I’ve been content for the past few decades to accept the NFL Combine’s measurements and scores as a useful indication of a player’s talents and prospects, and in particular as a good indication of a player’s athleticism. Lately, however, the newest generation of NFL pundits and fans are creating new statistical and analytical approaches for our beloved game. Perhaps I need to start trying to catch up.
There is of course the NFL itself, with its “Next Gen Stats.” For example, the Next Gen folks have developed “an analytics-based draft model which evaluates and ranks players based on numerous factors, including college production and pre-draft measurables.” Next Gen has introduced such things as passer release times and the top speeds that players reach on any given play. They even have sensors throughout the stadium that track tags placed on players’ shoulder pads to chart individual movements.
Since it’s nearing draft time, you might want to check out Next Gen’s top-30 list of draft prospects (Here) – it’s a 10-minute video. To get an overall draft score, Next Gen compiles both an athletic score and a production score. Their top 5 draft prospects are: CB Eric Stokes, WR Ja’Marr Chase, RB Najee Harris, RB Travis Etienne, and (#1) TE Kyle Pitts.
Then there’s Football Outsiders, who offer up “revolutionary metrics that break down every single play of the NFL season.” They describe their “DVOA ratings” as “a percentage, so a team with a DVOA of 10.0% is 10 percent better than the average team, and a quarterback with a DVOA of -20.0% is 20 percent worse than the average quarterback.”
DVOA stands for Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, if that helps you any. I have a hunch Football Outsiders has largely re-packaged and re-branded the passer rating formula that the NFL has been using since 1973 – the NCAA uses a similar, but different, formula for its quarterback ratings.
Suddenly, I’m hearing about “RAS,” as if I’m a dunce for not being intimately familiar with what that acronym stands for. I’m now somewhat enlightened: RAS, or Relative Athletic Score, is the brainchild of Kent Lee Platte, a lifelong Detroit Lions fan who says he has a passion for math and metrics. He’s spent the last five years trying to provide a metric that can gauge a player’s athletic abilities relative to the position he plays. Unlike Pro Football Focus, which charges handsomely for sharing its analytics and statistics, Platte has provided a web site that is free for anyone to use.
Platte incorporates data that is normally recorded during the annual NFL Combine session. He’s compiled such data on NFL players from 1987 to the present. To qualify for an RAS score, one must have at least six recorded metrics from any of the following list: height, weight, 40-yard dash, 20-yard split, 10-yard split, Bench Press repetitions, vertical jump, broad jump, short shuttle, and 3-Cone drill. I guess he now accepts similar Pro Day numbers, as the NFL Combine did not take place this year due to the pandemic.
When consulting the RAS web site, you can limit the printout, such as to players from a particular team, for all Pro Bowlers since 1987, for individual draft years since 1987 – and now to just the 2021 draft class. He rates players from zero to 10, and he also uses a color code: those with RAS scores of 8.00 or above have a green background, those from 5.00 to 8 are in yellow, and those scoring under 5 are in red.
According to Platte, “there’s still a long way to go, but this site is my first attempt at providing a public view of what data I have gathered and quantified so far.” I’d say he’s off to a good start, because any number of NFL and Packers’ sites are prominently referring to RAS in formulating their mock drafts.
In addition to producing an overall RAS score, the website has breakdowns for composite size (based on height, weight, and number of 225# bench presses), speed (40 yard dash, 20 yard split, and 10 yard split), explosion (vertical and broad jumps), and agility (20-yard shuttle and 3-cone drill).
One can also limit the printouts to just one college, one draft year, or most importantly, for a single position. Platte, however, apparently isn’t sharing with us the exact formula he uses to convert the raw data into his relative athleticism scores. Maybe he’s just averaging out the four composite scores. Maybe he has different formulas for the various positions – which would be smart.
The RAS system is hardly revolutionary, but it’s a useful database, especially right now as the NFL draft is imminent.
To check out the current college draft class, first bring up the web site: relativeathleticscores.com. Then select “2021 Draft Class.” The listing is from the highest to the lowest RAS scores. For a particular player, you can also link to the “Player Page,” which provides a player’s measurements and scores on which his RAS is based; it also depicts a player’s composite size, speed, explosion, and agility scores. Give it a try.
There appear to be 171 players with scores of 8 or above, 187 in the 5 to 8 range, and 261 with an RAS score under 5. This year, two players have perfect 10.0 scores: Northern Iowa tackle Spencer Brown and Oklahoma center Creed Humphrey .
Below are the RAS scores for several players in the 2021 draft class. This list consists of players, compiled by packers.com, who were most frequently included in the bottom third (picks 20-32) of the likely first round picks contained in more than a dozen “reputable” mock drafts. The list contains the player’s name, position, RAS, and overall 2021 draft class ranking, in order of their RAS scores.
Jaycee Horn, CB, 9.99, T3
Samuel Cosmi, OT, 9.99, T3
Quinn Meinerz, Center, 9.98, T7
Jamin Davis, LB, 9.94, 11
Jason Oweh, Edge, 9.92, 12
Jaelan Phillips, DE, 9.87, 21
Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, 9.77, 29,
Teven Jenkins, OT, 9.74. T33
Ifeatu Melifonwa, CB, 9.69, T38
Greg Newsome, CB, 9.66, T42
Micah Parsons, LB, 9.59, T51
Eric Stokes, CB, 9.37, 67
Alijah Versa-Tucker, OL, 9.04. T88
Kadarius Toney WR, 9.00, 95
Levi Onwuzurike, DL, 8.73, T 114
Zaven Collins, LB, 8.72, 116
Elijah Moore, WR, 8.68, 118
Liam Eichenberg, OT, 8.56, 130
Azeez Ojulari, DE, 8.17, T158
Jalen Mayfield, OT, 4.9, 366
Nick Bolton, LB, 4.62, T380
Platte did not have sufficient raw data to create an RAS for cornerback Caleb Farley or tackle Christian Darrisaw
Following the 2021 draft, I’ll return to take a look at where the Packers’ draftees rank on the RAS scale.
Everyone seems to think that GM Brian Gutekunst highly values athleticism when picking draft choices. I agree that his first three draft picks generally bear that out, but will he continue to do so in his fourth season as general manager?
Assuming the Packers draft at number 29, will they land one of the 29 players with an RSA of 9.77 or higher? With the 62nd overall pick, will they select one of the 62 players with an RSA of 9.50 or higher? With the 92nd pick, will they select one of the 92 players with an RSA of 9.03 or higher?
The answer to these questions should give a solid indication of how much value Brian Gutekunst and his draft experts truly place on athleticism. This is especially so if Gutey tends to draft the best player s available at the time, as opposed to filling positions of the greatest need.
I am getting close to not caring anymore. The Packers have become a brand and Lambeau is a theme park.
There are a lot of blank spaces between players that were drafted in the RAS lists for each year. Those players weren’t drafted. To me the RAS scores indicate that Gutekunst may select a later round player based on RAS metrics rather than an early round player.
In 2019 Gary was a top 2 RAS player, but Savage was around 190, and Ty Summers was top 40. In 2018 several Packer later round picks were in the top 25 through 100 RAS scores. Donnerson, Looney, and St. Brown were top 25. Burks was top 50. Alexander was in top 55. Jackson and MVS were in top 100.
I think being a top athlete along with college production, and room for potential NFL growth are important factors for Packer early picks. I believe the RAS grade or whatever grade the Packers use to determine athletic scores may be the deciding factor for later round picks more than early picks.
Interesting cause Savage is viewed as an athlete…and Ty Summers looks like an undersized linebacker playing in slow motion.
The search for the next (gimmick) best mathematical talent evaluation system.
There is none, nor will there ever be one.
College educated math geeks trying to pretend they have the latest and greatest talent assessment tool available.
IMO….two things determine a players ability…past field performance, and psychological make up.
There are countless examples of players with high RAS scores, and/or combine day hype that ended up being horrible
Just as there are countless numbers of low RAS scores, and unimpressive combines, and those players went on to become
highly productive NFL players.
What RAS score or 3 cone time told us Eddie Lacy valued food more than football?
What score or combine drill told us that J’Marcus Russel “give’s no fuck”.
Again…Mathematical metrics tells you nothing about a players football playing ability (on the field) or his temperament,
commitment, desire, personality, etc.
There is NO easy way.
As far as RAS being free…it should be.
With PFF…yes they charge, but at least they (do something) evaluate based on play, on the field.
Which is more valuable?
PFF isn’t perfect, but it’s the best grading system available.
Being tall and fast….i’m guessing Jeff Janis had a RAS score through the roof.
Stop…the dumbing down of evaluating NFL talent.
Here we go….
Jeff Janis was drafted by Packers with pick 236 in round 7 in the 2014 NFL Draft out of Saginaw Valley State. He recorded a Relative Athletic Score of 9.93, out of a possible 10.0.
Equanimeous St. Brown was drafted by Packers with pick 207 in round 6 in the 2018 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame. He recorded a Relative Athletic Score of 9.84, out of a possible 10.0.
David Bakhtiari was drafted by Packers with pick 109 in round 4 in the 2013 NFL Draft out of Colorado. This player was selected to at least one pro bowl in his career. He recorded a Relative Athletic Score of 6.74, out of a possible 10.0.
At the annual State of the Packers press conference, Gute is asked about resigning Kevin King….
“Were better with him on the field, then we would be without him.” – Gute
Well….i guess that covers what he thinks of his depth at corner.
Gute did actually acknowledge Kings up and down play.
But of course, blaming it on injury.
A 4 year injury…apparently.
It’s amazing…no excuses need to be made for Alexander.
But then again, he has talent.
I guess if you don’t conceive/concede a problem at a position, then it doesn’t exist.
Maybe that’s the power of denial.
Gute spoke on the fact he didn’t think King would be back.
Well…if that was the case, then what was Gutes plan for a starting right corner?
I mean you want to plan ahead 3 or 4 years on a QB and sacrifice 2 picks
But you don’t think your starting corner is coming back, and you’ve done nothing to prepare for that?
Was he planning on drafting a starter this year in the event King was gone?
But then again…..when you push the press conference bs talk aside for a moment.
You look at the fact they signed him to a one year deal. That shows you the true confidence they have in him.
You’re giving (basically) a first round pick, his 2nd contract…..for 1 year…on the cheap? lol
The signing was a case of being ill prepared (band aid), more than they value him as the future.
They signed him because their pants were down around their ankles, they had no choice.
Who knows…i could be wrong, Maybe this season King takes that 5th year leap.
Maybe we bring Datone back, looking for that 8th year leap.
“Were better with him on the field, then we would be without him.” – Gute
I’m saying he was a liability, but you’re the talent evaluator.
Kevin King was drafted by Packers with pick 33 in round 2 in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Washington. He recorded a Relative Athletic Score of 9.95, out of a possible 10.0.
It just gets better….
Gute on free agency signings….
“The way i look it, is we were able to kind of sign….”
“The number 1 running back on the market, the number 1 left tackle on the market, and the number 1 defensive tackle on the market.”
The number 1 defensive tackle on the market Gute?
Gee…since when the F was Kenny Clark on the market?
Wasn’t that signing last year?
Of course, ignoring the fact they lost the #1 center…..of the league.
Piffle, you’re on a roll on this comment thread! Fricking hilarious! “A 4 year injury… apparently”. Gold, Jerry, Gold!
I must disagree as per college production indicating pro potential. There are many more cases of productive college football players with poor testing numbers failing, than unproductive college kids with great testing numbers. The pro game is very different. Mostly because your opponent is competent to excellent vs. college schmucks. The high testing players who don’t work out usually is because they don’t get the right coaching. You need athletic skills and great coaching. Together. Or it is like one hand clapping. If you have bad coaches, then, by all means, draft players who did well in college and hope and pray because they have to teach themselves but maybe have or still have the effect of competent college coaching.
The RAS thing and the spider charts are not true measures and not as useful as they like to portray. It is sort of one size fits all. It does not take into account what is used and useful at each position and which athletic skills have the most value. For instance, a 40 time is quite relevant to CBs and RBs and WRs. It has no bearing on DL and OL. With them, all the bearing is on 10-yard dash. Which is also still important to the other positions. There is no positional weighting. Hand size is important for QBs and WRs but has little relevance to a safety or a linebacker. So on. Same thing with all the measurements. They have differing degrees of importance against each other and by position. All these cutting edge athletic testing sites don’t seem to understand it or give it a try.
What is the deal with the Packers supposedly planning to trade Jordan Love + 29th overall + 4th rd to Patriots for #15? Who are the Packers after? A different QB? (This would mean that the Packers, basically, gave up two 1sts and two 4ths to get this year’s #15 pick!)
First of all….i’m happy they let you out again. Let’s just get that out there.
College game tape is useful for one reason, and one reason only.
It’s all they have!!
Yes, the college speed, mentality, and the competition isn’t equal to that of the NFL.
But you still scout talent through game tape, running routes, elusiveness after the catch, does the rb elude or break through contact, do the DL and LB’s get off blocks to make plays. Do safety’s play on instinct or do they have to think their way through it, does a lineman hold position on speed rushes, power rushes, or does he do both well, is a player willing to tackle, is a player disciplined in his team’s gap scheme (does he “get it”), is a player aggressive in creating turnovers or is he more passive, does the QB have a 1 read mentality, is he a rb masquerading as a QB, does a receiver run sharp routes or is he a rounder, etc, etc, etc, etc……
It’s no secret the college game and the NFL game are worlds apart. the speed, the complexity’s, the mental aspect.
College ball is a good time for students, they are the Kings on campus, and hold a dream of getting into the NFL.
The NFL is serious business, it is now a job…to keep your job, your spot on the roster.
To me…college ball and NFL ball are worlds apart, from A-Z. Sans the similarity’s in the game itself.
When a player out of college, who possesses off the charts athleticism doesn’t make it in the NFL…the main reason is psychological, they don’t possess the mental make up the NFL demands.
That’s why it’s so easy to find world class athletes, who failed in the NFL.
As far as the combine…it’s a tv show, it’s entertainment to draw in viewers….
I’ll repeat myself…..teams already know how fast you are.
Teams go to the combine to meet the players one on one, meet up with their peers, and most importantly, get real, in depth, medical history. I think Gute even touched on that injury information gathering aspect with no combine.
You ran a quick 40 in shorts…great. Your passes looked crisp to your receivers in shorts and no defensive pressure under perfect conditions…..great.
You wowed at the combine with your quickness off the line, and your chiseled physique. You bossed out in the 40 and your 38″ vertical. Now just use that into batting down passes in the NFL
Does that all translate you being a starter your 3rd season in the NFL after being picked 12th?
Picking impact players in the NFL draft is a tough business to be in. The GM’s and scouts who do it well, earn their keep and respect.
It isn’t easy.
Frankly i’ll just be happy when it’s over and we can dive into the actual draft picks we get.
Instead of reading everyone’s fantasy draft camp picks for 2 weeks that won’t materialize.
Soooo many anagrams to make out of RAS then the player it references. Really Average Shitstick. Kurt Cousins. Go.
I would bet that Belichick looks at all this tech shit and embraces it like he does with facebook and twitter. Some of this stuff works for some people, but relying on this stuff to evaluate talent as the main focus on selecting players in the draft, is showing a lack of common sense. When evaluating players’ ability, can he run, can he block, can he tackle, can he catch, can he pass, can he absorb the playbook, and on and on; and can he do those things well; is, and always will be the main focus on evaluating talent. Then you look into the players backround, talk with their previous coaches, team doctors, his college teammates, etc to get as much useful info as possible into deciding that players character. Doesn’t matter how fast he is, or how smart he is, or how much weight room bench presses he does; if he can’t do the things mentioned above, and do them well; he isn’t on my draft board. Some of that tech stuff can be useful, but it is just another small tool in the box when evaluating talent.
Those metrics are for the simple minded imo.
But lets bring this in a little bit and give the teams and the scouting departments some credit.
They just don’t rely on athletic metrics in and of its self…you would hope.
You will find players with off the chart athleticism, drafted in day 3 or not even at all, for good reason.
I’m sure there are some GM’s out there who feel like if they draft very athletic guys, they can teach them how to play football at the NFL level….i’m sure there are success stories, but the odds are maybe 50/1…75/1.
I am sure some GM’s and scouts get caught up in it and give it far more importance than they should.
But for the most part i respect most scouts and the work they do. The reason being is…i will periodically look back at 1-4 year players and read scouting reports and the majority (not all) but the majority of them nailed it describing players pro’s and cons.
But yea…GM’s and scouts are not totally immune from getting into the hype of a players combine. But the best ones…know better.
Fun Fact: Jaire Alexander and Jordon Love will make almost exactly the same amount of money after 4 years in the league. 12 mill.
Fun Fact: The Packers (very soon) will exercise the 5th year option on Alexander at a cost of 13.2 million. A deserving raise, but the player would prefer a long term deal.
If the Packers wait a year to sign him to a multi year contract, it will only be more expensive then.
BUT….once they exercise the 5th year option….the Packers will then be 21 million over the 2022 salary cap, with 31 players yet to sign, including Davante Adams.
If you thought this off season was filled with drama concerning the salary cap, WAIT….in 11 months, your head will be spinning.
Acknowledgement: I’m a fair man….Give Gute credit….he hit it out of the park with Alexander. Gute traded up 9 spots for a 3rd and a 6th rounder.
So in essence he moved up 4 spots for the cost of…. nothing, considering he doesn’t hit after the 2nd round anyway. Not bad Gute.
Alexander ..after only 3 seasons has accomplished more than a lot of players do their whole career.
2018 – 72.4
2019 – 73.0
2020 – 90.5
PFF…#1 cornerback in the NFL
2nd Team All-Pro
Jordan Love……….Gute traded a 4th round pick to move up 4 spots to secure his future QB
Love was officially named back up to Aaron Rodgers on March 17th 2021.
Love looks forward to being on the active game day roster for the first time in his 2nd year.
A curious pick….which when announced, caused 10 million people.. to utter the words…”What the fuck?” simultaneously.
PF4L, I agree with your statement that Gute hit it out of the park with Alexander. As much as I pooh-pooh Gute and his strategies, he should also be given credit for acquiring Jenkins and Savage. Jenkins can play anywhere on the OL, and I think; (hope) our new DC can put Savage to better use. I’ve seen Savage play against pretty good competition at Maryland when they played against Ohio St, Penn St., and Michigan. The kid was a stud and I don’t think Pettine utilized him right. As far as Love, I’m anxious to see what he can do, and want to see what the brass sees in him. They will have to let him play 90%, or more in pre-season this year, cause he’s the only other QB on the roster, as of now. Heaven forbid, an injury to #12. The salary cap nightmare after 2021, will change this team; in a big way;;;;; IMO. For the record, yup; I was one of those 10 million people who uttered WTF, after the Love pick! LOL
I didn’t mean to slight Savage and Jenkins, i’m on record giving Gute credit.
I spoke of Alexander only because that is Gutes shining star, that’s where he hangs his hat.
I would expect a GM to hit on a couple other starters in 3 drafts…at minimum.
If he had not drafted Savage and Jenkins, we’d be in a much different conversation…we’d probably be writing Gute’s obituary.
I suspect that 3 safeties will be used often with the new DC — a safety fills the star/slot role and we could see savage/amos/a_new_drafted_safety in that role. Leroy Butler had an interesting take on this and it sounded like the star role would be more interesting to him as a player.
Not So Fun Facts……
With a projected salary cap of 203 million in 2022….
The Packers top 10 players in 2020….ready?
The top 10 players salary cap takes up 173 million dollars…
Come again PF4L?
The top 10 players salary cap space is 173 million dollars…
Now add 13.2 million for Alexanders 5th year option and your at 186 million with only 31 players signed, excluding a draft class.
Come again PF4L?
Now add 13.2 million for Alexanders 5th year option and your at 186 million with only 31 players signed, ecluding a draft class.
And what about Adams?
The math……isn’t anywhere near close to working, no matter how much kool aid you can chug.
Now….with that said…..Some fans still think the Packers will keep Rodgers around in 2022. Well…you don’t have to be an MIT alumnus to figure out you’d have to get rid of a chunk of your high level talent AND eat a lot of dead money cap.
This is why i’ve been saying Rodgers is gone in 2022 imo, and why the window closes… after this season, either way.
In other news….The Tampa Bay Bucs have resigned all 22 of their starters. Seems to me they won the off-season as well, and they gain a draft class they probably don’t even need.
I’m going to repeat myself yet again…..
NFL Championships are won…..from the top down…..the TOP down.
It’s great that Packer fans gloat about the Packers 28-8 record the last 2 seasons. That’s terrific.
But……if you are that good, why do you have so many needs on your team?
NFL Championships are won…..from the top down…..the TOP down.
One thing that separates Green Bay and Tampa Bay…..
Is that….Tampa Bay is only worried who their QB is going to be….that season. While their window is open.
Read into that what you will.
Don’t underestimate the willingness to win now, when the window is still open…because when the window is closed…no one gives a fuck….right Gute?
EXAMPLE: If Killer is in County lock up….and his cell is by a side door.
If the guard leaves his cell door unlocked, but it’s raining hard outside…..Will he escape while the cell door is open….or will he wait for another day when the weather is nicer outside.
Tampa Bay is good now. Championship level. But before last year their last playoff win was 2002. Fun fact Jameis Winston is their all time passing leader for God’s sake. Their all time leading rusher is James Wilder. Their top down was not very good for a long long time.
Yea, but they drafted well by picking in the top draft slots for several years in a row. Same as SF, and the Rams did with several bad years in a row and then adding a QB.
GB is in the opposite situation — great GB so pick at the end of the draft each year….
Tampa Bay had issues going into the 2020 draft.
They drafted right tackle Tristan Wirfs in the first round.
Wirf started all 16 games plus 4 playoff games.
He gave up one sack all season, and finish with a PFF grade of 82.2
That’s a ROOKIE.
In the 2nd round…they picked up Safety Antoine Winfield Jr.
Winfield started 16 games his ROOKIE season.
Winfield finished the 2020 regular season with 94 total tackles, three sacks, six pass deflections, one interception, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery.
Winfield recorded six tackles and intercepted a pass thrown by Patrick Mahomes in the 31–9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
PFF grade of 67.1
If Kevin King had a PFF score of 67.1 it would be a career high for him.
The Bucs could have drafted a QB for the future, so why didn’t they pick one?
Maybe it’s because they had a HOF QB and saw a SB window open for them if they could find a good player or 2 in the draft.
Draft to win now, when the SB window is open. WHAT A CONCEPT!!
The difference between the 2020 Bucs draft war room and the 2020 Packers draft war room…….The Bucs tried.
It’s a crazy world out there.
When i say the difference was the Bucs tried….
Is why i said directly after the draft, that Gute gave up, he gave up on Rodgers, he gave up on the team, and he gave up on the fans.
I will believe that to be true until my last breath.
Make no mistake, i have no use for Gute, i will NOT defend a quitter.
Yes, the Bucs saw the opportunity, and they executed it well; they drafted for need,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, instead of BPA. (That’s what a good GM, and coach- working together, seeing an open window, and not afraid to pull the trigger, even starting drafted players and trusting them, can do) This crap that GB does, with not starting drafted players until year 3,4; is BS,
Correction (to my point)
They drafted…to win.
Except for QBs’, GB has a history of not resigning players to a 3rd contract. It happens, but rarely. Given the salary cap nightmare coming next March, and whatever they do to Rodgers’ and Alexanders’ contract; it’ll be interesting to see what they do to Adams. He is approaching age 30, and will they commit top dollars; (possibly the highest paid WR) to a long extension. Of course, if GB let Adams leave; it’ll be as popular as a snake bite. Maybe, they tag him. If they target a WR in the early rounds this year, (which i’ll believe it when I see it), and he contributes big time; does that sway their thinking on Adams. With Gute;;;;;; who knows? Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not in favor of letting Adams leave, but sooner or later pushing big money further into the future; on just a few players, is a problem. The bill will come due, and I think Gute and R. Ball; have more than their hands full of problems. Whatever happens with the handling of the cap, GB is going to be eating a lot of dead money in the future; and that is even a bigger problem.