Bayesian Draft Analysis Tool
Brian Burke created some years ago a brilliant tool that uses Bayesian (I took one graduate economics class, so don't ask me what this means in detail) logic to predict at what pick each player will go. Essentially, it incorporates a number of popular draftnik expectations to build a normal distribution of a player's projected selection.
For instance, yesterday as I was playing with it, the tool suggested a paltry 15% chance of Melvin Gordon making it to 26. I originally felt that Gordon would be our pick but the tool suggested he'd probably be gone and San Diego obliged. Even less for Shane Ray (0%) who came a bit closer to 26. Perriman too was expected to go closer to 18-20 with a very low probability at 26. Judging from Eric DeCosta's comments, it seems the Ravens were quite afraid Perriman would get taken as well, like the rest of their board.
On the other hand, Marcus Peters was given a 50% chance of being there at 26. He was gone at 18. Jaelen Strong was 78% and still remains, though he should go early on day 2.
It's a useful tool to get a sense of who we can expect to be there at our pick, and more importantly, understanding if we need to trade up, or should trade down depending on the player desired.
Let's look at Day 2.
If we select the tab and choose the Ravens' pick (58th overall), it tells us in order the best players available that fit Baltimore's needs and their probability of being there.
Randy Gregory is perhaps the most polarizing prospect remaining. No model is perfect and undoubtedly Gregory is the hardest prospect to project. However, right now, Gregory has a 21% chance of being there at 58, which was likely not the case yesterday when it seemed assured he'd be a first round choice.
Jalen Strong is listed as the BPA for Baltimore and of course that is likely because it is not yet adjusted for the fact that we already filled Wide Receiver last night. Strong only has an 11% chance of making it to 58 so suffice to say, if we hadn't gone WR at 26, we would be hurting at WR without a heavy trade up in the second round.
Jalen Collins is the next BPA but with a probability of 14%. We probably have to trade up for him and therefore I expect him to play elsewhere.
The next few guys are also receivers and I feel comfortable that we will not double dip at receiver but you never know I suppose. DGB and Devin Smith namely.
Maxx Williams does fit a need and has 32% expected probability at 58. With TE being so thin, I expect him to get gobbled up well before 58.
Running Back is another area of need for Baltimore. This is a very deep RB class and it would be perhaps surprising if we didn't go after one. Abdullah (54%), Ajayi (34%), Coleman (56%), Duke Johnson (65%) all stand to have a good shot of making it to 58. If the Ravens are comfortable with all of them, they can safely wait it out.
My gut tells me the Ravens want to shore up Running Back especially one with receiving skills. But as is their way, they're going to take the best guy they can. Just because it fills a need does not mean it wasn't also the best player they could get.
On Breshad Perriman
Opinions seem mixed on Perriman and that's to be expected. Reasonable minds disagree. However, I think none can deny that the offense needed a talent infusion. The Ravens' claim that they didn't need a WR was an obvious bluff the whole time, as anyone with a brain could see that the draft was deep at WR and thin at TE, thus making a WR a very likely pick early on.
Marlon Brown and Kamar Aiken are useful contributors but no one is going to convince me that it's a championship caliber offense with the likes of them, Crockett Gilmore and a 36 year old Steve Smith catching passes. Flacco's a championship quarterback but he isn't Gandalf the Grey.
And lest we forget, as I wrote about in detail in February, the Ravens have owned DPI stats since 2011 primarily through their burner Torrey Smith. His many detractors went out of their way to take even THAT from him, but make no mistake, he earned DPIs because he scared DBs and plays with a QB with the arm to take advantage. It's that simple.
The Perriman = Smith comparisons are a bit simplistic or even lazy but the speed component is an obvious similarity. Moreover, Perriman might have some of the same weaknesses as Torrey (press man coverage, hands) but none can deny that he doesn't help fill Torrey's void and perhaps offers much more in physicality and body control. He was drafted at 26 in a deep draft for a reason: he projects to be even better than Torrey (who himself outplayed his selection at 58 of course).
I'm hard-pressed to find any reason to second guess our GM. One or two misses in thin drafts 10 and 15 years ago doesn't mean a whole lot other than that sample sizes are small.
Rather it's just a reminder that the draft is on some level an exercise in educated guessing. I'm very comfortable with the educated guess (also known as scouting) by our franchise that Breshad Perriman will be a very valuable component of our previously-depleted offense.