Waldman walks you through an analysis of the Auburn back’s better-than-you-think performance in the Iron Bowl.
Bad box score games strip results from process. It’s just how I like it. Who cares about how many yards were gained and touchdowns scored if those figures don’t supply any specific context about how that success was attained.
Did the player make bad decisions he got away with thanks to great play from his teammates?
Did the opposition make poor choices that would have paved the way for even a below average performer to experience success?
Was athletic ability far and away the driver for the player’s success in a given situation where the gap in physical skill is far wider from competitor to competitor in the amateur ranks versus the professional game?
Did the prospect win with a technique that lacked professional-caliber execution, but because it is rarely performed in the college game, he was successful?
These are only a handful of the questions that aren’t definitively answered with traditional data.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to see gorgeous displays of speed, power, agility, technical skill, and conceptual acumen for the game.But big plays can often cloud how well we see these things as much as they can reveal them.
I often find that games lacking an abundance of plays that pop off the screen to even the most casual viewer force the analyst to focus harder on projecting the technique, decision-making, athletic ability, and football acumen of the NFL game to what he or she is seeing from the college tape.
What I discover is an appreciation of the smaller details that matter greatly for a player’s successful transition to the next level.
Peyton Barber lacks a wealth of college football experience. He lacks gaudy career stats. And he lacks notoriety that makes him a safe player to discuss in a glowing light.
What he doesn’t lack is a shortage of these tiny details to his game that show up big under the NFL’s magnifying glass. His bad box score performance against Alabama in November provides a wealth of details that matter more than the obvious things that all players must possess on a baseline level to earn a shot in the league.
Barber, like Spencer Ware or Ahmad Bradshaw, may lack the right combination of bullet points to earn an early opportunity for NFL playing time, but I see the details of an every-down NFL talent.
For analysis of skill players in this year’s draft class, download the 2016 Rookie Scouting Portfolio – early-bird purchase for April 1 download available now. Better yet, if you’re a fantasy owner the Post-Draft Add-on comes with the 2012 – 2015 RSPs at no additional charge. Best, yet, 10 percent of every sale is donated to Darkness to Light to combat sexual abuse. You can purchase past editions of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio for just $9.95 apiece.