21 Oct 2009
by Vince Verhei
The trade of Gaines Adams from Tampa Bay to Chicago is a good excuse to publicly unveil the first version of our Similarity Scores for defensive players. If you're not familiar with Similarity Scores, the methodology for our offensive versions can be found here. Our model for defensive players works on a similar concept, comparing players in 22 total categories. The most predictive of these turn out to be Total Plays, Total Successes, and Total Defeats; these statistics are not only consistent from year to year, they're also predictive of other stats. The least predictive statistic, by far, was interceptions, which don't even predict future interceptions very well. (If you want to know how many interceptions a player will have in a given year, don't look at his interceptions the year before, look at his passes defensed – they're a better predictor.)
With that out of the way, here are the 10 most similar players to Gaines Adams over the first two years of his career:
|Top 10 Players Most Similar To Gaines Adams|
Aside from Tony Bryant (who started only nine games after 2001) and Jevon Kearse (who was entering the decline phase of his career in 2004), that's a reasonably solid, if unspectacular, group of players. Seven of the other comps were regular starters for three or more seasons afterwards, and the eighth, Lance Johnstone, had 28.5 sacks from 2003-05 with the Vikings despite starting only two games. The realistic worst-case scenario for Adams is that he'll start 14 games or more for the next four or five seasons. That's a valuable player.
One note is that two of those players (Steve Foley and Peter Boulware) were outside linebackers, and Okeafor would switch to outside linebacker later in his career. Adams is actually five pounds lighter than Okeafor, and he may be better suited to playing outside linebacker in a 3-4. Failing that, it may be in the Bears' best interest to split him out wide and tell him only to rush the passer, as the Colts do with Dwight Freeney. If we look at the top 40 or so comparisons to Adams, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila's name starts popping up several times, and there's also an appearance by a young John Abraham. Those are two players even smaller than Adams who were pass-rushing terrors out of 4-3 sets.
6 comments, Last at 23 Oct 2009, 9:37am by Asher
After three NFL seasons of kicking off from the 35-yard line, what has been the impact on touchbacks, returns, field position, scoring and injuries? Also, is this rule responsible for a record number of big comebacks?