The 2013 NFL draft is less than 2 weeks away, and if you are as bored as I am with the endless mock drafts...I hope you find this entertaining or useful in your own player evaluations.
Before I go on, I would like to point out that some of this information with exception of the 2013 prospects who I have researched, and calculated their respective Explosion Numbers, is from a great book written by Pat Kirwan titled "TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE BALL".
Pat Kirwan is a senior analyst on NFL.com and the co-host of Movin the Chains on Sirius NFL Radio. He spent 25 years working in football, coaching at the high school, college, and pro levels before becoming the New York Jets director of player administration.
As we read mock drafts, and follow reports from the combine and individual pro days, we are buried under an avalanche of numbers-a players measurables. Official data for height, weight, bench press, short-shuttle drill, 40-yard dash, and a variety of other categories. Taken individually, none of these numbers has much value. But if you plug them into the right formula, you get a better picture of what an athlete can do.
Pat created a formula to measure the explosion quotient for players in the defensive front 7 and offensive linemen.
BENCH PRESS (# of reps at 225lbs) + VERTICAL LEAP + STANDING BROAD JUMP = EXPLOSION NUMBER
On the snap of the ball, the front 7 and 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. This formula shows us how explosive a player is, and indicates whether he will be able to push and slide and get into position to make plays. A prospect with an Explosion Number of 70 or higher should have our attention. A guy with that capacity for explosiveness is going to win his share of bar-room brawls at the line of scrimmage, and have the athleticism to play in the NFL.
Let's take a look at the Explosion Numbers for the 11 defensive linemen and linebackers selected in the 1st rd of the 2009 NFL Draft:
The numbers following the players name, position, and team are as follows:
Bench Reps, Vertical Jump, Broad Jump, then the Explosion Number
1. Tyson Jackson (DE) KC: 20 / 28-6 / 8-6 / = 57.0
2. Aaron Curry (LB) SEA: 25 / 37-0 / 10-4 / = 72.3
3 .B.J.Raji (DT) GB: 33 / 32-0 / 8-7 / = 73.6
4. Aaron Maybin (DE) BUF: 22 / 38-0 / 10-4 / = 70.3
5. Brian Orakpo (DE) WAS: 31 / 39-6 / 10-10 / = 81.3
6. Brian Cushing (LB) HOU: 30 / 35-0 / 10-0 / = 75.0
7. Larry English (LB) SD: 24 / 36-0 / 8-11 / = 68.9
8. Robert Ayers (DE) DEN: 18 / 29-6 / 8-6 / = 56.0
9. Peria Jerry (DT) ATL: 28 / 31-0 / 9-6 / = 68.6
10. Clay Matthews (LB) GB: 23 / 35-5 / 10-1 / = 68.5
11. Evander Hood (DE) PITT: 34 / 33-0 / 9-0 / = 76.0
As you can see, most of these guys had Explosion Numbers deserving of the 1st rd. Tyson Jackson, the 3rd overall pick, had a lower number than you'd like to see, which should raise a yellow flag. He went to a 3-4 defense, where explosiveness isn't as important as it is in a 4-3.
It's an even more helpful formula as you look into the deeper rounds for potential sleepers. The Texans took Connor Barwin in the 2nd rd, and he spent his rookie season backing up Mario Williams at DE. Some teams might have been dubious about Barwin, a converted TE who played just 1 college season at DE. But Barwin's Explosion Number (72.3) made someone in Houston take notice. Anyone with a 40-inch vertical leap is an explosive human being.
Moving on to 2013, there are a few names of interest that I could not calculate the formula because of the player being injured/did not participate in a particular drill. These players are:
S.Floyd, C.Warmack, D.Jordan, B.Mingo, S.Lotulelei, and D.J.Fluker all have 1st rd grades but are incomplete.
The format here is the same as above, and following the Explosion Number I included the projected round.
1. E. Ansah (DE) 21 / 34-5 / 9-10 = 64.6 >>> 1
2. L. Joeckel (OT) 27 / 28-5 / 8-10 = 63.6 >>> 1
3. E. Fisher (OT) 27 / 28-5 / 9-8 = 65.3 >>> 1
4. L. Johnson (OT) 28 / 34-0 / 9-10 = 71.1 >>> 1
5. B. Werner (DE) 25 / 31-0 / 9-3 = 65.3 >>> 1
6. J. Cooper (OG) 35 / 27-0 / 9-0 = 71.0 >>>1
7. S. Richardson (DT) 30 / 32-0 / 9-8 = 71.8 >>>1
8. D. Jones (DE) 29 / 31-5 / 9-4 = 69.9 >>> 1
9. S. Williams (DT) 27 / 26-5 / 8-6 = 62.1 >>> 1
10. M. Hunt (DE) 38 / 34-5 / 10-1 = 82.6 >>> 1-2
11. T. Armstead (OT) 31 / 34-5 / 9-4 = 74.9 >>> 2
12. A. Ogletree (OLB) 20 / 33-5 / 10-2 = 63.7 >>> 2
13. K. Short (DT) 29 / 27-0 / 8-4 = 64.4 >>> 2
14. J. Collins (OLB) 19 / 41-5 / 11-7 = 72.2 >>>2-3
15. S. Moore (OLB) 29 / 38-0 / 10-7 = 77.7 >>>2-3
16. T. Williams (OLB) 30 / 38-0 / 10-4 = 78.4 >>>3
17. B. Williams (DT) 38 / 29-5 / 8-6 = 76.1 >>>3-4
As you can see in my list, two OT's who are projected to be selected within the top 5 overall (Joeckel,Fisher)...have Explosion Numbers below the 70 mark. This does not mean they won't pan out or be great players...but it is interesting nonetheless.
Then a number that pops like Orakpo's 81.3 in 2009 is DE Margus Hunt with a 82.6. Is Hunt a player the Eagles take in the 2nd? Check out the vertical posted by OLB J.Collins (41-5) and he also ran a 4.59 40. It appears Collins passes the explosion test as well as a fast 40 time, has good size at 6'4 250lbs and projected to go in the 2nd or 3rd rd. Is Collins a guy we take to develop behind Barwin?
OLB T. Williams posted some good numbers too (78.4) and is projected as a 3-4 OLB, and possibly available in the 3rd rd.
Anyways, I hope you enjoyed the read and have fun using the formula to see the most talked about players combine/pro day results, who could potentially be a sleeper in later rounds this year...or for curiosity, look up past players combine/pro day results and calculate the formula and see what you get. A player like DE Robert Ayers was named the Best Defensive Player at the Senior Bowl after a 3 sack performance. But with a 56.0 Explosion Number...should that have scared anyone off from selecting him in the 1st rd? As it turned out, the Broncos moved him to OLB, where he backed up Elvis Dumervil.
In 2004 DT Isaac Sopoaga : 42 reps, 30-5 vertical, and a 9-9 broad jump giving him an Explosion Number of 82.4.
In 2004 DE Jared Allen: 13 reps, 33-0 vertical, and a 12-0 broad jump........................................................................58.0
TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE BALL by Pat Kirwan
NFLCombine Results (historical NFL scouting combine data)
NFL Draft Scout