Posted in NFL Draft

Not a first rounder among them

by Roland Johnson on February 25, 2009

If you are one of the fans hoping the Buccaneers draft a running back come this April, you might want to head over to FootballOutsiders.com as they have their Speed Score for the crop of 2009 running backs in. Bill Barnwell, last season wrote an article about combine stats not being created equal.

Here is how the statisticians at FootballOutsiders come up with there theory on speed score.

Speed score (explained in detail in PFP 2008 and in this 2008 article) takes into account each player’s 40 time and weight to produce a number scaled around 100; the average speed score for a drafted back is 102.4, a number which rises to 111.1 for backs taken in the first round. The formula — (Weight x 200)/(40-yard^4) — adjusts the minuscule differences in 40 times from player-to-player by accounting for the weight each player has to lug around on his 40-yard dash. The result is a metric that has a stronger correlation to NFL performance on a one-year, three-year or five-year stretch than any other combine drill, including the standard 40-yard dash.

According to there data for this season, some might be surprised to find out that certain backs rank below average when it comes to determining there future production in the NFL.

While Barnwell states the metric of measuring combine numbers to predicate future success in the NFL is not foolproof, it does however give fans another way at looking at the results from forty times as well as a players listed weight at the combine in conjunction with what NFL scouts have seen of a players film reel.

Given that a running back needs to have a score of 111.1 to be consider a first round back by the data provided above, all indications are there isn’t a first round rated back based off of this years speed score.

Here are the top six backs for 2009.

Speed Score For 2009 Running Backs
Player School 40 Time Weight Speed Score
Andre Brown North Carolina State 4.49 224 110.2
Cedric Peerman Virginia 4.45 216 110.2
Ian Johnson Boise State 4.46 212 107.2
Javarris Williams Tennessee State 4.52 223 106.9
Beanie Wells Ohio State 4.59 235 105.9
Kory Sheets Purdue 4.47 208 104.2
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{ 2 comments… read them below or Punt One! }

BuccinTex February 27, 2009 at 5:29 pm

One thing that “speed score” doesn’t consider is a RB’s vision and quickness to hit the hole. A properly coached RB prospect that can hit a hole fast might not fit their scale but could turn out to be a great back in the NFL. The only RB I see being worthy of a first round pick this year is Knowshon Moreno. I personally think Beanie Wells will be a bust. As a Bucs fan I don’t want either though….give me CJ Spiller in 2010 and let the good times roll. That guy has all you want in a playmaker. Decent size, fast and agile, great hands out of the backfield, oh and the ability to be a great kick returner. I’m actually content to give Caddy, Graham, and Smith a year to prove they can stay healthy and put up good numbers. One of them needs to step up and be that guy. My money is on Graham. I just don’t see Clifton Smith being anything more than situational and a beast of a return man.

admin March 1, 2009 at 7:02 pm

Being as the new ZBS requires backs to have great vision and cut back ability it will be interesting to see how Smith along with Graham can use there aggression when it come to hitting the hole along with there ability to use the backside cut in the new scheme.

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