Weekend Reading: Grading the Receivers

DeVante Parker. Courtesy of USA Today

DeVante Parker. Courtesy of USA Today

Here are some Eagles-related links to check out on this warm spring weekend.

Pro Football Focus is applying some of its signature stats to the draft prospects, including wide receivers.

Yards Per Route Run

cff sig wr yprr

While this group has some familiar names, including the top receiver in the draft in Amari Cooper, it’s worth noting that it is one of our sleeper candidates that leads the way. Georgia Tech’s DeAndre Smelter was the most productive player in this year’s draft class on a per-route basis, impressing even in the run first Georgia Tech offense.

Elsewhere in the Top 10, Louisville’s DeVante Parker had the highest score of the top prospects, with West Virginia’s Kevin White back in 16th place at 2.59 YPRR. Amari Cooper had a ridiculous amount of receiving yards, but he was on the field so much that he couldn’t quite crack the 4.00 barrier like Parker and Smelter.

An interesting read from Robert Klemko of MMQB on how the Steelers and Ravens perform consistently well in the draft despite almost always picking outside of the top 10.

The Steelers rarely trade up. Colbert last moved up in the first when he dealt third- and fourth-rounders to jump from 32nd overall to 25th in the 2006 draft. He was targeting Ohio State receiver Santonio Holmes (who went on to be named MVP of Super Bowl XLIII). Before that, Colbert moved up 11 spots (27th to 16th) in ’03, giving up a third and a sixth to choose USC safety Troy Polamalu.

“He was a rare player,” Colbert says. “You wish they were available to you every year, but that’s never the case. We made an uncharacteristic move to get him because we felt like that was the case.

“You have to fight that temptation in every round. You have to stay true to your evaluations. We try to eliminate the word need and use the word want.”

Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz looks at the idea of drafting Quinten Rollins as a safety:

I’ve watched tape of lots of DBs since then and went back to do more tape study on Rollins recently. He is one of my favorite prospects in this class and a player I’d love the Eagles to target aggressively. Here’s the interesting part. I’d like them to try him at Safety first.

Some NFL teams, including the Eagles, have been trying some Safety drills with him during workouts. And Mike Mayock listed him at Safety on his latest rankings.

Rollins has great ball skills. He picked off 7 passes in 2014. Some of them were really impressive. You want a S to have good hands so he can take advantage of any balls that come his way.

There have been a number of well-crafted, touching tributes to Stan Hochman written over the past several days. We featured a couple of them in Friday’s Wake-Up Call. Here’s another from Rich Hofmann, in case you missed it.

Stan was a homework guy. He also was a file guy. You would be sitting in the press box at RFK Stadium, pre-Internet, and talking about story angles and Stan would have manila folders in his briefcase, at the ready. If you ended up with Redskins coach Joe Gibbs as an angle that day, Stan would pull out his Joe Gibbs file and ask if you wanted it. Inside would be torn-out newspaper clippings of stories from the New York Times and The Sporting News and wherever, going years back. And if you ended up with Joe Theismann or Dexter Manley or Jack Kent Cooke that day, Stan had files on them in the briefcase, too.

The integrity of the man and his work were unmatched. He had a strong belief in the homework because it best informed your questions. He had a strong belief in the interview, because the best columns were when you could display a connection with your subject in the subject’s words. He had a strong belief in fundamental fairness – that you give a guy his say, that you agree or disagree with it in your commentary, and that you show up the next time and let the guy tell you what he liked or didn’t like about what you wrote.

That was the Stan Hochman transaction, a three-way relationship among the columnist, the athlete and the reader, a transaction based on honesty at its core. The athlete was rarely surprised at what Stan wrote, even if he didn’t agree with it – and a lot of them did not agree. If he had remained a schoolteacher for more than a brief period at the beginning of his working life, Stan would have been known as a tough grader. But he was fair. He always said that was his goal, tough but fair, and he succeeded for a half-century.