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May 5, 2013
Before we take even one step with this weekend's column, I want to go ahead and issue an official apology because I didn't know that this weekend's column was going to turn into another numbers convention, but it absolutely turned into geek city. Therefore, if math or numbers or stats just aren't your thing, you might want to go ahead and scroll down to the Miley Cyrus link in section 9 or my Possum Top 10 at the end.
However, before you make that leap, I'm going to implore that you hang in there with me because the biggest point of this article is incredibly important, so much so that I didn't really have any idea what I was going to find this weekend, but when I was about half way through my research I felt like I had taken the red pill and awakened out of The Matrix.
Let's start at the beginning, which found me wanting to take last week's NFL Draft/Star Rankings breakdown and build on it a little with an extensive breakdown of what's happening with offensive line development around the country, within the state of Texas and inside the Longhorn football program.
The end results will end up looking like this?
Don't say I didn't warn you.
So, what exactly did I do this weekend that would warrant this type of disclaimer? Well, I decided to track every offensive lineman selected in the last five drafts based on each player's recruiting ranking. For those that might not remember the specifics from last week, most of the numbers were crunched against a four-year recruiting cycle of incoming ranked prospects by Rivals.com against the numbers from the draft. For example, in order to compile numbers for the 2013 Draft, I compiled and crunched data from the 2008-11 recruiting years. Therefore, in order to crunch a full-five year breakdown from the 2009-13 NFL Drafts, the recruiting cycles for each Draft year looked like this:
2013 Draft (2008-2011)
2012 Draft (2007-2010)
2011 Draft (2006-2009)
2010 Draft (2005-2008)
2009 Draft (2004-2007)
Yes, that means that I tracked recruiting data in eight different recruiting years to make all of this possible. It's very nerdy, but the work proved incredibly insightful.
Let's start with our first true set of numbers.
From 2004-2011, Rivals.com rated on the average 526 offensive linemen per year (including JUCO and prep schools), with the average star distribution breakdown looking like this:
Five stars (6.1): 4.125
Four stars (6.0): 7
Four stars (5.9): 10.75
Four stars (5.8): 28.625
Three stars (5.7) 34.875
Three stars (5.6) 50.125
Three stars (5.5) 73.00
Two stars (5.4) 64.75
Two stars (5.3) 50.875
Two stars (5.2) 80.5
Two stars (5.1) 47.125
Two stars (5.0/4.9) 79.875
From 2004-09, there were 203 offensive linemen taken in the NFL Draft and here's a look at how the numbers shake out over the five-year window.
Five stars (6.1): 12
Four stars (6.0): 11
Four stars (5.9): 12
Four stars (5.8): 18
Three stars (5.7): 31
Three stars (5.6): 17
Three stars (5.5): 21
Two stars (5.4) 9
Two stars (5.3) 5
Two stars (5.2) 17
Two stars (5.1) 13
Two stars (5.0/4.9) 5
Overall, this is what the data looks like when you crunch down all of the drafted players and rated players during the five-year draft period that includes a total of eight recruiting cycles (for those that really like the numbers breakdowns, make sure and read section No. 4 because I posted more the working numbers there).
One out of every 1.81 five-star (6.1) prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 3.45 top-tier (6.0) four-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 4.73 mid-tier (5.9) four-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 8.07 low-tier (5.8) four-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 5.76 top-tier (5.7) three-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 15.59 mid-tier (5.6) three-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 17.12 low-tier (5.5) three-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 38.88 top-tier (5.4/5.3) two-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 22.04 mid-tier (5.2/5.1) two-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 89.7 low-tier (5.0/4.9) two-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
For a little context, here is a look at the numbers presented from last week's column focusing on all positions in the 2013 NFL Draft:
One out of every 1.65 five-star (6.1) prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 2.75 top-tier (6.0) four-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 4.12 mid-tier (5.9) four-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 4.85 low-tier (5.8) four-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 10.66 top-tier (5.7) three-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 19.56 mid-tier (5.6) three-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 30.05 low-tier (5.5) three-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 62.53 top-tier (5.4/5.3) two-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 31.28 mid-tier (5.2/5.1) two-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 36.93 low-tier (5.0/4.9) two-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
A few thoughts?
a. Considering that many believe the positions along the offensive line to be the most difficult to project, I thought the numbers came out surprisingly strong within the context of the conversation that we're having.
b. Let's just agree that anything within a point is a statistical wash given the varying degrees of sample size in the comparisons, which means that the national average for linemen over a five-year window was on par with all positions from the 2013 draft as it relates to five-stars, high-four stars and mid-four stars. I'm not sure I would have guessed that.
c. Other than the mid-tier two (5.2/5.1) stars having more value than the top-tier two stars (5.4/5.3), the rest of the numbers break down pretty much according to form, with the linemen rated nationally over five-years actually performing better than the 2013 numbers that featured all positions. I know I wouldn't have guessed that.
No. 2 - Taking the discussion to the Lone Star State ?
This is where things really, really get ugly. After establishing the national metrics, I decided to apply all of the same concepts to the ranks of the linemen from the state that the Longhorns have used on an almost exclusive basis since Mack Brown arrived back in 1998.
From 2004-2011, Rivals.com rated a total of 512 offensive linemen for an eight-year average of 64 prospects per year. Here's a look at the average stars breakdown for the state of Texas from 2004-11.
Note: Unlike the national numbers, I excluded the numbers from the JUCO ranks because the Longhorns didn't recruit any JUCO linemen in the 2004-11 window and I wanted to concentrate on what was happening within the high school ranks because of what will become very obvious reasons in a moment.
Five stars (6.1): 0.5
Four stars (6.0): 0.778
Four stars (5.9): 1.375
Four stars (5.8): 3.25
Three stars (5.7) 5.25
Three stars (5.6) 4.75
Three stars (5.5) 9.5
Two stars (5.4) 6.625
Two stars (5.3) 7.375
Two stars (5.2) 10.375
Two stars (5.1) 5.5
Two stars (5.0/4.9) 8.75
From 2004-09, there were 17 offensive linemen taken in the NFL Draft from the state of Texas and here's a look at how the numbers shake out over the five-year window.
Five stars (6.1): 0
Four stars (6.0): 3
Four stars (5.9): 0
Four stars (5.8): 1
Three stars (5.7): 2
Three stars (5.6): 1
Three stars (5.5): 4
Two stars (5.4) 1
Two stars (5.3) 0
Two stars (5.2) 1
Two stars (5.1) 2
Two stars (5.0/4.9) 1
If you're looking at those numbers and thinking, "WTF, that's it?"
Yup, that's it. Your list of the 17 Lone Star State-produced offensive linemen in the last five NFL Drafts looks like this:
Five stars (6.1): None
Four stars (6.0): Luke Joeckel (2010), J'Marcus Webb (2006) and Herman Johnson (2004)
Four stars (5.9): None
Four stars (5.8): Jason Fox (ranked as a tight end and doesn't count in the OL numbers, technically)
Three stars (5.7): Trent Williams (2006) and Louis Vasquez (2005)
Three stars (5.6): Russell Okung (2006)
Three stars (5.5): Josh LeRibeus (2007), Marcus Cannon (2006), Kelechi Osemele (2007) and Reggie Stephens (2005)
Two stars (5.4) J.D. Walton (2005)
Two stars (5.3) None
Two stars (5.2) Marshall Newhouse (2006)
Two stars (5.1) Blake Schlueter (2004) and Kelvin Beachum (2007)
Two stars (5.0/4.9) Jason Smith (2004)
Unranked: Robert Griffin (2008)
If you're wondering how these numbers compare to their national counterparts, brace yourselves.
None out of every 4.0 five-star (6.1) prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 2.33 top-tier (6.0) four-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
None out of every 11.0 mid-tier (5.9) four-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 26.0 low-tier (5.8) four-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 21.0 top-tier (5.7) three-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 38.00 mid-tier (5.6) three-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 19.00 low-tier (5.5) three-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 56.00 top-tier (5.4/5.3) two-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 42.00 mid-tier (5.2/5.1) two-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
One out of every 35.00 low-tier (5.0/4.9) two-star prospects was drafted in the top seven rounds.
Translation: Offensive linemen from the Lone Star State have been developing at such a poor rate that they basically broke the game with such horrific results. Outside of the performance of the high-four stars (6.0), every single category is WOEFULLY behind the national averages over the same time.
It's not that rankings are producing skewed numbers by overrating some players and under-ranking others because the truth is that the big guys in the state of Texas simply have not developed into NFL prospects like their counterparts in the other 49 states. It's a horrific reality if you're a team that has relied exclusively on talent from the state of Texas to fill the holes of your offensive lines.
A few additional thoughts:
a. No five-star offensive lineman from the state of Texas has been drafted since Class of 2002 member Justin Blalock in 2006. Since that time, five have failed and it's up to Mason Walters to make sure it's not six in a row.
b. On a national level, one out of every 5.34 four-stars has been drafted in a five-year average, while one out of every 11.0 four-star prospects in the state of Texas developed into an NFL prospect during the same time.
c. The three-stars tell the same exact story. Interesting enough, the 5.7-rated prospects within the state out-performed their 5.8-rated in-state counterparts, which was the case nationally as well.
No. 3 - And then there was Texas?
With the national and in-state breakdowns out of the way, now it's time for us to turn our attention to the Longhorns.
From 2004-2011, a total of 27 offensive linemen were ranked by Rivals.com. Here's a look at the average stars breakdown for the Longhorns from 2004-11.
Five stars (6.1): 2
Four stars (6.0): 4
Four stars (5.9): 5
Four stars (5.8): 7
Three stars (5.7) 4
Three stars (5.6) 4
Three stars (5.5) 1
From 2004-09, there was one offensive lineman taken in the NFL Draft from the Longhorn offensive line recruiting ranks and he just happens to be a player that was forced to leave the program after a year because of academics.
Five stars (6.1): 0
Four stars (6.0): 1
Four stars (5.9): 0
Four stars (5.8): 0
Three stars (5.7): 0
Three stars (5.6): 0
Three stars (5.5): 0
Although the sample size is certainly limited, the numbers are the numbers, and here they are?
None out of 2.0 five-star (6.1) prospects was drafted.
One out of 4.00 top-tier (6.0) four-star prospects was drafted.
None out of 5.0 mid-tier (5.9) four-star prospects was drafted.
None out of 7.0 low-tier (5.8) four-star prospects was drafted.
None out of 4.0 top-tier (5.7) three-star prospects was drafted.
None out of 4.00 mid-tier (5.6) three-star prospects was drafted.
None out of 1.00 low-tier (5.5) three-star prospects was drafted.
The numbers speak for themselves. The Longhorns' issues are an even more extreme issue within the problems being created by the lack of development across the board by linemen from the state of Texas.
No. 4 - Scattershooting on the Longhorns ?
? Texas softball player Taylor Thom became the 10th player in NCAA history to hit three grand slams in a single season on Sunday, while helping the Longhorns snap a two-game losing streak to Oklahoma State.
? The vaunted Longhorn offense failed the softball team this weekend in its two losses, as the team scored one run in the first two games against the Cowboys.
? Thom's 12 homers are second on the team, trailing Taylor Hoagland by a single homer. Meanwhile, the Texas baseball team has 12 homers this season as a team.
? Another Big 12 series for the Longhorns in baseball, another Big 12 series loss for the Longhorns. This bad boy is bottoming out, isn't it?
? Dillon Peters basically needs to start for the Longhorns every time out. He's turned out to be the team's good luck charm in conference play when nothing else seems to work. He's 4-2 with a 1.29 ERA in seven conference starts and he has four of the team's six wins against Big 12 competition. No other starter for the Longhorns has a win in conference play.
No. 5 - That Durant fella is pretty good?
The greatness of Kevin Durant continues to be partly defined by the numbness that the entire basketball world is starting to have as it relates to the out of this universe numbers that Durant puts up without anyone really blinking in the process.
Part of it has to do with the fact that LeBron James is the premier player in the league and Durant will always be viewed as the second-best until he is able to dethrone LeBron.
Part of it has to do with the fact that he does not have a championship ring.
Part of it has to do with the fact that we're flat out taking him for granted.
Consider his 35-point, 15-rebound and six-assist performance on Sunday in game one of the Western Conference Semifinals, which featured him taking over the game in the final minutes with one big shot after another. If any other player in the league not named Durant or LeBron puts up a performance like that in a playoff game, the world would practically stop on its axis to celebrate it.
On Sunday, he put what's left of the Thunder on his back and carried them to a 1-0 lead in their best of seven series. You got the sense that it was just one of those afternoons when he was going to do whatever it took to get his team a win.
In the pantheon of the all-time greats, Durant is starting to assert himself in the conversation. If LeBron's quest is Michael, and Durant's quest is LeBron, then this is the company that we're talking about with the former Longhorn. Of course, it's a marathon and not a sprint, but in time the discussion with Durant will focus on the likes Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Larry Bird and the like.
My expectations are that Durant is going to put up an all-time stat line for the duration of these playoffs and when it's done, he'll come up valiantly short, but it won't be in this round. KD will take care of the Grizzlies. Beyond that, I'm not sure that even Durant the One-Man Gang will be able to take down what awaits him next ?
No. 6 - The Golden State dream ends in five?
Oh, the Warriors were a cute story last week, but as the other semifinal gets going out West, we have to keep it completely real ? Golden State is completely out of its class in this match-up.
Tim Duncan and Co. own the Warriors like Lindsay Lohan owns bad decisions, which means that I feel very generous in giving the Warriors a game in this series because it very well could be a sweep.
Perhaps when this season is done, Durant and LeBron won't be the only players positioning themselves within the hierarchy of the all-time greats.
If the Spurs are the favorite in the West like I believe them to be, it means that they'll eventually cut down Durant along the way to the Finals, where a certain NBA MVP will almost certainly be waiting for them.
No. 7 - Speaking of the four-time MVP ?
Here's how I expect things to go down on the other side of the playoff bracket:
The Heat will defeat the Bulls in five (the only loss in the first three series of the playoffs for the Heat)
The Pacers will defeat the Knicks in six. (I heart Paul George)
The Heat will defeat the Pacers in four. (I don't love Paul George that much.)
At that point, LeBron will potentially see the toughest play-off match-up of his entire career.
No. 8 - The pay-per-view event I didn't pay to see ?
Woman-beater Floyd Mayweather Jr. might have made $33,000,000 this weekend at a minimum for his dominant performance over Robert Guerrero, but not a penny of it came from my pocket. If there's a place in the sand to draw the line with my pocketbook, it occurred this week when I just couldn't invest $69.99 into an event that sees a huge portion of my payment go right into the hands of a guy I can't respect.
Don't get me wrong, Mayweather is the best of his generation in the ring, but I just couldn't find the interest to step over this particular boundary. There are a lot of things in life I'll forgive and forget with, but not beating a woman, and let's be clear in saying that it was not an accident that he went to jail.
According to the police report and sworn statements, including one from is 11-year old son, Mayweather woke up the mother of three of his kids one morning at 5AM, questioned her dating habits and when she gave him answers that didn't suit his desires, and he beat her down. Meanwhile, in the time sense his release, he's done nothing but try to minimize the nature of is conduct, while attempting to paint himself as a victim of circumstances. On top of that, CBS Sports and Showtime were complicit in the attempt to cover everything up in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, I refused to fall for the hype of the Guerrero fight. There's no way that Mayweather was going to fight a truly dangerous fighter in his first fight out of prison and within the structure of his new Showtime deal. The truth of the matter is that Guerrero doesn't have the punching power to knock Mayweather out and he sure as hell isn't going to outbox him.
I felt like it was a fight he couldn't lose barring some lucky punch coming in and actually predicted a 117-111 score before the fight. In the end, all three judges scored the fight 117-111 and I was able to watch the whole boring affair on some weird link that magically appeared online that I accidently clicked. I actually laughed when the ring announcer asked the fans to give the fighters a round of applause entering the final round, and the crowd responded with a "meh".
Mayweather is the best of his generation, but will we ever remember any of his fights?
As Ruben Guerrero reminded us this week, we'll certainly remember that he's a woman-beater.
No. 9 - Pop goes the culture because the culture goes pop ?
? Hottie of the Weekend: There's a new No. 1 in Maxim!!!!
? Hottie of the Weekend (runner-up): Jessica Green makes her debut appearance
? NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!: I still love her
? Sign That The Apocalypse is Upon Us: Porn Sites Get More Visitors Each Month Than Netflix, Amazon And Twitter Combined
? "I'm obstructing your justice?" The Reese Witherspoon video is better than you thought
? Only in Florida: Man attacks boss with chicken wings .
? Only in Florida (Part II) : Florida Man Calls 911 Eighty Times to Demand Kool-Aid, Hamburgers, and Weed .
No. 10 - The List: Possum
When I was a kid growing up in Waco, I used to spend time with my grandmother at a bar called Mary's Place.
It was kind of place where the people inside had been drinking together for about 30 years or more. You could set your watch by the fact that the same people were practically going to be in their same seats every day and night.
My grandmother's name was Mary and while she didn't own the place, she was there enough to warrant owning some stock. While she drank a beer, I usually played 10-cent pinball or played songs on the jukebox. Perhaps my favorite memory of the place was the coffin that was placed out in front of the place with the words "Just dying to coo for you" written across the side for driver's to read as they passed by.
It's probably been 30 years since I was inside that old place, but I can still see it, feel it and be in it. When I go back to that place, I always think about George Jones' music. For me, those old songs represent a time that has passed and I'll never really know again, times taken for granted by youth's lack of awareness.
The good news is that we'll always have the Possum's music to remind us of those times.
(Note: Considering the man's extensive catalog, I'm 100% positive that this list will get picked apart because I had 47 songs nominated for 10 spots and it was practically an impossible task to narrow it down. I comfortable with knowing it's almost a rhetorical question to rank a top 10 for a man that cut 60 albums, but I put my heart into it this week and came up with the list.)
Last five songs out: She Loves Me (Right Out of my Mind), White Lightin' , You Can't Get The Hell Out of Texas, The Grand Tour and Take Me
10. Bartender Blues
A great late 70's track written by James Taylor (who provides background vocals) that the Possum just delivers a great song about the man pouring him his drink.
9. Tennessee Whiskey
It's a song about a man that has found a great woman that has saved him from drinking and falling apart? and he compares her to a warm glass of whiskey.
8. A Picture of Me (Without You)
My goodness, ol' Possum could paint a picture of destitution and make you like it.
7. Walk Through This World With Me
Just a great old country love song. How many weddings have played this song over the years?
6. Things Have Gone to Pieces
Possum's old lady left him and there's nothing going right in his world. Hell, the man only has 25 cents in his pocket and the arm fell off his favorite chair again.
5. She Thinks I Still Care
Possum is having one hell of an inner dialogue with himself in this classic, as he maintains that he's not interested in an old flame, even if she's the only thing he can think about.
I know, I know, I know? how dare I put one of his newer songs in the top five? First of all, he won a Grammy with this song. Second, his ability to capture some real magic in telling a story that every old cowboy can relate to.
3. Tender Years
One of the all-time great country songs.
2. Say It's Not You
It's Keith Richards's favorite Possum song and it's his favorite for a damn good reason. There's a girl going around town that has a bad reputation and Possum is praying to God that it's not his girl, although he knows deep down that it is.
1. He Stopped Loving Her Today
The greatest country song of all-time.
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