Monthly Archives: March, 2014

The success of NFL QBs not drafted in the first round


(Brett Favre is the perfect example of a great NFL QB who was not a first-round draft choice)

Brett Favre and Drew Brees were second-round selections. Tom Brady was drafted in the sixth round. Joe Montana and Dan Fouts both were chosen in the third round.

With the NFL draft about six weeks away, there is ongoing speculation about where some of the top players will be drafted. A constant debate concerns the QBs in this year’s draft. Who will select Johnny Manziel? Where will Blake Bortels end up? How high on the board will Teddy Bridgewater go? Each of these three college QBs are projected to go in the first round.

There are, however, a group of QBs who are projected to go after the first round; QBs whose NFL potential is still a mystery and up for debate. Derek Carr, Jimmy Garappolo and A.J. McCarron are just one group of college signal-callers who will end up on an NFL team this fall. What their NFL career looks like in 10-15 years is anyone’s guess. But that’s where the fun of the draft really takes shape. Who can predict the success of those players chosen in the later rounds compared to those taken in the first round?

For QBs, the discussion seems to dominate the pre-draft chatter. So let’s put some numbers to these QBs who were drafted in previous drafts and how well they performed in the NFL.

Using touchdowns as a measuring stick, we start with the fact that 123 NFL quarterbacks have 100 or more career touchdowns. Of those 123, 60 (48.8 percent) were first-round draft choices, a respectable figure. Here’s a quick look at where those 123 QBs with 100 or more career TDs were drafted.

1st Round: 60
2nd Round: 10
3rd Roumd: 13
4th Round: 6
5th Round: 3
6th Round: 6
7th Round: 2
8th Round 1
9th Round: 2
10th Round: 4
11th Round: 0
12th Round: 2
13th Round: 2
17th Round: 2
Free Agents (were not drafted): 10

Let’s take it a step further… of the Top 15 QBs in career touchdown passes, five were drafted in the first round, 10 were not. Here’s a look at how these players break out.

Top 15 in career TD passes-drafted in the first round (rank on the list in parenthesis): Peyton Manning (#2), Dan Marino (#3), John Elway (#7), Vinny Testaverde (#10) and Drew Bledsoe (#15).

Tow 15 in career TD passes-not drafted in the first round (rank on the list in parenthesis): Brett Favre (#1), Drew Brees (#4), Tom Brady (#5), Fran Tarkenton (#6), Warren Moon (#8), Johnny Unitas (#9), Joe Montana (#11), Dave Krieg (#12), Sonny Jurgensen (#13), Dan Fouts (#14).

The chances of drafting a QB high in the draft and having that QB become a “bust” in the NFL is a distinct possibility. In fact, since 1970, there have been 10 QBs selected in the first round of the draft who had less than 10 career TD passes in the NFL. Here are those players.

Fewest career TD passes of QBs selected in the first round since 1970 (draft year in parenthesis)
1-Jim Druckenmiller, San Francisco (1997)
2-Dan McGwire, Seattle (1991)
3-Jerry Tagge, Green Bay (1972)
3-Steve Pisarkiewicz, St. Louis (1977)
3-Rich Campbell, Green Bay (1981)
3-Art Schlichter, Baltimore (1982)
5-Andre Ware, Detroit (1990)
5-Akili Smith, Cincinnati (1999)
7-Kelly Stouffer, St. Louis (1987)
8-Todd Marinovich, Oakland (1991)

Moral of the story: You can definitely find a QB who will have great success in the NFL after the first round. In addition, there is also a chance that the QB a team selects in the first round will be a flop. How will this year’s crop of QBs do?

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp



Same position, same team in MLB Opening Day line-ups


(Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier)

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks got an early jump on the 2014 MLB season with a two-game series last weekend in Australia. The Dodgers won both games.

Playing a season opener in Australia was not the only strange part of this year’s first games for the Dodgers. If you look at the starting line-up from that first game, a pair of fixtures in the Los Angeles line-up for the past several  were missing (or moved to another spot). Matt Kemp had been the starting center fielder in the last five Opening Day games for the Dodgers, but he is currently on the disabled list recovering from off-season ankle surgery. Right-fielder Andre Ethier has been the starting RF for the Dodgers in the past five Opening Day games, but he moved over to take Kemp’s spot in center for the first game this year.

Kemp and Ethier were just two of 29 active players in 2013 who have been the Opening Day starter at the same position for the same team for five or more consecutive seasons.

Former Colorado first baseman Todd Helton held the longest current streak of Opening Day starts for the same team at the same position with 16 straight starts. He has since retired. If Paul Konerko gets the start at first base for the White Sox on Opening Day and Jimmy Rollins starts at short for the Phillies in their first game, it will be the 14th straight start on Opening Day for these two players at the same position for the same team.

Here’s a look at the 29 active players in 2013 who through last season had started at the same position for the same team in the past five (or more) seasons. The list is by position. (Example: Toddy Helton, Colorado, 16… Todd Helton has been the starting first baseman for the Colorado Rockies for the past 16 Opening Days)

Catchers: Yadier Molina, St. Louis, 9

First Basemen: Todd Helton, Colorado, 16; Paul Konerko, White Sox, 13; Joey Votto, Cincinnati, 5

Second Basemen: Dustin Pedroia, Boston, 8; Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee, 8; Robinson Cano, Yankees, 8; Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati, 7; Howie Kendrick, Angels, 7

Shortstops: Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia, 13; Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado, 7; Alexei Ramirez, White Sox, 5; Erick Aybar, Angels, 5; Elvis Andrus, Texas, 5

Third Basemen: David Wright, Mets, 9; Ryan Zimmerman, Washington, 8; Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco, 5; Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay, 5

Left Fielder: Alfonso Soriano, Cubs, 6; Ryan Braun, Milwaukee, 6

Center Fielder: Adam Jones, Baltimore, 6; Matt Kemp, Dodgers, 5

Right Fielder: Nick Markakis, Baltimore, 7; Jay Bruce, Cincinnati, 5; Andre Ethier, Dodgers, 5; Nelson Cruz, Baltimore, 5

Pitchers: Justin Verlander, Detroit, 6; C.C. Sabathia, Yankees, 5; Felix Hernandez, Seattle, 5

Some of the players listed above will not be continuing their streaks this Opening Day: Soriano is longer with the Cubs and now plays for the Yankees; as mentioned above, Helton has retired; Milwaukee’s Braun has moved from left field to right field; Cano left the Yankees for Seattle; Cruz is now in Texas after moving from Texas. Keep an eye on this year’s Opening Days starting line-ups to see which of the above players continue their streaks this season.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp




Can Baylor turn their 2013 NIT title into 2014 NCAA success?


One of the more intriguing matchups for the round of 16 in the NCAA men’s basketball tourney is tomorrow night’s West Regional contest between #6 seed Baylor and #2 seed Wisconsin.

Baylor did not make the NCAA field last year. They did, however, end their 2012-13 season on a high note by winning five games in the NIT, beating Iowa for the 2013 NIT championship. They ended the season with a 23-14 record.

This year they made the NCAA field of 68 and have now advanced to the Sweet 16. They became only the ninth team in history to win the NIT one year and then advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 the following year. Here’s a look at those nine teams.

NIT championship year, School
2013: Baylor
2007: West Virginia
1992: Virginia
1980: Virginia
1979: Indiana
1976: Kentucky
1972: Maryland
1971: North Carolina
1970: Marquette

Of the nine teams above, only two – Virginia in 1980 and North Carolina in 1971 – won the NIT one season and advanced to the NCAA Final Four the following year. Could Baylor become the third team?

It’s also interesting to note that Baylor in 2009 was the runner-up in the NIT. The following year, they advanced to the Elite Eight in the NCAA tourney.

Going back to 1970, there have been 44 teams that won the NIT. As mentioned above, only two made it to the NCAA Final Four the next year and only nine made it to the Sweet 16. Eighteen teams did play in the NCAA tourney the year after their NIT victory, while eight teams went back to the NIT tourney the year after their title year. Nine teams did not play in a post-season tourney the year after their NIT title.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp





Patriots and Colts dominate within their divisions


The New England Patriots have had the best record in the NFL over the past decade. One of the reasons for this dominance has been the fact that they have been almost unbeatable within their division, the AFC East. Consider this: In the last ten seasons, the Pats have gone 48-12 (.800 winning percentage) in games against their fellow AFC East teams, the best division record of any NFL team in the last 10 seasons. Of the four teams in the AFC East (New England, Miami, Buffalo and the New York Jets), the Patriots are also the only one of those four to have a winning record in division games from 2004-2013.

It’s interesting to note, however, that the Patriots are not the only team that has dominated play within their division in the past 10 seasons. The Indianapolis Colts rank second to New England with a 45-15 record (.750 winning percentage) in division games since 2003. The Colts are also the only AFC South team with a winning record in division games in the past 10 years.

Let’s take this division play a step further. Did you know that the San Francisco 49ers have the biggest difference in winning percentage between division games and non-division games in the last 10 seasons? The 49ers have a .592 winning percentage in games against their fellow NFC West teams, but have won only 40 percent of their games outside their division, a difference of .192 percentage points. At the other end of the scale are the Cleveland Browns. The Browns have a .217 winning percentage in games against their fellow AFC North teams, but they have a .380 winning percentage outside their division, a difference of 163 percentage points.

Here’s a look at each teams’ winning percentage within their division and in games outside their division from 2004-2013.

Teams, Winning pct. within division/winning pct. outside division, difference
San Francisco… .592/.400   +.192
Green Bay… .692/.550   +.142
San Diego… .700/.580   +.120
Seattle… .617/.510   +.107
Arizona… .500/.410   +.090
Indianapolis… .750/.660   +.090
Carolina… .550/.470   +.080
Pittsburgh… .683/.640   +.043
New England… .800/.760    +.040
Chicago… .567/.550   +.017
New York Giants… .567/.560   +.017
Oakland… .317/.300   +.017
Minnesota… .492/.480   +.012
Tampa Bay… .417/.410   +.007
Denver… .583/.580   +.003
Cincinnati… .517/.515   +.002

New Orleans… .567/.570   -.003
Philadelphia… .550/.565   -.015
Baltimore… .583/.600   -.017
Jacksonville… .433/.450  -.017
New York Jets… .483/.500   -.017
Kansas City… .400/.420   -.020
Dallas… .517/.560   -.043
St. Louis… .292/.340   -.048
Houston… .400/.460   -.060
Buffalo… .350/.420   -.070
Miami… .367/.440   -.073
Washington… .367/.440   -.073
Tennessee… .417/.510   -.093
Detroit… .250/.350   -.100
Atlanta… .467/.620   -.153
Cleveland… .217/.380   -.163

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

MLB potpourri: HRs but no bunts; winningest pitchers this century

(Harmon Killebrew)

Here’s a couple of stats to whet your appetite for the start of this year’s baseball season.

Home Runs  but no bunts. Harmon Killebrew ranks 11th on the all-time MLB home run list with 573 homers. One of the more interesting stats about Killebrew’s career is that during his 22-year career he never executed a successful sacrifice bunt. Killebrew ranks first in this intriguing stat. There are 18 players who have hit 250 or more career home runs yet do not have a successful sacrifice bunt in their stat line. There are four players who were active in 2013 on this list: Mark Teixeira (341 HRs), Ryan Howard (311 HRs), Prince Fielder (285 HRs) and Eric Chavez (257 HRs).

Following are the players with the most HRs in MLB history without a successful sacrifice bunt.
Harmon Killebrew, 573; Franck Thomas, 521
Carlos Delgado, 473; Vladimir Guerrero, 449; Mike Piazza, 427
Mark Teixeria, 341; Mo Vaughn, 328; Troy Glaus, 320; Cecil Fielder, 319; Ryan Howard, 311, Richie Sexson, 306
Tim Salmon, 299; Pat Burrell, 292; Prince Fielder, 285; Eric Karros, 284; George Bell, 265; Eric Chavez, 257; Tony Clark, 251.

Winningest pitchers since 2000. Since the turn of the century, only one pitcher has won 200 or more games in the majors, C.C. Sabathia with 205. A pair of active pitchers have a good chance of joining Sabathia this season: Tim Hudson has 194 wins since 2000. while Mark Buehrle has 186 victories this century.

Following are the pitchers with the most pitching wins since 2000.
C.C. Sabathia, 205
Roy Halladay, 194
Tim Hudson, 194
Mark Buehrle, 186
Andy Pettitte, 175
Derek Lowe, 165
Barry Zito, 165
Roy Oswalt, 163
Bartolo Colon, 153
Livan Hernandez, 151
Jamie Moyer, 151
Javier Vazquez, 151
A.J. Burnett, 143
Randy Johnson, 143

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp