The NFL Combine kicked off for real yesterday, with the offensive linemen taking to the field to run their drills. And it stands to reason that there would be tons of reports out there today summarizing yesterday's activities and providing lists of risers and fallers or winners and losers. Here are a few summaries:
- Offensive Linemen Group One Report (Mocking the Draft)
- Offensive Linemen Group Two Report (Mocking the Draft)
- Offensive Linemen: Risers and Fallers (Sports Illustrated)
- Top offensive linemen leaving no doubt (ESPN)
What I find baffling is that for an event that is all about measurements, there really hasn't been a lot of focus on the actual numbers and what they could mean. So that's exactly what we'll look at after the break
The first step in looking at the numbers for guards and centers is to understand what NFL teams are looking for. Gil Brandt last year published a set of target test results for Combine measurements. Here are the numbers for the interior linemen.
|40-yard dash||Speed over distance||5.3|
|10-yard split (40)||Initial quickness||1.85|
|225-pound bench press reps||Upper body strength||26|
|Vertical jump||Explosiveness, leg strength||30|
|Broad jump||Explosiveness, leg strength||8-6|
|20-yard shuttle||Flexibility, burst, balance||4.55|
|3-cone drill||Agility, change of direction||7.85|
The first step in any assessment of Combine performances is to try to figure out whether the players you're looking at meet these requirements. This is a very basic tick-the-box exercise. You'll usually only have a handful of prospects who meet every single target, and teams vary in the importance they place on each measurable, but the less of these targets a prospects hits, the less attractive he becomes to NFL teams.
The next table shows all the basic measurements for the top-rated guards and centers. The list is sorted by where the prospects are ranked on the CBSsports big board. The 'Targets Met' column at the very right provides a tally of how many of the seven target measurements a prospect was able to meet. For your convenience, the table is sortable.
Interior Linemen, 2012 Combine measurables (click column header to sort)
|Rank||Player||POS||HT||WT||Arms||Hands||40 Time||10 Time||225 Reps||Vert||Jump||20 Yd S||Cone||Targets met|
|9||Decastro, David||OG||6047||316||32 3/4||10||5.43||1.82||34||29.5||8'2||4.56||7.3||3|
|22||Konz, Peter||OC||6050||314||33||9 1/4||DNP||DNP||18||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||0|
|23||Glenn, Cordy||OG||6056||345||35 3/4||10 1/8||5.15||1.76||31||23.5||7'9||5||8.13||3|
|40||Washington, Brandon||OG||6027||320||33||9 3/4||5.25||1.77||28||25||8'5||4.87||8.22||3|
|44||Osemele, Kelechi||OG||6054||333||35 7/8||10 1/4||5.36||n.a.||32||26.5||8'8||4.87||7.91||2|
|56||Zeitler, Kevin||OG||6037||314||32 3/4||10 1/4||5.39||1.75||32||29||8'5||4.61||7.77||3|
|65||Jones, Ben||OC||6025||303||32 1/2||9 5/8||5.44||1.83||29||27.5||7'11||5.12||8.03||2|
|70||Silatolu, Amini||OG||6035||311||32||10 1/8||5.43||1.89||28||31.5||8'11||4.87||7.95||1|
|78||Kelemete, Senio||OG||6035||307||33 1/2||9 5/8||5.52||1.95||21||25||8'5||4.58||7.77||3|
|105||Brewster, Michael||OC||6041||312||31 1/2||9 1/2||5.35||1.76||29||25||8'0||4.6||7.73||3|
|125||Blake, Philip||OC||6026||311||33||9 7/8||5.25||1.76||22||29.5||8'9||4.65||7.86||5|
|144||Saulsberry, Quentin||OC||6023||304||33 3/4||9 7/8||5.38||1.89||26||22||7'6||4.99||8.19||1|
|156||Nix, Luke||OG||6052||317||33 1/2||9 3/4||5.43||1.82||DNP||29.5||8'6||4.9||7.81||4|
|171||Molk, David||OC||6010||298||32||8 7/8||DNP||DNP||41||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||0|
|173||Johnson, Rishaw||OG||6033||313||35 1/4||10 1/4||5.24||1.7||22||31.5||9'0||4.53||7.87||5|
|173||Wynn, Desmond||OG||6054||303||34||10 1/4||5.05||1.76||28||32.5||DNP||DNP||DNP||2|
|192||Miller, Ryan||OG||6072||321||33 1/8||9 1/2||5.27||n.a.||32||28||8'4||4.78||7.72||3|
|205||Leribeus, Josh||OG||6032||312||32 1/2||9 3/8||5.37||n.a.||29||26||8'0||4.65||7.64||2|
|238||Gerhart, Garth||OC||6012||305||33 3/8||9 5/8||5.42||1.81||25||30.5||8'0||4.65||7.63||3|
Not a lot of prototypical guards in this class, if you look at how many fit or exceed the target profile in the seven categories. Based simply on these measurements, OC Philip Blake, and guards Rishaw Johnson and Luke Nix should see their draft stock rise a little. But the road to success in life in general is littered by people who thought that simply ticking the right boxes will get you somewhere. So let's look at a couple of different numbers for these guys.
1. The Explosion Number: [BENCH PRESS REPS + VERTICAL JUMP + BROAD JUMP = EXPLOSION NUMBER]
This is a simple addition that adds up the number of bench press reps with the broad and vertical jump values. Technically, this isn't even mathematically correct, because you can't just add reps, inches and feet into one aggregate number, but so be it (Heck, this is the NFL. People have been struggling with the passer rating for 40 years, so math must be bad, right?).
What this number gives you is an idea of the explosive strength of a lineman. An explosion number over 70 is considered a very good result. We'll make an allowance for this draft class and assume that anything above 65 is still good.
2. Lateral Agility: [40-YARD DASH TIME - 20-YARD SHUTTLE = LATERAL AGILITY]
This number uses the differential between the 40-yard dash time and the 20-yard shuttle to get a better feel for the lateral agility of a player, as the differential provides information beyond simple long speed and short-area quickness. Generally speaking, a player who notches a .50 or better is considered to have outstanding lateral agility, a quality highly sought after in interior linemen who usually operate in very tight spaces.
3. Short Shuttle & Three-Cone Drill
Research by ourlads.com on physical attributes that result in NFL success shows that centers who are better than 4.69 in the short shuttle have significantly better odds of starting in the NFL than centers who miss the mark. The same effect was observed for guards who beat 7.84 in the Three-Cone Drill
The table below summarizes the three sets of figures above for the 2012 interior linemen. The figures in bold show where a prospect exceeded the figures outlined above.
Interior Linemen, 2012 Combine additional metrics (click column header to sort)
|Rank||Player||POS||HT||WT||Explosion||Lateral Aglity||20 Yd S||Cone|
|156||Nix, Luke||OG||6052||317||- -||0.53||4.90||7.81|
I realize of course that these numbers are not everybody's cup of tea. And these numbers are by no means a definitive assessment of how good a given prospect is. They are just one of the many pieces of information that teams put together to assess and grade a prospect.
But there are a couple of interesting observations here that may occasionally go against the prevailing narratives:
- David DeCastro and Kevin Zeitler are the only players to beat all three metrics. If I had to put money on who I thought would have the smoothest transition into an NFL starting spot, I'd put it on these two guys. Zeitler could also play center in the NFL, and both Zeitler and DeCastro also beat the 20-yard shuttle time for centers.
- Despite the glowing reports you'll read on Cordy Glenn elsewhere, you may want to strike him from your Dallas Cowboys draft board. Glenn was awfully fast running a straight line, especially for his bulk. But in terms of explosion and agility that is not a player you want to pull and run screens on the Cowboys' O-line.
- Reports of interior O-line depth in the second round may have been exaggerated. If the CBSsports rankings are anything to go by, these metrics suggest that you're likely to get similar performance from some third rounders as you would from most second rounders.
- Two interesting under-the-radar prospects: Amini Silatolu out of Midwestern State and Ryan Miller out of Colorado. Both were a hair's breadth away from beating all three metrics.
- OC Peter Konz disappointed with only 18 bench press reps and didn't participate in any other drills. The bench test of course doesn't mean all that much by itself, but it is a good indicator of which guys love the weight room. OC Ben Jones was utterly unremarkable in the metrics above. Overall, I came away fairly unimpressed with the center class. I'd rather take Kevin Zeitler and move him to center than risk a pick on any of the centers here.