The NFL Combine and Pro Days are key components of the pre-draft process. It allows draft analysts, scouts and evaluators the opportunity to verify if what they have seen on tape from a prospect from an athletic perspective matches his testing numbers or if they need to go back and rewatch.
The Relative Athletic Scoring Table, also known as RAS, is a valuable tool that allows us to place all those testing numbers and measurements in context when making comparisons. Let’s dive in and check how you can compare RAS Scores for the NFL.
Kent Lee Platte developed RAS to aid in comparing the athleticism of athletes from different position groups. Kent describes RAS as he sees it.
“For the past half-decade, I have worked to create a metric that can intuitively and easily gauge a player’s athletic ability relative to their position and give tools to compare and contrast based on known measurements.
A player must meet the following requirements to qualify: Height, Weight; Forty-yard dash; Twenty-yard split; Ten-yard split; Bench Press; Vertical Jump, Broad Jump, Short Shuttle; 3-Cone. Below is an example of the RAS stats of Kolton Miller, who had a near-perfect score of 9.99 back in 2018:
|RAS Stat||Kolton Miller RAS Score 2018|
The RAS scale is 0-10, with ten being the most elite and 5 being the average. It’s used to rank players in their position groups. Cornerbacks and guards could have the same RAS score, even though they may have different testing results. It makes it easier to compare the impact of athletes in other positions.
Simply put, RAS allows us to easily compare guard A and guard B in athleticism, even though the testing numbers might differ for each category. RAS scores are not the only way to evaluate talent. RAS scores are not a guarantee of success in the NFL, but they can be used as a tool to help you evaluate potential prospects.
It’s important to remember, particularly for fans, that each team, when drafting, might not be looking at all the numbers the same. Some teams might value different attributes than what another team likes. RAS is not a be-all end-all, it is more of a starting point when evaluating players.
The average RAS score for a player on an NFL roster is 7.16. Teams value this stuff. It should never be the entirety of your evaluation process, but frankly, if you’re omitting it entirely from your evaluations, you’re making a massive, altogether avoidable mistake.
I know people look at teams like the Raiders who fall in love with players’ measurables and think that devalues something like RAS, and it doesn’t.
|Metric||Average||Best Mark||Worst Mark||League Avg|
The RAS is a “grey box” metric that uses both standard body measurements and popular physical tests for college football players to determine athleticism. The raw score is then compared with previous college football players who have been available for the NFL Draft to produce a final RAS score. Although it is not known how the score is calculated, we know what inputs are used.
The RAS score varies from 1 (lowest percentage) to 10 (10 highest) levels of athleticism. The RAS scores are only comparable to past players in the same position. This doesn’t allow you to list all the top draftees, but it does keep wide receivers from being compared with offensive guards. The RAS can be used to quickly assess draftees to identify the stronger, faster and more athletic ones.
The raw scores of the 2023 NFL Draft Combine will be used. These tests include the 40-yard dash, Broad Jump and Vertical Jump, as well as the 3 Cone Drill, 20- and 60-yard shuttles, and Bench Press. The standard speed measurement method is the 40-yard dash, which can be broken down into splits. The 40-yard distance is standard. 4.4 seconds is the gold standard, for skill position players. Although the shuttles of 20 and 60 yards measure speed, they are not as important for talent evaluations. Both Broad Jumps and Vertical Jumps measure lower body explosiveness.
The NFL also examines the Vertical Jump to determine how high the defensive players can swat the ball away on 50/50 balls. The 3 Cone Drill measures agility and speed at which players can change direction. This test is used extensively in scouting for nearly every position except the quarterback and offensive line. Bench Press tests for upper body strength. Prospects must bench press 225 pounds as many times as possible. The Bench Press isn’t heavily weighted for NFL draft evaluations, except for offensive and defensive linemen.
Some athletes, for whatever reason, choose not to do some drills at the combine or on their pro days; this leads to gaps in the data. Missing values are a problem for both RAS data and NFL Draft Combine data. Many prospects don’t have test results for all metrics due to injury, postponement, choice or other reasons. They have incomplete profiles, which can cause missing data in the database. This is a common occurrence, and it is expected that all players will not have completed data. Their database has missing sections (the 60-yard Shuttle) and oddly specific missing data (3 Cone drill for Running Backs), which is actually extremely important for this position.
The 40-yard dash is the most anticipated and heavily weighed event at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Regardless of position, every athlete invited to the combine is expected to run a series of straight-line sprints of 40 yards.
The NFL draft team uses the results of the extensive scouting process to determine an athlete’s speed. Scouts are looking for speed, explosion and burst in athletes. This is all fine, but things like RAS are needed to measure the relative athletic scores because a straight-line 40-yard dash with no equipment on doesn’t really show you much when evaluating a football player.
Teams like the Las Vegas Raiders have tended to fall in love with the raw speed of an athlete’s forty-yard dash, and because of this love for straight-line speed, have picked numerous busts in the first round of the draft over the past twenty tears.
The NFL Scouting Combine has just ended. Analysts, draftniks, and NFL scouts are evaluating potential players in great detail and going to great lengths for the league’s next great player. Drills and athletic testing are just one part of selecting foundational players. This is where RAS scores come in.
RAS is a measure of a player’s ability to play in the NFL. It reflects a prospect’s athletic skills and not their football knowledge. The Chiefs selected Brian Johnston during the seventh round in the 2008 NFL Draft. He earned a perfect 10 RAS. Before he was released, he played in only nine games for KC.
However, players with low RAS can become great players. Tom Brady had a 1.49 All-Time low score and was quite good, hell he was great, so the scores are not everything.
The primary use of RAS scores is that it takes a prospect’s combined performance and boils it down to a simple, comparative number. This way, you can cross-reference between players at the same position and compare the scores for different players at different positions. It gives you a way to figure out a guard’s comparative value to, say, a linebacker’s comparative value, which is extremely important for the NFL draft.
The men making these decisions for their respective teams’ jobs are on the line, and one lousy draft can send them packing and looking for another job, so this is a high-pressure job, and you need all of the information you can get your hands on. Leave no stone unturned!
WR Abdrei Iosivas, Princeton
The term “Olympic-level athlete” is often thrown about during pre-draft testing. In Andrei Iosivas’ case, the designation applies. He is a tremendous athlete and, a year ago, was just a track star at Princeton. Iosivas ran the fastest-ever 60-meter dash (6.71) in the NCAA heptathlon at the ’22 NCAA Indoor Championships. The combine was the perfect spot for him to show off his insane athleticism.
OT Blake Freeland, BYU
Freeland is an insane athlete and was recruited to BYU as a QB/TE; the BYU product fits the prototype of a professional left tackle. He’s 6’7″ and 312 pounds with 34-inch arms. Reminds me of Eagles standout Lane Johnson.
Edge Will McDonald, Iowa State
McDonald will likely work his way into the first round of this draft. The 6’3″, 241-pound defender was a four-sport standout at the high school level. McDonald was a standout four-sport athlete in high school.
Edge Will Anderson, Alabama
Anderson shored up any concerns about his size at the combine. He’s an explosive and impactful every-down edge rusher who racked up over 200 pressures in three seasons at Alabama. Anderson will be a dominant player for the next decade in the NFL, and he is the best player in this draft.
QB CJ Stroud, Ohio State
Stroud is the most gifted QB in this draft. He is excellent when it comes to making decisions and extending plays. He will be a quality starting QB in the NFL right away.
LB, Nick Herbig, Wisconsin
He has the most impressive range and change-of-direction ability of any linebacker in this draft class. However, he was an off-ball linebacker in Wisconsin so that he won’t be getting much attention. Whoever gets him will get an immediate starter.
WR, Tyler Scott, Cincinnati
Scott possesses that same level of elite juice that makes any receiver so appealing, with reportedly a 4.29-second 40-yard dash, a 40.5-inch vertical and an 11-foot broad jump in Cincinnati’s testing last offseason.
The role of athleticism in NFL players and the draft is complex. Athleticism is not the be-all and end-all, and each team values it much differently. Some teams overvalue it, and some are not that interested; why? In the combine, the testing is done in shorts and a t-shirt. That is much different than a game situation; Some teams value the player’s production in college over raw physical numbers.
Raw physical numbers don’t tell us about the player’s heart or brain. You can have a freak athlete who slows down once pads are on. So, athleticism is important but I don’t think it’s the most important aspect when judging an NFL prospect.
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