Football Outsiders unveils SackSEER

The boys over at Football Outsiders have unveiled a nifty new regression model to predict the sack totals of collegiate edge rushers. Basically the model evaluates four key components of a collegiate player's game, and projects their future sack totals for the first five years of their NFL career. You can check out the new system yourself by clicking here. Although it is certainly imperfect (as all new regression models are) it seems to be pretty adept at sorting through the mess that is drafting a DE or outside 3-4 backer in the first two rounds of the NFL draft (which is all they measure for now). Let's take a look at the four determining factors of what constitutes a player's SackSEER projection.

1. Vertical Leap: Long story short, they figure good vertical leap is equivalent to good burst off the line of scrimmage.

2. Short Shuttle Run: This is a good indicator of overall speed, burst, hip flexibility and general quickness.

3. Sack Rate as Modified or SRAM: This basically measures how many sacks per game the player averaged in college, but also takes several other factors into consideration. If a player played DT or LB one year of their collegiate career, SRAM takes this into consideration as those positions do not tend to rush the passer as often as a true edge rusher does.

4. Missed games of NCAA eligibilty (other than early declaration for the NFL draft): This is the strongest metric included in this model. If a player missed time for any reason: injury, suspension, academic ineligibility or sickness, then it is going to count heavily against their future prospects. The metric suggests that if a player missed significant time in college, then they are likely to miss significant time as a pro which of course leads to less productivity.

The guys over at FO have been kind enough to apply SackSEER's projections to this years class of top edge rushers and there are a few surprises. Texas Christian's Jerry Hughes leads the pack with a 5 year projected sack total of 27.7. Players similar to Hughes according to the site are Jared Allen, Terrell Suggs, and Robert Mathis. FO also points out that Hughes is far from a sure thing. His stats line up favorably with epic bust Jason Babin.

Other notable names include:

Derrick Morgan: 23.3 Sacks through Year 5.
Everson Griffen: 22.8
Brandon Graham: 22.1
Sergio Kindle: 18.8
Carlos Dunlap: 16.1

And here's the kicker. FO's SackSEER project's USF DE Jason Pierre-Paul to accumulate a whopping 3.8 sacks during his first five years in the NFL. JPP's junior college experience really hurts him in this model. I could tell you why but they say it so succinctly I think I will just give you their reasoning.

So why do junior college edge rushers struggle so mightily when transitioning to the NFL? Most edge rusher prospects who play at the junior college level miss two years worth of their NCAA eligibility, and they are understandably "raw" when they enter the professional ranks. Although many coaches believe that such a player can be "coached up," the coaching staff can only devote so much of its valuable coaching resources to a single player. Moreover, many players who go to a junior college have significant or severe academic issues, and expecting them to digest a complicated NFL playbook while also "catching up" on their fundamentals may be unrealistic.

The article goes on to list a gi-normous amount of junior college edge rushers that have failed immaculately in the NFL. So let's hope some of those mock drafts projecting the Bucs to take JPP are dead wrong, because if this model is even partially correct, he is going to be a HUGE bust. I urge you guys to check out this model and familiarize yourselves with it. It could prove to be a great tool in evaluating talent for years to come.

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