As I wrote here, expectations of Brian Robiskie by most Browns fans, and B/R readers (see poll on article), are outrageously high (87 percent believe he’ll perform better than the average WR drafted in the top seven picks in the second round over the last 9 years).
I’m guessing this is based on Robiskie playing at OSU, which really shouldn’t be a factor in how someone believes a player will perform in the NFL (see Carpenter, Bobby).
If you haven’t read the previous post, please do as it discusses the methodology for evaluation.
Similarly, I’ve decided to look at the history of second round picks drafted between picks 42 and 58 to project how the Browns’ second round selection, Mohamed Maassaquoi, could potentially perform in his first season.
Interestingly, the difference in players drafted in the mid-second round, versus where Robiskie was selected is dramatic.
To start the evaluation, here are the 23 players used for this analysis, in order of least catches to most with number of catches in parenthesis: Dexter Jackson (0), Devery Henderson (0), Jerome Simpson (1), Jerry Porter (1), Tim Carter (2), Malcolm Kelly (3), Taylor Jacobs (3), Terrence Murphy (5), Sinorice Moss (5), Limas Sweed (6), Dwayne Jarrett (6), Roscoe Parrish (15), Bethel Johnson (16), Recehe Caldwell (22), Sidney Rice (31), Darius Watts (31), Andre Davis (37), Greg Jennings (45), Chris Chambers (48), Steve Smith-NYG (57), DeSean Jackson (62), Eddie Royal (91), Anquan Boldin (101).
The average number of receptions between the two groups projects the earlier selections will do better (31 catches for the players selected at the top of the second round, versus 26 catches for this group).
Further, only 26 percent of the mid-round players (6 out of 23), versus 36 percent of the earlier picks, will achieve success (defined as catching at least 38 passes, placing them in sixty second place for receptions by a WR last year).
Both of these two analyses make sense: Draft a guy earlier, and you’ll likely get better production in their rookie year.
However, what jumps out is the range of either incredible success or complete failure the mid-round players achieve in their first year as a pro, especially compared to their earlier-round counterparts.
Donnie Avery (53 catches) led the way among top selections in the second round, however would have only finished fifth among the mid-round selections. Further, the worst case scenario for early second round picks, Todd Pinkston (10 catches), would have finished in the middle of the later round picks.
This story is shown more explicitly when comparing the standard deviations between the two groups. Early second round selections have a standard deviation of 14 catches, whereas later round selections have a standard deviation of 30 catches.
Meaning, a player drafted in the middle of the second round have a 68.2 percent chance of catching between 0 and 55 passes (compared to 68.2 percent catching between 13 and 44 passes if they were drafted earlier in the round).
This means that these players have an enormous “boom or bust” scenario playing out for them in their first season, as opposed to the earlier selections, which have less variance, and thus, are less likely to be a bust in their rookie year.
Those Browns fans hoping for a “boom” season from Massaquoi may need to temper their expectations though, as there’s something very interesting about the top 4 guys (Smith – NYG, Jackson, Royal, and Boldin) selected in the middle of round two. All of them had a very obvious physical “knock” on them, which likely led to their later selection.
Both Smith (in the 4.6s), and Boldin (in the 4.7s) timed extremely slow during the pre-draft evaluation. Obviously Smith’s time was expected to be better than Boldin’s, due to their size difference (Smith is 5’11’’, 195; Boldin is 6’1’’, 217).
Royal and Jackson had different measurable concerns than Smith and Boldin, their diminutive size. Both of these players are listed at 5’10’’, and neither weighs more than 185 pounds.
The knock on Massaquoi, at least according to some draft analysts, is his ability to catch the ball, which wasn’t a concern for the aforementioned top performers.
Hauntingly for Browns fans, if you remove the top 4 players, the first year production looks very dim for Massaquoi: 14 catches, with an 83.9 percent chance of catching between 0-32 passes, virtually guaranteeing that he won’t be a number 2 receiver for the Browns in his rookie year.