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4 reasons to be skeptical of Wes Bunting

Lot’s of people here love Wes Bunting. Not me. Here’s why.

1. He produces bad analysis. Here’s an example where he looks at OT arm length.

First he compares Adam Terry ‘s (2005) and Marcus McNeil’s (2006) arm length. Then he concludes the reason Terry is a journeyman and McNeil is 5 year starter is because of their arm length. Wes apparently has never heard of anecdotal evidence and the problems of generalizing from an insufficient amount of evidence. Then he takes a slightly larger sample of arm lengths.

“Great” Arm Length (35+ inches)

D’Brickashaw Ferguson: Jets, 2006 (35 ½ inches)

Ryan Clady: Broncos, 2008 (36 inches)

 

“Good” Arm Length (34 inches-34 7/8 inches)

Jammal Brown: Redskins, 2005 (34 ¼ inches)

Jeff Otah: Panthers, 2008 (34 5/8 inches)

 

“O.K.” Arm Length (33 inches - 33 7/8 inches)

Michael Roos: Titans, 2005 (33 5/8 inches)

Levi Brown: Cardinals, 2007 (33 1/8 inches)

 

“Below Average” Arm Length (32 inches - 32 7/8 inches)

Robert Gallery: Raiders, 2004 (32 ¼ inches)

Chris Williams: Bears, 2008 (32 ¾ inches)

 

Of course he gets killed in the comments because this is bad analysis.  

 

Joe Thomas, the NFL's best LT has an arm length of 33 3/4"

 

Chad Clifton had 33' arms. Anyone doubts that he's an outstanding pass blocker, and has been his entire life?

Bulaga had similar questions with 33 1/4. How did he pan out?

 

Joe Thomas (32.5) and Jake long (32 7/8) are below average tackles??

 

So to “OK” and “Below Average” Arm Length we can add

Joe Thomas

Jake Long

Chad Clifton

 

There are 2 problems. One, instead of using the complete universe of players he’s using a handfull of anecdotal examples. From that he’s drawing unwarranted conclusions. The second is he’s not controlling for other factors, association is not causation. For example, here I’ve resorted by vertical jump.

 

Vertical

 

“Great” Vert (31+ inches)

Joe Thomas (33 inches)

Jammal Brown: Redskins, 2005 (31 ½ inches)

Ryan Clady: Broncos, 2008 (31 inches)

Marcus McNeil (31 inches)

 

“Good” Vert (29-30 inches)

D’Brickashaw Ferguson: Jets, 2006 (30 inches)

Robert Gallery: Raiders, 2004 (30 inches)

Michael Roos: Titans, 2005 (29 inches)

 

“O.K.” Vert (27-28)

Adam Terry (28 inches)

Jake Long (27 ½ inches)

 

“Below Average” Vert (26 and Below)

Levi Brown: Cardinals, 2007 (25 1/2 inches)

Chris Williams: Bears, 2008 (25 inches)

Jeff Otah: Panthers, 2008 (22 inches)

 

I don’t know if vertical jump determines performance. It looks like a plausible explanation for performance. It explains studs like Joe Thomas, Ferguson, and Clady and disappointments like Chris Williams and Otah. So we’re clear, I’m not making the case for vertical jump. Rather, I’m pointing out that there’s an alternative explanation that’s equally plausible. One could conclude that arm length is important when it’s actually vertical that’s the key factor.  

 

And if you aren’t convinced I’ve got 5 words for you: Alex Barron 37 inch arms.  

 

I feel like a quote from Mark Twain is apropos.

Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt

That’s how I feel about Bunting after reading this analysis. How can I believe anything he writes when I see this is what passes for analysis? These guys need to get a real statistician to construct a regression analysis for them. I don’t know if arm length is important to success for OT or if it’s a wives tale. But after reading this analysis I can tell you Bunting doesn’t know either.

2.  He makes absurd comments. Here he says teams are formulating draft strategy based on getting a good night’s sleep. Seriously. Read it and then re-read it again. This is offered as actual analysis.

Cowboys Nation:  Let's begin with the quarterbacks.  We've talked for weeks about the annual late rise of the quarterbacks and yesterday I saw two tweets, one by Chris Steuber and the other by Albert Breer of the NFL Network claiming they're hearing lots of teams might try moving up into the late 1st to get one of the Jake Locker, Christian Ponder pair.  Are you hearing this?

Wes Bunting: I haven't heard any NFL person say this, but it's just logical.  I'd be more concerned if I wasn't hearing this.  There's no way anybody is going to tip their hand now, but it's possible that the Bills could trade up from the 3rd pick in the 2nd round and get one of the quarterbacks.

That makes a ton of sense with the three-day format the draft has now, Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday, there's no way a team that needs a quarterback wants to go to bed Thursday night thinking, ''we have to get our quarterback tomorrow.'' They're gonna go up, they're gonna get their guy in the late 1st, they're gonna get a good night of sleep, rather than not getting any sleep hoping they can get their guy on Friday.

Teams are dictating their draft strategy based on how well they’re going to sleep on Thursday night? Is this meant as a serious comment? I know some people are going to say that Wes doesn’t mean this literally … but he offers it as a literal observation. It shows us that Wes is happy to offer unfounded speculation as fact. There’s no problem with that, there’s a market for gossip. It just suggests that we should be skeptical. 

3. I’m not sure he does his own work. Here's an example where he happily says he changes his ranking based on someone else's opinion.  

WB:  One guy who's moving up slowly under the radar is Marcus Gilchrist, from Clemson.  I talked to a scout the other day who was just raving about him, and I looked at my board and I had him as more of a reserve, and I thought, ''gosh, this guy thinks highly of him,'' so I looked at my scouting report on him again and I said, I feel comfortable with him.  I think he can be a dynamic slot guy with the upside to be a potential starter at safety, and I had him at corner.  And I thought that's why I had him as a reserve, so I moved him over to free safety and gave him a potential starter grade.

I watched more tape on him and he's all right.  He doesn't do anything great but he can play in the nickel.  He can play outside as a corner, and he can play in center field as a free safety.  He's getting a lot of attention because he's one of the few potential safeties who can run, so that's huge.  So I'm thinking late 2nd, 3rd round after Rahim Moore is off the board, Marcus Gilchrist could be that next free safety off the board.

I know it makes sense to compare your assessments to others. However, isn’t this an indictment of Bunting's  scouting? That his own work had Gilchrist as a reserve if Gilchrist is actually starter caliber? What if he hadn’t talked to his buddy? Are his assessments garbage unless they get corrected by scouts? What if the scout has an ulterior motive?

4. May fall in love with players. I get skeptical when analysts are this one-sided.

Not only did Smith prove he’s one of the best offensive tackle athletes to come along in years, but he possesses the ideal frame for the position as well. He’s got long arms, has bulked up to 310 pounds and looked very smooth and balanced working from the left side during the USC pro day. There isn’t much this guy can’t do and now looks like a potential top-10 pick with Pro Bowl-type upside.

I haven’t seen anyone projecting Smith higher than #9 to Dallas. That’s not the best in years. That’s maybe the best this year. Smith wasn’t pan-caking guys in college a la Orlando Pace. He wasn't even the Outland trophy winner this year, Carimi was. He was top lineman in the Pac-10.  Bunting is taking the fact that Smith put on 20 lbs and looked good in pro-day drills and jumping to extreme conclusions.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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