Advanced Stats – PPS(Power+Speed) Ratings

I have a question to pose to you.

How reliable are 40-yard dash times in figuring out how fast a player actually is? There’s obviously some correlation, but is it the single best measurement? Probably not.

Yet, one can make millions upon millions of dollars by simply posting a sub 4.40 forty time. It can turn a second rounder into a first rounder, an undrafted guy into a drafted guy. In short, it’s super damn important.

Power wise, what exactly defines a great power back? Is it his ability to get first downs on 3rd and short? Is it his ability to punch in touchdowns? The answer lies in that it’s probably both. Now, power might not matter as much as it used to, but it’s still important.

Anyways, I believe I have found a method to figure out a running back’s true raw physical ability through a couple of stats available on cfbstats.com.

Originally, I thought I had found out a running back rating system. I now know that it’s not, but instead, an approximate gauge on a back’s raw physical talents.

So, let’s start off with the power numbers. Power is calculated through the following three statistics.

  • 1st down conversions on 3rd and short(A)
  • TD percentage in the red zone(B)
  • 1st down percentage in the red zone.(C)

The first two are the most important. A good power back will typically carry the load in those two situations. 1st down percentage in the red zone is also factored in, but is supposed to be more of a bonus to add to the rating.

Here is the formula for it.

(A * (1.1) + B * (3.3) + C * (0.6)) / 2

And here are the power numbers…..

Now, for speed, the equasion is obviously a little different. First off, let’s define what I deem to be a good speed back

  • Percentage of attempts that go over 20+ yards(A)
  • Longest Rush(B)
  • Ability to score from anywhere/Appox. TD’s from 20+ yards(C)

This is probably the best base to start from. And, here’s the equation for speed…

(A * (25) + B * (0.66) + C * (40)) / 3

Here are the speed numbers for the same sampling of backs.

I think most people will notice that Tauren Poole is the highest rated back in terms of speed. Poole isn’t really thought of as a breakaway threat, but this shows that he has good “game speed”, and has good knowledge of when to turn on the jets and go.

Finally, you put the two together, and you get the PPS number. Again, and I cannot stress this enough, this isn’t a measurement of how good a running back actually is, but more a measure of his raw physical attributes.

So, there you have it. An in-depth look into how to measure a running back’s physical attributes. It’s probably going to be refined more as the years come along, but I beleive it to be a good starting point.

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