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AlNFL19

Safety Class Statistical Projections

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Only a little bit late, I've finally finished the last of my draft projection models by position. A full retrospective 2019 big board is in the works as of now. This time, two models, one for FS and one for SS prospects. For each, the model takes into account several different factors and accordingly projects an average Approximate Value during the player's third and fourth NFL seasons. The model is built *on and for* prospects drafted in the first three rounds of the draft, using data from the 2006 to 2015 draft classes. It also projects a Bust Chance (% chance of failing to reach 5 AV) and Pro Bowl chance (chance of hitting or exceeding 10 AV), as well as a stat line based on the projected AV. 

The model includes:

  • Draft Position
  • Volume Statistics (ex.: interceptions)
  • Efficiency Statistics (ex.: tackles per team attempt against)
  • NFL Combine Performance and Measurables

For some context, here's what the projections here will look like, using the best projection since 2006 as an example (safety projections are pretty conservative because highly-drafted safeties don't tend to have enormous NFL success, with the sample taken averaging just 4.22 AV per year).

EARL THOMAS, FS, TEXAS

E. Thomas, FS, Texas
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 5.64
Bust Chance 13.83%
PB Chance 20.10%

Projected Stat Line: 69 tackles, 6 passes defensed, 2 INTs for 30 return yards

This year's rankings are pretty consistent with draft position, starting with the two free safeties:

FREE SAFETIES

1. DARNELL SAVAGE JR., MARYLAND

D. Savage Jr., FS, Maryland
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 4.77
Bust Chance 40.44%
PB Chance 11.84%

Projected Stat Line: 62 tackles, 5 passes defensed, 2 INTs for 24 return yards

Savage's high draft position, 4.36 40 time, and 4 interceptions were the leading factors in his projection, which is a pretty darn good one despite averaging less than 5 AV. As a result, Savage is No. 1 among this year's whole safety class, strong safeties and free safeties both.

2. JUAN THORNHILL, VIRGINIA

J. Thornhill, FS, Virginia
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 4.19
Bust Chance 58.18%
PB Chance 6.34%

Projected Stat Line: 58 tackles, 5 passes defensed, 1 INT for 21 return yards

Thornhill didn't put up shabby numbers himself, but his end-of-the-second draft position knocks down his projection. However, Thornhill picked off more passes (6) than Savage, and ran a solid 6.86 3-cone drill that helped his projection a bit.

 

STRONG SAFETIES

1. JOHNATHAN ABRAMS, MISSISSIPPI STATE

J. Abrams, SS, Miss. State
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 4.65
Bust Chance 44.97%
PB Chance 7.61%

Projected Stat Line: 61 tackles, 5 passes defensed, 1 INT for 24 return yards

Abrams is the other safety with better-than-coin-flip projected odds of NFL success this year, also a first-round draft pick. Abrams led the strong safeties in the group with 99 tackles, a figure that helped his projection to where it ended up. Strong safety projections tend to be lower than that of free safeties, so Abrams' projection is even more impressive.

2. MARQUISE BLAIR, UTAH

M. Blair, SS, Utah
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 4.19
Bust Chance 59.46%
PB Chance <1.00%

Projected Stat Line: 58 tackles, 5 passes defensed, 1 INT for 21 return yards

Blair and Thornhill each came out to a projected 4.19 AV, but Thornhill's percentages are better because of the nature of the positions: strong safeties don't tend to put up the numbers that some free safeties do. Blair's projection is also knocked by his middling 59 total tackles.

3. WILLIAM HARRIS, BOSTON COLLEGE

W. Harris, SS, Boston College
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 4.08
Bust Chance 62.93%
PB Chance <1.00%

Projected Stat Line: 57 tackles, 4 passes defensed, 1 INT for 20 return yards

Harris put up some solid numbers on-field, with 75 total tackles in his 2018 season, and at the Combine, including a 4.41 40 time at above 200 pounds, showing pretty good athleticism that helped earn his 3rd ranking.

4. TAYLOR RAPP, WASHINGTON

T. Rapp, SS, Washington
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 4.01
Bust Chance 65.13%
PB Chance <1.00%

Projected Stat Line: 57 tackles, 4 passes defensed, 1 INT for 20 return yards

Rapp was a player who seemed to have some supporters on this board during draft season. Count my model not among them. Rapp put up pretty decent numbers at the Combine, including an impressive 3.99 short shuttle, but his 2 interceptions didn't do him any real favors, and his 58 total tackles were worst among the strong safety group on the first two days of the draft. As a result, Rapp falls to a below-half chance of NFL success. I'm sure there are many members of this board who would disagree.

5. MIKE EDWARDS, KENTUCKY

M. Edwards, SS, Kentucky
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 3.83
Bust Chance 70.80%
PB Chance <1.00%

Projected Stat Line: 55 tackles, 4 passes defensed, 1 INT for 19 return yards

Edwards reeled in 82 tackles in 2018 and put up good enough tape to go Round 3, but his low draft position and middling numbers otherwise lead to a projection that's nothing special.

 

Well, that's it. Coming soon is a cumulative ranking of every FBS player drafted in Rounds 1-3 of the 2019 NFL Draft, and perhaps a review of which teams drafted "best". It's totally not too late! Hopefully I'll be able to repeat these projections with the 2020 class in the coming months.

 

 

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Would love to see Amani Hooker' projection.  He's looked really good this preseason.

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4 hours ago, Daniel said:

Would love to see Amani Hooker' projection.  He's looked really good this preseason.

You know the drill by now with Rounds 1-3 picks and all. Here it is:

A. Hooker, SS, Iowa
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 3.58
Bust Chance 78.68%
PB Chance <1.00%

Projected Stat Line: 53 tackles, 4 passes defensed, 1 INT for 17 return yards

Or if you want to call him a free safety (I just went with strong safety because his NFL draft profile said he'd be a better strong safety, basically.

A. Hooker, FS, Iowa
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 2.98
Bust Chance 95.19%
PB Chance <1.00%

Projected Stat Line: 49 tackles, 4 passes defensed, 1 INT for 13 return yards

Just a little worse.

Could be a guy who outperforms his projection.

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1 hour ago, AlNFL19 said:

You know the drill by now with Rounds 1-3 picks and all. Here it is:

 

A. Hooker, SS, Iowa
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 3.58
Bust Chance 78.68%
PB Chance <1.00%

Projected Stat Line: 53 tackles, 4 passes defensed, 1 INT for 17 return yards

Or if you want to call him a free safety (I just went with strong safety because his NFL draft profile said he'd be a better strong safety, basically.

 

A. Hooker, FS, Iowa
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 2.98
Bust Chance 95.19%
PB Chance <1.00%

Projected Stat Line: 49 tackles, 4 passes defensed, 1 INT for 13 return yards

Just a little worse.

Could be a guy who outperforms his projection.

Thanks.  That stat line seems realistic to me since he won't be a starter.

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What about CGJ? Dude plummeted and many had expected him to go in the back end of the first.

Edited by Danger

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Nice work. Safety has always been one of my favorite positions. But it was exponentially easier to evaluate during the run oriented and balanced eras. My correct percentage was really high then but has steadily dropped off. Basically the disqualifier is stiffness and the key variable is instincts.

Also, this position suffers more than any on the field from the typical camera angles during televised coverage. You simply can't see what is going on. I still find myself faring well evaluating safeties I see in person, especially multiple times. But I'm not an All-22 guy so the typical safety doesn't show on camera often enough.  

The ratings seem logical to me. The safety I liked best in recent years was Malik Hooker, due to the instincts aspect.

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On 9/4/2019 at 5:24 PM, Danger said:

What about CGJ? Dude plummeted and many had expected him to go in the back end of the first.

He's a pretty versatile guy, so I'll let you choose which one to look at.

As a free safety:

C. Gardner-Johnson, FS, Florida
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 3.04
Bust Chance 93.36%
PB Chance <1.00%

Projected Stat Line: 49 tackles, 4 passes defensed, 1 INT for 14 return yards

And at strong safety:

C. Gardner-Johnson, SS, Florida
Statistic Figure
Projected AV 3.68
Bust Chance 75.53%
PB Chance <1.00%

Projected Stat Line: 54 tackles, 4 passes defensed, 1 INT for 18 return yards

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