A couple weeks ago, I presented some data in regard to some of the 3-4 defensive front prospects that the Green Bay Packers could be looking at in the upcoming 2013 NFL Draft. We calculated their “production ratios” based on big plays during their college years. This time around, we’re going to take some numbers from the NFL Combine to see how explosive some of these players are.
Taking another page from Pat Kirwan’s book, “Take Your Eye Off the Ball,” we’re going to take some of the combine measurable and plug them into a formula that will help to show how explosive these players are.
“On the snap of the ball,” writes Kirwan, “the front seven and the offensive line are going to engage physically. It’s a series of adjacent bar fights, and we need to be able to project who has the athleticism to win these all-important battles in the trenches. . . . A prospect with an Explosion Number of 70 or higher has my attention.”
So how do we calculate this number? Here’s the formula:
BENCH PRESS (reps) + VERTICAL LEAP (in.) + STANDING BROAD JUMP (ft.) = EXPLOSION NUMBER
The bench press, vertical jump, and broad jump are three workouts at the combine that specifically test a player’s raw strength, power, and explosiveness. They comprise the core qualities that a defensive lineman needs to do his job. Other workouts like the 40-yard dash and three-cone drill don’t really factor into this equation, because they relate much less to these trench battles.
Without further ado, here are the numbers. The data is taken from NFL Combine Results, and the players listed are the only ones who have data for the required workouts. Some players skip certain workouts for health or preferential reasons, so their Explosion Number can’t be adequately measured. Additionally, I used DraftTek.com to pare down the list to only those players projected as 3-4 candidates. The overall draft rankings are also based on DraftTek’s “big board.”
(Click the image to enlarge)
You’ll notice that only four players have an Explosion Number (EN) of 70 or greater: Brandon Williams, Cornelius Washington, Margus Hunt, and Nicholas Williams. None of them are projects as first round prospects, which is rather interesting; however, Datone Jones is extremely close with an EN of 69.8. Conversely, Ezekial Ansah is the highest ranked of the group, but only boasts an EN of 65.3.
Now, I also added my own personal touch to this equation. After looking at the players, it was clear that some of them were pushing around a lot more weight than others. Damontre Moore at 250 lbs. has much less weight to propel in the vertical and broad jumps than a guy like Brandon Williams at 335 lbs. To account for this, I adjusted the EN for weight so that heavier players got a little boost. Here’s what the equation looks like:
BENCH PRESS + ((VERTICAL LEAP + STANDING BROAD JUMP)*(WEIGHT/275)) = WEIGHT ADJUSTED EN
Basically, the vertical and broad jumps are multiplied by a ratio of the player’s weight to 275 lbs. In other words, a player who weighs 275 lbs. would have a multiplier of 1, while lighter players’ multipliers would be less and heavier players’ multipliers would be more.
You’ll notice that not much changes with the weight adjustment, though some players did get bumped. Brandon Williams is one example, though the biggest leap was by Georgia Tech’s T.J. Barnes.
As always, this is just one piece of the puzzle. Pure athleticism doesn’t account for technique, football intelligence, and mental quickness. Still, teams might feel they have a better chance of coaching up a physical powerhouse rather than trying to bulk up a weaker technician.
Feel free to share your thoughts on any of these draft prospects in the comments section below! And please check back in the near future for Part 2, where this formula is applied to offensive line prospects.——————Follow @ChadToporski