The second day of Denver’s 2021 draft is where some philosophical differences between the drafting styles of George Paton and John Elway appear to come into focus. While under Elway, the Broncos’ approach to finding late-round value seemed to involve drafting productive players with checkered health histories (Justin Strnad, Netane Muti, Juwann Winfree), under George Paton, the Broncos appear to be targeting quality athletes who, for whatever reason, weren’t always able to produce tremendous results in college or were otherwise overlooked (whether being buried on the depth chart, having holes in their game, a non-football medical issue, etc). And going by the results from this draft, this philosophical shift appears to have been very successful in unearthing late round gems.
In 2018, work was completed on a detailed biomechanical model of the human body. This model (and the work done to build it) offers the key building blocks for any biomechanical analysis posted to this site. However, this model was not, in and of itself, enough information to be able to correctly analyze NFL players via video study. It served the raw data– the sort of picture on the front of the puzzle box– that enabled analyses based upon it. But the analytical methods still needed to be developed– the analytical jiggsaw puzzle still needed assembling.
(the following is a significant update to part 1 of this series)
Sometimes methodological breakthroughs happen at inopportune times. Like, for example, the day after one has published one’s findings using older methodology. In this case, on Saturday (the day after part one of this series went up), a breakthrough was made seemingly finally enabling reliable measure of the most lateral anterior thoracic pathway. Although it’s only been a few days since then, rigorous testing seems to back up the reliability of this method, with measures correlating strongly with expected results (although more testing is obviously needed).
As such, I went back and applied this measure to the current crop of lateral anterior oriented quarterbacks. And the results were somewhat surprising.
(to read the intro to this series, click here)
After studying tape of QBs drafted from 2014-2020, the one universal trend that emerged (albeit from a necessarily small sample size) is that QBs showing more than one area of full thoracic efficiency became star QBs. The full list of such QBs (in rough order of thoracic efficiency) is Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, and Deshaun Watson. Josh Allen took a few years to overcome accuracy issues (noted when he was drafted as posterior cervical thoracic overlap, generally correlated with issues targeting specific depths of field), but in the end every QB who showed more than one area of full thoracic efficiency when drafted eventually became an NFL star (or shows such promise, in the case of Justin Herbert).
So if there’s one QB prediction that I feel most confident making for the upcoming draft, it’s that
This year’s draft guide will be focusing primarily on QBs, since this is a lauded draft class at QB, and my methodology for analyzing QBs has been heavily revamped over the past couple months (there will also be a second part to this guide, discussing standout options at other positions). The primary basis by which these QBs will be judged will be by measuring areas of full efficiency. After revisiting college film of QBs drafted 2014-2020, clear trends emerged– almost every QB who showed at least one area of full efficiency in their thoracic areas was able to eventually find success as a starting QB. QBs who showed more than one area of full thoracic efficiency universally became stars.
Hi guys, on Tuesday, SteveS asked an excellent question, one to which I’ve given a lot of thought over the years. So I wanted to give his answer the time and space it deserves. SteveS asked, “To what degree do you think [biomechanical] physical characteristics versus mental processing speed figure into overall success as an NFL QB in today’s NFL?”
Ronald Darby (lateral oriented anterior dominant) is an interesting player to discuss– from a biomechanical perspective, of the players I’ve studied closely, he reminds me most of John Brown (WR). Both players are very efficient in a wide variety of biomechanical areas, but with full development/ efficiency in none. While Brown is more thoracic oriented and Darby is more lumbar oriented, in both cases these players are capable of playing at very high levels while fully healthy. However, their fascial systems– as efficient as they are when fully healthy– can best be described as “butter scraped over too much toast”. Meaning that in order to keep so many areas efficient at once (rather than favoring certain ones at the expense of others, like most players), their entire fascial system is very tight. And much like a finely-tuned performance car, little things (and occasionally big things) can and do go wrong, often resulting in performance that is far from peak.
Below is a collection of unedited draft review comments, originally posted spring/ summer of 2020 (as well as links to the original comments/ discussions). Jeudy and Hamler were written up separately in the 2020 draft preview, while Muti, Cleveland, Agim, and Tuszka were never studied enough to build profiles (from a combination of lack of film, time, and in Muti’s case due to the need for post-surgical footage). The comments are posted in reverse chronological order
In order to understand why Pat Shurmur’s offense has not, to date, been a good fit for Drew Lock, it is helpful to first conceptualize the entire fascial system as a sort of bendable sheet overlying the musculoskeletal system. This sheet (which feeds blood and removes waste) has major junctions of its own which, when aligned with the corresponding underlying skeletal/ muscular junctions (such as at the transitions between spinal areas), allow instant action and quick bloodflow (assuming full development of the underlying areas). However, when major fascial junctions are not aligned with their underlying musculoskeletal junctions, bloodflow slows and muscles contract/ release much more slowly.
(to read part 1, click here)
Tee Higgins (lateral oriented posterior dominant) shows very high levels of lateral posterior efficiency (both thoracic and lumbar), which combined with his 6’4” frame and leaping ability gives him arguably the greatest ‘above the rim’ ability of anyone in this class of WRs. A long strider with surprising strength as a runner with the ball in his hands, Higgins shows the ability to grow into an excellent route runner, although at present his anterior lumbar areas (particularly medial) appear a bit under-developed. In a career-long sense, Higgins may belong at the top of tier 1 as one of the best candidates to become a very productive long-term WR (particularly paired with a strong-armed QB like Lock). But he may be forced to settle for red zone production and deep shots as a rookie, until his route-running sudden-ness (anterior efficiency) catches up with his impressive lateral posterior frame.