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2016 NFL Draft: Top 10 Explosion Number Performers

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone likes to focus on the 40 yd dash, but I like to look at some of the more in depth results from the combine. This will focus on explosion number. Here are the top 10 players at the combine in Explosion Number, EN. EN = [vertical (in") + bench (reps) + broad jump (ft)].

Pos Name School Height Weight EN
FB Vitale, Dan Northwestern 6'0" 239 78.8
RB Lasco, Daniel California 6'0" 209 75.8
OG McGovern, Connor Missouri 6'4" 306 75.1
LB Goodson, BJ Clemson 6'1" 242 74.3
DE Judon, Matt Grand Valley State 6'3" 275 74.1
RB Janovich, Andy Nebraska 6'1" 238 73.9
DT Nkemdiche, Robert Ole Miss 6'3" 294 72.7
DT Hargrave, Javon South Carolina State 6'1" 309 72.6
DT Rankins, Sheldon Louisville 6'1" 299 72.3
OL Spriggs, Jason Indiana 6'6" 301 72.1

Nobody blew away the combine this year in terms of EN. No player scored above an 80 (which was Belicheat's dad's threshold for a can't miss prospect).

The player who got the highest EN this combine, Dan Vitale, is a fullback. While his combine numbers were outstanding, fullbacks don't get drafted until the 3rd day of the draft, because many teams don't even carry one on their roster anymore. He played as the "superback" in Northwestern's offense and is an above average receiver and devastating in-line blocker. I can see him ending up with the P*ts and being a big part of their offense with his skill set, but I don't see his combine performance doing much to change his draft stock. His finished his college career with 6 total rushing attempts and did not have a rushing attempt his senior year.

Daniel Lasco was a one-year wonder at Cal. Injuries derailed his sophomore and senior seasons. He had a Christine Michael-like combine performance and a Christine Michael-like college career (limited carries). Here is a side-by-side comparison of the combine performances of the two players. CoD is change of direction score = 3-cone + 20-yd shuttle

Height Weight Arms Hands 40yd Bench Vertical Broad (in) 3-cone 20-yd Shuttle CoD Speed Score EN
Christine Michael 5' 10" 220 31½" 9⅜" 4.54 27 43 125 6.69 4.02 10.71 103.6 80.4
Daniel Lasco 6'0" 209 32 9 1/8 4.46 23 41.5 135 7.22 4.26 11.31 105.6 75.8

They are pretty darn comparable. Michael proved to be quicker despite weighing in 11 lbs heavier, but Lasco was faster and his broad and vertical show that he has as much lower body power as Michael. The difference in EN came down to Michael putting up 4 more reps on the bench. Lasco will probably be a later round pick, but I would not be surprised to see a team take a flyer on him in the 2nd or 3rd round like the Seachickens did on Michael (taken #62 overall).

Connor McGovern is a beast of man. He set a school record at Missouri with his 690 lb squat (more than twice his weight).  He played all three line positions at Missouri, but he projects best at guard in the NFL due to his limited movement skills (think Zane Beadles). His 33 bench reps was the second best at this combine (best was 34) and that was not aided by having abnormally short arms like some players. His 32 7/8" arms are average for NFL offensive lineman. Depending on what the team does with Luis Vasquez (and Michael Schofield who could move to guard), we might have a need at guard and McGovern is the kind of strong smart versatile lineman that we have drafted recently. He is currently projected as a 4th or 5th round prospect so he is a possibility for a team that needs a lot of improvement in offensive line play.

BJ Goodson is a two-down thumper at ILB with limitations in coverage and pursuit. He is a day three prospect at this point, but I don't think our front office would consider him since we tend to draft smaller/faster players even at ILB. Oddly he tested with the OLBs at the combine. Among LBs at the combine his Quix score (similar to speed score but measuring short-area quickness) was 10th out of 38 - not horrible, but not in the same ball-park as Nick Vigil. Quix comes from normalizing for weight and setting the average to 100. Vigil, who weighed in at 239 at the combine, had a Quix score of 126 (which is outstanding). Goodson had a Quix score of 94.9, slightly below average.  Goodson was the defensive leader and team captain on the Clemson team that strongly challenged Alabama for the national title, but his limited coverage abilities and limited playing time (really didn't start until his senior year) mean that I don't think we bring him in unless we somehow land him as an UDCFA.

Matt Judon is small school prospect as a DE (Grand Valley State) who dominated offensive lineman at the DII level with shear athleticism. He had a good combine overall showing strongly in most drills, but he does not display the same quickness for his size that some other small school DE prospects have shown. His CoD score was 32nd out of 63 defensive line prospects at the combine. His Quix score was 38th. He performed poorly in the 3-cone drill running a 7.67s. That score was bested by a host of DL players who are 20-40 lbs heavier than he is. Given how much of a premium our 3-4 defense places on quickness. I don't see us taking a chance on Matt Judon, even late in the draft.

Of the three DT prospects in the top 10 in EN, I am going to focus on Sheldon Rankins from Louisville. He's shorter than we tend to target in our defensive lineman at 6'1" (they are all 6'2" or taller), but he has the combination of quickness and strength to be disruptive at the NT or the DE spot in our 3-4. He is currently projected as late first round pick and I would not be surprised if he slid into the second round where we moved up to take him. There is some concern among scouts about his size (he weighed in at 299 at the combine), but we tend to play lighter DEs/DTs in our scheme which relies on quick/strong guys who can play the run and rush the passer. Rankins finished his college career with 18 sacks and 14 QB hurries.