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Relative Athletic Scores, a metric and analytics system created by Kent Platte, take player measurements and put them on an easy to understand 0 to 10 scale compared to their position group. A final score is then produced which is also on a 0 to 10 score to show overall athleticism for a draft prospect. This data can be used to chart trends over time, showing that overall athleticism is likely a contributing factor to player success in the NFL.
2020 NFL Draft Prospects | Relative Athletic Scores
Below is the full table of 2020 NFL Draft prospects along with their RAS score. If a player is not listed below, it is because the player did not measure during the draft period due to injury or choice. To view additional information about RAS, including the theory of general athleticism leading to higher draft selection, scroll to the bottom of the table. For a more traditional look at NFL Draft prospects, check out PFN Chief Draft Analyst Tony Pauline’s rankings and scouting reports. Mobile users: This table is best viewed in landscape mode.
Does general athleticism lead to high draft selection?
It’s a general understanding that the better athletes get drafted higher for the NFL. So when asked if it leads to high draft selection, even the most dedicated of ‘tape first’ scouts would tell you the answer to that basic question in the affirmative and with the current volume of accessible information it is one of the easiest facts to confirm. So, it’s time once again to put some numbers behind that.
While not a dynamic concept either ideologically or practically, it also isn’t really a worldview shattering idea that NFL teams are more likely to draft athletically gifted players than those who measured in a more limited way. Relative Athletic Scores (RAS) give us a way to quantify that into a mathematical concept by looking at where ‘above average’ players, those who scored 5.00 or higher, were drafted compared to ‘below average’ players. We can also look at where ‘elite’ athletes, or those who measured 8.00 or higher for RAS (The top 20% in any given year) to see if they are drafted compared to ‘poor’ athletes, those who measured 5.00 or lower (The bottom 50% of athletes in any year).
Based on the data, NFL teams very clearly favor prospects with above average measurable athleticism on a scale of more than three to one. This becomes even more apparent when one starts digging deeper into the players who measured below average and why that was, as in some instances there were mitigating factors in play (such as Joe Haden’s poor choice of coaching). With such a heavy focus on athleticism, it’s no surprise the NFL Combine and subsequent pro days receive so much coverage and hype.
Despite this, you should never remove a player from first round consideration solely because of their draft measurables. You still have to account for the one in ten players that NFL teams invest a first round pick on who didn’t measure well. There are always going to be outliers, but you must always weight them. If a player’s tape is too good to pass up, don’t let them slip away just because they didn’t measure well. All the same, if the draft is weak or if you’re waffling between two similar players, the better gamble is to always pick the better athletes. You increase your chances of success or, if you’re simply doing hypotheticals like a mock draft, you increase your chances of accurately projecting draft status.
For more information on the data and how it correlates to draft selection, visit the official RAS website.