Introducing the prospect tracker

October 14th, 2010 | Written by Rob Staton

There’s a new feature of the site I’d like to introduce today. The ‘Prospect Tracker’ will develop leading up to next April, but for now it lists the 2010 performances of a selection of 2011 draft prospects. It’s a good way to compare and contrast the different players. For example – which quarterbacks have the best completion percentage? Which running backs are most used in the passing game? Who’s making the big plays on defense?

As we go on I’ll relate to the stats and achievements in different articles. Using things like the Lewin Projection System for quarterbacks, we can discuss who is most likely to translate success into the pro’s. It should be an interesting feature given time. For now – check out the latest updated 2010 stats by clicking here or selecting the new ‘Prospect Tracker’ logo in the blog title bar.

11 Responses to “Introducing the prospect tracker”

  1. Attyla the Hawk says:

    On the QB notes, you state that YPA is an indicator that a QB opts for a lot of short high percentage passes (presumably inferring that they pad their stats as was charged against Clausen last year). That’s usually what YPC is used for. YPA being an indicator of how efficient the passing game overall is.

    YPC eliminates issues such as drops as well. Whereas YPA includes it. Usually you want drops factored in if you want big picture or ability to sustain drives.

    If one completes 4 passes in 10 for 80 yards, their YPA is 8, their YPC is 20. Clearly they get yards in chunks.

    If one completes 8 passes in 10 for 80 yards, their YPA is still 8. Their YPC is only 10. They dink and dunk.

  2. Matt says:

    Another thing to add, YPA and completion % in college can be a little deceiving as well. In no way am I saying it should be neglected, but #s in general for a QB in college can be very misleading due to many reasons (scheme, surrounding talent, schedule, climate). Colt McCoy is the first person I think of when I see pretty stats along these lines. Jay Cutler’s college stats didn’t look pretty compared to Vince Young’s and Matt Leinart’s, but we’ve seen how that has turned out.

    Overall, I’d say the most important thing in scouting a QB is passing the eye test, as in, can this guy make tough throws under pressure. Obviously good numbers can make you sleep better at night, but they really aren’t indicative of how “great” a QB is, but more reflective of the situation they are in. Guys like Kirk Cousins and Ricky Stanzi are good examples of guys who could probably put up ridiculous numbers in a different scheme (same goes for the obvious, Jake Locker). Just a personal thought.

    • jianfu says:

      Good points. I know they’ve tried to tweak the Lewin System somewhat for this by only using it for QBs drafted in the top 2 rounds (therefore only using it for QBs who pass the eye test, at least according to NFL scouts). After Brian Brohm (whom the Lewin Forecast thought was a franchise QB), there’s been discussion to only use it for first round picks; that is, on QBs that don’t have significant observational/scouting red flags that numbers can’t hide. Because let’s face it, if you’re a QB and you’re not drafted in round 1, there’s some concerns (Brohm, McCoy, Clausen).

      At this point, I view the Lewin Forecast useful mainly for raising red flags, as it seems to have a better track record at identifying busts than picking out studs. I don’t think the LCF can be used to determine who the best prospects are or anything like that, particularly with so many stat-padded QB prospects in the ranks these days. Lewin was lukewarm on Matt Ryan, for instance.

      I also think one way to potentially mitigate some of the concerns about individual stats might be to pay attention to some of the team-based efficiency stats found at Football Outsiders, which accounts for quality of competition and down/distance context. By these measures, Jake Locker suddenly doesn’t look so bad (statistically) as Washington has a great passing offense by these numbers, with little help for Locker. Meanwhile, some guys with better individual numbers (like Gabbert) are leading relatively pedestrian team passing attacks.

      • Matt says:

        Exactly my friend.

        Along with Cutler, I was also thinking about Matt Ryan. It’s unfair/not reasonalble to say this, but what if you put Matt Ryan or Jay Cutler on a team like Florida or USC during their college years? I would imagine their numbers would be staggering. But, I think it’s important to note that perhaps not having that easy of a situation in college perhaps better prepares them for the NFL life where time in the pocket is shorter, windows are tighter, meaning they’ve had more game experience in situations with a smaller margin of error. This is the exact reason why I have a lot of faith a guy like Jake Locker, because we have seen what he can do when not having O-line protection or reliable receivers. Conversely, this always scares me about QBs on stacked teams, because the QB is not the sole focus and the margin of error is much greater because it’s usually their respective team is sided with the bigger and better athlete, which in college makes a huge difference.

        I am a huge stat guy for both baseball and football, but I think the heavy usage of them, in regards to projecting an amateur athlete to the professional level can be a potentially dangerous thing because there is truly no way to quantify variables (ie team talent, schedule, climate, scheme) into a pretty number that tells you a true story of a player. And this not only pertains to QBs, but also to RBs, WRs, etc.

        Bottom line, if I am drafting a QB, I want to SEE him make the plays that directly translates to the NFL level. Box scores can be very deceiving.

  3. CFraychineaud says:

    Wow, what a great idea Rob, where ever did you come up with this? =oP

    Looking forward to seeing how the QB’s project with the lewin projection system…. Was wondering why theres a whole RB section? If these are mainly based on Seahawks needs and who the top people are at their posistion, after the Marshawn Lynch trade, do you really still see us targetting an RB in even the first 4-5 rounds? I’d kinda rather see OL (although stats for them are pretty boring), and on DL, not sure how close they keep track of these numbers but I’d love to see Hurries, QB hits, and TFL as well. Alot of guys end up getting good numbers because someone else on the line is getting more attention and it leaves opertunities open elsewhere. I usually find that TFL, hurries, and QB hits, generally tell a better story on the D-Line than sacks, tackles, and forced fumbles.

    Again, really looking forward to this section, it’s been one of the things I’ve been hoping for most on your site for as long as I’ve been reading it. Keep up the great work.

    • CFraychineaud says:

      Oh also, to add to what I said earlier, for defensive backs, it’d be nice to see throw at numbers, also passes defensed (batted down balls). I’d take a CB who bats down balls constantly and doesn’t get throw at much over just someone who’s gotten lucky or been in the right place at the right time for the INT. INT’s aren’t consistant, playing sticky man coverage and swatting down balls, and being a general lock down corner so that teams avoid your side of the field however is consistant. Thats what I’m looking for, but yet again not sure how available those statistics are.

    • Rob says:

      I really should point out that CFraychineaud came up with the idea for this and how it should develop going forward. Credit goes to him.

  4. Rob says:

    Stats are pretty restrictive for CFB prospects. Sacks aren’t even officially recorded and for some schools, you can’t even find out interceptions. Colorado keep track of a lot of different stats on their website which comes in a detailed PDF type document, but they don’t record INT’s for a prospect like Jimmy Smith. ESPN haven’t recorded stats for Smith either.

    Info like QB hits, hurries, thrown at etc isn’t forthcoming. I’ll strive to find sources for extra info and include it in the grid. If anyone finds a good source of info please pass it on… email me

  5. jianfu says:

    Outstanding stuff. Thanks.

    One suggestion for the QBs, if it’s not too much trouble, might be to include sack rate. Sack rate (avoiding or taking sacks) actually is a QB skill, at least in part. Football reference did a study on QBs somewhat recently that discovered the two QB stats that stay fairly consistent when a QB changes teams (and therefore systems, “weapons”, o-lines, etc.) were completion % and sack rate. I know Blaine Gabbert hardly ever gets sacked (which could be an exception with Mizzou’s system) while Enderle is Cutler-esque.

  6. 1sthill says:

    Go to “” and click on the National link. That web site is good at keeping the latest stats.

  7. 1sthill says:

    My bad, the web site is “”, not the one I provided in my previous post.