Tyler Lockett is a WR that brought much confidence with the analytics. He was the only WR to pass a number of analytic checks as a WR, and he already had the floor of being a great returner in kicks and punts. I keep a few WR metrics that aren’t used anywhere else.
One of them is an indication of what a head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterback truly thought of the wide receiver. Last year, there were two undrafted WRs that hit all the other metrics and were positive in this metric. One of them is slated to start for the Kansas City Chiefs this year. Lockett was also positive in this metric; it is important to note that this is a Wide Receiver metric so that is a window of what to expect as he gets more opportunity there. He joined the Seahawks as the most talented WR on the roster, which is saying a lot since Seattle has the most talented roster overall, and for a rookie it is a matter of doing the work and learning the game when they are supported with analytics that forecast a good career.
This year there were a handful of Wide Receivers to hit the new Peak Score metric that is an additional tool to the past metrics. The only WR to hit the benchmark multiple times from this draft class was Tyler Lockett, while the max score came from Amari Cooper. Lockett passed all of the metrics essential for success at WR at the NFL level. His return game metrics are a bonus, a big analytical cherry on top.
Abshire List of Linebackers
In this class, 11 of the Linebackers passed the combination metrics used to determine success. One of them has a rare outside factor for a rookie that will limit his career, so really that leaves 10 Linebackers from the class that would be truly of focus for long term success. A few of these had great opening weeks and did well:
- Vikings LB Eric Kendricks had the best combination of key metrics and opened with 4 solo tackles, an assist, and a sack. Of all of the Linebackers in the class, he was the safest.
- Saints LB Stephone Anthony had the highest Abshire Athletic Score at LB since the year Luke Kuechley entered the league. Anthony has a ton of upside and opened with 2 solo tackles and 4 assists.
- Packers LB Jake Ryan also had a productive weekend, with 3 solo tackles, 3 assists, and a sack. His analytical profile suggests that it would be safe for the Packers to move Clay Matthews back to OLB full time.
- Raiders LB Ben Heeny was also a member of the Abshire List of Linebackers for the 2015 Draft Class, and he opened with a very productive weekend as well with 6 solo tackles, 2 assists, and a sack.
- Rams LB Bryce Hager was on the opposite sideline of Heeny, but he represented the Abshire List of Linebackers well with 5 solo tackles and 2 assists. Heeny and Hager were very similar in the two primary analytical points for Linebackers despite their draft positions.
- Cowboys LB Damien Wilson is also a member of this list and has even more upside than LB Anthony Hitchens, who I touted as a great 4th round pick last year despite many draft analysts believing he should be undrafted. He didn’t populate the stat sheet with just 2 solo tackles, but he started at WLB and has drawn a lot of positive reviews from camp. Analytically, the best combination of linebackers for the Cowboys would be Wilson, Hitchens, and Lee.
- Saints LB Davis Tull is one that also has very strong analytics and is one to keep an eye on. He just returned from injury so he will have catch up to do, but is one of the best later round picks analytically at any position.