This post is not intended to be an excuse, but an explanation of my previous overcorrection of Randy Gregory. Coming into combine week, he and Vic Beasley were my top-tier edge players in the class, and top-five players in the class overall. When Gregory was measured for height and weight at the combine, though, I could tell something wasn’t right. This is the piece that I previously had written for Bleacher Report regarding Gregory’s combine. In short, it can be explained as so:
“We have never seen a player at his density (by this stage in the process) get drafted between the first and fourth rounds in at least a decade.”
Randy Gregory’s density lined up with every EDGE player drafted in 1st-3rd since 2005. There are no comps close. pic.twitter.com/FgZuoLNIgK
— Justis Mosqueda (@JuMosq) February 23, 2015
Randy Gregory/Nebraska weighed in at 238lbs. Came to combine training at 218lbs. — Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) February 20, 2015
When Tony Pauline confirmed that Randy Gregory entered training in the offseason at 218 pounds, I was quick to dismiss how much his reported health issue had actually impacted his February weight. That’s on me.
Considering Gregory was sick in the hospital before the Combine, I see no reason to discount his pro day performance. He shut me up.
— Zach Whitman (@zjwhitman) March 27, 2015
Had I not felt as though my #ForcePlayers# formula worked very well to predict edge players’ success at the next level, I wouldn’t have run with my numbers, rather siding with my tape study of the player. I would note, though, that the three largest misses #ForcePlayers# has had in the past had interesting narratives.
Those misses, as in players deemed non#ForcePlayers#, were Chandler Jones, Aldon Smith and Justin Tuck, all of which had injury issues heading into the draft process. When you exclude these players from the data, 56 percent of players in the first through third rounds drafted between 2005 and 2014 at the edge position are not #ForcePlayers#. The best hits, according to AV, Pro Football Reference’s measurement of career success, are Jabaal Sheard, Gaines Adams, Courtney Upshaw and Quinton Coples. It’s hard to rationalize that a player of *that* upside is worth a top-10 selection.
At Gregory’s pro day, though, he ran the fifth-best 3-cone in my database for first through fourth round selections, added weight to his frame, and improved both his 40-yard and 10-yard speed scores, allowing him to qualify for #ForcePlayers#.
Jones, Smith, and Tuck all had narratives and film which rationalized their numbers. In retrospect, so did Gregory, but I dismissed it when the reports of his weight started to trickle out. Previous non #ForcePlayers# include Derrick Harvey, Jarvis Jones, Dion Jordan, Erasmus James, Aaron Maybin and Jarvis Moss, players who NFL franchises deemed to have the film of high draft picks. They however lacked the athletic testing which correlates to high level NFL performance. By the time the process played out, everything was corrected.
I overcorrected and should have waited for full context to shine through. Pauline has confirmed that he has been able to replicate similar numbers in recent workouts as well. #ForcePlayers# is still, for my money, the best way to use “metrics” along with film study for edge rushers, but it would appear as though Gregory’s combine is one worth throwing out of the data pool.
There’s still inherent risk to me regarding him, because we haven’t seen something like this. That said there’s no denying he is now a #ForcePlayer#.
Non-top-100 players who have passed through #ForcePlayers#: Frank Clark, Shaq Riddick, Marcus Rush, and Davis Tull. pic.twitter.com/e5onxMmQUQ
— Justis Mosqueda (@JuMosq) March 27, 2015