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Evaluating the Performance of Offensive Lineman in the NFL

Authors: Nikhil Byanna, Abdolghani Ebrahimi, Diego Klabjan

Abstract:

In this paper we objectively measure the performance of an individual offensive lineman in the NFL. The existing literature proposes various measures that rely on subjective assessments of game film, but has yet to develop an objective methodology to evaluate performance. Using a variety of statistics related to an offensive lineman’s performance, we develop a framework to objectively analyze the overall performance of an individual offensive lineman and determine specific linemen who are overvalued or undervalued relative to their salary. We identify eight players across the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 NFL seasons that are considered to be overvalued or undervalued and corroborate the results with existing metrics that are based on subjective evaluation. To the best of our knowledge, the techniques set forth in this work have not been utilized in previous works to evaluate the performance of NFL players at any position, including offensive linemen.

Keywords: offensive lineman, player performance, NFL, machine learning

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