You might be asking, what exactly does RAS mean? Well, RAS stands for “Relative Athletic Score” which is analytic that combines a prospect’s measurables (height, weight, 40 times, and other athletic/agility times) and puts them on a 0-to-10 scale alongside other players at the same position.
Last year, Denver Broncos General Manager George Paton selected a lot of prospects who earned high RAS grades. So, did he repeat that during this year's draft class? Let us take a look.
Nik Bonitto | Edge Rusher | RAS: 9.37
The Denver Broncos selected now-former edge rusher Nik Bonitto with their 64th overall in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft. He received a RAS score of 9.37. He received an elite composite speed grade and a great explosion and agility grade. However, he also has a poor composite size grade, which sums up Bonitto well.
Nik Bonitto was drafted with pick 64 of round 2 in the 2022 draft class. He scored a 9.37 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 96 out of 1503 DE from 1987 to 2022. https://t.co/DTWjkyjfJw #RAS #Broncos pic.twitter.com/qpAWNJCgb6— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 30, 2022
Bonitto is a great athlete. He’s twitchy, explosive, and very athletic. This is why he’s an excellent pass rusher, but his size and overall strength are why he has limitations in the run game and potentially against more physical offensive lineman.
Overall, the Broncos got themselves an exciting edge rusher in Bonitto. He’ll need to add strength to become a more well-rounded edge rusher, but his RAS really showcases the strengths of his game.
Greg Dulcich | Tight End | RAS: 8.25
In the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos traded back from pick 75 to pick 80 to select now-former UCLA tight end, Greg Dulcich. He earned a great composite explosion and speed grade while earning a good agility grade. However, he earned a poor composite size grade.
Greg Dulcich was drafted with pick 80 of round 3 in the 2022 draft class. He scored a 8.25 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 178 out of 1014 TE from 1987 to 2022. https://t.co/SdTVqjxzNG #RAS #Broncos pic.twitter.com/ZSxPIzyWov— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 30, 2022
Like with Nik Bonitto, Dulcich’s RAS grades sum him up well as a player. He’s a receiving threat at tight end which means he should fair well in the speed and explosion grades, which he did. He had multiple long touchdown receptions in college and is expected to have a similar impact in the NFL. Also, his agility grade being good is nice to see as well. Most tight ends will not earn much higher than this because of their size, but it’s good to see this paired with his explosion and speed grades.
Dulcich’s poor size grade also sums up his game. He’s not known for his blocking skills and will be known as a receiver. So, his weight at 243 and bench reps at 16 make sense. This will hurt his RAS score a bit, but that sums up Dulcich as a prospect.
I expected to see the Broncos draft a more well-rounded tight-end prospect, but I am not upset about them drafting Dulcich. Adding more weapons around Russell Wilson is a must and I am excited to see what he can do.
Damarri Mathis | Cornerback | RAS: 9.72
In the 4th round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos selected former Pittsburgh cornerback Damarri Mathis with their 115th overall selection. Mathis received an elite composite explosion grade, a great speed grade, and a good size grade.
Damarri Mathis was drafted with pick 115 of round 4 in the 2022 draft class. He scored a 9.72 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 58 out of 2001 CB from 1987 to 2022. https://t.co/Lh0ggsWocT #RAS #Broncos pic.twitter.com/UfrQmDw3c1— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 30, 2022
Mathis received an overall elite RAS score and is a player who figures to contribute to the Broncos' defense this upcoming season. His size may limit him to slot-only duties for the Broncos but he has the speed and athleticism to hang with the more explosive receivers that do play in the slot. To put it simply, he’s an athletic freak at the cornerback position. Hell, his 43.5-inch vertical is insane.
As for his expectations, I have lofty expectations for Mathis. Ronald Darby has injury concerns so we could see Mathis in the starting lineup sooner rather than later. Also, with the Broncos expected to use more nickel and dime this upcoming season, we could see a lot of Mathis early on. While a little bit undersized, he’s a physical corner who will pop someone when he can. I think he has a bright future with the Broncos
Eyioma Uwazurike | Defensive Lineman | RAS: 6.58
The mammoth Eyioma Uwazurike is the first Broncos draft selection who didn’t receive an elite RAS but, it’s understandable. His game isn’t elite athleticism, it’s raw power and strength. He received a poor composite speed grade and an okay agility grade which was saved by an impressive 7.14 3-cone at his size. However, he received an elite size grade because of his 6’6”, 316-pound size, and 35-inch arms. He also received a great explosion grade because of his impressive 33-inch vertical at 316 pounds.
Eyioma Uwazurike was drafted with pick 116 of round 4 in the 2022 draft class. He scored a 6.58 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 500 out of 1459 DT from 1987 to 2022. https://t.co/dn3TBy3rKe #RAS #Broncos pic.twitter.com/zkLWF221TB— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 30, 2022
Physically, Uwazurike is a physically impressive-looking player. He has the elite size, strength, and long arms and has some explosion to his game as well. He does lack athleticism, but he’s not a slow big guy either. He has explosion in his game and can be dangerous in a short area.
Overall, he is an exciting defensive lineman who adds some much-needed depth to the Broncos defensive line that lost Shelby Harris in the Russell Wilson trade. He fits the type of player the Rams have used in the past at defensive tackle alongside Aaron Donald, and that’s the role I see him being used in Denver.
He will likely start out on the second and third teams this summer and he is someone I expect to write about a lot during training camp. He should be able to dominate against lesser linemen and could earn some decent playing time his rookie season.
Delarrin Turner-Yell | Safety | RAS: 7.46
In the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos selected their second Oklahoma defender of the weekend when they selected safety Delarrin Turner-Yell with their 152nd overall selection. He received a RAS grade of 7.46 but it’s an almost incomplete grade.
Turner-Yell received an elite athletic grade but also had a very poor size grade. These numbers are compared to other safety prospects and Turner-Yell who is a 5’10”, 197 pounds is going to receive a poor size grade. However, his athleticism at that size is going to be elite compared to most safeties. It appears he has the athleticism of a cornerback that’s playing an undersized safety role.
Delarrin Turner-Yell was drafted with pick 152 of round 5 in the 2022 draft class. He scored a 7.46 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 220 out of 863 SS from 1987 to 2022. https://t.co/mwnR4IR3mi #RAS #RAS pic.twitter.com/OQKchUd92F— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 30, 2022
Turner-Yell is the third safety the Broncos have selected in the fifth round these past two seasons. In the 2021 NFL Draft, GM George Paton selected Caden Sterns and Juwan Johnson in the fifth round, and now he has selected Turner-Yell in the fifth round. So, the Broncos have some youth and depth at that position.
This selection was a bit of a head-scratcher at first, but it makes sense when you step back and look at it. The way the NFL is going, you’re going to need more athletic and coverage players on your roster instead of bigger run stoppers. Turner-Yell appears to have the skill-set to be a coverage safety in the NFL, but his initial role will be on special teams.
Montrell Washington | Receiver/Returner | RAS: 4.33
It’s a bit ironic, but the player the Broncos drafted to be their explosive kick and punt returner has the lowest RAS score of all the draft prospects. His very poor composite size grade is expected at 5’9”, 181 pounds, but his speed and agility scores do not help lift his overall score. He only received a good speed and explosion grade while getting a poor agility grade.
Montrell Washington was drafted with pick 162 of round 5 in the 2022 draft class. He scored a 4.33 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 1580 out of 2785 WR from 1987 to 2022. https://t.co/RI3qprejse #RAS #Broncos pic.twitter.com/wPUHl6NNCh— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 30, 2022
Now, like with every prospect, you should go back and watch them and see if these testing numbers show up on the field. With Washington, I see an explosive returner with good agility and speed to run away from defenders. So, these low testing numbers are surprising.
We are going to find out sooner rather than later with Washington. He is the big favorite to be the Broncos returner and hopefully, he does well. The Broncos previously went this route with Isaiah McKenzie who flamed out with the team because of poor play and pressure put on him by the fans and media. He has since flourished with his second chance with the Buffalo Bills and has emerged as a pretty solid role player for them. So I am hopeful we do not go down the same route here with Washington.
Luke Wattenberg | Center | RAS: 9.57
With the Broncos' third selection in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, they selected Washington center Luke Wattenberg with their 171st overall selection. He received an elite overall grade of 9.57 and fits the mold of what zone-blocking scheme teams look for in an offensive lineman.
Wattenberg received a great composite explosion, speed, and agility grade while also getting a good size grade. His weight of 299 pounds lowered his size grade, but “undersized” linemen are expected in a zone-blocking scheme.
Luke Wattenberg was drafted with pick 171 of round 5 in the 2022 draft class. He scored a 9.57 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 24 out of 534 OC from 1987 to 2022. https://t.co/vqzNnFEla3 #RAS #Broncos pic.twitter.com/5cP5u3Z2gx— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 30, 2022
Wattenberg screams the type of late-round prospect who fell because he is undersized but excels in a zone-blocking scheme and turns himself into a solid starter in the NFL. He’s expected to play center for the Broncos and could push Lloyd Cushenberry for the starting job potentially. He will at least likely provide the Broncos with some good depth and long-term potential for them at the interior offensive lineman position
Matt Henningsen | Defensive Lineman | RAS: 9.34
The big Wisconsin lineman was selected by the Denver Broncos in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft with their 206th overall selection. He comes with an elite 9.34 overall score and gives the Broncos immense athletic upside at the defensive lineman position.
He received an elite explosion and agility grade which showcases his athleticism, but unfortunately, he did not run a 40-time to give us a speed grade. He also earned an okay size grade that was lowered because of his weight and bench press number.
Matt Henningsen was drafted with pick 206 of round 6 in the 2022 draft class. He scored a 9.34 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 98 out of 1459 DT from 1987 to 2022. https://t.co/4mtlIYPCFL #RAS #Broncos pic.twitter.com/UiilekRgII— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 30, 2022
Basically, he is the complete opposite of the Broncos' fourth-round pick, Eyioma Uwazurike. While his game is power, Hennigsen’s game is speed and explosion and hopefully some pass-rushing upside.
The Broncos needed to add depth to their defensive line unit and they did that here in the 2022 NFL Draft. If both pan out, the Broncos added a big and powerful run-stuffing lineman and another athletic and explosive lineman to play alongside him. Henningson has to make the roster, but I believe he has a good shot at being Dre’Mont Jones's backup.
Faion Hicks | Cornerback | RAS: 7.86
In the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos selected another Wisconsin defender by adding cornerback, Faion Hicks, with their final selection in the draft.
Overall, he received a 7.86 RAS score. He has a great composite speed score while also having a good agility and explosion grade, However, his height help contribute to him having a poor composite size grade.
Faion Hicks was drafted with pick 232 of round 7 in the 2022 draft class. He scored a 7.86 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 430 out of 2001 CB from 1987 to 2022. https://t.co/uwGYsqGeMi #RAS #Broncos pic.twitter.com/joyX8UZ7od— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 30, 2022
With the Broncos' final pick, they added to their cornerback depth by adding Faion Hicks. He is a seventh-round selection so anything the Broncos can get from him will be an added plus. Ultimately, he seems most likely headed to the practice squad but I am excited to see what he can do during Training Camp.
Overall, the Broncos had the 17th best average RAS score of the 32 NFL teams. Their highest-rated RAS score was fourth-round cornerback Damarri Mathis while fifth-round receiver/returner Montrell Washington had a lowest RAS score.
In the end, it still does appear that George Paton puts an emphasis on RAS grades. Their first three selections all had elite grades while they added two more elite grades in the late rounds. If you remove Montrell Washington’s low grade, the Broncos are among the highest RAS teams in the league once again.
More goes into selecting a prospect than this metric, but it appears that this is something we’ll have to keep an eye on moving forward when it comes to covering a George Paton draft. I personally like seeing the Broncos continue to add high-end athletes to their roster and hopefully these guys have the same impact that the 2021 draft class had.