As some of you may know, there’s a difference between the numbers that NFL teams receive from the combine and the ones which are posted on sites like NFL.com. This is a quick update on the status of the 2016 Force Players class after running numbers from the official combine sheet. You need to read these articles to understand the context.
Force Players is an athletic threshold based off of combine performances of pass-rushers that I’ve been working on since 2011. It isn’t the end all be all for edge defenders, but it’s close. It works as a healthy risk analysis, based on a sample of the 2005 through 2015 draft classes.
It’s heavily based around the three-cone drill and both the vertical and broad jumps. The short shuttle and the 10-yard split from the 40-yard dash are weighted more than the 40-yard dash itself. Looking at these numbers, it’s pretty obvious that the least important drill is the one which gets the most publicity.
Force Players is a risk analysis used for edge defenders, but if I were forced to translate it to the interior defensive line, which I get questions about weekly, it would be more of a highlighting function for one-gap defensive linemen. Below is a look at the active 2005-2014 Force Player (blue) and Mid Tier (yellow) interior defensive linemen who were drafted in the first two rounds of the NFL draft.
There doesn’t seem to be any relationship between the difference of Force Players and Mid Tiers on the interior defensive line. This makes sense, as I’ve stated the difference between the two in edge defender evaluation is start-stop-start ability, which doesn’t really exist on the interior defensive line. On the inside, you need to burst out of your stance and go. There is no stop.
Force Players: Shaq Lawson (Clemson)
Mid Tiers: None
Interior defensive linemen
Force Players: Connor Wujciak (Boston College), Maliek Collins (Nebraska)
Mid Tiers: Chris Jones (Mississippi State), Javon Hargrave (South Carolina State), Sheldon Rankins (Louisville), Vincent Valentine (Nebraska)
Somewhere in the middle
Force Players: Bronson Kaufusi (BYU), Dean Lowry (Northwestern)
Mid Tiers: Jonathan Bullard (Florida)
Robert Nkemdiche (Mississippi) is either a Mid Tier or Force Player depending on what his short shuttle looks like. It has been reported other places, but since I built my data on however NFLDraftScout.com processes their pro day information, I’m going to wait until they post the results to run it through the formula. I’ll have a pro day update some point before the draft.
Other significant players who are possible Force Players based on their partial combine results: Charles Tapper (Oklahoma), Stephen Weatherly (Vanderbilt), Chris Mayes (Georgia), Kenny Clark (UCLA) and Kyler Fackrell (Utah State).