Critiquing the B/R NFL 1000 Project: QBs and LTs

Bloggers, media and sport fans used to heap scorn on Bleacher Report, mainly due to some questionable user-generated content that damaged the site’s reputation in its infancy. However, since their big money deal with Turner 18 months ago, they’ve added some talented and respected names as featured writers and a great deal of their content is now well worth checking out.

One of the featured writers they added to their roster was draft scouting guru and former TJB Podcast guest Matt Miller, who – along with several other film junkies – is spearheading the B/R NFL 1000 project, where they attempt to rank the NFL’s top 1,000 players. The project is now into its third year and they’ve just started releasing this year’s results. For more on how the project works go here.

Since we’re into the offseason here, we thought it would be worth sharing some of their more interesting scouting takes on some of the Jets players, so we will be sharing these over the coming weeks.

So far, there have been less-than-flattering assessments of Geno Smith and Matt Simms (who ranked 49th and 63rd respectively out of the top 65 quarterbacks in the league). Perhaps even more alarming than that is their take on D’Brickashaw Ferguson who ranks just 23rd out of the top 35 left tackles in the league and about whom they say the following:

Ferguson will never be seen as anything more than a long-armed above-average pass-blocking left tackle. He uses his hands well in shoving defenders up the field and still possesses the natural ability to slide and mirror in pass protection. But if 2013 is any indication, Ferguson’s best years are behind him.

Read Bent’s thoughts after the jump.

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Link: PFF rates the projected starters

Over at Pro Football Focus, they’re running their “Projected Lineups” series, where they highlight team needs by looking at the players under contract and representing this with their colored-coded assessment of how good each player is.

In a new feature this year, they’re also taking into account the potential they see for a player to improve (represented by a differently-colored outline), so that accounts for a young, developing player or an older player that is capable of performing better than they did last year.

Here’s this season’s image (click the link above for the full key):

There’s plenty of discussion fodder here, obviously. Read Bent’s thoughts after the jump.

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BGA: Updating the Compensatory Picks Projection

Bent, TheJetsBlog.com

As most of you will be aware, we try to project the number of compensatory picks the Jets will have each season. The distribution of compensatory picks is based on a secret formula which even teams aren’t party to. A blogger named AdamJT13 gradually managed to reverse engineer an extremely accurate approximation of the formula a few years ago and we’ve been able to use that to come up with accurate projections for the Jets’ compensatory picks (or lack thereof) over the past couple of seasons.

In order to do this, we evaluate each potentially qualifying UFA loss or gain for the Jets and then project what picks that will entitle them to, based on the situation in previous years. My initial projection on this basis for the 2014 draft was that the Jets could qualify for four picks – a fourth rounder, a fifth rounder and two seventh rounders. You can read the basis for that here, along with a detailed explanation of the compensatory pick rules and what we’ve so far been able to determine affects the formula.

What we haven’t done is aim to project the compensatory picks for all 32 teams. This is something Adam used to do and the guys from Blogging the Beast have tried to run with the baton for the past few seasons. The same guys have just published this year’s forecast on Philly.com. This allows us to update our projection, because obviously the number of other teams with qualifying gains and losses will affect where the Jets’ compensatory picks fall. In a year with a paucity of big money deals, the picks to be awarded would be more likely to be more valuable than the projection. However, in a top-heavy year, picks could end up being downgraded or not even qualify at all.

The good news is that their projection also has the Jets receiving four compensatory picks (which you may recall Adam Schefter saying that the Jets were counting on and had planned their 2013 free agency strategy around). The bad news is that, having read this, I’m actually less convinced than I was before that this is what the Jets will end up with. Find out why after the jump.

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BGA: More on the similarities between the Jets and the Seahawks

Bent, TheJetsBlog.com

With this weekend’s Super Bowl being played at Metlife Stadium, the focus of the New York media has been shifted onto the Seahawks and Broncos, which has actually led to a refreshing change of perspective.

One angle that’s been touched on several times is the fact that there are many similarities between the Seahawks and the Jets, whether that be in terms of the way the teams are currently constituted, or in the ways John Idzik is setting up the team with the intention of building them in the Seahawks’ image. Rich Cimini wrote a thoughtful piece on that here.

After the jump, a breakdown of the main similarities that have been identified and a consideration of how accurate the comparisons are, as well as an analysis of whether there are any similarities that have been overlooked.

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Salary Cap Update: If a storm is brewing, will Mo be high and dry?

Bent, TheJetsBlog.com

As you are probably aware, due to the new rules in the most recent collective bargaining agreement, players selected from the 2011 draft onward were not permitted to negotiate an extension until after their third season. Now that the third season is drawing to a close for the 2011 class, it looks like the time honored tradition of media-led posturing between agents and teams is already getting underway.

NFL: New York Jets at Carolina Panthers

Writing for the National Football Post, notorious salary cap cage-rattler Jason Cole writes that, “A Storm is Brewing.” He’s suggesting that some players that would have been expecting a new deal after their third season will now be forced to wait.

Each of the 2011 first rounders (and all first rounders since then) signed a four-year deal with a fifth-year option and Cole is suggesting that – having talked to general managers around the league – teams will simply execute that option rather than extend their players. The writer suggests that this is increasingly likely because those fifth-year salaries – based on average salaries at the player’s position – are going to come in lower than projected.

ESPN New York’s Rich Cimini expands on this, agreeing with Cole that this might now mean that Mo Wilkerson won’t get the extension everybody’s anticipating and that players are, “being jobbed by a pro-management collective bargaining agreement, which went into effect for the 2011 draft.” Of course, the main reason everybody’s anticipating that he’ll get an extension now is the fact that the media have been telling us this all season long.

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BGA: Digging deeper into Geno and the Shotgun

Yesterday on TJB, Bassett posted a link to an interesting article by the Star Ledger’s Michael Fensom. Fensom wrote about adjustments that Marty Mornhinweg made to the offense over the last month of the season that contributed to the improved success for the offense as a whole and Geno Smith individually.

The part that caught my attention was this:

…one noticeable adjustment over the season’s concluding month was the Jets operated quite a lot out of the shotgun formation.

There’s no question that the Jets did operate out of the shotgun a lot over the last month of the season and that Smith showed some progress in such situations. However, did it really represent an adjustment that one could attribute Smith’s improvements to? We analyze in more detail after the jump. To read more of this story, click here

Crowdsourcing: The Colon Consensus

Bent, TheJetsBlog.com

It’s always difficult to evaluate interior line play, as you often don’t notice the contributions being made between the tackles unless you’re paying close attention. An interior lineman might stand out because they’ve made an obvious mistake or because the announcer specifically made note of their contributions on a particular play, but this doesn’t always give an accurate reflection of how they’ve performed over the course of the game as a whole.

Willie Colon is an interesting case and evaluations of how he performed during the 2013 season seem to cover a wide spectrum. Since Colon was so media-accessible all year, could this influence how the media portrays his performance as we suspect may have been the case for some outspoken offensive linemen in previous years? Also, now that there are detailed analytics widely available, will some people use these as a crutch or temper their own pre-conceived notions so they don’t differ too dramatically from those ratings or will they place his performance within the correct context?

The Jets face a decision on Colon, who started every game at right guard, but suffered a torn right biceps in the final game of the season, an injury with an estimated recovery time of four months. He was only on a one-year deal with the team, so will be an unrestricted free agent who is likely to still be injured when the 2014 league year gets underway. However, he did express a strong desire for Rex Ryan to return as coach in December that would suggest he too was anticipating being back.

After the jump, a collection of quotes from bloggers and beat writers analyzing Colon’s performance during the 2013 season. For context, Pro Football Focus ranked him 36th out of 81 NFL guards. He was 4th in terms of pass protection but just 59th in terms of run blocking. Colon was also among the league leaders in terms of penalties. To read more of this story, click here

BGA Extra: Jets at Dolphins

Welcome to BGA Extra, where I draw a line under the previous weekend’s game by responding to your questions from BGA during the week. After the jump, I respond to your questions about the win over the Dolphins. If you would like your questions answered in future, remember to read BGA each week and leave your question in the comments section. To read more of this story, click here

BGA: The Expendables – Final Regular Season Update

Bent, TheJetsBlog.com

Every year, teams have to let some players go. Even though the Jets did bring back some of their free agents (Including Nick Folk, Tanner Purdum and restricted free agents Austin Howard and Jeff Cumberland), they chose not to bring everyone back. Throughout preseason, Bent’s Game Analysis kept track of the progress of the guys they let go in order to at least start to form some views on whether letting any of these guys loose was a mistake or a smart move and we last provided you with a regular season update in November. Now that the regular season is over, it’s time for a final update.

We’ll be aiming to cover all of the players and key coaches that were with the Jets during 2012 or 2013 and are now with another team. After the jump, a comprehensive list of how these ex-Jets have been performing so far this season. To read more of this story, click here

Roster Update: Jets sign eight, work out several more

Bent, TheJetsBlog.com

With the season now over, rosters can effectively expand to 90 again and teams around the league have already started signing players to reserve/futures contracts. A futures deal is an unguaranteed minimum level contract that teams can offer to anyone who was not on a team’s active roster at the end of the season so that they are under contract for the next league year that begins in March.

It’s customary for the Jets to sign all of the players on their practice squad to a futures deal on the day after the season ends and we’d been hearing about some of these moves throughout the day. The team has now confirmed that they signed seven of the eight, along with a tight end, Colin Anderson:

Anderson is a 6-4, 240 pounder that the Jets first worked out in October. He was undrafted out of Furman and caught two passes for the Vikings in preseason. The only member of the practice squad that is yet to sign is Ras-I Dowling. Whether that’s a temporary hold-up or a sign they’ve cooled on him remains to be seen.

In addition to Anderson, the Jets are also likely to sign some other players who were not “in the system” as the season came to an end. Some, but not necessarily all, of these will be guys who have been under contract with the Jets at some point over the last year or two. Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reported some names to have recently worked out for the Jets:

Some brief notes on these players after the jump.

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