How NFL Agents are leveraging data to find future NFL stars

Updated: December 23, 2013
San Diego Chargers v Kansas City Chiefs

Predicting what players which college players will be successful in the NFL is extremely tough because you never know if they are going to pan out.Of course you can always pick the top 10-15 athletes and know they are going first round depending on what teams need. But in this sea of green how can you tip the odds in your favor with solid prospects that will be picked later but preform amazing on the field.

Being able to analyze and understand data is becoming ever more important in recruiting former NFL stars. The key is to not just look at the obvious data points. It’s about going deeper to see what they are doing well but see what they are preforming poorly on and is there any correlation? Let’s take standout Jamaal Charles for example. His combine numbers were not all impressive compared to athletes in years past.

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 200 lbs

Vertical: 30.5 inches (not top 100 2008)

Pro-agility: 4.22 seconds (top 35 in 2008)

40 Yard Dash: 4.38 seconds (top 20 in 2008)

Courtesy of ESPN

Now what do these results tell us?

We know now Jamaal Charles went 3rd round 10thpick to the Kansas City Chiefs. Statistically,we see that he isn’t the most athletic person. His vertical jump is low meaning he hasn’t fully maximized his explosive potential . Interestingly enough, he does have substantial breakaway speed.

Does the 40yd dash and vertical jump have a underlying correlation?

Yes. An athlete like Jamal is succeeding in spite of his limitations. If given the opportunity to work with a qualified strength and conditioning coach on peak power output and explosiveness, it is a safe bet to say his 4.38 will drop considerably, giving him the ability to truly explode off the line.

The hidden insight ever NFL agent misses

Another area of interest when looking at his results is pro-agility.His relatively poor performance is he probably due to an easily fixable mobility issue. Looking away from in game football stats, can contain some of the most compelling things about an athlete’s potential at the next level. “The four-time All-American clocked a personal-best 10.26 seconds in the 100-meter dash in winning the Big Twelve Conference title as a freshman. That season, he also ran the third leg of Texas’ first-place 4x100m relay (39.19) at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships to help Texas land an automatic berth into the NCAA Championships.” These are only a couple of his standout performances but think if he can do this on a track, imagine what would happen if you got him in an open field.

Courtesy of

What the ASI means for NFL Agents?

Lastly if you look at him though Athletic Standard’s ASI Index you can see that he has athleticism scoring 1800 points making him very close in score to Ray Rice,Rashard Mendenhall and Felix Jones all first or second round picks.Yet with the couple mentioned insights, his score could easily improve by by 100-200 points making him more athletic than these first and second round picks. This is what we call leveraging big data in the NFL.

It is easy to point out the next Jerry Rice, Adrian Peterson and Vernon Davis because they are the complete package. By leveraging data savvy NFL agents find a sleeper pick like Jamal and reap the financial benefits.

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  1. Pingback: Supply and Demand in the NFL - AS insights

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