FanPost

QB Rankings: Analytics or Scouting?

Like many of my fellow Rumblers, I am very curious about which QB the Bills might draft this year. I recently read an excellent article about QB analytic rankings by The Chill Pill, which inspired me to take a deeper look t the QBs in this year's draft.

As a quick summary of Chill's article: Football Outsiders ranks the QBs from each draft that they expect to be drafted in rounds 1-3 using a computer model called the Lewin Career Forecast. This year their rankings are as follows:

1. Landry Jones (2276)

2. Geno Smith (2064)

3. Matt Barkley (1812)

4. Ryan Nassib (1506)

5. EJ Manuel (1270)

6. Tyler Wilson (425)

7. Tyler Bray (-201)

8. Mike Glennon (-379)

It is important to note they state the top prospects should score above 1200 and any QBs below zero should be avoided. Football Outsiders also comments in their article how their model ranks the QBs this year fairly high, which is interesting considering how down the "expert" scouts are on this draft class. I decided to take a look at how the scouts ranked these players. I looked at the draft grades on three sites that had numerical values. I ended up looking at ESPN (max of 100), SI (max of 9) and NFL (max of 100). Here are their rankings:

Player

ESPN (100 max)

SI (9 max)

NFL (100 max)

Landry Jones

76

7.5

67.2

Geno Smith

91

7.6

88

Matt Barkley

89

8

82

Ryan Nassib

83

8.6

78.7

EJ Manuel

78

7.9

68.7

Tyler Wilson

82

7.8

83.5

Tyler Bray

74

6.14

67.8

Mike Glennon

77

7.4

79.4

As you can see there are some differing opinions on these players. For example ESPN sees Geno Smith as the top QB, while SI sees him as the 5th QB. However, what I was really interested in was a way to incorporate the Lewin Forecast and the Scouting information into one model. I'm open to any ideas, but the best one I had is as follows.

First I scaled up the scouting rankings of each of the 3 sites to be out of 2000 instead of 100, 9 and 100. The reason I chose 2000, is because only 6 QBs have ever scored over 2000 in the Lewin Forecast and I figured that was a good line to try to equilibrate the Lewin model with the scouting rankings. Here are the new rankings, sorted by the average score:

Player

ESPN

SI

NFL

Scout Average

Geno Smith

1820

1689

1760

1756

Matt Barkley

1780

1778

1640

1733

Ryan Nassib

1660

1911

1574

1715

Tyler Wilson

1640

1733

1670

1681

Mike Glennon

1540

1644

1588

1591

EJ Manuel

1560

1756

1374

1563

Landry Jones

1520

1667

1344

1510

Tyler Bray

1480

1364

1356

1400

Based on the scaled a 1st round pick would be 1800-2000, a 2nd round pick 1600-1799 and a 3rd round pick 1400-1599. Based on the average scout ranking no QB is worth a 1st round pick, while 4 are worth 2nd round picks and 4 are worth 3rd round picks. I then averaged the Lewin Forecast and my newly created Scouting average to create my rankings:

Player

Average Rankings

LCF

Scout

Geno Smith

1910

2064

1756

Landry Jones

1893

2276

1510

Matt Barkley

1772

1812

1733

Ryan Nassib

1611

1506

1715

EJ Manuel

1417

1270

1563

Tyler Wilson

1053

425

1681

Mike Glennon

606

-379

1591

Tyler Bray

600

-201

1400

As we can see the Lewin Forecast and Scouts mostly line up except when it comes to Landry Jones. Finally, I wanted us to be able to see an overall comparison of just the names, so here is the last table:

Rank

Average

LCF

Scout

1

Geno Smith

Landry Jones

Geno Smith

2

Landry Jones

Geno Smith

Matt Barkley

3

Matt Barkley

Matt Barkley

Ryan Nassib

4

Ryan Nassib

Ryan Nassib

Tyler Wilson

5

EJ Manuel

EJ Manuel

Mike Glennon

6

Tyler Wilson

Tyler Wilson

EJ Manuel

7

Mike Glennon

Tyler Bray

Landry Jones

8

Tyler Bray

Mike Glennon

Tyler Bray

So what do people think about these potential rankings? Do people thing scouting should be more or less important than a computer model that has been shown to be pretty good at predicting QB prospects? I hope everyone enjoyed this article and I'm looking forward to any advice or comments on how my math could be improved.

Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of BuffaloRumblings.com.

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