Analyzing the Draft: Stephen Hill
In part 2 of our series we move on to analyzing the pick of WR Stephen Hill, whom the Jets selected with the 43rd pick in the draft. To say I hated this pick would be the understatement of the year. The Jets are comparing Hill to Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions and I sure hope they are right in their analysis because they most likely threw three draft picks away on Hill.
In round 2 of the draft the average score for a player is 468 with a median of 343, so we are still looking at above average selections in this period of the draft. Some players that would be considered average choices for the round would be G Deuce Lutui and LB Paul Posluszny. The best selection in the round is G/C Andre Gurode who has been elected to 5 Pro Bowls and played in 151 games to score a 3042. The first thing to consider is the value of the trade that the Jets used to move up. The Jets original section of the draft, which I took to be picks 42-52, saw an average of 484 with a median of 386, both higher than the round average due to being in the front half of the round. By trading up all of 4 slots the Jets gained 28 points in average score, growing from a 484 to a 512. The median jumped 9 points to a 395. So essentially they were choosing from the same talent pool. They gave up a 5th and 7th rounder to make the move. The average score for a 5th rounder is 172 and for a 7th is 98, so I would say the Jets overpaid to make the trade, which means they must have really liked Hill. Those two picks represented about a 6% chance of getting one of the top 10 players in the draft. The odds of a 2nd rounder being a top 10 pick is 15.5%, so the only real justification for the move is if Hill is the goods since they already had almost the same opportunity in the 2nd round prior to the trade.
The value of the trade is compounded by the fact that the wide receiver position is a terrible performer in the round. The average score for a WR is only 391, 16% lower than the average player score in the round. The median is 239 so well over 50% of the players selected at the position bust. The high score for the position is Chad Ochocinco selected 36th overall. His score was a 2181. Anquan Boldin and Greg Jennings, both drafted in the low 50's scored a 1686 and 1143 respectively, with Jennings likely on the rise. For the Jets range in the draft the median falls to 208 and the median a disastrous 124. The WRs in the range account for 35% of all receivers selected.
For the most part some of the better picks have come in the second half of the round- Jennings, Boldin, Steve Smith (of Giant not Panther fame), and Vincent Jackson so its not that all the talent is gone in picks 33-40, but Hill carried a 1st round grade so I would imagine its more unlikely that he would fall into the category of the surprising slip through the crack player like Jennings. Hopefully Hill can be one of those guys.
The odds of finding the receiver you would be happy with is about 17.5% for the round. So in that respect there is as much value here as in their first round pick. The problem is there is no middle ground at all. I mentioned a Calvin Pace type career for Quinton Coples as a normal projection. The normal projection here is Sinorice Moss. Since this period ended DeSean Jackson, Eddie Royal, and Jordy Nelson would add to the "hit" total. 16 WRs were drafted in total from 08-10 so that would equate to 18.8%, meaning the last few years would seem to be normal. For the Jets range only 1 player has stood out- Sidney Rice, who was a 1 season wonder in Minnesota when Favre was the QB. The only other above average selection was Jerry Porter who scored a 347. I think that the ultra low productivity in the range is a bit fluky, since there were some good players right outside it, but it may also say something about the scouting process the NFL uses to grade players. Maybe there is a thought that things have changed since all three 2nd rounders selected last season had very solid statistical seasons for rookies at the position.
I bumped the projections on Coples due to the Jets first round success. Does that occur here? Absolutely not. The Jets average 2nd round selection has scored a meager 368, or 21% below the average selection. The median is a 323 so it's right around 50% below average players. The only players to score above the round average were CB Justin Miller, who did it based on special teams, G Randy Thomas, and LB David Harris. The worst player was DE Dorian Boose who only scored a 64. QB Kellen Clemens was the worst pick of the current regime, with a score of 117. The Jets lone 2nd rounder since 2007 has been T Vlad Duccasse who may overtake Boose as the worst 2nd round selection so there is nothing in the Jets scouting process that would make you think this has a chance of being a good selection.
I guess if I had to put a number on it you would say that Hill has about a 10% chance of being the "boom" player and most likely the boom is more likely of the Chris Chambers variety. Given the Jets history and the poor overall nature of the WR position I think I would be happy with a Joe Jurevicius or Peerless Price type of career. There is probably a greater than 50% chance that this selection has Bethel Johnson or Dwayne Jarrett written all over it. I certainly can't see that justifying a trade. For what it's worth the average grades for tackles and guards were 621 and 539, both big needs for the team as well.