In an obvious sign that holy shit the regular season can’t come soon enough, Geoff Mosher of CSN Philly wrote a 1,000-word profile on Alec Halaby, the Eagles’ 26-year-old, Harvard educated special assistant to the GM [insert mandatory Dwight Schrute joke], or, as Howie Roseman might call him: my scrawny* Mini Me.
Halaby is the Eagles’ analytics guy, or at least the closest thing a team in a sport that was just ordered to pay out $765 million as a result of years of brain-bashing can have to an analytics guy. I say that partially as a joke and partially to indicate that, in the absence of many specifics about his job, Halaby is essentially the guy in the front office who checks a player’s stats before the team gives out pieces of paper with monetary values attached.
It’s likely that the Eagles would prefer to keep much about Halaby’s work a secret, and perhaps that’s why this is the example we were given by Mosher about something Halaby might do during the course of a day:
A big part of Halaby’s specialty is using statistics and data to compare and contrast with what the scouting department sees on tape to come up with a separate scouting evaluation.
If, for example, Roseman has a high grade on a specific college prospect, Halaby will crunch the player’s size, 40-yard dash time, vertical and other tangible measurements to see how they compare against NFL players at the same position.
Several times, Halaby’s analysis has contradicted what the tape revealed and Roseman has reluctantly altered that player’s draft stock or free-agent value.
“No matter how much you like that guy, you’ve probably got to let him go,” Roseman said. “We’ve been very disciplined in the past couple of years about doing that and making sure that we’re not taking a running back who runs a 4.9 [in the 40-yard dash] just because he runs really tough between the tackles and we like the physicality he shows on tape, because we know the chances he becomes a really good player in this league — where talent really is the most important thing at this level — are really low.”
Well, shit, I’m glad the Eagles finally got a guy to rank 40 times and player sizes.
We can only assume that Halaby does at least a bit more than what Mel Kiper and other draft nerds have been doing for years, because if not, we’re in big trouble.
Also, for those of you in your mid-30s reading this at work while you eat your fifth Ding Dong and try sneak out early before that 4:30 meeting on new expense account mandates… you can kill yourselves now. Halaby is a mere child and his life and smile are better than yours.
*I’m 6’0 and roughly 160 lbs. I can throw that word around with reckless abandon. You can’t use it, though. It’s our word.