May 17, 2015
The SEP Reliability ratings are finally here! SEP stands for Science, Evidence, and Performance; and this is the new progressive way to determine which players you can count on. I have ranked the top players at all the positions and will give you their ranking and a few factors that helped to calculate their rating.
I compared weight, speed, experience, football IQ, injury history, position norms, and a bunch of other factors together and created a ranking that will predict which players are more likely to get injured and less reliable as the season progresses. Trust that each rating is calculated with real science, real evidence, and player performance history. I put just a pinch of subjective into these ratings as I believe there are simply some things that you have to assess with your eyes and not through data.
For the Quarterbacks I ranked 33 players. The most reliable Quarterback earned a rating of 124 while the least reliable earned a rating of 73. I rated the players we expect to be starting caliber and I included the 2 first round draft picks. Here we go!
33. Brian Hoyer: SEP Rating- 73
Brian Hoyer is now in Houston and is projected as the starter. With 29 games missed in the past 3 years, it is easy to see why Hoyer is rock bottom on my list. Even if Hoyer wins the job, there is a good chance Ryan Mallett will be relieving him at some point in the season. I do not believe that Hoyers 215 lb frame can hold up.
32. Sam Bradford: SEP Rating-75
This one hurts me to write, as I do bleed green. There is no denying that Sam Bradford is the ACL poster child, and with an offense that at the very least will have him run more plays than the average quarterback as well as force him to keep the ball on the read-option here and there; Sam Bradford is a tough QB to put your faith in. I think this will be a true matchup of Injury Science VS. Sports Science. Chip Kelly is known for his cutting edge Sports Science philosophy that gets players in better shape and analyzes how to maximize their performance. Lets see what it can do with the injury riddled career of Sam Bradford. The good news is that Bradford is bigger than most think at 224 lbs and Chip Kelly runs the ball more than most. Bradford may have a chance to change gears in his career OR that might just be the Green blood talking.
31. Robert Griffin III: SEP Rating -76
RG3 is again projected to be the starter for the Washington Redskins. As far as I can tell, nothing has changed. RG3 gets my lowest subjective rating with his decision-making and release, as it is quite clear that he is still unable to read an NFL defense. When you combine that with his Andre 3000 look a like build, I think it leads to more injuries. There are only 3 quarterbacks who have run the ball more than Griffin in the past 3 years–Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, and Colin Kaepernick. 2 of those 3 are physical freaks and the other is smart enough to almost never get hit. I am sorry to say that unless RG3 has had a growth spurt or has gotten one of those pills from a Hollywood script that makes you really smart, that it will be more of the same.
30. Alex Smith: SEP Rating -80
This one kind of surprised me as when I think of Alex Smith, I think of a smart and safe QB with a low ceiling but a predictable and stable floor. However, when you look at the numbers you can see why he is not that reliable and has missed 8 games over the past 3 years. Alex Smith comes in as the 9th smallest quarterback, but has more rush attempts than all but 7 other quarterbacks on this list. That is somewhat of a recipe for disaster. In addition to that, if you have watched Andy Reid coached teams over the years you know that protecting the QB is not at the top of his priority list. Before doing this, I probably would have rated Alex Smith as a low risk, low reward option; but the data clearly shows him to be a high risk, low reward player.
29. Ryan Tannehill: SEP Rating -80
Ryan Tannehill edged out Alex Smith by a fraction of a point to be number 29 in the SEP rankings. By the statistics, Ryan Tannehill is a quarterback that is turning the corner and becoming better. The biggest problem is that Ryan Tannehill has been sacked 139 times in the past 3 years to lead all quarterbacks. The next closest quarterback is 20 sacks away. A sack can come from any defensive player but typically a sack means big people hitting and falling on little people. It is hard to rely on someone who gets sacked the most and is in the top ten for rush attempts amongst quarterbacks. The Miami Dolphins will have to really improve their offensive line if Ryan Tannehill is to keep up his streak of no games missed due to injury over the past 3 years. My guess is that these sacks and rush attempts are about to catch up to him and we may have to find out who the back up is in Miami.
28. Jonhnny Manziel: SEP Rating-82
This is another one that surprised me a little as I would have put Johnny Football in the RG3 boat if this was strictly subjective. I have seen him play in person and I simply do not believe that his body will hold up in the NFL for long. This is not TMZ.com so I won’t detail all the other side-show things, but there is enough out there on Manziel that I don’t think I have to convince many that you can not rely on Johnny Manziel. If the Browns are smart, they won’t rely on him either. His career is truly too minimal for the stats to tell me much, but at 210 lbs in the AFC North I think I know how this movie ends.
27. E. J. Manuel: SEP Rating-83
This is a tough one as I am not sure that Manuel will get to play this season and at this moment, if he does play it is not clear what team he will play for. WIth trade rumors and new coaches in place, I would take a wait and see approach on E. J. The good news is that Manuel is listed as 237 lbs which in the NFL is a good size quarterback. Unfortunately that is where the good news stops. E. J. Manuel is another QB who seems to be struggling with reading defenses and at a higher risk for getting sacked and injured. I think Manuel may move up this ranking with the right coach as he seems to want to be a pocket passer and when you combine that with his frame, he could eventually shape up to be a solid QB in regard to reliability.
26. Colin Kaepernick: SEP Rating-84
The Colin Kaepernick stock has gone way down in the past couple of years, and with Harbaugh out, my guess is it slides even further. I consider Colin to be a one read and run QB, and that was with a coach who was supposed to be good with the position. When you consider that only Russell Wilson and Cam Newton run the ball more from the quarterback position, you know that he is at risk. Colin has already had back and foot injuries in his young career, and the chronic nature of those type of injuries combined with his slow growth at the position would worry me if I had to count on him.
25. Blake Bortles: SEP Rating-84
55! That number is what jumps out when you look at the numbers on Bortles. He was sacked 55 times last year! If he keeps at this rate he simply will not make it. Even at 232 lbs, I am surprised that Bortles made it through the season although he was obviously banged up much of the year. The good news for Bortles is that he has a big frame and looks like he will be more of the Ben Roethlisberger type who runs to throw and not truly scrambling down the field. Despite that he gets a 2/5 on his decision-making for now and the Jaguars offensive line will make sure that his decision-making gets put to the test. Overall, I think Bortles youth lands him low on this list, but I would expect him to be moving up in years to come.
24. Teddy Bridgewater: SEP Rating-86
As you can see, the rookies are not far apart. From what I saw, Bridgewater was a pleasant surprise for the Vikings. Bridgewater should do even better with Adrian Peterson in his backfield this year. He will need to rely on the running game to keep his risk down as his 210 lb frame, like Johnny Footballs, does not seem built for the NFL. The difference with Bridgewater is that there appears to be better decision-making from him and his coaches that will hopefully protect him in the future. I would hold off until the strength and conditioning team has a few years to put a few pounds on him, but it seems that Bridgewater may have a good future as he is already bordering the top 2/3 of the league after his rookie season.
23. Russell Wilson: SEP Rating-86
This is not a misprint! I am talking about Super Bowl winning quarterback Russell Wilson and he only edged rookie quarterback-Teddy Bridgewater by a fraction of a point. I thought the same thing when I saw it….that must be wrong! I even re-checked my formulas and tried to see if I had a glitch or an oversight. But what you have to remember is that this is not a “best quarterbacks” list, it is a “most reliable quarterbacks” list. Also, this is not a list that is telling you what the player was in the past, it is a prediction of what this player will be in the future.
With that said, Russell Wilson is our 23rd most reliable quarterback! We all know Russell Wilson is great, but I think we all know that Russell Wilson is small. In fact I saw the making of Entourage-the movie and he has a cameo. While standing next to the actor that plays Turtle, he and Russell Wilson look like they are in the same ball park when it comes to size. Wilson is listed as 206 lbs; he runs the ball more than any quarterback over the past 3 years except for Cam Newton; he has been sacked more than any quarterback over the last 3 years except for Ryan Tannehill; and again he is about the size of Turtle from Entourage.
I know our eyes say he is great, but the numbers say he may not be the most reliable quarterback in the years to come. Wilson has not missed any games due to injury, and to some that may seem like it supports the fact that you can rely on him, but I challenge you to find a NFL player who has never been hurt. The key word on Wilson is “yet”; he has not been hurt or missed a game “yet”. The good news is that Russell WIlson gets a 4 out of 5 on our decision-making rating and the focus that the Seattle Seahawks put on the run game give him a chance to keep his streak alive, but if I was a betting man I would plan on at least seeing Wilson play through some injuries this season.
Stay Tuned for the rest of the list as the season draws near. Feel free to email me or comment with your thoughts on the list so far.