New in-depth draft analytics book is the real deal

In The SIS Football Rookie Handbook, Matt Manocherian sets out to answer the question, “Based on their play on the field, who do our full-time college scouts will think will make the best pro players?”

That caught my eye because with the college season ending in January and the draft not taking place until late April, scouts tend to get so caught in the scouting combine and Pro Day and private workouts that they often don’t put enough emphasis on how the players performed on the field last fall.

Manocherian notes that in February the draft board is “pure.”

“It knows nothing of the ‘Underwear Olympics’ that we call the combine and Pro Days, has heard no input from biased coaches competing against our draft resources and hasn’t yet ruled out players with whom the medical staff is uncomfortable.”

Sports Info Solutions has the largest collection of football scouts under one roof – bigger than any NFL team — with 50 video scouts.

Manocherian is a former NFL scout with the New Orleans Saints and the Cleveland Browns. The video scouts at SIS have spent 40 hours per game charting and analyzing data on every football game played last season.

The book is a combination of scouting and analytics.

He notes that when he was with the Saints, the scouts would take a picture of the draft board in February and tell the same joke.

“Remember what it looks like now because we are about to spend the next two months ruining it,’’ the joke goes.

His books attempts to give fans a look at the board before it’s ruined and is a serious work that will appeal to fans who like to dive into the draft.

The book covers 599 pages and has two pages of information on more than 250 players.

Let’s take a look at what they say about Kyler Murray, because there is so much debate about his pro potential.

They rank him as the second quarterback behind Dwayne Haskins, They say Murray is a rare playmaker who may have to work his release to mitigate size concerns.

They list his strengths as mobility, arm strength and clutch playmaking ability. They list his weaknesses as size, experience  and inconsistent release.

Their last word is that he has the inherent quarterback skills and intangibles necessary to succeed.

The book also delves into discussions like “The Secret Behind the Rams’ Rushing Success.” Hint: The key is motion, not ground and pound.

In a discussion of goal-to-go strategy, it notes the fade is the second-most targeted route type in goal-to-go but is one of the most inefficient throws a quarterback can make in those situations.

It says that drag routes and throws to the flat work best.

That is just one of the hundreds of nuggets of information tucked into the book.

It is the first edition of the book, but is likely to become the gold standard for draft preview books in the future.

If anything, it has almost too much information.

You may have to take time out from your day job to study into all the information in this book.

Kraft faces no good options in embarrassing prostitution case

New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft is finding out the downside of being a celebrity owner in the NFL.

As a legal matter, being charged with solicitation after visiting a Florida massage parlor two days in a row in January – including the morning of the AFC title game being played halfway across the country – is not a big deal.

According to the Wall Street Journal, prosecutors even offered him a deal in which they will drop the charges on the condition that he admit that if the charges hadn’t been dropped, prosecution would have resulted in a conviction.

All he would have to do then is 100 hours of community service, complete an education course about prostitution, be screened for STDs and pay some of the court costs and it would all be over.

It’s likely the low-profile men also charged would take that deal.

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Book argues smartly that salary caps have outlived their usefulness

The salary cap is now an accepted part of the professional sports landscape in the U.S. except in baseball, which has a luxury tax.

The cap is credited for creating parity and giving  all the teams an equal chance to be competitive.

But is the salary cap actually a good idea except for the owners, who use it to control salaries?

As the NFL teams prepare for the start of the league’s new fiscal year, it is a good time to check out a book entitled “Cap In Hand – How Salary Caps are Killing Pro Sports and Why the Free Market Could Save Them” (ECW Press).

The book by Bruce Dowbiggin (a two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top broadcaster) with Ryan Gauthier argues that the salary cap has spread the talent and created more mediocre teams piloted by conservative coaches.

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