How does Andrew Berry value SPARQ?

It is a small sample size, but with one pick behind him it appears Cleveland Browns General Manager Andrew Berry does not value SPARQ scores as much as might have been predicted.

SPARQ is an acronym for Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction and Quickness. It is intended to measure sport-specific athleticism. SPARQ is a tool that the Seattle Seahawks have long used and that is credited for helping the Seahawks hit on several late picks that helped them to assemble the now defunct "Legion of Boom."

In 2016, the Browns largely split their picks between highly productive college players such as Corey Coleman, Rashard Higgins, Jordan Petyon, Carl Nassib and Scooby Wright and SPARQ wonders such as Seth DeValve and Ricardo Louis.   Some like Corey Coleman and Emmanuel Ogbah had both high SPARQ scores and productive college careers, but the overall results were disappointing.

Staring them in the face at #10 was Tristan Wirfs whose incredible athleticism helped him score a 99.1 (out of a possible 100) on the SPARQ.   A few other offensive linemen who might have been available after trading down to pick up more assets were Ezra Cleveland (91.7) and Austin Jackson (83.3).    Athleticism of the offensive tackles is at a premium in the wide zone scheme that the Browns will run with Stefanski.   

Instead of taking the best athlete available at the position who was highly rated by draft analysts, played at a high level of competition, and received great college coaching in Wirfs, the Browns took the good-but-not-great athlete in Wills.   Wills scored a good 72 on the SPARQ, which would make him the fifth most athletic tackle in this year's draft.   For comparison's sake, Andrew Thomas was ninth on the list and Mekhi Becton is not graded due to incomplete data.

It is apparent that other "scouting" factors came into play with this decision and the SPARQ scores did not assume a priority role in the decision.

The next round of the NFL draft should prove interesting in following along to see if there is any SPARQ trend apparent in the decision making.   The Browns are expected to take a safety in the next two rounds and all of them are still on the board.   

Two small school safeties have off-the-charts SPARQ scores.  Jeremy Chinn of Southern Illinois and Kyle Dugger of Lenoir-Rhyne both sit at the 99 range.  Antoine Winfield Jr. played at a much higher level of competition and, although undersized (SPARQ does not include a "height" attribute), scored a good 81.8.  In contrast, the SPARQ score of Xavier Mckinney, who played at Alabama and is a favorite of draft analysts (20.3) would suggest that is not draftable.

At linebacker, Willie Gay is a SPARQ wonder (98.1).  His character issues, however, will likely take him off the Browns' draft board from what it seems that they are stressing in drafting "accountable" players.   Ohio State's Malik Harrison is a good athlete (77.2).   Very few players left on the board as off-the-line-of-scrimmage linebackers stand out.

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Donovan Peoples-Jones, who is projected by most draft analysts to be taken in the third round or later, tied for the highest score among receivers (99), followed closely by Chase Claypool (98).    In contrast many draft analysts had Jerry Jeudy as the best receiver in this class with an undraftable SPARQ score of 21.8.   

Henry Ruggs, III, who was the first wide receiver actually taken scored a 99, like Peoples-Jones.

The next few rounds might provide some further insight on how this "analytics-driven" front office values SPARQ scores or perhaps how their own analytics model that they undoubtedly have been developing under DePodesta lines up with the SPARQ for positional importance.

A SPARQ-driven second day for the Browns might just look something like this:

Pick #41 Jeremy Chinn, Safety, Southern Illinois  (99)
Pick #74 Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan (99)
Pick #97  Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State (77.2)

A second day that doesn't follow any SPARQ trend might look more like this.

Pick #41 Zack Braun LB, Wisconsin (55.0)
Pick #74 Terrell Burgess, S, Utah (64.9)
Pick #97 Lamar Jackson, CB, Nebraska (64.5) 

How does Andrew Berry value SPARQ? How does Andrew Berry value SPARQ? Reviewed by AT Dawgger on 9:35 AM Rating: 5

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