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    Tavon Austin Rookie Projections <long>

    I have the 1st pick in a rookie draft for a Dynasty League. I, of course, am set to take TA.....and this sort of article is interesting in that respect. Perhaps others will find it helps their offseason jonesing also.


    SI.com Ramblin' Fan
    Tavon Austin Rookie Projections
    May 14th, 2013 at 8:00 am by Troy Vandenbark

    Tavon Austin is already up against some pretty lofty expectations since being drafted with the #8 overall selection in the 2013 draft. Being taken in the top ten of the NFL Draft will always come with high expectations, the fact that the Rams traded up from the 16th to the 8th spot in order to select Austin doesn’t help either. Then there is the fact that Austin was the first “skill position” player taken in the 2013 draft and all of a sudden the spotlight burns pretty brightly on the young kid out of West Virginia University. Austin is being touted as the odds on favorite to win the Rookie of the Year for the 2013 season as well. If you are a Rams fan than surely by now you have read dozens of articles about the impact Austin could have on the Rams offense. You have probably watched every highlight reel you could find on YouTube and are keeping your fingers crossed that Austin can translate what he did at WVU to the NFL. So what is a reasonable expectation for the dynamic receiver/runner/returner in his rookie season?

    The guys over at numberFire decided to throw some numbers together to help quantify reasonable expectations for Austin in his rookie season. The article can be viewed here, and is actually quite interesting so I recommend giving it a look. They essentially used some complex analytics to try to compare Austin’s NFL Combine numbers (DeSean Jackson and Calvin Johnson are the top two matches) to other recent WRs to find the closest match. They then took into consideration the teams and the players expected role within that team and narrowed down the previous list a little more. Eventually they had compiled a list of 6 players from which to base their projections from.

    When all was said and done their complex analysis projects Tavon Austin to be among the top 20-25 wide receivers of 2013. His combined statline is projected to be 59 receptions for 961 total yards and 8 total TDs. I am sure that a majority of Rams fans would be quite pleased with this level of production out of Austin but as I look at the numbers I just have one question, do these numbers take into account Austin’s potential role in the running and return game? Based off of the very limited knowledge of the process used to project these numbers I would guess not, so what I want to know is do the guys over at numberFire have a three-part projection in mind? These sorts of projections are mostly a way to fill time between now and the regular season, but I for one would be interested in seeing what the other two parts of the projection could possibly look like.

    Thanks for reading and as always, Go Rams!!!


    The above article links to this article.

    numberFire
    Tavon Austin Will Be A Top 20 WR In 2013
    by Nik Bønaddio on May 10th, 2013

    Let's get my personal biases out of the way in the very first sentence: I was raised in Pittsburgh, and my Dad went to Pitt. I was taught at a very young age that my teams - so far as college football goes - are Pitt, and the opponents of Notre Dame, Penn State, and West Virginia. Now, I'm not going to go say I hate those schools - although frankly, there are truly detestable things about all of them - but I'm not going to pretend that I wasn't trolling the hell out of any WVU board I could find after the 13-9 game, either.

    So with my personal biases lingering in the back of my mind, I sat down to look at Tavon Austin, the No. 8 overall pick and the most touted rookie for fantasy purposes out of this year's class. Several reputable sites have come out with their initial feelings and opinions on Austin, but qualitative just isn't the way we do things around here; opinions are meaningless without numbers.Enter READ: the Rookie Estimation Algorithm Derivative.

    About READ

    READ starts with a a similarity scoring algorithm based off of the combine and pro day results, chosen simply because it ignores the variance inherent in different offensive schemes and the subsequent performance statistics. Because not everyone runs the same drills at the combine/pro day, we're choosing to compare them on the ones more commonly run and the ones most predictable of positional value. In this case, we're using 40-yard dash, vertical leap, broad jump, and the shuttle drill.

    From there, we bake in the team analytics for their future NFL team from the season prior. You'll note that we use analytics and not statistics; this is because statistics like yards against, points against, etc. can be extremely misleading as they do not take into consideration the strength of opponent, situation of the game, and so forth.

    Finally, we bake in a simple sanity check. This check looks at the projected position on the depth chart (in this case, starting WR) and weighs in the average performance from that role on teams similar to their future NFL team. After all of this, we have an estimation of performance which is much more than just someone's anecdotal opinion, but rather a projection that is rooted in mathematical modeling. Whew.

    Comparables

    Let's get the fantastic news out of the way right up front. Based off of the combine statistics, Tavon Austin's top two comparables are DeSean Jackson and Calvin Johnson. Not bad, huh?

    After that, it gets a little..how shall we say, CFL-ish. Of course, it's worth noting that this is based off of combine statistics, so two issues bubble up: one, not everyone completed the same drills at the combine and two, not everyone was drafted and as such, we'll have to be mindful of expectations in relation to where they were drafted. As we go deeper into the comparables, we find a few more interesting players: Lee Evans, Kevin Ogletree, T.Y. Hilton, just to name a few.
    Comparable Similarity Drafted
    DeSean Jackson 99.31% 2nd round, 2008
    Calvin Johnson 98.42% 1st round, 2007
    Louis Murphy 96.83% 4th round, 2009
    Cliff Russell 96.82% 3rd round, 2002
    Reggie Germany 96.04% 7th round, 2001
    Demetrius Byrd 95.55% 7th round, 2009
    Roscoe Parrish 95.24% 2nd round, 2005
    T.Y. Hilton 95.22% 3rd round, 2012
    Corey Fuller 95.09% 6th round, 2013
    T.J. Graham 94.13% 3rd round, 2012
    Sinorice Moss 93.66% 2nd round, 2006
    Lee Evans 93.29% 1st round, 2004
    David Clowney 92.83% 5th round, 2007
    Andre Caldwell 92.79% 3rd round, 2008
    Percy Harvin 92.07% 1st round, 2009
    Terrence Murphy 92.05% 2nd round, 2005

    Team Analytics

    I don't think I'm shocking anyone when I say that last year, the Rams weren't all that good. To get an idea of how Tavon Austin might fit into the Rams offense, we'll take a look at the Rams as a team - specifically their passing analytics - as well as the career progression of Sam Bradford. Next, we'll look at the emergence of Daryl Richardson as a replacement for Steven Jackson. In the end, we'll have a sense of what the Rams might look like analytically in 2013 and then bake that into our set of comparables above.

    First, the team.
    Team Analytic Value Rank
    Overall Offense 21.73 #20
    Net Adjusted Passing +73.85 #15
    Net Adjusted Rushing -32.09 #16

    The Rams were probably a little better last year than you thought they were, although finishing No. 20 in overall offensive efficiency - to say nothing of the defense - isn't exactly a world-beater either.

    In keeping with the theme of mediocrity, Sam Bradford finished No. 19 in passing efficiency, just ahead of Carson Palmer for those of you scoring at home. This is fairly in-line with his historical curve, as he vacillates between the No. 15 and No. 20 positions regularly, staying just above replacement-level. This means that we can't reasonably expect Sam to suddenly become Aaron Rodgers, so for the sake of progression, we'll keep him static.

    What is difficult to quantify at this juncture is the impact that the loss of Steven Jackson and Danny Amendola will have on the team. Even if we take a leap of faith and presume that Daryl Richardson can provide similar value to Steven Jackson - Daryl's VORP suggests a similar efficiency - the loss of Amendola will hurt what was already a fairly pedestrian passing offense, run by a relatively stagnant Sam Bradford in terms of growth. Thus, for the sake of estimating the team situation that Austin will be placed into, we'll project the Rams to be similar, if not a little worse.

    The Sanity Check

    What we'll need to do from here is look at the comparables and look at the teams that drafted those players, checking to see how similar their team analytics are to those of the 2012 Rams. For the sake of brevity, we'll pare down the list at this junction to players drafted in rounds 1-3, as Tavon is a likely starter out of the gate and players like seventh-round pick Aaron Lockett simply aren't logical comparables for that position on the depth chart.
    Comparable Similarity Drafting Team
    DeSean Jackson 81.67% 2007 Eagles
    Calvin Johnson 78.64% 2005 Lions
    Roscoe Parrish 91.08% 2004 Bills
    T.Y. Hilton 80.03% 2011 Colts
    T.J. Graham 90.27% 2011 Bengals
    Sinorice Moss 85.26% 2005 Giants
    Lee Evans 83.09% 2003 Bills
    Andre Caldwell 79.62% 2007 Bengals
    Percy Harvin 83.44% 2008 Vikings
    Terrence Murphy 72.59% 2004 Packers

    Just because this one is a little bit more confusing, I'll explain it again: what I wanted to do is take the list of players who were comparable to Tavon Austin at the combine, and then look at the teams they were drafted onto and see how comparable those teams were to the Rams. This achieves what I consider two-sided similarity; a great player on a bad team will not be as good as a good player on a great team, and so on. Comparing both the player and the team situation will only serve to enrich the accuracy of our final projection for Tavon.

    Looking at the similarities, a few outliers stand out: the 2004 Bills, the 2011 Bengals, and the 2005 Giants. Combining this table with the comparable table above shows that Roscoe Parrish is likely the strongest predictor on numbers alone, followed by T.J. Graham, Sinorice Moss, Lee Evans, DeSean Jackson, Percy Harvin, and T.Y. Hilton.

    With that said, we also need to take into account the role in which Tavon will play in the Rams offense. You'd be hard pressed to argue that Roscoe Parrish was an integral part of the Bills offensive gameplan; certainly not to the level that Austin projects to be. With this in mind, we'll somewhat artificially nudge Lee Evans, DeSean Jackson, and Percy Harvin up in our array of predictors to give them a little more influence on the outcome. This is where the sanity part of the sanity check comes in.

    The Projection

    As the last step, we take all of the similarity scores that we've calculated - and the adjustments for depth chart and team role - and perform a simple calculation where the strongest predictors are given more weight on the final projection.
    Player Predictor Season
    Lee Evans 94.22% 48 recs, 843 yards, 9 TDs
    DeSean Jackson 93.29% 62 recs, 1008 total yards, 3 TDs
    Percy Harvin 90.66% 60 recs, 925 total yards, 6 TDs
    Roscoe Parrish 87.81% 15 recs, 148 yards, 1 TD
    T.Y. Hilton 86.63% 50 recs, 890 yards, 7 TDs
    T.J. Graham 85.50% 31 recs, 322 yards, 1 TD

    Looking at these numbers and weighing them using the similarity scores composed during each step of the process, the final numbers come in at a combined statline of 59 receptions, 961 total yards, 8 total TDs. This puts him at 144 FP on standard scoring settings, good for a positional rank of No. 20 to No. 25 and an extremely solid WR3 with loads of upside.
    Last edited by Richbert88; -05-16-2013 at 12:30 PM.

    Semper Fi!

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    Re: Tavon Austin Rookie Projections <long>

    When I read those articles, I note some information that I consider off. Richardson probably isn't going to be SJ's replacement, alone. Cooks acquisition is not noted. I am also more optimistic regarding the development of peripheral players that will be around TA, for instance, Givens, Quick, Kendrick and what I hope will be an improved OL and scheme for the offense.

    So, I adjust my expectations slightly from that above with those things in mind.

    I'll be taking TA.
    Semper Fi!

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    Re: Tavon Austin Rookie Projections <long>

    The number that sticks out to me that seems be too high is his average per catch 16.3. Seems a bit high considering he averaged 11.5 in college.

    Chris Givens averaged 16.6 yards per catch but he did it from the outside. Givens caught 42 passes and did not get featured in the game plan until week four and then missed another game later in the year.

    Austin will be a big part of the game plan from week one. I think he catches around 80 balls and is close to 1000 yards.

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    Re: Tavon Austin Rookie Projections <long>

    This has some interesting info in it also.


    SI.com Ramblin' Fan
    The Tavon Austin Hype: St. Louis Rams’ Modern Day Atlas
    May 13th, 2013 at 3:30 pm by Nathan Kearns

    When the St. Louis Rams jumped up to draft Tavon Austin with the 8th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the move was uniformly considering a glorious success for the Rams’ organization. Austin was, by a large margin, the first skill position player taken off of the board, joining a dominate class of receivers taken in the Top 10 over the past half decade, including A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Michael Crabtree, and Calvin Johnson.

    However, not all of the picks have panned out, for one reason or the other. A recent example, Justin Blackmon, the 5th pick in the the 2012 NFL Draft, was just suspended for the opening four games of the 2013 regular season for violating something in the NFL substance abuse policy.

    Stretch your mind a few years back, and you remember an Al Davis classic, taking Darrius Heyward-Bey with the Oakland Raiders 7th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, while players like Michael Crabtree, Percy Harvin, Mike Wallace, and Jeremy Maclin were all waiting to hear their names called…

    Back in 2007, the Miami Dolphins took a flyer on Ted Ginn Jr., selecting him 9th overall. In six seasons, Ginn has been nothing more than an average returner, and a decent No. 3 wide receiver.

    In 2005, there was a historically bad receiver class, with three players being taking in the Top 10: Braylon Edwards (3rd, Cleveland Browns), Troy Williamson (7th, Minnesota Vikings), and Mike Williams (10th, Detroit Lions). Edwards was the lone receiver with a “peaking moment” in the NFL, pulling in 80 catches for 1,289 yards and 16 touchdowns during the 2007 season. However, after being run out of town by LeBron James following an altercation at a night club, Edwards has simply bounced from team to team without much, if any, contribution. As for the others… Williamson’s last snap in the NFL was 2009, Williams’ was in 2011.

    This is not necessarily meant to be a cautionary tale for Tavon Austin though. In most cases, you can easily point to one thing or the other, retrospectively divulging why that particular pick did not “work out.” With Blackmon, a DUI in both 2010 and 2012 might have pointed to potential problems with staying “clean” in at the next level. With Heyward-Bey, it was obvious that he was selected merely on the basis of this Combine numbers, having posted only 2,089 yards and 13 touchdowns in a three-year college career.

    The real issue for Tavon Austin will not be keeping his head in the game, but, rather, the pressure on him to immediately produce in the NFL at an elite level. Multiple sports media institutions have marked Austin as the “favorite” for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, with some suggesting that he should put up numbers trumping the likes of Danny Amendola in New England, or comparable to those expected out of Wes Welker in Denver. Tavon is the also widely touted as the lead-runner on the St. Louis Rams in the fantasy football realm, with most experts citing Austin as the only Ram that will make a significant impact on your 2013 roster.

    However, the most ominous pressure might be that of his worth to the success of the actual team, not just in terms of individual production, but with the team’s record at the end of the season. Despite the unanimous expectation that Austin will be used as a utility player, primarily in the slot, the young star is, fairly or unfairly, being held in the light of a “franchise changing” talent. The media has hyped Austin to be the answer to the St. Louis Rams receiver drought of the last half decade. Suddenly, the St. Louis Rams’ offense is being tagged as “dynamic,” “lethal,” and a “matchup nightmare!” But, what if it isn’t…

    Tavon Austin is a top-tier talent and, more importantly, an intelligent young adult that appears to have his mind, and his priorities, in the right spot. However, what happens if the Rams’ finish the season, after playing the 3rd hardest 2013 schedule, and they are looking at a 9-7 record, or worse, something below .500?

    What if the offense is still middle-of-the-pack? Will anyone outside of St. Louis realize that the skill players are merely a cluster of rookies and sophomores, with Austin Pettis being the elder statesman in the corps? Doubtful…

    On a lighter note, what if Austin puts up only a handful of touchdowns, and 600-700 receiving yards? Will that be viewed as a failure? Most likely… even though players like Michael Crabtree (625 yards, 2 touchdowns), Calvin Johnson (756 yards, 4 touchdowns), Larry Fitzgerald (780 yards, 8 touchdowns), Torry Holt (788 yards, 6 touchdowns), and Roddy White (446 yards, 3 touchdowns) were all average in their rookie debuts in the NFL.

    The point of it all is that Tavon Austin has a lot of pressure on his shoulders right now, more than any receiver has had in recent memory. If you have watched any of the press conferences with Jeff Fisher, every other question is about Austin: his route running, what unit he worked with on the field during minicamp, and what he ate for breakfast that morning. Austin will be expected to come in and dominate the NFL, all while leading the way for the Rams to be ” in the playoff hunt” at the end of season.

    My hope is that that Tavon can handle the massive weight that has been placed on his shoulders, and that his teammates will be there to help him manage some of that load as the wear and tear of a long NFL season begins to set in. Austin could be the shining light we have been waiting for in St. Louis… but, lets not snuff it out before he has time to fully ignite as a player.
    Semper Fi!

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    Re: Tavon Austin Rookie Projections <long>

    Quote Originally Posted by Richbert88 View Post

    On a lighter note, what if Austin puts up only a handful of touchdowns, and 600-700 receiving yards? Will that be viewed as a failure? Most likely…
    There's more to Austin than just receiving yards and TD's.

    How many rushing yards will he have? How many YPC? How many Rushing TDs?

    Returning YPA? Returning TDs?

    If we're talking solely about receiving yards and TDs I wouldn't say that those numbers are a failure IF he proves to be a decoy that defenses must key on every game. This will really open up opportunities for the other skill guys.
    Last edited by FestusRam; -05-16-2013 at 06:29 PM.

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    Re: Tavon Austin Rookie Projections <long>

    Quote Originally Posted by FestusRam View Post
    There's more to Austin than just receiving yards and TD's.

    How many rushing yards will he have? How many YPC? How many Rushing TDs?

    Returning YPA? Returning TDs?

    If we're talking solely about receiving yards and TDs I wouldn't say that those numbers are a failure IF he proves to be a decoy that defenses must key on every game. This will really open up opportunities for the other skill guys.
    Agree 100%.....and he's mine, all mine.
    Semper Fi!

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    I really don't care about yards but I hope he has double digit TDs. Something like 7 receiving, 1 rushing, and 2 k/pr TDs. And a little less than 2000 total yards from scrimmage

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