2012 Combine - The Defensive End Explosion Numbers

Will USC Trojans defensive lineman Nick Perry be there at #25 when the Denver Broncos are on the clock? Here Perry does the shuttle run during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

In the second part of this Explosion Number series, we take a look at the Defensive Ends who were invited to the Combine. This is a position of need for the Denver Broncos although it is not an immediate one. The 2012 Draft has quality depth at Defensive End as there are at least ten good prospects with solid Production Ratios and Explosion Numbers in this class. As in the post on Defensive Tackles, I have charts for the Agility Drills from the Combine and the areas these players should fall into. I also have listed players from previous years for you to compare with something familiar.

To refresh, I am using the Explosion Number from an equation developed 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 = The Explosion Number (70 or better)

This formula is pretty simple: Combine the number of bench-press reps, the vertical jump, and the broad jump of a player together. If the total is 70+ you may have someone special on your hands. For example, Chris Williams was ranked as the #3 OT in 2007 behind Ryan Clady and Jake Long. By this measurement however, Williams' score of 54 lags significantly behind Long at 74 and Clady at 77. One way of honing this measurement down a bit is to disregard any player with only one significantly-high score.


Here are this years draft eligible players who were Combine invites. They are ranked from highest to lowest by their Explosion Number score. The first column lists each player's Overall Draft Ranking (I used CBSDraft) and the column on the far right has their Production Ratio. As you can see, seven players did not participate in all three drills and therefore could not be scored. Twelve had a Production Ratio of .90 or better and out of the twelve who performed at the Combine, half achieved the magic 70 number. I think 16 out of these 19 will get drafted in April, but like I said, there are twelve solid choices in this group.

OVR Name Exp. # Comb. 40 Bench Vertical Broad 20-Yd Shut 3-cone P. Ratio
25 *Nick Perry 85.83 4.64 35 38.5 12'4 4.66 7.25 1.38
254 Scott Solomon 81.33 5.00 34 35.0 12'4 4.25 7.17 1.44
182 *Olivier Vernon 77.67 4.80 31 34.5 12'2 4.5 7.39 1.00
243 Derrick Shelby 73.00 4.96 26 35.5 11'6 4.5 7.09 0.83
334 Jamie Blatnick 71.67 4.90 28 32.5 11'2 4.2 7.22 0.80
26 Whitney Mercilus 70.67 4.68 27 32.0 11'8 4.53 7.17 1.27
60 *Chandler Jones 68.00 4.87 22 35.0 12'0 4.38 7.07 1.16
8 Quinton Coples 67.25 4.78 25 31.5 10'9 4.78 7.57 1.29
20 Fletcher Cox 66.25 4.79 30 26.0 10'3" 4.53 7.07 0.86
300 Justin Francis 65.75 4.85 23 32.0 10'9 4.35 7.05 0.77
198 Jacquies Smith 63.50 4.81 21 31.5 11'0 4.31 7.25 0.76
35 Andre Branch 63.50 4.70 19 32.5 12'0 4.25 7.19 1.07
59 Vinny Curry 4.98 32.0 11'0 4.4 6.90 1.68
102 Tyrone Crawford 4.85 33.0 11'6 4.25 7.15 1.62
130 Jake Bequette 4.82 34.0 11'3 4.07 6.90 1.13
75 Cam Johnson 4.81 35.0 10'5 4.38 7.20 1.09
115 Trevor Guyton 5.07 31.0 10'5 4.53 7.45 0.90
172 Jack Crawford 4.85 33.0 11'6 4.25 7.15 0.62
359 Jamaar Jarrett 5.02 30.0 11'4 4.34 0.61

This chart represents a measuring stick for the Agility Drills.

Drill Significance DE
40-yard Dash Speed 4.85
10-yard Split (40) Quickness 1.71
20-yard Split (40) Burst 2.81
225 Bench Press (Reps) Upper body strength 24
Vertical Jump Explosiveness,leg strength 33"
Broad Jump Explosiveness,leg strength 9' 9"
20-yard Shuttle Flexibility and burst 4.31
60-yard Shuttle Flexibility and endurance 11.8
3-Cone Drill Agility 7.35

Twelve players meet or beat the 40 Time. Four came up short on the Bench Press, though not enough that can't be gained by the onset of Pre-season. Ten came up short in the Vertical Jump, but all out performed in the Broad Jump. In the 20-Yd Shuttle, seven players ran a 4.31 or lower, with the majority coming in at 4.50. Two players came up short on the 3-cone, which measures the side-to-side agility of a player.

At last. we come to the 2011 Defensive End Draft class and their numbers. Take notice of J.J. Watts numbers. They are the reason he was selected 11th overall by the Houston Texans. He had 68 Tackles, including 17 for a Loss, 18 Quarterback Hits and 5.5 Sacks as a rookie last year.


OVR Name Pos. Bench Vertical Broad Expl. No. 40 Time P. Ratio
3 Da'Quan Bowers DE 22 DNP DNP INC DNP 1.7
7 Robert Quinn DE 22 34" 9'8" 65.7 4.7 1.54
13 Cameron Jordan DE 25 31" 9'11" 65.9 4.78 1.03
17 Adrian Clayborn DE DNP 33" 9'5" INC 4.83 1.11
18 J.J. Watt DE 34 37" 10'0" 81 4.84 1.2
22 Ryan Kerrigan DE 31 33.5" 9'9" 74.2 4.71 1.94
30 Cameron Heyward DE DNP 30" DNP INC DNP 1.02
41 Jabaal Sheard DE DNP 31" 9'7" INC 4.69 1.19
45 Christian Ballard DE DNP 31.5" 9"3" INC 4.8 0.68
62 Allen Bailey DE 27 36.5" 9'9" 73.2 4.77 0.82
70 Sam Acho DE 23 33.5" 9'4" 65.8 4.68 1.22
103 Pernell McPhee DE DNP 28.5" 8'11" INC 4.93 1.16
115 Pierre Allen DE DNP DNP DNP INC DNP 0.94
124 Greg Romeus DE DNP DNP DNP INC DNP 1.53
146 Ricky Elmore DE 26 31.5" 8'10" 66.3 4.96 0.93


I'll leave the rest for you to ponder, but it looks like the Broncos have a shot at a good Defensive End in April's draft.

Go Broncos!

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