2012 Combine - The Explosion Number for Defensive Tackles

During the week prior to this year's NFL Combine, I wowed and amazed you by Using the Production Ratio to Find Defensive Linemen for the Broncos. The Production Ratio helped us narrow down our watch list and identified traits that either stood out or were inefficient to upgrade the team we all love. I also said we would revisit this Post-Combine with the Explosion Number to further look under the microscope. We should be able to determine whether a player is a speed or power rusher simply by looking at the numbers.

For a Defensive Tackle, a team would look for a big bulky player that is strong enough to stand up to double-team blocking, with a leg drive to make the push towards the Quarterback. Height and arm reach are an asset, but girth and low center of gravity are requisites. It goes without saying that speed and talent are two intangibles that are welcome at any position. However, for the Defensive End position, speed is more of a requirement than it is in the middle. Height, speed, lateral agility, a good first step and arm reach are all what a successful Defensive Linemen possesses. And that brings us to the Explosion Number.

Once again, I am using an equation derived by Pat Kirwan and noted in his book, "Take your eyes off the Ball." The result of this number shows how explosive an athlete's first step is compared to the rest of the field of candidates. Since the rating systems for NFL teams are so sophisticated, any minuscule measurement can mean the difference in the selection preference between two virtually equal draft prospects. The Explosion Number is one of those measurements that can make that decision easier. Here is the formula:

Bench Press Reps + Vertical Jump + Broad Jump = Explosion Number

A number of 70 or higher will catch a Head Coaches attention real quick. In the chart below, I listed the Production Ratio number along with their agility ratings for each prospect.


A Production Ratio greater than 1.00 combined with an Explosion number over 70 would indicate a player that should be given serious consideration for drafting.

There are nine players listed below that have an Explosion Number over 70.

OVR Name Exp. # Comb. 40 Bench Vertical Broad 20-Yd Shut 3-cone P. Ratio
22 *Dontari Poe 83.92 4.98 44 29.5 10'5 4.56 7.9 0.76
30 Kendall Reyes 81.75 4.95 36 34.5 11'3 4.53 7.43 0.90
76 Mike Martin (NT) 80.75 4.88 36 33.5 11'3 4.25 7.19 0.71
137 Loni Fangupo 77.25 5.18 36 31.5 9'9 4.62 7.94 0.28
200 Derek Wolfe 77.16 5.01 33 33.5 10'8 4.44 7.26 1.25
44 Brandon Thompson 77.00 4.83 35 31.0 10'0 4.71 7.97 0.48
397 Markus Kuhn 73.66 4.89 28 34.5 11'2 4.41 7.43 0.54
136 Brett Roy 73.16 5.07 32 30.5 10'8 4.62 7.31 1.14
78 Alameda Ta'Amu 71.25 5.37 35 26.0 10'3 0.48
440 J.R. Sweezy 68.25 5.01 21 36.0 11'3 4.41 7.4 0.91
292 Vaughn Meatoga 67.66 5.00 27 30.0 10'8 4.21 7.1 0.35
331 Tydreke Powell 67.25 5.36 29 28.5 9'9 4.62 7.31 0.42
267 Travian Robertson 66.16 5.32 30 26.0 10'2 0.49
161 Malik Jackson 63.42 4.91 25 28.0 10'5 4.41 7.38 1.04
378 Christian Tupou (NT) 63.12 5.42 30 24.0 9'2 4.87 8.07 0.18
104 *Marcus Forston 63.00 5.17 35 28.0 10'5 4.79 7.64 0.79
471 Rennie Moore 62.25 5.12 21 30.5 10'9 4.53 0.64
234 Jaye Howard 62.00 4.82 24 27.5 10'6 4.47 7.32 0.60
66 Billy Winn 61.58 5.00 24 27.0 10'7 4.44 7.37 1.00
10 *Michael Brockers 55.92 5.36 19 26.5 10'5 4.81 7.46 0.48
351 Chas Alecxih 54.25 5.41 19 25.5 9'9 4.62 7.74 1.16
360 Dom Hamilton 5.54 31 4.78 7.82 0.44
54 Jared Crick 4.99 31.0 10'4 4.40 7.47 1.31
27 *Jerel Worthy 5.08 28.5 10'7 4.56 7.6 0.99

Here again, Mike Martin looks really good. He has sub 5 speed (4.88), a terrific burst (4.25) and scores consistently across the board. And he's a Nose Tackle. It's no wonder his ranking moved 20 points since the Combine.

Jered Crick would need to put up 29 reps on the Bench Press and Jerel Worthy would need 31 for each of them to hit the "70" spot. Since Crick is recovering from a Pectoral injury, he didn't lift, but the scouting reports suggest he is strong enough. Worthy has the strength too it seems.


Agility Drill Target numbers

Teams have been testing and recording prospects with these drills since the early 1960s. Likewise, most of them have been doing it long enough to know what "good measurables" look like. It's true that some players will blow people away with an amazing 40 time or put up a, impressive amount of reps in the Bench Press. But it's more important to identify the target numbers that indicate a prospect is worthy of further evaluation.

These are the target numbers for Defensive Linemen and are from 2008, so if anything, they might be a touch low.

Note: Quarterbacks do not lift weights or run the 60-yard shuttle and the Linemen on both sides do not run the 60-yard shuttle.

Drill Significance DT
40-yard Dash Speed 5.15
10-yard Split (40) Quickness 1.81
20-yard Split (40) Burst 3.01
225 Bench Press (Reps) Upper body strength 26
Vertical Jump Explosiveness,leg strength 30"
Broad Jump Explosiveness,leg strength 8' 9"
20-yard Shuttle Flexibility and burst 4.55
60-yard Shuttle Flexibility and endurance N/A
3-Cone Drill Agility 7.75

I will let you all run the numbers in support of your favorite target for the Broncos in next month's draft. I still like Mike Martin, but there are others that I would be happy with. Like I said, this position is deep. Anyway, my time has been limited, especially lately and I haven't had much time at all to study many players at all. That's where you come in. Using the work done here, make a case for who you think best fits the Broncos and at which selection spot.

I just have one more thing for your comparisons.

Last year, their were a lot of Incomplete grades because too many players missed one part or another during the Combine. Marvin Austin, who was drafted by the New York Giants, tore a Pectoral muscle in the preseason, but won a Super Bowl Ring anyway, scored a 77.9 Explosion Number and had a Production Ratio of 0.79. Since that is nothing to compare to, here are the Defensive Tackles from 2 seasons past (along with a few Broncos) for a clearer picture.

Player Bench Vertical Broad Expl. No. 40 Time P. Ratio
B.J. Raji 33 32" 8'7" 73.6 5.12 0.92
Brian Orakpo 31 39.5" DNP 75 4.63 1.17
Peria Jerry 28 31" 9'6" 68.6 4.98 1.3
Evander Hood 34 33" 9'0" 76 4.83 0.76
Tyson Jackson DNP 28.5" 8'6" 57 4.94 0.86
Gerald McCoy 23 30.5" 96"" 63 5.04 1.19
Ndamukong Suh 32 35.5" 8'9" 76.3 5.03 1.53
Jared Odrick 26 29" 8'10" 63.8 5.03 1.86
Tyson Alualu 21 35.5" 9'8" 66.1 4.87 0.81
Brian Price 34 28.5" 8'0" 70.5 5.12 1.63
Lamarr Houston 30 33.5" 9'6" 73 4.84 1.16
Robert Ayers 18 29.5" 8'6" 56 4.78 0.84
Kevin Vickerson 20 35.5" 9'0" 64.5 5 sec. 0.75
Justin Bannan 24 29 8'3" 61.3 4.99 0.68
Marcus Thomas 27 26.5" 8'5" 61.8 5.11 1.05
Ryan McBean 27 28 9'0" 64 4.96 0.94


I'm looking forward to your feedback and hopefully I can get the next position up soon. Until then...

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