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Sunday, March 15, 2009
Weekend mailbag, Part II

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

As promised, Part II of the weekend mailbag will focus exclusively on last week's debate on Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Ethan of Monroe, La., writes: I'd be interested to see how Sanchez and Stafford compare if you isolate the calculations based upon their last season.

Kevin Seifert: If you base it only their senior seasons, Mark Sanchez maintains his spot in the "Strong likelihood of success" category with a score of 47. Stafford moves into "hit or miss" with a score of 15.5. I agree that Stafford is dragged down in this formula to some extent by his freshman year, but even his senior year doesn't elevate him to the status you would hope to see from a No. 1 overall pick.


Steve of Troy, Mich., writes: Kevin, I did the formula that you applied to Matt Stafford to decide if he would be a bust. I know that it is for 1st rounders, but the Lions 2007 2nd round pick was Drew Stanton. He has sat the bench, and been placed on IR his rookie season. According to your formula he comes out as a 29.6665. Do you think that this matters at all? It seemed to be a great indicator for 1st round talent.

Kevin Seifert: There are some instances where players rating in the top group didn't work out, Tim Couch and David Carr among them. I think this formula is best viewed as a check and balance on players whose evaluations otherwise place them in the first round. Are there any flags? In many cases, this formula identifies them. In the case of Stanton, he never rose to the level of first-round evaluation in the first place.


Gino in Denver rants: Are u retarded? Do You see who is at the top of your so called rankings? Thats right Matt frickin Leinart/ U are a two bit hack who should consider another career! Thank ur "fans" all u want, but ur formula is lacking as well as your input! I wish i could get paid to write phony articles just like u Mrs. Seifert!

Kevin Seifert: Eloquently put, Gino. One point I should address: We made clear in the story that the only point of the scores was to put the players into their broader categories, not to rank them 1-31. That Leinart scored into the top group is the only relevant factor. It's true that he hasn't succeeded yet, but I don't think we close the book on him yet, either.


Jay of Lake Geneva writes: It seems to me that the formulas are backwards. A BCS quarterback is going to have a higher score than a non-BCS quarterback. Shouldn't it be harder for a BCS quarterback to get a good score? For BCS quarterbacks (Career Starts x 0.5) + [(Career completion pct. - 60)x5] +[(Career touchdown-INT ratio - 2.25)x10] For non-BCS quarterbacks (Career Starts x 0.5) + [(Career completion pct. - 60)x2.5] + [(Career touchdown-INT Ratio - 2.25)x5]

Kevin Seifert: Ryan McCrystal, who developed the formula, said the idea was that if you have a non-BCS quarterback who is NFL-caliber, he's going to be heads and shoulders above the competition. His statistics would reflect that disparity, the theory goes, and would have to be compensated for. That's the explanation Ryan gave.


Kris of Maconga writes: Michael Vick cannot be considered a "bust" by the traditional definition. His second contract made him the highest paid player in the league. By definition, a bust is a pure failure, and his rookie contract is always his best. Vick was too deep into his career and performed too well for the Atlanta Falcons on the field, and at the ticket booth.

Kevin Seifert: Fair point. Vick's off-field flameout had nothing to do with his playing ability. Although for the purposes of this formula, I'll say his success relied heavily on his unique running ability. He would not have made it on his passing skills.


Kirt of Grand Rapids, Mich., writes: I just wanted to say impressive work with the numbers, quarterbacks and looking at Stafford's chances in the NFL. I watched the Lions all 16 losses and their biggest need is at linebacker. Look at what Urlacher did for Chicago's D- If I'm GM I'm drafting Aaron Curry!

Kevin Seifert: Thanks, Kirt. I like your thinking.


Ben of Philadelphia writes: Your formula is bs. Stafford is not a good fit for the Lions (no qb is) but in making a formula you can't start with the numbers first and then see how well it fits. You have to start with the real world situations. Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, these are the best quarterbacks in the league. Your formula has to put them at the top of the list (and if not Brady, certainly Peyton Manning, his body of work is large enough.

Kevin Seifert: Again, this wasn't intended to be a 1-31 ranking. Don't pay attention to the actual figures, just the categories those figures put them in.


Diane writes: I am not a fan of any of the QB prospects this year, but (if I was a person that believed in suing people) I would sue you & ESPN for writing a story like this before the draft ~ if I was Matthew S. or the other 2 QBs you mentioned. It is terrible for you to write a story like this before the draft. There are a number of QB in your likely to succeed group that appear to be a bust. You guys are wrong so many times about the draft prospects but you would write an article that might ruin someone's prospect at being drafted by a team. I do not believe in suing, but if I was these guys or their parents & I did believe in it I would 100% sue.

Kevin Seifert: I appreciate your sentiments but I don't think any team is going to base its draft decision on this formula or any other work produced by the media. They'll use the information they gather on their own.


Jay writes: Question regarding the Stafford article and the formula: Did it account for whether the other quarterbacks started their freshman year? If Stafford did not start in the SEC in his freshman year, would the rating be significantly different? I have doubts about Stafford and especially his ability to through the deep ball with touch. In his defense I will say that as a UGA fan, his receivers in his sophomore year dropped about every other pass (seemed that way at least) I think Stafford will be great -- but I'm hesitant as well.

Kevin Seifert: The formula accounted for each year played by each quarterback. Had Stafford not played as a freshman, his score would have been about 12, which would have placed him in the "hit or miss" category. Of course, it's a bit of a leap to assume he would have had the exact same statistics as a sophomore had he not played as a freshman. You would think the experience factor helped him at least somewhat as a sophomore.


Brandon of D.C writes: Seifert thanks for singling out a guy who is more than worthy of the #1 pick. This article hopefully is more about saving him from the Detroit stupidity of a football team. But I hope Stafford writes you himself when he is more successful
than your pitiful writing career and shoves this article in your face and then proceeds to slap you with a hundred dollar bill from all the money he's gonna make. Thanks, have a great day!

Kevin Seifert: Have a great day yourself!