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Old 03-14-2008, 01:01 PM    (permalink
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Default Running Backs and the 40 Yard Dash

This is similar to the post a made a few weeks back about quarterbacks and the wonderlic test, except, as you probably can tell, I'm replacing quarterbacks with running backs, and the wonderlic with the 40 yard dash. I've changed my methodology a little bit here. I've taken the top twenty backs in the draft, from 1999 through 2005, and randomly selected (using a random number generator) 10 of those backs for each draft. Once again, what I'm asking you to do is not to evaluate how valid a study this is, or suggest improvements, but rather to give a grade (on a 100 point scale) to each back listed.

Here are some general guidelines for grading, along with a player or 2(not listed in the study) who I believe would fit in that category:
95-100: Perennial All-Pro, surefire Hall-of-Famer. Emmitt Smith. Walter Payton.
90-94: Franchise Back, multiple pro-bowler. I'd say a Ricky Williams type, if he played out his whole career. Otherwise, think more like a Priest Holmes or Tiki Barber.
85-89:Above Average starter, may earn a pro bowl trip or two. Warrick Dunn or Ahman Green type.
80-84: Average to Above Average starter, but never a pro bowler. I'm having trouble thinking of a good example, but I'd put Ryan Grant (on the higher end) or more likely Earnest Graham (on the lower end) in this category for now.
75-79: Average Starter. Duce Staley might fit in this category.
70-75: Marginal Starter/Top Backup/Good Change-of-pace back. I'd put Leon Washington there for right now.
60-69: Solid backup/Decent change-of-pace guy. Darren Sproles might be the kind of back who'd fit here because of his all-purpose skills.
50-59: Marginal Backup. Aveion Cason type back.
40-49: 3rd running back with limited skills and usefulness. Plays short amount of time in NFL.
30-39: Absolute and complete waste of money, life, and space. Plays minimal time in the league and does not make a significant impact.
15-29: Does not make an NFL roster.

I realize that there are a number of other factors that affect a running back's performance other than his forty time. That is irrelevant to this study. All I'm asking you to do is Grade the backs on the scale that I'VE PROVIDED above. (Most of you seemed to have problems doing that last time).

Without further ado, here are the 10 backs from the 1999 class with their statistics:

1999 Att./Yards/TD; Rec./Yards
Marlon Barnes 15/81; 1/7
Cecil Collins 131/414/2; 6/32
Joe Montgomery 123/372/4; 0/0
JJ Johnson 219/748/5; 29/182
Edgerrin James 2849/11607/77; 418/3260/11
Michael Basnight 62/308; 16/172
Kevin Faulk 694/2663/11; 323/2818/11
Autry Denson 62/212; 18/133
Aaron Stecker 373/1468/8; 152/1089/2
Mike Cloud 193/648/12; 13/100

And here are my preliminary ratings:

Marlon Barnes: 30
Cecil Collins: 35
Joe Montgomery: 37
JJ Johnson: 42
Edgerrin James: 93
Michael Basnight: 33
Kevin Faulk: 73
Autry Denson: 31
Aaron Stecker: 67
Mike Cloud: 51
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Old 03-14-2008, 01:04 PM    (permalink
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Please stop. The name Joe Montgomery just made me throw up.
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Old 03-14-2008, 01:36 PM    (permalink
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It's weird because you name Kevin Faulk as an example for the 65-69 grades, then you grade him 73
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Old 03-14-2008, 02:28 PM    (permalink
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Old 03-14-2008, 02:48 PM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by Addict View Post
It's weird because you name Kevin Faulk as an example for the 65-69 grades, then you grade him 73
I realize...that's why I didn't want to name players for specific categories because that would put me in a box. I later realized that I had used Faulk as an example and that in my opinion he rated higher than I had him in my examples.

Once again, it would be most helpful if you guys could actually take the 5-10 minutes to actually rate each player. That's really all I'm asking. Once I've gotten enough ratings, I'll post the results of the study for comment.

Here are the guys from the class of 2000 with vital statistics:

Reuben Droughns 929/3602/19; 123/989/6
Thomas Jones 1659/6503/35; 243/1593/1
Shaun Alexander 2176/9429/100; 214/1551/12
Thomas Hamner 0/0/0; 0/0
Jamal Lewis 2120/9105/54; 190/1613/4
Travis Prentice 187/525/9; 38/201/1
J. R. Redmond 194/676/1; 68/502/2
Ronney Jenkins 9/5/0; 1/1/0 (190 K returns/4550/3)
Shyrone Stith 20/55/1; 0/0/0 (33 K returns/785)
Dante Hall 50/233/0; 150/1642/9 (207 P ret./2168/6; 389 K ret./9373/6)
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Old 03-14-2008, 04:02 PM    (permalink
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Thomas Jones 83
Shaun Alexander 87
Jamal Lewis 87
Reuben Droughns 73
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Old 03-14-2008, 04:30 PM    (permalink
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This thread needs more cowbell


(just so i dont get an infraction...it is pointless, and is irrelivent)
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Old 03-14-2008, 04:46 PM    (permalink
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I don't get what you're doing here...where's the corrolation to 40 yard dash?
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Old 03-14-2008, 05:23 PM    (permalink
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I don't get what you're doing here...where's the corrolation to 40 yard dash?
It's obvious! Running backs very often find themselves running with the ball firmly gripped in their hands towards an imaginary line 10 yards downfield, but sometimes these ten yards pass quickly and they can become twenty or thirty or (you guessed it) forty yard runs. In such an event it's important to run forty yards very quickly and of course you can't without knowing if you're a 91 type or a 65 type, since if you're 91, no prob, you can't be beat but 65, you can probably lie down in the fetal postition because you're gonna get pwned by any defensive player with a rating of 70 or higher!

Translation: I don't know.
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Old 03-14-2008, 06:35 PM    (permalink
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I don't get what you're doing here...where's the corrolation to 40 yard dash?
The correlation has not been determined yet. To determine the correlation I need 2 things: an evaluation of a player's career (his grade, or rating) and his 40 yard dash time. I then plot those two variables on a graph and run an equation (determined by the computer) to find the best fit line for the data. If the line the computer generates fits well enough, then we can assume that there is some sort of correlation between a running back's 40 yard dash time and his skills as a player.

Translation: What I need you guys to do is RATE ALL THE PLAYERS LISTED (even if you base those ratings of the stats I've posted) so that I can get enough opinions and ratings to generate one comprehensive rating for each back, with which I can graph the data. It's not that hard...just please do me a favor and rate the players, then we can all learn the results of the test.
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Old 03-14-2008, 07:05 PM    (permalink
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Reuben Droughns 68
Thomas Jones 85
Shaun Alexander 89
Thomas Hamner ...0?
Jamal Lewis 91
Travis Prentice 40
J. R. Redmond 53
Ronney Jenkins 75
Shyrone Stith 54
Dante Hall 89

After a quick look through..
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Old 03-14-2008, 07:55 PM    (permalink
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JJJ888, did you factor Yards Per Carry into your ratings of each player? Or how many years he's been in the NFL, or how many carries he's had?

Or are we doing, 10,000 YD RB = 93; 9,000 YD RB = 87; etc.?

In stastics, you can't have any subjective value and hope to obtain an accurate answer. It seems that you're going to allow many subjective opinions to affect the outcome of your study, which will leave it flawed. If you just want to have the communities opinion, and not include our results in your formula, then thats fine. But if you're going to allow us to impact it, then you should just do it yourself if you want a viable outcome. And thats just coming from a guy who's taking a Statistics course in high school. I am really quite intrigued by this study, though, and would like to see the results, as long as they're credible (ie. as long as you disregard the guy who gives Shaun Alexander an 80 cuz he thinks he sux0rz!!!1!). ;)
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Old 03-14-2008, 10:40 PM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by TitanHope View Post
JJJ888, did you factor Yards Per Carry into your ratings of each player? Or how many years he's been in the NFL, or how many carries he's had?

Or are we doing, 10,000 YD RB = 93; 9,000 YD RB = 87; etc.?

In stastics, you can't have any subjective value and hope to obtain an accurate answer. It seems that you're going to allow many subjective opinions to affect the outcome of your study, which will leave it flawed. If you just want to have the communities opinion, and not include our results in your formula, then thats fine. But if you're going to allow us to impact it, then you should just do it yourself if you want a viable outcome. And thats just coming from a guy who's taking a Statistics course in high school. I am really quite intrigued by this study, though, and would like to see the results, as long as they're credible (ie. as long as you disregard the guy who gives Shaun Alexander an 80 cuz he thinks he sux0rz!!!1!). ;)
I've pointed this out, but for a study like this, that is by nature subjective, any rating system based on statistics will also have a measure of subjectivity. In my opinion, to compile the opinions of a large number (I'm looking for about 10 ratings on each player) of "experts" on the subject is actually more accurate than to make up my own formula, or anyone else's formula for that matter, for rating players. The same applies to formulae for college rating systems (as exemplified by the US News and World Report)...there really is no definitive way to rate the success of a running back or college through a statistical formula without some bias.

Boston...thanks for your response, but if possible I'd like to rate all the players I listed, including those from the '99 draft. And Dante Hall as an 89? Are you sure? Is that a typo? Would you really rate Hall as high as Alexander? If so, then I will accept your opinion, but I just wanted to make sure for accuracy's sake.
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Old 03-15-2008, 05:37 AM    (permalink
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As opposed to comparing a player's rating for their career, why don't you compare a RB's career YPC average to their 40 time and see if there's a correlation? You only have definitive values to compare.

Not that it's a big deal. I fully understand your methods for this now.
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Old 03-15-2008, 11:57 AM    (permalink
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I realize that there are a number of other factors that affect a running back's performance other than his forty time. That is irrelevant to this study. All I'm asking you to do is Grade the backs on the scale that I'VE PROVIDED above. (Most of you seemed to have problems doing that last time).
I don't get why you act like your "studies" have any sort of statistical significance. You say that there are a number of other fact that effect performance, to say that those are ever "irrelevant" is completely false and you are leading everyone on by saying so.

Ok why don't you go read a book on survey construction if you love to do correlations so much, so you don't waste everyones time. Let me give you a head start and give you a few pointers.

1) Make your prompt and your question completely clear and try to remove any bias from your questions. You want to know why people had problems with your survey? Because the construction was poor.

2) Use a likert (5 point scale) with measures that are easier to quantify. In most cases when surveys have more than this many variables, the respondent gets disinterested and stops reading all of the variables. Your sample size will be too small with this board to have any significance if you run a t-test or other measure of statistical significance when you have 2-3 people answer each response for each person.

3) You should only survey people on knowledge that they might be familiar with. You are asking people to make an objective rating of probably 7/10 players that they know nothing about. This will prove nothing other than the fact that people know nothing about the players.

4) Your sample size of running backs is too small, and the sample of their carries is too small to determine anything about a correlation between their success and their 40 time. Because of the complex nature of an offense, the multiple different types of runs that an offense has, and the fact that you have guys on the list that have under 100 carries it makes it really hard to say that a offense was even giving the ball in like situations.

5) Don't mix the statistics (not stats, I mean statistical significance and correlations) and football. It's stupid.

I work as a research and if you look hard enough you can find some sort of significance between the number of lamp posts in an backroad of indiana and the number of homicides. But just because you can run a nice regression line, doesn't mean a whole lot in the world of football. Trust and stop with this nonsense.
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Old 03-15-2008, 12:05 PM    (permalink
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This thread needs more cowbell


(just so i dont get an infraction...it is pointless, and is irrelivent)

hahahhaa couldnt agree more
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Old 03-15-2008, 05:04 PM    (permalink
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I don't get why you act like your "studies" have any sort of statistical significance. You say that there are a number of other fact that effect performance, to say that those are ever "irrelevant" is completely false and you are leading everyone on by saying so.

Ok why don't you go read a book on survey construction if you love to do correlations so much, so you don't waste everyones time. Let me give you a head start and give you a few pointers.

1) Make your prompt and your question completely clear and try to remove any bias from your questions. You want to know why people had problems with your survey? Because the construction was poor.

2) Use a likert (5 point scale) with measures that are easier to quantify. In most cases when surveys have more than this many variables, the respondent gets disinterested and stops reading all of the variables. Your sample size will be too small with this board to have any significance if you run a t-test or other measure of statistical significance when you have 2-3 people answer each response for each person.

3) You should only survey people on knowledge that they might be familiar with. You are asking people to make an objective rating of probably 7/10 players that they know nothing about. This will prove nothing other than the fact that people know nothing about the players.

4) Your sample size of running backs is too small, and the sample of their carries is too small to determine anything about a correlation between their success and their 40 time. Because of the complex nature of an offense, the multiple different types of runs that an offense has, and the fact that you have guys on the list that have under 100 carries it makes it really hard to say that a offense was even giving the ball in like situations.

5) Don't mix the statistics (not stats, I mean statistical significance and correlations) and football. It's stupid.

I work as a research and if you look hard enough you can find some sort of significance between the number of lamp posts in an backroad of indiana and the number of homicides. But just because you can run a nice regression line, doesn't mean a whole lot in the world of football. Trust and stop with this nonsense.
Let me give YOU some advice.

1. Read what I write before you criticize. I never said that what I was doing really had any statistical significance. This "study", "project", or whatever you want to call it is all for fun.

2. If you think this is a waste of your time, then don't bother reading or responding. It's as simple as that.

3. Read what I write, once again...I suggest that I'm looking for at least 10 ratings for each player. And to suggest that a sample size of what will end up being 80 running backs is a little ridiculous too.

The final point of this study is to judge whether a running back's straightline speed (as measured by his 40 yard dash time) correlates with his overall performance in the NFL. Therfore, those other variables are irrelevant to this study.

Finally, take a look around and realize that if I really wanted this to be something professional, I really wouldn't be going to a random football forum for input. I'd go around and get the opinions of football experts from around the league to judge these running backs. That's not what this is. It's a fun little way for me to pass the time and possibly include some other forum members. Just because you work as a researcher doesn't mean you have to be so snobby about this whole thing.
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Old 03-15-2008, 06:58 PM    (permalink
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you can't include guys in this survey who were given NO chance to carry the ball... you have to use runningbacks who have over a certain number of carries, say 100 or 200 career carries, at that point it ought to be obvious if they were capable of success in the NFL.

you absolutely cannot consider this guy: Thomas Hamner 0/0/0; 0/0 in this study... i told you in the quarterback thread that you should just do the guys from the first 3 rounds (possibly 4 rounds) because those are the guys who were expected coming into the league to contribute.
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