Quickness Part 2: Bending The Edge

Quickness and instinct allow Sean Lee to frequently locate loose balls. Combine numbers allow us to locate quickness.

In my last piece I introduced a new method for measuring quickness based on 40-yard dash and short shuttle times. The intent was to create a more accurate measure of "change of direction" and apply it to reacting to the ball (loose balls, turnovers, etc.).

Some questions came up about adding in the 3-cone drill. Other questions arose about pass-rushing implications. After contemplating the matter for some time, I realized that, using the information garnered from the previous formula, I could refine the 3-cone drill to a number that represents speed around the edge. The best part: it may actually translate to blitzes and pass rush.

See the formula, and the results, after the jump.

Let's start with an explanation of how the 3-cone drill is run, again taken from the National Athletic Testing System website:

Procedures:

  • Athlete begins in 3 point stance with hand on start/finish line.
  • Run forward 5 yards and touch top line with right hand.
  • Turn back and touch start/finish line with right hand.
  • Turn back again and run around top of second cone. (This is a larger 18" cone.)
  • Weave underneath and around third cone. (This is a larger 18" cone.)
  • Run around outside of second cone back through start/finish line.

3_cone_medium

The bolded portions (as well as the two inside arrows in the picture) represent 5-yard sprints and 180 degree changes in direction, which is exactly what I spent the last post measuring. After removing them, we're left with two ten yard sprints and 360 degrees of rotation (the remaining long line). Dividing this time in half gives us the average time for the player to run ten yards while rotating 180 degrees - almost identical to blitzing the edge or rushing the passer.

This metric, unlike the last one, will not scale. It's impossible for me to determine at what point in the acceleration process the athlete is in once he finishes the ten yard semi-circle. Similarly, it's rare for an athlete to have to complete much more than 180 degrees of rotation while blitzing. If you understood the last numbers, these ones will be even easier to grasp (no square roots, I promise).

Allow me to revisit the Cowboys' 2012 draft class:

Name 40 Time 10 Yard Split 20 Yard Split Short Shuttle Short Shuttle - 10 Yard Split 5 Yard Average Max Time 10yd Max Time 20yd Max Time 40yd 3 Cone 3 Cone - 2x 5 Yard Average 10 Yard Bend Average
Claiborne, Morris 4.43 1.56 2.58 4.12 2.56 1.28 1.74 2.76 4.61 7.01 4.45 2.225
Crawford, Tyrone 4.78 1.69 2.8 4.44 2.75 1.375 1.87 2.98 4.96 7.09 4.34 2.17
Wilber, Kyle 4.64 1.65 2.65 4.31 2.66 1.33 1.81 2.81 4.80 7.11 4.45 2.225
Johnson, Matt 4.52 1.52 2.6 4.07 2.55 1.275 1.72 2.80 4.72 6.84 4.29 2.145
Coale, Danny 4.37 1.53 2.59 4.09 2.56 1.28 1.73 2.79 4.57 6.64 4.08 2.04
Hanna, James 4.49 1.52 -- 4.11 2.59 1.295 1.74 -- 4.71 6.76 4.17 2.085
McSurdy, Caleb 4.75 1.68 2.7 4.28 2.6 1.3 1.79 2.81 4.86 7.26 4.66 2.33

As you can see, the process involves starting with the 3-cone time, subtracting two times the five yard average, and dividing by by two.

While these numbers are all fine and easy to read, we have no method for comparing them. So, I've decided to compile identical tables for our in-division rivals, beginning with the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.

Name 40 Time 10 Yard Split 20 Yard Split Short Shuttle Short Shuttle - 10 Yard Split 5 Yard Average Max Time 10yd Max Time 20yd Max Time 40yd 3 Cone 3 Cone - 2x 5 Yard Average 10 Yard Bend Average
Wilson, David (RB) 4.4 1.5 2.66 4.12 2.62 1.31 1.75 2.91 4.65 7.09 4.47 2.235
Randle, Rueben (WR) 4.55 1.52 2.57 4.36 2.84 1.42 1.87 2.92 4.90 6.99 4.15 2.075
Hosley, Jayron (CB) 4.47 1.57 2.57 4.31 2.74 1.37 1.83 2.83 4.73 7.08 4.34 2.17

Robinson, Adrien (TE)

4.56 1.61 2.59 4.43 2.82 1.41 1.88 2.86 4.83 7.1 4.28 2.14
Mosley, Brandon (OT) 5.21 1.79 4.78 2.99 1.495 2.02 -- 5.44 7.43 4.44 2.22
McCants, Matt (OT) 5.45 1.87 3.12 4.76 2.89 1.445 1.99 3.24 5.57 8.13 5.24 2.62
Kuhn, Markus (DT) 4.89 1.66 4.41 2.75 1.375 1.86 5.09 7.43 4.68 2.34

Disregarding the Matt McCants (an offensive tackle), the Giants seem to do fairly well in this 10 Yard Bend metric. However, looking closer at the data, specifically the 5 Yard Average, shows that the high scores in the bend may be due largely to terrible times in the 5 Yard Average. The averages for WRs and DBs at the 2012 combine in 5 Yard Average were each 1.31 seconds. Rueben Randle, Jayron Hosley, and Adrien Robinson all come far short of this mark.

Anyway, let's move on to the Never-Been Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles:

Name 40 Time 10 Yard Split 20 Yard Split Short Shuttle Short Shuttle - 10 Yard Split 5 Yard Average Max Time 10yd Max Time 20yd Max Time 40yd 3 Cone 3 Cone - 2x 5 Yard Average 10 Yard Bend Average
Cox, Fletcher (DT) 4.79 1.63 -- 4.53 2.9 1.45 1.93 -- 5.09 7.07 4.17 2.085
Kendricks, Mychal (LB) 4.47 1.53 -- 4.14 2.61 1.305 1.75 -- 4.69 6.68 4.07 2.035
Curry, Vinny (DE) 4.69 1.58 2.72 4.31 2.73 1.365 1.83 2.97 4.94 6.9 4.17 2.085
Foles, Nick (QB) 4.99 1.79 2.9 4.68 2.89 1.445 1.97 3.08 5.17 7.14 4.25 2.125
Boykin, Brandon (CB) -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Kelly, Dennis (OT) 5.33 1.82 3.09 4.91 3.09 1.545 2.08 3.35 5.59 7.73 4.64 2.32
McNutt, Marvin (WR) 4.54 -- -- 4.07 -- -- -- -- -- 7.09 -- --
Washington, Brandon (G) 5.1 1.78 2.94 4.8 3.02 1.51 2.03 3.19 5.35 7.96 4.94 2.47
Brown, Bryce (RB) 4.48 1.56 2.58 4.2 2.64 1.32 1.78 2.80 4.70 7.04 4.4 2.2

Unlike the Giants, the Eagles manages to land one reasonably above-average quickness player - Linebacker Mychal Kendricks. Looking further, despite his above-average marks in the 5 Yard Average, he also posted a very nice score in the 10 Yard Bend. I don't know his game, so I can't tell you if the Eagles will be sending him on blitzes, but I can say with certainty that he is quick. Aside from the second-round Linebacker, however, the Eagles didn't select any burners.

Finally, onto our nation's capital and the Washington Redskins:

Name 40 Time 10 Yard Split 20 Yard Split Short Shuttle Short Shuttle - 10 Yard Split 5 Yard Average Max Time 10yd Max Time 20yd Max Time 40yd 3 Cone 3 Cone - 2x 5 Yard Average 10 Yard Bend Average
Griffin III, Robert (QB) 4.41 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
LeRibeus, Josh (G) 5.37 1.8 -- 4.65 2.85 1.425 1.95 -- 5.52 7.64 4.79 2.395
Cousins, Kirk (QB) 4.84 -- -- 4.5 -- -- -- -- -- 7.05 -- --
Robinson, Keenan (OLB) 4.77 1.67 2.81 4.37 2.7 1.35 1.84 2.98 4.94 -- -- --
Gettis, Adam (G) 5 1.65 -- 4.65 3 1.5 1.98 -- 5.33 7.99 4.99 2.495
Morris, Alfred (RB) 4.61 1.6 2.69 4.19 2.59 1.295 1.76 2.85 4.77 7.01 4.42 2.21
Compton, Tom (OT) 5.11 1.69 -- 4.6 2.91 1.455 1.95 -- 5.37 7.59 4.68 2.34
Crawford, Richard (CB) 4.52 1.56 2.59 4.46 2.9 1.45 1.91 2.94 4.87 7.4 4.5 2.25
Bernstine, Jordan (CB) 4.43 1.54 2.52 4.31 2.77 1.385 1.84 2.82 4.73 6.97 4.2 2.1

I'd like to apologize to anyone who wanted to see exactly how quick Robert Griffin the Third is - he elected not to participate in most events. The same goes for Kirk Cousins, though I doubt we would have learned much from it.

Apart from Alfred Morris, who doesn't appear to have break-away speed, the Redskins didn't draft any truly quick players, either. I would normally attribute this to their selection of three offensive linemen and two quarterbacks, but even the corners they selected graded out like offensive linemen in the quickness department (David Arkin beats them both).

After observing what happens to the 10 Yard Bend numbers for players with horrible 5 Yard Average times, it's safe to say that the 10 Yard Bend should be viewed in context of the 5 Yard Average. I will continue to work on the logic behind it to see if I can make it more individually viable, but, for now, it stands as is.

Feel free to ask questions or make suggestions in the comments, and watch out for next time when I (finally) start going over the Cowboys' full roster.

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