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Analytics suggest Landry a reach, won't succeed

A lot has been made about Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey intending to make use of analytics as part (not all) of his regimen for evaluating and selecting Dolphins talent. I assume if this is a serious venture the Dolphins will hire someone or several people to comprise an analytics department.

Well, they better get on the ball because I already have an analytics department up and running.

It is a one-man, volunteer, unsolicited department run and manned by Dr. Peter Lawrence Smith who is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow for Clincal Sciences at St. Georges University of London.

Sounds impressive, right?

I'm paying this guy a mint (with a mint in this case being defined as nothing).

Anyway, Dr. Smith is extemely interested in the Dolphins' selection of Jarvis Landry in the second round of the recent draft. Landry, you should know, played and thrived at Louisiana State University. He was a favorite of LSU coach Les Miles. His performance on tape suggest he is definitely an NFL talent. And Landry did much of his damage against respected Southeastern Conference Competition.

But ...

Landry, 5-11 and 205 pounds, ran a disappointing 4.77 time in the 40-yard dash at the Indianapolis Combine. Hickey said he saw that as "an opportunity." Landry then ran a 4.61 twice at his Pro Day.

Well, the analytics suggest this was not an opportunity and this was not a very good pick in the second round.

Consider from Dr. Smith, who studied 1999-2012 drafts, with 2013 being eliminated because one year and a rookie year at that provides little for a complete evaluation:

"I did some analysis of WRs taken in the last six drafts (and some undrafted free agents). My dataset was composed of 284 WRs.

"Of these 284, only three ran the 40-yard dash slower than 4.70. Landry ran 4.77 at combine. This is slower than any of the 284 receivers in the data set.

"Landry ran 4.61 at his pro day. This is equal to or slower than 254 receivers in the data set. Only 34 ran equal to or slower than 4.60.

"Eighteen of these "slow" receivers were undrafted while 16 were drafted. So 53 percent of these 34 slow WRs were not drafted at all.

"Of the 16 slow receivers drafted, the median selection position was 93rd overall. Only three receivers were drafted higher than Landry at 63rd overall: Mohamed Massaquoi (50th overall), Dwayne Jarrett (45th overall), and Malcom Kelly (51st overall)."

Jarrett, Kelly and Massaquoi are all currently out of the NFL.

"A number of these 34 slow receivers had a productive final college year as Landry did. Three of these receivers played for SEC colleges with similar production to Landry.

"But only three of these slow receivers have had production in the NFL for even one year:  Massaquoi in  2008, Mohammed Sanu in 2012 and Devone Bess, who was undrafted 2008 but produced for several years.

"There are plenty of examples of WRs with similar production either having success or failing in the NFL. College production alone isn't a good indicator of NFL success. Landry's production is similar to Armon BInns, who ran a 4.5 40-yard dash. went undrafted and is currently a Dolphin.

"As Landry was drafted in the second round it bears noting the average 40-yard dash time of WRs drafted in the second round is 4.48.

"Landry could be the slowest second-round pick by as  much as .17 seconds.

"Landry's 4.77 combine time is slower than any of the 284 receivers in the data set.

"Depending upon how you determine value the second round isn't a particularly good time to draft WRs. The first round is better, as you would expect, and the third round is as good as the second.

"According to my analysis Landry is unlikely to have success and drafting him in the second round is a reach."

Dr. Smith's data is quite comprehensive. Have at it:


Download 1999-2012 NFL receiver data





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We will take the east this year


Yeah all the teen numbers for WRs should be banned for Dolphins at this point.

Mandolin is dumb the guy ran a 4.51 at his pro day

Posted by: fin4life | May 14, 2014 at 10:44 AM

In general, I draw some comfort with SEC draft picks.
Toughest league in college football.
Doesn't always translate into success but it does give one hope.

I see a solid talented deep football team and if you take us lightly we will pound you

Posted by: Big Willy | May 14, 2014 at 11:27 AM

Love your attitude sir!

We will have a very good o line we added a lot to the offense including a tail back

Landry was rated in the top 50 or so players by numerous well known pundits/entities.....squarely in Rd 2 and exactly where Miami took him--certainly doesnt set it in stone but these are well regarded folks that actually do it for a living--even knocking that ranking down 10-20 slots puts him late 2nd, early 3rd--hardly a reach.

Numerous pundits/draft experts also liked the pick (some alot) and liked the Fins draft in general.

fin4life, I had the same thoughts on the Safety position.

I'm also not sure about Gibson being the odd man out. Before his injury he was a big part of the offense.

Posted by: CommonSense | May 14, 2014 at 11:21 AM

You know it's actually funny you'd bring that up! Last yr. if you remember (As well as the ohters?) The Blog was up in arms over signing B.Gibson!! He has issues with injuries always cutting his Seasons short.

(Must be something in the water in St Louis given same issues with Bradford, Amendola and half that Offense every yr. it seems)

I also found it funny some blamed his ACL injury on a bad pass from Tannehill exposing him to a hit which is complete B.S.! He went up in the air and tore it landing and the landing wasn't even that awkward if you remember!

Couple it with Big Money deal we gave Hartline and I can see this move if Landry progresses quickly based soley on the financials.

Tannehill should really take a big jump this year

I really hope Landry turns out to be a good player. Like others were saying we missed out on some good ones especially if we didn't trade back.

We had our pick of any RB at 50. Davante Adams went at 53, Lattimer went at 56, Allen Robinson went at 61. I think Landry might be the pick that defines this draft.

clee, but they didn't buy hi low. He had a 2nd rd grade going into the postseason testing and that's where the DOlphins drafted him. If they got him in the 3rd or 4th, that would be an opportunity.

Getting Turner and Lynch a round later than projected were opportunities.

Getting Landry in the 2nd is paying full value.

The offense is. Very freindly to the running. Backs tight ends and slot receivers then when you key on them we got you

Don Jones is listed as a CB on the most current Dolphins depth chart.

Landry wont necessarily replace Gibson right away, unless Gibson isnt ready to go--but Lazor will figure out how to get him in the rotation, he'll definitely play--and Gibson's deal only goes through 2015, so not a stretch to think he won't be re-signed--Landry will be in the mix, no question

for the doubters, go to lesmiles.net and find a Landry video....awesome stuff

I feel confident that we can now compete

Hopefully we can coach these guys up for the start of the season

Gator Hoskins should be interesting to watch 6-3 255 lbs FB/te from Marshall he's a Charles clay clone

Gator will make this team

A very solid offseason to say the least

Alert. Turner. Pouncy. Smith. James

That is one huge athletic line


busy work day by my understanidn is he was mid second round grade before 4.77. So we traded down picked up another pick and got him at 63 ( 13 picks later) and then used the ammo to move up and get milner. Looks like a solid play if they both work out. Again if.

I'll do my roster projection just for the heck of it. First guy listed is the top of the depth chart going down.

QB- Tannehill, Moore, Brock Jensen (Devlin gets beat out for the # 3 job)

RB- Moreno, Miller, Thomas, Thigpen, Damien Williams, (the UDFA Williams beats out Gillisle to make the roster)

WR- Wallace, Hartline, Gibson, Landry, Matthews, Hazel (we keep 6 WRs instead of 4 like last year. Binns is cut. Gibson recovers from the injury and holds the slot job.)

TE- Clay, Lynch, Sims, Egnew (Egnew will have to fight for a roster spot in preseason)

O-Line- Albert, Turner, Pouncey, Smith, James, Thomas, Brenner, Fox (Garner is cut. Turner wins the starting LG job.)

D-Line- Wake, Starks, Odrick, Vernon, Jordan, Mitchell, Shelby, Fede, Francis (I think the acorn Fede will turn some heads and crack the roster. Aj Francis beats out Aatui and Anthony Johnson. Starks/Odrick beat out Mitchell for the starting DT jobs)

Linebacker- Misi, Ellerbe, Wheeler, Jenkins, Tripp, Trusnik (Jenkins and Tripp are hopefully pushing Wheeler and Misi hard for playing time. Trusnik sticks for special teams)

Safety- R. Jones, Delmas, Wilson, D. Jones, Kovacs (I am praying Delmas and Reshad Jones stay health. Not much depth here. Jones plays FS, Delmas plays SS.)

Cornerback- Grimes, Finnegan, Taylor, Davis, Aikens (They go with Finnegan as the other start. Taylor goes outside and Finnegan kicks inside in 3 WR sets. Davis beats Aikens for the number 4 job.)

Specialists- Sturgis, Fields, Denney

Crap, I'm at 54 if my math is right. Logical cuts would be Kovacs, Trusnik, or just rolling with 2 QBs.

Obviously I have not seen any of training camp or preseason and we will poach a couple of guys from other rosters. Still something fun to do to kill some time.

Mark @4.45,

I agree that other measures are important in predicting NFL productivity. The analysis doesn't state that 40 time predicts success but that it predicts failure.

The analysis indicates that >4.60 represents a general limiting factor (unless you're Boldin). So >4.60 makes it highly likely the receiver will fail (65% of these receivers don't play a snap at WR). Of course 4.60 is better than 4.65 which is better than 4.7 but as you know one use of metrics is to be able to make general predictions and >4.6 is a simple and decent marker. There are so few execeptions to this rule a more complex analysis yields very little additional information

Marshall ran a 4.52. Altough receivers who run that time sometimes fail as NFL receivers, when they do its because of something other than their speed. Clearly Marshall also has a number of other qualities. The question is - if he was >0.08 seconds slower would these qualities have been enough?


Agree on adding a WR to the roster count. I mentioned it on our several weeks back and someone disagreed with with me totally on it. Sam maybe?
Can't remember.

Good to know I'm not the only one that sees it that way.

The one place where we differ on is I hope Mitchell wins the start at DT along with Starks. Odrick is average at best there. I like him better outside although he his fine as a rotation guy and plays with a high motor.

My guess is the QB depth chart stays the same and Jensen ends up on the practice squad.

You got a love "number spinners"

Tedd Ginn was very fast. Just couldn't catch. He's still in the NFL, but outside of 2 or 3 games hasn't had much of an impact.

It's apparent that speed isnt J.Landry gift, and what he rely's on in his game.
Speed just gives you separation from the defender. But Landry gift is his ball skills, route running, toughness and and being able to fight for the ball and win!
And that might be a advantage which in my eyes will make him a exciting W/R to watch and a Productive slot (OJ McDuffie type)W/R. But short tough WR's like that don't last long in the NFL, and tend to have a short Career (Just like OJ) But he will win a lot of games for us. And to me that's a good thing. Which makes him a good Draft pick IMO

Salguero, as always, your posts suck !
The superficial analysis made by this "Dr." is meaningless at most. When Landry succeed, he will say that "it was a statistical fluke". Obviously he didnt watch the tapes.
And you pal, you're so dumb that you got brain washed by this poor doctor assessment.

This may have already been pointed out but, it's probably good that Mando is paying his guy nothing. The analysis completely misses the context of the manner in which Landry will be used.

Seems to me if the WR is on the outside then maybe the anlysis can weight the 40 time heavily. But, Landry is planned as a slot guy. Quickness, durability and hands are most important. I want to see this analysis based on shuttle-run times, injury history and % drops. Then we'll see if it's a reach at 2nd round.

Another guy who ran 4.71. Jerry Rice

All you gotta do is put on the tape and Landry brings to mind another short slow receiver that had great success on none other than the Dophins, the being O.J. McDuffie, that's right we just drafted a modern day McDuffie. I don't care what stats say this guy catches everything and runs great routes. he will be the #1 slot receiver come opening day.

As a data scientist, the way the data would be analyzed in football specifically would not be measured against a model like Dr. Smith has done here. It would actually be done more like what Pro Football Focus does.


so what the analytics team on the Dolphins would do is break down the game film and give them PFF grades. Then what you would do is break down the college game film of the top 20 receivers in the NFL and give them college PFF grades. You would take the PFF grades, plus the combine results, plus a weighted average score for strength of schedule and competition, and give ratings for intangibles. Based on these calculations, you'd come up with scores for your control group. That is what would calibrate your scale. That control group is important, because certain patterns would emerge. For instance, the pattern would emerge that all 20 top receivers should have really high 40 times. Knowing that Reggie Wayne, Wes Welker and other top receivers that would be in the control group wouldn't have that high 40 time, that would drop the weight of something like the 40 time. I am guessing Landry got ridiculously high college PFF scale grades, which probably weighs fairly heavily in the control group.

In fact, if I had to guess, when Hickey said he graded the individual, not the team with the small school picks, that's exactly what they did. There was probably a certain weight put on the strength of schedule of every game film that was analyzed. So ppl from big schools play weak comp at times just as people from small school plays strong comp at times. That's how someone like Billy Turner would get such a strong grade.

Plus Mando, this is not a standard linear classification problem as such. This is actually more of a clustering problem. You would want to create a set of features with levels of importance that cluster the top 20 NFL receivers based on their college statistics. That's how the weights of the different features would be decided. Then you would want to basically figure out who are closest in proximity to that particular cluster. Someone pointed it out earlier, but here i'm betting that their drop % was weighted a lot heavier than 40 time because that's probably a feature that weighed far heavier to cluster the top 20 NFL receivers than say 40 time. I am not sure how the Dolphins approached the problem. They may have kept it as a classification problem. They have have used multiple approaches. We don't know. But if Hickey has assembled a team of data scientists who happen to also understand the features and order of importance of football characteristics, who could do PFF ratings on college game film, my guess is they probably did a good job.

Would have preferred more size, but maybe the kids got the toughness to go with the hands, and will be a big surprise. Who knows?

Bigger issue is picking so many players from minor conferences who will have to adjust to size and speed.

And of course Hickey could have easily traded down and gotten Martin or Moseley, or really gone for it and gotten both.

Despite the foregoing, I'd still rather have a new guy take his shot than Ireland, Saban et al.

Let's try to stay positive Dolfans. You too Armando.

I come from over seas and see this article about Landry. LMAO!

Did I not talking about this during and for days after the draft?

Seems Mando..MIT and Andy understand it and many others just won't until they see Landry unable to use those hands because he can't separate.

I keep telling the board college is college which is no where near the speed of the NFL game regardless of what conference you play in.

This is why speed especially at the skill is so valued. Landry will be the slowest wr on the team at 5'11 even considering the pro day 40 time.

HE will provide nothing after the catch and we need wrs in the west coast offense who are explosive and able to churn out extra yards.

IF you aren't going to have two 6'3 + X and y's who can run/use there strength and length/high point the football. You better have some extremely quick guys with lots of wiggle or this offense will fail.

There are not many teams that run heavy zone like we seem to. Better gets some real wrs who can beat the press and threaten deep or your passing game will be squeezed to death. Those 5 yd routes will result in a lot of picks concussed wr's and more Tanne specials(knee injury lay outs).

FYI. The great Jerry Rice ran a 4.65 forty at his combine. I NEVER saw him get caught from behind.

I can't believe the Dolphins selected Landry when they could have drafted Carlos Hyde in the second round. Hyde was the number one running back in the draft and was needed more than Landry. Once again the dolphins general manager missed the boat.

Peanut Head (Armando),

Can you please do a through analysis of the RB situation? Also find out what's the deal with TE's, specially Eggnew?

Peanut Galary

I believe MIT mentioned this. Rice played in a different era. In my opinion if Rice was starting his career today....even with all his route running prowess and hands an savy. He wouldn't have half the stats he put up and he certainly would have been caught from behind a lot. LB's are running what many wrs ran back then. Every one that runs a 4.6 or higher won't be Boldin or Jerry Rice. Much greater chance completely failing and being out of the league or being strictly a situational type wr.

Possession wr who is not only slow but undersized and lacking quickness usually won't amount to much. I don't care how good your hands route running and toughness are. You can take that to the bank unless those numbers were very off due to a lingering hammy. 3 cone..vertical and 40 time were vey sub standard.

If we just feed everyone's numbers into a computer, we can play the whole season without anyone getting injured.

Stupid article the 40 time is not a determine factor
Landry is reliable had great hand and will be good for US
Mando you are a pessimist go and write for the Jets

Clyde gates and tedd ginn were fast...... see where that got em

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