Shane Epstein-Petrullo | 2024 I.S. Symposium

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Name: Shane Epstein-Petrullo
Title: Boom or Bust: An Investigation of Rookie Running Back Performance Through the NFL Draft
Major: Statistical & Data Science
Minors: Mathematics; Environmental Studies
Advisors: Jillian Morrison; Colby Long

Each year in American football, highly touted collegiate players are drafted into the NFL via the NFL draft. The NFL draft is an event in which NFL executives and team decision-makers can assess and select players that they think can add value to their organization. However, it is often the case that an exceptional college player who is selected early in the draft and paid a significant amount of money underperforms in the NFL. The player would then likely be considered a “bust”. The reason for this drop in playing quality is not solely due to athletic ability or football intelligence though. Each player is subject to random and unique circumstances, which has historically made assessing talent via the NFL draft so difficult for executives leading to “busts” time and time again. Some positions are much more subject to being “busts” and are considered volatile in this study. As such, the least volatile position is deemed to be the running back, who carries the football for as many yards as possible. This study aims to investigate how random factors as well as performance statistics can be used to account for differences in rookie running back quality throughout the NFL draft.

Posted in Symposium 2024 on April 24, 2024.