Selecting A Pass Rusher In The NFL Draft Sample for Mr Fast's Class


The purpose of the project is to figure out which college pass rushers teams should drafted first in the 2017 NFL Draft.


I decided to look up all defensive ends and outside linebackers that were measured at the NFL combine from the years 2002-2016 (and played in the NFL). I found all of the data using I've linked the spreadsheet of data below.

Once I had the data, I decided to separate all players between those who were drafted in that time frame and played in a Pro Bowl all star game. 51 players played in a Pro Bowl. 531 have not yet played in a Pro Bowl.

I crunched the mean average of the statistics of the Pro Bowlers and the Non Pro Bowlers. It was clear that the Pro Bowl Players were (on average) bigger, stronger and faster. It wasn't very clear if any of the areas stood out as being more important. Therefore, I found the percent difference of the two groups in all seven measured categories.

Screenshot of spreadsheet summary.

After looking at the data, it looks like the jumping tests showed the biggest difference between the Pro Bowlers and Non Pro Bowlers. The vertical jump had the highest mean difference with 105.56% and the broad jump had the second highest mean difference with 103.49%.

Knowing that, I pulled the data of all outside linebackers and defensive ends that were measured in the recent 2017 NFL combine. These players are all hoping to be drafted in the upcoming NFL draft. I pulled the top 10 outside linebackers and defensive ends of the vertical jump and broad jump to see if I noticed anything important.

Click to see the full screenshots of the 2017 pass rusher data.

Since I am a NFL and NCAA football fan, I knew a handful of names on the list Myles Garrett (the assumed #1 overall pick of the draft), TJ Watt, Haason Reddick and Solomon Thomas (assumed top 10 overall pick of the draft). I then researched what NFL draft expert Mike Mayock of the NFL network thought of each of these player groups.

It is clear that a few of the highest thought of players by draft experts are also a few of the most athletic players as well. While individual athleticism means a lot to a players success, it is impossible to say it is the only measurement of a players success.

If I was an NFL General Manager and I was trying to decide between a few pass rushers with similar college statistics. I would select the play with the higher vertical and broad jumps.

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Created with images by KeithJJ - "football american football running back" • rattler97 - "Bobcat football V's Fostoria 016" • skeeze - "quarterback american football run"

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