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NFL Combine 2016: Offensive ZScor Rankings

Last Spring, I published my first edition of ZScor. To summarize, players are placed in position groups, their individual drills (40 Yard Dash, Three Cone Drill, Shuttle Run, Vertical Jump, Broad Jump, and Bench Press) are used to find the standard deviation for each position group’s measurable. The ZScor is the average amount a player deviates from his position group during combine drills.

Last Years’ Standout

Since its publishing, we’ve seen David Johnson (Northern Iowa, Arizona Cardinals) go from the unknown to receiving some VERY high praise.

“I can’t say that after one year’s work that he is one of the best,” Arians said at the NFL scouting combine. “But he has a chance to be one of the all-time best.”

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So… who will be this year’s David Johnson?

 

Quarterbacks

Last year, Heisman Winner, Marcus Mariota and Auburn’s Nick Marshall stole the show. Mariota had a productive season with the Tennessee Titans, showing flashes of brilliance his but these performances were limited due to a horrible offensive line. Nick Marshall made the position change to defensive back. Marshall has landed a backup role with the Jacksonville Jaguars and as his career progresses, it’ll be interesting to see if the former quarterback can make other quarterbacks suffer.

It should be worth noting, that the 2nd-worst rated quarterback, Jameis Winston, won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Winston relies heavily on reading defensive schemes and making the “big throw.”

For this year’s draft, the biggest quarterback prospect is North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz. He attended NDSU for five years, winning five FCS Nat’l Titles with the Bison. He has elite size, standing at 6’5, and is a proven winner. His “draft stock” is skyrocketing and is drawing comparisons to John Elway and Andrew Luck. Wentz has the potential to follow in the footsteps of Tony Romo, Joe Flacco, and Jimmy Garoppolo as the next hidden to be discovered the second division of college football.

Top Three Quarterbacks

  1. Driskel, Jeff (Louisiana Tech): (0.997Z) Strengths: Speed (4.56 40 Yard Dash), Jumping (32″ Vertical, 122″ Broad Jump)
  2. Woodrum, Josh (Liberty): (0.742Z) Strengths: Agility (6.74 3 Cone Drill),  Jumping (117″ Broad Jump)
  3. Wentz, Carson (NDSU): (0.653Z) Strengths: Agility (6.86 3 Cone Drill), Jumping (118″ Broad Jump)

Bottom Three Quarterbacks

  1. Doughty, Brandon (Western Kentucky): (-2.06Z) Weaknesses: Speed (5.22 40 Yard Dash), Agility (7.49 3 Cone Drill)
  2. Kessler, Cody (Southern California): (-0.917Z) Weaknesses: Agility (7.32 3 Cone Drill), Jumping (104″ Broad Jump)
  3. Goff, Jared (California): (-0.548Z) Weaknesses: Agility (7.17 3 Cone Drill)

 

Running Backs

Todd Gurley III and David Johnson both had excellent rookie campaigns. Gurley, AP Rookie of the Year, missed the first few games of the 2016 season but his performance over thirteen games was superb. I would’ve included Gurley in last year’s edition, but his ACL injury kept him out of combine drills.

Top Three Running Backs

  1. Vitale, Dan (Northwestern): (0.973Z) Strengths: Strong (30 Reps, Bench Press), Agility (4.12 Shuttle Run), Jumping (38.5″ Vertical Jump)
  2. Lasco, Daniel (California): (0.876Z) Strengths: Speed (4.46 40 Yard Dash), Jumping  (41.5″ Vertical Jump, 135″ Broad Jump) Weaknesses: Agility (7.22 3 Cone Drill)
  3. Marshall, Keith (Georgia): (0.605Z) Strengths: Speed (4.31 40 Yard Dash), Strong (25 Reps, Bench Press)

Bottom Three Running Backs

  1. Collins, Alex (Arkansas): (-0.909Z) Weaknesses: Speed (4.59 40 Yard Dash), Jumping (28.5 Vertical Jump), Strength (18 Reps, Bench Press)
  2. Taylor, Kelvin (Florida): (-0.788Z) Weaknesses: Speed (4.6 40 Yard Dash), Strength (15 Reps, Bench Press), Jumping Ability (113″ Broad Jump)
  3. Gronkowski, Glenn (Kansas State): (-0.656Z) Weaknesses: Speed (4.71 40 Yard Dash), Agility (4.45 Shuttle Run), Strength (17 Reps, Bench Press)

 

Wide Receivers

In 2011, Mike Sando said it best, “Either one would provide an upgrade at their position,” as he debated the differences between Julio Jones and AJ Green. Five years later, Corey Coleman (Baylor) and Josh Doctson (TCU) are receiving some of the same questions.

TCU Football vs Oklahoma State
Photos by Michael Clements

Top Three Wide Receivers

  1. Coleman, Corey (Baylor): (1.50Z) Strengths: Jumping (40.5″ Vertical Jump, 129″ Broad Jump), Strength(17 Reps, Bench Press)
  2. Louis, Ricardo (Auburn): (1.42Z) Strengths: Speed (4.43 40 Yard Dash), Jumping (132″ Broad Jump), Strength (18 Reps, Bench Press)
  3. Doctson, Josh (TCU): (1.07Z) Strengths: Agility (4.06 Shuttle Run), Jumping (41″ Vertical Jump, 131″ Broad Jump)

Bottom Three Wide Receivers

  1. Wilson, De’Runnya (Arkansas): (-2.04Z) Weaknesses: Speed (4.85 40 Yard Dash), Jumping (29″ Vertical Jump, 113″ Broad Jump)
  2. Williams, Duke (Auburn): (-1.11Z) Weaknesses: Speed (4.72 40 Yard Dash), Agility (7.43 3 Cone Drill)
  3. Russell, Alonzo (Toledo): (-0.873Z) Weaknesses: Jumping (29.5″ Vertical Jump, 112″ Broad Jump)

 

Tight Ends

Due to the lack of stand-out prospects, NFL General Managers will hesitate to draft a tight end in the first three rounds. While depth at this position is particularly thin, I could see one or two of this year’s prospects becoming absolute steals. Ben Braunecker, from Harvard University, seems like one to watch closely.

Top Three Tight Ends

  1. Braunecker, Ben (Harvard): (0.815Z) Strengths: Agility (6.9 3 Cone Drill, 4.2 Shuttle Run), Jumping (35.5″ Vertical Jump, 121″ Broad Jump)
  2. Anderson, Stephen (Cal): (0.648Z) Strengths: Jumping (38″ Vertical Jump, 119″ Broad Jump)
  3. Sandland, Beau (Montana State): (0.416Z) Strengths: Jumping (35″ Vertical Jump, 124″ Broad Jump), Strength (24 Reps, Bench Press)

Bottom Three Tight Ends

  1. Grinnage, David (NC State): (-1.34Z) Weaknesses: Speed (4.9 40 Yard Dash), Jumping (29.5″ Vertical Jump, 109″ Broad Jump)
  2. Williams, Bryce (ECU): (-1.24Z) Weaknesses: Speed (4.94 40 Yard Dash), Agility (7.19 3 Cone Drill), Jumping (29.5” Vertical Jump)
  3. Vannett, Nick (Ohio State): (-0.329Z) Weaknesses: Jumping (111″ Broad Jump)

 

Offensive Tackle

While the casual fan often overlooks the importance of a stable offensive line, there’s no limitation to how important that position can be to an offense’s success. Their importance can be examined, simply by watching Super Bowl 50. 

Michael Oher and Michael Remmers, Carolina’s left and right tackles, were scrutinized for their poor performance versus DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller. Oher, once praised in The Blind Side, was put under fire after allowing his teammates to be blindsided by the Denver defense.

If Carolina had focused more attention toward quality pass blockers, it isn’t a stretch to think that the Panthers could’ve been champions in 2016.

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Top Three Offensive Tackles

  1. Spriggs, Jason (Indiana): (1.56Z) Strengths: Speed (4.94 40 Yard Dash), Agility (4.44 Shuttle Run), Jumping (119″ Broad Jump), Strength (31 Reps, Bench Press)
  2. Thuney, Joe (NC State): (1.28Z) Strengths: Speed (4.95 40 Yard Dash), Agility (7.47 3 Cone Drill, 4.54 Shuttle Run), Strength (28 Reps, Bench Press)
  3. Haeg, Joe (NDSU): (1.19Z) Strengths: Agility (7.47 3 Cone Drill, 4.47 Shuttle Run), Jumping (111″ Broad Jump)

Bottom Three Offensive Tackles

  1. Kirkland, Denver (Arkansas): (-1.51Z) Weaknesses: Speed (5.55 40 Yard Dash), Agility (8.72 3 Cone Drill), Strength (19 Reps, Bench Press)
  2. Slater, Pearce (San Diego State): (-1.25Z) Weaknesses: Agility (8.36 3 Cone Drill, 5.12 Shuttle Run), Strength (17 Reps, Bench Press)
  3. Young, Avery (Auburn): (-0.683Z) Weaknesses: Speed (5.39 40 Yard Dash), Agility (8.22 Shuttle Run)

 

Offensive Guard

In Carolina’s defense, their interior blockers were far superior to those I listed above. Their 17 wins, came through the ability to run the ball between the tackles and giving Cam Newton had time in the pocket to improvise with a lackluster receiving cast. While their guards couldn’t neutralize Denver’s defense, they were behind Carolina success.

Top Three Offensive Guards

  1. McGovern, Connor (Missouri): (1.02Z) Strengths: Speed (5.11 40 Yard Dash), Strength (33 Reps, Bench Press)
  2. Seumalo, Isaac (UCLA): (0.997Z) Strengths: Agility (7.75 3 Cone Drill, 4.52 Shuttle Run)
  3. Whitehair, Cody (Kansas State): (0.75Z) Strengths: Speed (5.08 40 Yard Dash), Agility (7.32 3 Cone Drill, 4.58 Shuttle Run) Weaknesses: Strength (16 Reps, Bench Press)

Bottom Three Offensive Guards

  1. Tretola, Sebastian (Alabama): (-1.14Z) Weaknesses: Speed (5.45 40 Yard Dash), Agility (5.02 Shuttle Run), Jumping (90″ Broad Jump)
  2. Vadal, Alexander (LSU): (-0.98Z) Weaknesses: Speed (5.57 40 Yard Dash), Agility (8.04 3 Cone Drill)
  3. Kasitati, Nick (Oklahoma): (-0.82Z) Weaknesses: Agility (8.3 3 Cone Drill), Strength (12 Reps, Bench Press)

 

Center

While the center position is very thin in 2016, there are two headliners at the head of class. Jack Allen from Michigan State was a First Team All-American in 2015, and Ryan Kelly from Alabama won the 2015 Rimington Award as the nation’s best center.

Top Two Centers

  1. Brendel, Jake (UCLA): (1.27Z) Strengths: Speed (5.01 40 Yard Dash), Agility (7.31 3 Cone Drill, 4.27 Shuttle Run), Jumping (108″ Broad Jump)
  2. Kelly, Ryan (Alabama): (0.433Z) Strengths: Speed (5.03 40 Yard Dash)

Bottom Two Centers

  1. Allen, Jack (Michigan State): (-0.72Z) Weaknesses: Agility (7.9 3 Cone Drill, 4.73 Shuttle Run), Strength (23 Reps, Bench Press)
  2. Boehm, Evan (Missouri): (-0.613Z) Weaknesses: Speed (5.33 40 Yard Dash), Jumping (96″ Broad Jump)

 

If you would like to see my spreadsheet, the link is here! If you have any feedback or questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below. Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Anders View All

Born in NYC x Raised in VA

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