Browns commissioned expensive, analytical study on quarterbacks

NCAA Football: Louisville at West Virginia

Buried in a narrative-based column on Teddy Bridgewater, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reports that the Cleveland Browns commissioned an “expensive and thorough analytics study” that ultimately resulted in the Louisville quarterback leading the pack.

I have continued to hear that within the Browns’ headquarters, however, he has been viewed very favorably and that him tumbling a bit due to his pro day or whatever else is hardly the worst thing in the world as far as that club is concerned. […]

Further fueling the Browns’ interest in Bridgewater is an expensive and thorough analytics study the team commissioned evaluating decades of successful NFL quarterbacks and taking all sorts of variables into consideration, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. Team president Alec Scheiner was the brainchild of the study, which was then commissioned by Joe Banner, who ran the Browns until being let go when the front office was reorganized in February.

While it appears that former Browns general manager Mike Lombardi was willing to share some of the team’s secrets in the hours before the NFL Draft, the focus on advanced analytics should come as little surprise given the addition of Scheiner last season. Last offseason, WFNY’s Craig Lyndall penned a story on Scheiner and his endeavor to implement analytics on a “project by project” basis.

When people think of analytics, they envision a closed-off know-it-all who thinks on different planes and professes to know everything.  But that would never work. Scheiner and his department seem to know that pretty explicitly. Instead of being some kind of silo of confusing math that spits out self-proclaimed “genius” and expect others to just listen, it will be important to create a cohesive front office through relationship-building. In the world of analytics nothing is guaranteed because the math is being applied to humans which can’t be completely encompassed with variables.

That’s a long-winded way of saying that even the best math won’t guarantee draft success. Nothing can guarantee draft success. I don’t know of any draft class that was 100% successful and I don’t think anyone in football comes close to making that an unrealistic aspiration.

Per La Canfora, the old Browns regime was waist deep in plans to focus on the 2014 quarterback class, having been unimpressed with the 2013 group—this explains the punting and subsequent trades, accruing additional 2014 picks to get in position to get the quarterback whom they desired a year later. The quarterback study, which reportedly cost of over $100,000, ultimately pointed to Bridgewater having the best success rate of this year’s group of quarterbacks. It would appear that the first big “project” was one that involved heavy investment into finding an answer at a position that has plagued this team for much of the last decade.

[Related: Browns reportedly “enamored” with Teddy Bridgewater]

Photo Credit: Andrew Weber-US