INSIDE THE COMBINE: EXPLOSION INDEX FOR DL

The combine gives an overview into the athletic ability of a potential draft pick. In college, elite athletes rise above the competition, as the majority of players on the field will not make it to the next level. Almost everyone in the NFL is an elite athlete, so there is plenty of merit in looking beyond the actual play on the field to see who might have the athletic advantages in the league.

Yesterday, we took a look at the Speed Scores for the running backs that participated in all the drills in the NFL Scouting Combine. Today, we’ll look at the Pat Kirwan Explosion Index as it pertains to finding the best defensive lineman performances. The Cowboys could go to the well more than once when it comes to defensive lineman in April’s draft.

The combine gives an overview into the athletic ability of a potential draft pick. It in no way is supposed to override the performance of said player on game film; it is simply a supplement. However, it can be used as a key indicator when deciding how a player’s performance in college will translate into the professional game.

In college, elite athletes rise above the competition, as the majority of players on the field will not make it to the next level. Almost everyone in the NFL is an elite athlete, so there is plenty of merit in looking beyond the actual play on the field to see who might have the athletic advantages in the league.

Here’s what Kirwan gleans from these combine drills.

Keep in mind there are no 'locks' to confirm an athlete’s level of explosiveness or consequently a prediction of success, but I do know a combined score on the three test results I looked at have been good for many years. Take the vertical jump, standing broad jump and the bench press test results and add them together. If the combined score is over 70 there is a reason to consider the candidate at some point in the draft process for his explosiveness. Of course football intelligence, skills related to the position, health, and off the field behavior all factor in to a full player profile. But if you want explosive athletes to work with try looking at my explosion equation.

[BENCH PRESS REPS + VERTICAL JUMP + BROAD JUMP = EXPLOSION NUMBER]

A score of 70 is preferred, but any score above 65 is still considered to be more than powerful enough to make an impact in the league. Here’s a look at the performances of the defensive linemen in the category of Explosion Index.

First NameLast NameCollegePosHeightWeightBenchVerticalBroadExplosion Index
VicBeasleyClemsonEDGE6'3"246354110.886.8
OwamagbeOdighizuwaCalifornia - Los AngelesEDGE6'3-1/2"267253910.674.6
TreyFlowersArkansasEDGE6'2-1/8"2662836.510.174.6
MarioEdwardsFlorida StateDL6'2-5/8"2793232.510.074.5
DeonSimonNorthwestern StateDL6'4-3/8"3213529.58.873.3
DannySheltonWashingtonDL6'2-1/8"3393430.57.972.4
DavidParryStanfordDL6'1-1/4"30834298.671.6
AnthonyChickilloMiamiDL6'3-1/8"2672734.59.571.0
KyleEmanuelNorth Dakota StateEDGE6'3-1/4"255273410.071.0
RandyGregoryNebraskaEDGE6'4-7/8"2352436.510.470.9
GradyJarrettClemsonDL6'0-3/4"30430319.370.3
KwonAlexanderLouisiana StateEDGE6'0-3/4"227243610.170.1
RakeemNunez-RochesSouthern MississippiDL6'2-1/4"30726349.569.5
GabeWrightAuburnDL6'2-3/4"3003426.58.368.8
PrestonSmithMississippi StateEDGE6'4-7/8"271243410.168.1
ObumGwachamOregon StateEDGE6'3-3/8"246223610.168.1
J.T.SurrattSouth CarolinaDL6'1"30429308.867.8
ArikArmsteadOregonDL6'7-1/8"29224349.867.8
RyanRussellPurdueDL6'4-1/4"2692532.59.967.4
FrankClarkMichiganDL6'2-7/8"2711938.59.867.3
XavierCooperWashington StateDL6'2-7/8"29329299.267.2
JordanPhillipsOklahomaDL6'5-1/4"32928308.866.8
LyndonTrailNorfolk StateEDGE6'6-5/8"2692432.59.866.3
DariusPhilonArkansasDL6'1-3/8"29826318.965.9
DerrickLottChattanoogaDL6'4"3143026.58.865.3
EllisMcCarthyCalifornia - Los AngelesDL6'4-5/8"33824329.165.1
LorenzoMauldinLouisvilleEDGE6'3-5/8"25923329.364.3
MalcomBrownTexasDL6'2-3/8"3192629.58.263.7
AlaniFuaBrigham YoungEDGE6'4-3/4"2381834.59.862.3
ZaDariusSmithKentuckyEDGE6'4-1/2"27423299.461.4
DanteFowlerFloridaEDGE6'2-5/8"2611932.59.360.8
LaterriusWaltonCentral MichiganDL6'4-7/8"31925278.660.6
ZachWagenmannMontanaEDGE6'3-1/8"2471437.59.160.6
J.R.TavaiSouthern CaliforniaEDGE6'1-3/4"2492030.59.359.8
AngeloBlacksonAuburnDL6'4-3/8"31820318.459.4
TonyWashingtonOregonEDGE6'3-5/8"2471732.59.258.7
XzavierDicksonAlabamaEDGE6'3-1/2"2601929.58.356.8
MartinIfediMemphisEDGE6'3-1/8"27516319.356.3

Vic Beasley, the outsanding edge rusher from Clemson tops the charts, with an outstanding 86.8 Explosion Index. Beasley has a chance to be a Top 10 pick after coming in heavier than expected. Most project Beasley as a 3-4 OLB, but with the extra weight could be a fit for any defensive front.

The interesting name for the Cowboys is the guy that ranks second, Owamagbe Odighizuwa out of UCLA. “Diggy” is projected to be available when Dallas is on the clock at 27, but here we see that he has elite power amongst the 2015 prospects. His speed numbers of a 4.62 40 with a 1.62 10-yard split are also quality numbers. Odighizuwa could play the Anthony Spencer role to Demarcus Lawrence’s “Ware” for the new age Cowboys front.

Another interesting name is Mario Edwards, Jr. of Florida State. The son of former Cowboys cornerback Mario Edwards is projected to be available on the second day of the draft and may be a good fit as part of a 3-technique rotation with Tyrone Crawford.

On the flip side, Dante Fowler of Florida and Malcolm Brown of Texas are two projected first round picks who didn't show well at all in the power numbers of the combine. Could there be reason for concern of their transition to the league?

There are several participants who are missing from the list, because they didn’t participate in all of the drills. Leonard Williams, Bud Dupree, Eli Harold, Carol Davis and Nate Orchard all opted out of the bench press. Shane Ray, Michael Bennett and Eddie Goldman didn’t do either of the jumps. As these aren’t speed numbers, once those players participate in their colleges Pro Days, the numbers could be filled in.

In the next installment, we’ll take a look at the Speed Scores for the defensive linemen.



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