FanPost

Petition to the Front Office: Do not draft Jason Pierre-Paul

This is a petition to the front office of the Tennessee Titans organization.  If you agree with the content below, please "rec" this post.  The hope is that someone in the organization will pass this along, so, at the very least, it is known that many of the hard working, ticket buying fans would be displeased with such a pick.


To the powers that be within the Tennessee Titans organization,

Please do not draft Jason Pierre-Paul.

I'm not arrogant enough to act like I know what's going to happen in this years draft, or how the picks will pan out.  I'm not a football scout, or a coach, or anything that resembles what one would call an expert.  That said, as a fan, seeing us picking Jason Pierre-Paul on a large number of mock drafts has me concerned.

Before I begin to digress any further, I'll let the fine people over at Football Outsiders outline why Jason Pierre-Paul presents a huge risk in this years draft (emphasis mine):

I have poured through college statistics, biographies, and pre-draft workout data to try and shed light on what is one of the great mysteries of the NFL Draft. The result is SackSEER, a regression model that projects the professional sack totals of college edge rushers selected in the NFL Draft. Edge rusher is defined as a player who has spent a significant part of his career lining up as either a defensive end in a 4-3 alignment or an outside linebacker in a 3-4 alignment. The research to produce the method considered all edge rushers drafted in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft between 1999 and 2008.

...

Like Playmaker Score, SackSEER is more accurate at identifying busts than it is at singling out potential stars. The best SackSEER projections include some of the most productive edge rushers in the NFL, but they also include some disappointing players such as Jason Babin and Bryan Thomas. By contrast, if many of the players in the worst SackSEER projections seem unfamiliar, nobody could fault you. With the exception of Tony Bryant, none of the players with the worst SackSEER projections have more than five career NFL sacks.

Jason Pierre-Paul, University of South Florida

Vertical: 30.5", Short Shuttle: 4.67, SRAM: 0.44, Missed Games: 26
Projection: 3.8 Sacks through Year 5

This projection is not a misprint. Although Pierre-Paul is widely regarded as one of the top edge rushers by draftniks, it is hard to conceive of a prospect that SackSEER would like less.

Is it fair to say that Pierre-Paul 26 missed games because he spent his first two years in junior college? Yes, because the few recent edge rusher prospects with junior college experience were among the worst defensive draft picks in recent memory. The illustrious list includes Anton Palepoi, Jerome McDougle, Tony Bryant, Lamar King, Erik Flowers, Michael Boireau and most recently, David Veikune, Cleveland's 2009 second-round pick, who did not record a sack as a rookie and was inactive for much of the season. Unless you count Julian Peterson, a 4-3 linebacker who doesn't fit this study, you have to go back to Leonard Little in 1998 to find a former junior college player who panned out in the NFL, and Little spent only one year at junior college. When Tony Bryant is your upside, you're in trouble.

So why do junior college edge rushers struggle so mightily when transitioning to the NFL? Most edge rusher prospects who play at the junior college level miss two years worth of their NCAA eligibility, and they are understandably "raw" when they enter the professional ranks. Although many coaches believe that such a player can be "coached up," the coaching staff can only devote so much of its valuable coaching resources to a single player. Moreover, many players who go to a junior college have significant or severe academic issues, and expecting them to digest a complicated NFL playbook while also "catching up" on their fundamentals may be unrealistic.

However, even if we removed the missed games adjustment, Pierre-Paul would still have the worst projection in this class. Although Pierre-Paul's "handflips" video has earned him the distinction as the 2010 NFL Draft's consummate physical "freak," he put up poor numbers in all of the workout metrics that matter to SackSEER. This is certainly not the first time that similar "gimmicky" athleticism has not translated into workout numbers. For instance, just last year, San Diego State defensive lineman Jarron Gilbert made waves (pardon the pun) with a widely circulated video depicting Gilbert jumping out of a swimming pool flat footed. Despite his aquatic jumping ability, Gilbert only registered a 35.5-inch vertical leap at the Combine.

The ability of Pierre-Paul to translate his particular brand of athleticism to pass rushing success is speculative at best. Overall, the general manager who pulls the trigger on Pierre-Paul better be very confident that he has something special -- so special that it will completely buck the historical trends.

In short, I'm not going to sit here tell you who to draft.  I don't have those answers.  But, there is a mountain of evidence that shows who you shouldn't take.  And, as a fan, I want you to know that I am whole heartedly against the Tennessee Titans selecting Jason Pierre-Paul with their first round draft choice.

Sincerely,

Tennessee Titans fans

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