass the numbers test but who still scares me as a 3-4 OLB prospect (have to remember that Vernon Gholston also passed the numbers test listed above) because he has such poor instincts is Dontay Moch.

    6'1", 248 lbs (though, as with Miller, I'm worried he's already maxed out his frame as far as bulk goes): 4.4 40yd, 1.57s 10y-s, 21 reps bench, 42" vert, 10'8" broad jump, 4.38s shuttle, and 7.09s 3-cone. All of which gives him a 73 2/3 KEI score, a +.02 S&Q score, and a nearly passable 3-cone. Again the issue is more that he's pretty much a pure speed rusher without many moves in his arsenal and he's built like a 4-3 SAM linebacker.
     
  5. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

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    Gazoontite! :lol:

    Actually Acho might be a nice bookend pickup to help Shaun Phillips. Nice post LBC. You da man!

     
  6. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

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    I'd say I wouldn't have a "problem" if AJ picked up Houston....

     
  7. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

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    Just want to bump this thread since the draft is near. What are you guys thinking we should go after? Should we trade up like I've been hearing to nab a Cameron Jordan? Thoughts?
     
  8. FCBolt

    FCBolt Well-Known Member

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    Houston just tested positive for mj, so I would think AJ is going to pass.

    That's an interesting writeup LBC. One comment on the 10 yd. I don't think one timing of a 10 yd tells us much. I'd want to average a guy's time over 5 trials. There's going to be some variation there relative to the fact that we put so much emphasis on 1/100ths of a second.

    There's a good way to statistically analyze these type of data. You can bin guys into NFL successes or failures (or more finely divided categories such as ranked 1-5) as the input, and as output you gets odds ratios for moving up whatever scale of success you have rated them on, directly related to the various metrics: 40, 10, bench, shuttle, etc etc.
     
  9. FCBolt

    FCBolt Well-Known Member

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    I could see using our 89 to jump in front of the Jags and Pats to pick up Jordan or Watt.
    Or moving back and picking up an extra 1st or 2nd rounder. Go Heyward late in the 1st, pick up Houston (forget about the marijuana **** AJ!), a WR, and an ILB in the 2nd, and a CB and OT in the 3rd.
     
  10. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    The day AJ trades back, instead of up, in a draft....... is a day neither of us will live to see. :D
     
  11. FCBolt

    FCBolt Well-Known Member

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    ****, I wish you were wrong on this one. But you're probably not...
     
  12. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    AJ may admire the Patriots FO, but he always does just the opposite. ;)
     
  13. matilack

    matilack #therealagent47

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    So few of our 3rd round picks have been good in recent years I wouldn't mind seeing us package BOTH of them to move up BOTH of our 2nd round picks. If you look at the history of the draft two things are undeniable....

    A) The higher the pick the higher the hit rate.
    B) Even in the BEST drafts you can only expect to aquire 2 future starters, and maybe 1 valuable backup. (often its less)

    So yeah, I'm all for trading 61 and 89 to get back in the 40 range.
     
  14. FCBolt

    FCBolt Well-Known Member

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    Funny that you say that. I've been thinking lately that all the lip service that AJ pays to the Pats is just a smokescreen.

    Course it wouldn't matter. Every GM, NFL analyst, and internet draftnik over 18 knows that AJ will go way higher in the draft than he needs to in order to get the guy he wants.
     
  15. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Are you trying to depress us before the draft even starts? ;)
     
  16. FCBolt

    FCBolt Well-Known Member

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    I agree about the 3rd rounders. But most years, and this year in particular, there's a lot of talent that's relatively equivalent from mid 1st to late in the 2nd. So you maximize your of number picks in that area and hope you hit.

    If I was certain we'd hit a sure thing in the top 10, I'd agree with you about moving up. But too many guys lately have been early 1st round busts. I'd rather maximize my chances with multiple mid 1st-late 2nd picks.
     
  17. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Don't worry....... we'll make up for any mistakes with those valuable 4th and 5th round picks. ;)
     
  18. matilack

    matilack #therealagent47

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    I didn't suggest we move into the top 10. By all means stay at 18 and take Jordan or Watt, then move from 50 into the early 30's, and 61 into the 40's, or even package both 3rds and try to get an extra 2nd round pick.

    In short....pick 3 times in the top 50, or 4 times in the top 64....and to hell with AJ's awful 3rd round picks.
     
  19. FCBolt

    FCBolt Well-Known Member

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    Ah..I'm with ya now. Yep I could see packaging both those 3rd rounders to move into the 2nd, for sure.
     
  20. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

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    I say we should move up if we can. We have the luxury of 2 2nds and 2 3rds so if we can move up somehow to nab a Jordan, Watt, etc then we should. If not, stay put and a Ryan Kerrigan or Akeem Ayers will be there. It's on AJ and the scouts. I don't think Jordan will be there at 18 though, no way. So if you've done your homework and think one of those guys is going to make an immediate impact, then pull the trigger. I love draft day! :D

    Me, I'm gonna try to maneuver up to get Jordan. Gotta wheel and deal. But do NOT give up next years 1st or 2nd!!!!! :mad:
     

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