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Underrated Players - Desmond King (and Tyrell Williams)

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  • Underrated Players - Desmond King (and Tyrell Williams)

    Nice piece on King.

    ​​​​​​ Most underappreciated players of 2018: Eagles' Kelce leads top 5


    By Cynthia Freuland


    Former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin exemplifies one of my very favorite parts of football: Talent, along with development and opportunity, can combine to create a higher-impact player than his draft position would suggest. Baldwin's recent release from the 'Hawks appears to be the end of an improbable but incredibly inspiring career, as he went from undrafted rookie in 2011 to the NFL's receiving touchdowns leader in 2015. Having earned a Super Bowl ring and two trips to the Pro Bowl, Baldwin will always be remembered for proving just how underappreciated he was upon entering the league.

    So, who else falls into this category?

    Here's how I'm defining my list of 2018's most underappreciated players: First, I removed all 2018 rookies since it's too early in their careers for me to tag them as underappreciated. Then I trimmed the field to players drafted in Round 3 or later who have been to no more than two Pro Bowls (like Baldwin). Once sorted, I used something I'm calling the contribution metric to identify which of these players brought the most to the table.

    To sum it up without getting overly technical, contribution metric is the value I have assigned to each player's production during the 2018 season. The metric encompasses a value for every snap by each player and reveals each player's contribution to the team's overall win total.

    Here's my list of the five most underappreciated players of 2018, none of whom are among the 10 highest-paid players at their respective positions:

    1) Jason Kelce, C, Philadelphia Eagles


    Drafted: Sixth round (No. 191 overall), 2011
    Pro Bowls: Two (2014, 2016)

    Kelce had the highest win-contribution metric for any center in the NFL last season. My favorite stat on him: No center kept opposing defenders at least five feet from his quarterback on passing downs more than Kelce last season (24.1%; next closest was 18.8%). Measuring O-line play this way helps quantify "stopping pressure" or "clean pockets" and it shows Kelce set the standard for elite at his position last season.

    2) Kevin Byard, S, Tennessee Titans


    Drafted: Third round (No. 64 overall), 2016
    Pro Bowls: One (2017)

    Byard's versatility earned him the sixth-best contribution ranking among safeties in my model last season. He had four interceptions (tied for seventh-most in the NFL) in 2018 after picking off eight passes in 2017 (tied for most in the NFL). While he had half as many INTs in '18 compared to '17, he faced far fewer targets in '18 as teams were avoiding his coverage (he was targeted 54 times in '17, and 32 times in '18, per my model), which helps show how he changed the way offenses tried to attack the Titans' defense. Against the run, Byard allowed the second-fewest yards to opposing ball carriers when he was in on a tackle (among safeties). There's no way for me to know the defensive assignments on each play without knowing the calls that coordinator Dean Pees made, but I can use computer vision to see that when Byard tackled a rusher (either by himself or assisted), the opposing offense was only able to earn an additional average of 0.9 yards on the play (that's 0.8 yards less than the combined average of the top 20 qualifying safeties).

    3) Akiem Hicks, DE, Chicago Bears


    Drafted: Third round (No. 89 overall), 2012
    Pro Bowls: One (2018)

    The Bears were the NFL's best scoring defense (17.7 points allowed per game) last season. Chicago's exceptional perimeter pressure and interior pressure and elite coverage in the back end all combined to produce the most takeaways (36) and fewest touchdowns allowed (27) along with the third-most sacks (50) in the league. While it's true that the sum of all of the value components is the reason for the Bears' league-leading results, Hicks' individual contribution metric ranked fourth among interior defensive linemen in my model last season. Pro Football Focus credits him with 51 pressures (tied for ninth-most among interior D-linemen) and 34 run stops (second-most among interior D-linemen) last season, which helps give context to his value. My favorite computer vision note from my model? Hicks' ability to get within five or fewer feet from opposing quarterbacks (a proxy for pressure) increased in the second half of games last season. Only two other interior defenders ended the season getting "faster" as games went on.

    4) Desmond King II, CB, Los Angeles Chargers


    Drafted: Fifth round (No. 151 overall), 2017
    Pro Bowls: None


    King not only made exceptional 2018 contributions as a corner, but also added value on special teams as a punt returner. The Chargers fielded six or more defensive backs on a higher percentage of snaps than any other team in 2018, making their DBs, along with the responsibilities of those DBs, somewhat unique. King defended offensive players who lined up in the slot on a high volume of snaps and his man was targeted at a high rate, but King responded by allowing a low number of catches and yards. Of the 77 total targets opposing quarterbacks threw to his mark in any alignment, King only allowed 23 to be caught. King ranked 12th in my overall corner contribution in 2018 in large part due to his performance in the slot.

    5) Adam Humphries, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers


    Drafted: Undrafted, 2015
    Pro Bowls: None

    Note: Humphries signed with the Titans this offseason, but his inclusion on this list is based on his performance with the Bucs in 2018.

    Only two wide receivers with more than 100 targets in 2018 had a higher reception percentage than Humphries (72.4), who made 76 catches for 816 yards. Context is important here because the Bucs did pass at the sixth-highest rate (63.1% of plays) and it certainly helps to be working in a receiving corps that includes Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson. However, Humphries spent more than 82% of his snaps in the slot. I used computer vision to track his slot performance against other high-volume slot receivers (21 receivers had at least 50 targets in the slot last season) and it showed he was able to get at least five feet from defenders at the time the ball arrived at the fifth-highest rate.
    Last edited by Bolt-O; 05-20-2019, 12:22 PM. Reason: edited for readability only..

  • #2
    will volunteer six candidates each from this year and last....

    2018

    WR Antonio Callaway
    DE Dorance Armstrong
    DT Mo Hurst
    LB Genard Avery
    WR Dylan Cantrell
    RB Justin Jackson

    2019

    LB Jachai Polite
    RB Damien Harris
    RB Bryce Love
    CB Amani Oruwariye
    WR Kelvin Harmon
    DT Cortez Broughton
    10 characters * Nasir, Badgley, Facyson, Rochell, King, Okung, Denzel, Tevi, Virgil, Trent Scott

    Comment


    • #3
      I'd add Tyrell Williams to this list. Reports out of Raiders camp is that TW and Carr are developing a deep connection. I hope that doesn't haunt us for the next 5 to 8 seasons. I had deep reservations about the decision not to re-sign him. KA and MW both have injury histories.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Sgt. Pepper View Post
        I'd add Tyrell Williams to this list. Reports out of Raiders camp is that TW and Carr are developing a deep connection. I hope that doesn't haunt us for the next 5 to 8 seasons. I had deep reservations about the decision not to re-sign him. KA and MW both have injury histories.
        I loved TWill for the Chargers, but at his price point, its a no-brainer to let him go. The Chargers are right at the cap now, and have multiple receiver/TE options, and that one additional player to get over the top isn't a WR.. I get the injury situation, but there is no guarantee that Tyrell wouldn't be the next one with an injury, or any other player, especially on this team. He considers himself a #1, but he signs right after Mr. BigChest joins the faid.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Bolt-O View Post

          I loved TWill for the Chargers, but at his price point, its a no-brainer to let him go. The Chargers are right at the cap now, and have multiple receiver/TE options, and that one additional player to get over the top isn't a WR.. I get the injury situation, but there is no guarantee that Tyrell wouldn't be the next one with an injury, or any other player, especially on this team. He considers himself a #1, but he signs right after Mr. BigChest joins the faid.
          I liked TW, but he's not a number 1 receiver, but is a very solid number 2 receiver. Would have liked to resign him but I agree that we couldn't afford him. Hopefully he keeps up his maddening habit of not coming back for balls and letting DBs undercut him.

          Comment


          • #6
            Yeah, Ty Will got a huge pay day, a lot more than the Bolts can invest in a #3 receiver. Mike Williams needs to convince me though that he was the better choice over Ty Will.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Sgt. Pepper View Post
              Yeah, Ty Will got a huge pay day, a lot more than the Bolts can invest in a #3 receiver. Mike Williams needs to convince me though that he was the better choice over Ty Will.
              I'm sorry, but that's pretty funny. MW is 10x's better at high pointing the ball, had more rec's, yards and twice as many TD's last year as Tyrell. What's left to show?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by SYB View Post

                I'm sorry, but that's pretty funny. MW is 10x's better at high pointing the ball, had more rec's, yards and twice as many TD's last year as Tyrell. What's left to show?
                personally think they're both pretty even atm, and.... given the draft capital and resources we've spent @receiver, one would think there would be a decided differential, and....

                we coulda resigned TWill and drafted a linemen in MW's stead, not to mention signing a FA lineman in TB's stead as well.... we chose to go after wideouts in lieu of linemen, and....

                don't think anyone is confusing MW w/some of the name receivers that have gone top ten in the draft.

                good luck to him, and.... he has a ways to go, and.... not sure that TWill won't be (notably) missed.
                10 characters * Nasir, Badgley, Facyson, Rochell, King, Okung, Denzel, Tevi, Virgil, Trent Scott

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sgt. Pepper View Post
                  I'd add Tyrell Williams to this list. Reports out of Raiders camp is that TW and Carr are developing a deep connection.
                  Sounds pervy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Mike williams is going to get more balls his way this year. He will BEAST. +1000 yds and +12 tds. his confidence grew all year. His rapport with rivers and rivers trust in him is on the rise. He is a way better receiver than twill. By the end of the season the Bolts will have the acknowledged best wr duo in the NFL. My.02

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      IF Williams doesn't get the stats, it may be because we have some other players who are getting the stats. If the OL improves any, the RB may well be much more involved with the passing game, and Hunter Henry is going to get at least decent stats. We might also spend more time running the ball, if the efficiency of the passing game goes up some.

                      Even if he doesn't quite make it to 1000 yards receiving, he should continue to get a lot of TD passes, unless he attracts more attention and that frees up everyone else down on the goalline.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sgt. Pepper View Post
                        I'd add Tyrell Williams to this list. Reports out of Raiders camp is that TW and Carr are developing a deep connection. I hope that doesn't haunt us for the next 5 to 8 seasons. I had deep reservations about the decision not to re-sign him. KA and MW both have injury histories.
                        They are developing a deep connection because they both are soft. Carr crying on the field after getting sacked and Tyrell not fighting for contested balls. They are perfect for each other.

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