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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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clee, it's not very good all the way around, let me present my case (avg for all WR in brackets)

Size 205 lbs - (203)
Production 1193 (1028) 10 (9)
40 - official 4.77 (4.46)
bench 12 (14.4)
Cone 7.59 (6.90)
Shuttle 4.59 (4.24)
Vertical 28.5 (35.9)
Broad 9.02 (9.73)

so in short, we have a slightly abover average size WR, with good production who is slow, lacks agility and explosion.

Now, could he be better than this and just had a bad day? perhaps - but he was performing under the same set of conditions as everyone else...

Food for thought - no other WR was so consistently below average in every single category. I'm hoping he was injured and tried to plow through anyway - but that would've been stupid as every athlete is advised to pull out and save it for the pro day- right now it's the best we can hope for.

Well the average 40 time of all WRs drafted in the last five years is 4.46.

Even at his absolute best Landry is still significantly slower than the average WR.

It is as they say, a red flag.

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | May 13, 2014 at 11:23 AM

I don't have anything against Landry. But his speed is a legitimate concern, bad hammy or not.

The concern I have is where he was drafted and maybe more importantly, WHY?

I don't understand why Hickey would use such a high pick on a "SLOT receiver" with questionable speed?

It makes me wonder how Gibson's recovery is going? And even then, why the high pick on a contingency plan in the event Gibson isn't ready or never fully recovers?

keenan Allen ran a 4.53 and didn't even do the combine but let's stick to the facts, ok...

Mark, I just don't get some of these people sometimes. It's all about odds or percentages if you like. For example: With 1st round pics, the odds are better for success. The same with metrics. Doesn't mean a guaranteed hit. Just better odds of suceeding.

I would say drafting a wr at all on a team that is basically set at the position was a HUGE mistake. We had needs at TE,OG,ILB,and RB. Why they drafted a WR IS A MYSTERY. Add in the fact they drafted one who is on the small side and slow and I'm left wondering why we all hated Ireland so much!!!

As oft noted, some people practice one way & play another. I've seen the kid make some great catches.

Let's watch & see what happens. If he's a bust 3 years from now, I'll consider these "metrics" of which you speak.

Hazel ran a 4.5 combine. Beat jerry rice by a long shot.

Funny, Mark says in 1 post the combine 40's are official & don't hate Mando for using them.

Yet, now he is using Allens pro day 40? Which is .02 slower than Landry's?

What point are you trying to make other than you're being hypocritical?

Dusty yeah he's my all time fav WR for Fins!! Nothing flashy but fought for everything he got on Sundays!

Anderson, I think a player was picked using Skype on the weekend , so yeah, the time is here.

And no metrics aren't everything but you have to have a certain minimum athleticism to excel in the NFL or else we'd all be there instead of blogging here.

Both James and Landry were shocked they were picked so early haha

I would say drafting a wr at all on a team that is basically set at the position was a HUGE mistake. We had needs at TE,OG,ILB,and RB. Why they drafted a WR IS A MYSTERY. Add in the fact they drafted one who is on the small side and slow and I'm left wondering why we all hated Ireland so much!!!

Posted by: Phins78 | May 13, 2014 at 04:16 PM

Here's why. You have 3 hugely overpaid WR's on the roster who none of the 3 are worth their contracts.

1 or 2 of them may be moving on sooner rather than later.

Assume 1 of the highly paid 3 gone this year (Gibson), Wallace next year. Back up plan is clearly in place.

Well I guess MIT is smiling wide right about now??

Posted by: Bill Arnsparger | May 13, 2014 at 03:33 PM

MIT puts a great deal of stock into those numbers and in his defense he called out the J.Martin pick from Day-1 based on them but I would remind everyone that the Cleveland Browns actually invested 100K into the process to rate the QB's. It was widely publicized on NFL Network given Manziel came in faaaar behind D.Carr (came in 1st) followed by Bortles and Bridgewater. At the end of the day a 100K smoke screen!!

They passed on 2 of those QB's including the highest rated to take the guy down the metrics board It's also a fact the highest rated went behind the other 3 all together were teams went with the tape instead of the Analytics. I do feel it's important to take into account especially in the trenches but can be deceptive when anayzing other Positions.

In 04 Wes Welker was an UFA based on a 4.61/40 and today in hindsight would have been a 1st Rd'er as an example given his versatility and route running alone. Work out Warrior Vernon Gholston another example of fearing the numbers. I don't know what the future holds for J.Landry but I believe in my eyes and what they saw of him Vs. Top Flight competition in the SEC.

Posted by: Phins78 | May 13, 2014 at 04:16 PM


Exactly Odin, if this was a mid round pick - hallelujah.

There were other options. There was a 6.2 220 lbs WR that ran a 4.4 verified with good production on the board that went a few picks later to Indy.


Will line him up against Landry.

Just judging by 40 time is shallow.

It's superficial analysis.

Mark, its a general analysis. It states that anyone running >4.6 is very unlikely to have success. Landry has been compared to Boldin but as you note Boldin's metrics are superior.

There are 89 receivers since 1999 running a >4.60 40 yard dash. The only receiver with elite production is Boldin. Not a single other receiver comes close (Brandon Lloyd is closest), most don't even play a single game at the position. So what do the Dolphins expect with the pick - the next Anquan Boldin? Maybe Landry will be that good but the analysis indicates that its unlikely and as such a high risk pick. It will be fascinating to see how it plays out.

Run the 40 and do the drills in full pads for a proper indication.

I'm all for waiting and seeing how the kid produces. I'm always about giving players a chance to succeed before judging them. I'm judging Hickey and Philbin on this one.

Why a WR? Hartline,Wallace,Gibson, Binns, Matthews.

At best this kid steals Matthews spot or is the 6th wr on the team. Meaning a lot of bench time is awaiting him in Miami. Hickey better hope his metrics bs works out or he will be gone with Philbin. Like Mark said, an awful lot is riding on Tannehill taking the next step.

Lets ignore the bad analytics, OK?


According to Bovada.

Good thing we didn't take him. If we had he'd be projected as a bust.

FF23, the combine time is considered the most acccurate as it is NFL verified - it trumps all as official time.

The pro day time is used if the player does not take part in the combine (Allen didn't). it is also used by teams individually if a team really likes a player but is concerned about a measureable and wants to see if the player can do better at his pro day.


understand the metrics and I hope hickey was aware of it and “perhaps” used it as an opportunity??

Fact are facts and currently odds dictate is not looking like a solid bet for a second round pick.

your are hoping hickey/scout saw something that would buck the odds. A gamer so to speak.


But he helped the big school players that he did not draft because they can start thier careers with a team other than this one.

They got Wallace and Hartline, both 1000 yard receivers. We needed someone reliable in the middle. We got Landry.
Given his playing history he suits the Dolphins scheme not the rest of us debating if he is fast enough. Last year we got the fastest FA receiver, how much did that make a difference. A bunch of the plays that got us first downs when needed were in the middle.

intead of nonsense, and insistence on using words like "reach" like they are universally accepted and defined (in this context).....how about we reserved judgement and just let the dude play for a few years, and then we'll see--I mean, do I (or any of us) really need to list again the MANY starts who were drafted late or later than expected....or the busts that were drafted very high.....all pointing to the fact that "value" (ie. reach) is very inaccurate, and hard to gauge--seriously, do we need to go through the list again of players whose ratings were WAY off, either better or worse?--its getting old

Good post Pete @ 4:21, agreed.


His back on the team's draft picks.

And is there something in the water in Miami?! Why can't we just get a normal GM who isn't always trying to reinvent the wheel? What's with all of these guys and there unorthodox approach every year?! It doesn't matter who comes in, they always think they're smarter than the rest of the league and they fail miserably. I'm so tired of it, so tired. I've actually given up hope, I just make fun of my team to others now.

I've NEVER done that. I've always had hope, Always stuck up for the Phins. I just can't anymore, it's beyond ridiculous. Can't wait to see who the next coach and gm will be. Maybe they will come with new ideas like picking players who are all under 5'10" because they have a chip on their shoulder and don't like bigger guys therefore they will fight harder. Just ridiculous.

Mando is trying to rip the guy essentially saying he should have been a mid to late rounder. LOL.

Posted by: The Blog | May 13, 2014 at 03:55 PM

MIT and Bill A,

Mando reads what we post those that have been here a few Yrs. know that our Off-Topic Convos have a way of becoming his next days Topic (I figure what MIT meant by asking Mando for credit on this piece) He saw that we were burning up the Blog with alot of back-n-forth with this pick in particular so he's fanning the flames if you will! We went from Friday through today sifting through pages on this Topic!!

Opti, Gibson will be fine in the middle. He was tearing it up last year. Landry won't beat him out, he can only hope for an injury.

true phins 78, philbin no doubt fired after season, thats why it was so dumb to waste a year and bring him back for 2014

People like to point out the anomolies like Vernon Gholston and Wes Welker but I don't know if people understand how rare these anomolies are... according to the model I use (pretty much what I posted at 4:13), these are the elite scores first round picks achieved during the last five years...

Luke Kuechly
Patrick Peterson
J. J. Watt
Von Miller
Julio Jones
Aaron Donald
Taylor Lewan
Khalil Mack
Lane Johnson
Ndamukong Suh
Kendall Reyes
Jason Verrett
Nate Solder
*Bradley Roby
Torrey Smith
*Ryan Shazier
Jerry Hughes

1. No busts in the bunch. Jerry Hughes comes closest but may have saved his career in buffalo last year by putting up 10 sacks opposite mario.

2. Dolphins have passed over a bunch of these guys including a few this year.

Mando is pretty much always right on this stuff.

I'd bet that anyone on this blog going to Vegas would be happy to bring along these metrics!

It's all about probabilities, nothing is absolute & there are exceptions to every rule..

We did not draft a guard, but 2 right tackles... can somebody please explain?!... big hole there, not sure why people is not talking about it!!!

Posted by: Jaimesolera | May 13, 2014 at 03:34 PM

Turner played Left Tackle almost exclusively. Started 56 of 57 games played.

Had multiple games off 10 knock down/pancake blocks. 2 were against div. 1-A teams. That's 10 knockdowns in a GAME!

His pass blocking is already at an NFL level in my opinion. To make the move inside he does need some work. Particularly in how high he plays at times.

Turner is one pick I won't knock. Not until he bombs, if he bombs. I think Turner has the talent and skills to eventually take over Left Tackle duties when Albert is through.

LOL, sorry if I'm repeating complaints, haven't been in for a while. But it's just comical how the good teams stick to the tried and true way of doing things and somehow no matter who the coach or gm are in Miami they're always trying to do things differently.

I mean why stick with what works for everyone else? Who in their right mind would follow a proven pattern of success when they're on the hot seat? Of course they're going to take a gigantic risk, it's just their careers at risk. lol

make fun of your team phins?--why do you stillb other coming to this blog then?--pretty weird and a little sad....find a new team

what's your point in writing this, Mando?


and yes, I agree with the regression analysis you mention above but think that if the 40 time is a sufficient marker then its best to keep it simple. Occams razor etc...

MIT --what are metrics on mid- later second rounders.

apples to apples.

How come none of your so called 'elite' first rounders are Dolphins?

We can criticize Hickey's investment of a 2nd round pick on Landry now. Who knows, in a couple of years he may really earn that criticism. However, it's a curious coincidence that exactly 10 years ago, the Dolphins picked up a rookie, free agent wide receiver with the following measurables: 5'-9", 195 lbs and a 4.65 40 yd time at his Pro Day on March 12th of that year.

Mando, would you have invested a 2nd round pick on Wes Welker back in 2004 had you known then what you know now???

Phins78. Gibson was hurt and has a 3 year 10 Mil deal. Maybe a change is coming. Also looking for our needs in FA as some suggested a couple of days ago cost #'s against the cap. Maybe Hickey is working the cap numbers too for later on. I make my judgements after the season starts.

Yes you have been doing this for a couple of years. Asking for credit is below you. Everybody on this blog knows what you have been saying since the draft started. Sit back and enjoy your analysis.....for now....on tape this kid is a baller.....I would wait until October to see who was correct.
You know we have historically seen a bad measureable guy become a HOF'er in this league. JJ, Shula, Parcells and Lombardi used to say give me Football players, I don't care about measureables. Notice no quotations!!

Posted by: Bill Arnsparger | May 13, 2014 at 03:58 PM

Great post Bill! I happen to agree though I don't like using McDuffie's 98 Season as an example. It was Marino's worst Yr. Yards Per comp. wise with 12 plus starts.

I do however remind everybody that Hines ward (Similar 40X with Ward posting a 4.52) is a better example of doing it through consistency in the middle of the field for the most part. Ward averaged 80 rec. with around 1,000 Yds consistently on a 10 Yr. stretch between 99/09! His 12.1 career YAC is the most imressive by far given we all know tose were by majority 5 to 7 yd slants were he did the rest of the work.

If that example is to dated then how about all those Yrs. of welker doing the dirty work underneath grab you! Based on all of this I agree with Bill Arsnparger (Wierd to say the name I must admit given it tends to drop me in a mental time warp!) I think you'll all love this pick by Mid-Season.

Phins78, I'm almost the same way. I always had hope this time of the year. Win, lose or draw, forget last year, Go Dolphins. But for the past couple of years....it's like, here we go again.

We did not need a wide receiver, let alone two of them. Both were terrible choices, and we still don't have decent offensive guards.


I made the comparison to Hines Ward and I stick by that. He will be a lot like him in the NFL. Even though Landry had a bad forty I believe his functional football speed to be almost exactly like Ward.

Like any draft pick he's not going to be without growing pains. BUT in the end I feel he'll make the team and be a good contributor much like Gibson and feel he'll eventually take a starting role.

Again, there were other WR 's that IMO would have been better picks at WR and some other positions. But I still feel Landry will be a solid player.

"what works for everyone else"?--like its all so conventional, except what Miami does--really?--was it conventional for the Chip Kelly to cut a Pro Bowler and then draft a guy in the 1st rd that shocked everybody (uh, talk about a reach)--is that conventional? Or the Skins trading 14 1st rd picks for a QB that already had 1 ACL surgery in college...conventional?--how about the Pats using their 1st pick on a guy who already has significant health/durability concerns, then their 2nd pick on a QB that likely wont play for 4-5 years (while they also have Mallet)--conventional?

Didn't we do all this yesterday?

clee, not sure what you are asking here?

But if you want me to make a comparable on who Landry most closely resembles by his physical profile - the closest score to him for any WR drafted in the last five years is Robert Woods who was drafted by Buffalo in the 2nd last year.

Woods had an overall better score but is still below average and had a similar draft grade which is the most important thing to keep in mind. A lot of guys with poor draft grades are great athletes but poor football players. Kind of like the other half of the equation here...

Well that settles it... he knows more than Kiper, MacShay and Mayock when it comes to football... who all 'Love' Jarvis Landry. Here are some sound bites from the aforementioned: "innate ability to seperate with route running..." "catches everything..." "I couldn't tell which one was Odell Beckham and which one was Jarvis Landry" "...toughest WR in the draft!"... not to mention he pulled his hamstring but ran the 40 at the combine and wasn't fully recovered but ran at his pro day anyway. Ran better in private workouts. The similar 40 times are not the only basis for the comparison despite the size difference; here are the other similarities to Anquan Boldin (who the dolphins passed on because he ran a slow 40): he wins with route running & toughness, catches everything with strong hands, rarely loses on a 50/50 ball and blocks like a demon. Saying negative stuff about a player who performed at a high level in the best division in college football who is universally lauded by people who are paid millions of $ to access talent only makes you look stupid. There are exactly 100 yards from pay dirt to pay dirt and the 40 time only gives you and idea of speed in a straight line. Considering most of the league plays press man coverage these days there aren't many route that are run in a straight line. Furthermore, slow 40 yard dashes never seemed to hinder the great route runners in the past: Irving Fryar 4.59, Issac Bruce 4.56, Hinds Ward 4.58, Jerry Rice 4.692. bad blog and even worse arguments made in support of.


Landry could have been taken in the 7th or signed as an UDFA, no doubt. Dennis Hickey panicked with this pick. Landry won't face collegiate DBs in the NFL and won't be nearly as effective. If he makes the teams it will be as a ST contributor but even then won't last more than a few seasons.

in fact, what was so unusual/unconventional about Miami's draft?--most pundits that I saw gave it a decent grade, as good as most.....bland but filled some needs, upgraded--first few picks, at least, will likely start or contribute right away

petye @ 4:36, i will disagree there because size, agility and explosion are just as important to the physical makeup as speed is.

Marshall is a ~4.5 but he is 6'4 220, and had a 38 inch vertical on that frame. All important factors.

In the immortal words of the Indy GM "Who the heck is Peter Lawrence Smith, my neighbor, who is a postman knows more about picking NFL talent". Ask Dr. Smith what Jerry Rice ran the 40 in.

Well Armando,

It seems Gibson may not be making a great recovery so the Dolphins were in the market for a possession type slot receiver. Landry did have a hamstring issue but I agree this pick is questionable. Moreover the Dolphins should have targeted a guy with speed because if Wallace gets injured the Dolphins have nothing but slow receivers who do not stretch the field. The draft was deep with fast receivers to play the slot or WR.......go figure

Nick@3:54 McDuffie leads the league in receptions and doesn't go to the probowl!! I was pissed! Why do Fins players never get the accolades?

Posted by: Garn79 | May 13, 2014 at 04:06 PM

Unfortunatly in alot of eyes it was garbage time in Danny's career. After 94 when fryar, Keith Jackson and Mark Ingram were all sent packing Marino's stats really nosed dived and his Yds per Comp. really hit bottom progressively getting worse every Yr. till D-Day in Jax (Jan-2000)

Add to it that all the Big plays were made by Oronde Gadsden in thosa days and McDuffie was seen as a 2nd banana of sorts of you will. After the achillis injury Marino pushed the Ball off his Arm exclusively when in fact it was his legs that gav him the velocity he had early (His own words)

Good question ETF. Dolphins have passed over 8 of those 17 guys .. all of them excellent NFlers. All except for hughes are better than guys we have starting.

Well in reviewing draft grades from various sites, the Landry pick seems like a good one based on what I have read. Draft grades for the fins range from A- to B-. That alone is better than Ireland's previous drafts. Landry is high on peoples list. They say he is money and will quickly become Tannehill's favorite target. I have also read on one site where they say Turner will end being better than Juwanna man. The big question Mando has to think about is will Tannehill step up and make his receivers great. Receivers can't do much if the ball doesn't get there. Evertyhing has to be taken with a grain of salt.

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