For a couple of years now, before I became a Steelers Depot contributor nearly one year ago, I have kept a personal running spreadsheet during the draft process. The goal for me was to learn about the players, gathering information that I have tweaked along the way as I’m sure I will continue to do in the future. With great questions and conversations with some your responses to previous articles, people have seemed interested in this information I’ve referenced, so today I will share visualizations of the data points I create each year, simply called interest and athletic scores with explanations to follow.
As Dave Bryan and Alex Kozora discuss regularly, the Steelers have a type of player they look for, and what the scores attempt to achieve is seeing who checks many of those boxes, or vice versa. You will notice many of the inspirations for these scores come from their studies of draft trends over the years for Pittsburgh, with their in-depth research second to none being one of the main reasons I pursued a position and count my blessings to work with the great football minds at Steelers Depot. While there is no way to predict perfectly what selections the Steelers will make in the draft at the end of the month, I feel great about what the data points measure and of course would love to hear feedback as I’m always looking to improve the points system. Also, there is only so much time in the day and additional things I’d like to measure, so I focus on the crucial and/or practical choices in my opinion.
Now for more explanation to how the scores come together. The biggest point I want to make right off the bat is this is not a big board or round projection view, rather trying to pinpoint names the Steelers may select regardless of when they are drafted. After I get a healthy pool of names that I hear about or research, I begin the scoring.
Interest Score: Here I configured a points system for the following important questions. How did the player perform in college? Does their height and weight match up to the body type of any player Pittsburgh has drafted at the position since 2010? What is their experience, age? Do they play a position of need? What was their level of competition? Who attended their pro day? Did they have a pre-draft meeting? Did they appear in the Senior or Shrine Bowl?
This matches up nicely to the Athletic Score: simply 11 combine metrics excluding wingspan, and whether or not they were within a threshold in each metric of any player drafted at their position by the Steelers since 2010.
Clear as mud? Here are the running backs:
Michigan running back Hassan Haskins tops the interest scores for the position including a pre-draft meeting and checking the boxes across the points system, along with a five athletic score meeting the measurable and bench thresholds but didn’t test otherwise and is seemingly a day three option. Ole Miss running back Snoop Conner ranks second in interest score, the only other player at the position with an above eight score with lack of bowl game and experience comparatively his lower marks, along with and eight athletic score (two DNP’s and shorter arms that would set a new precedent) that will likely be a day three/undrafted player.
Interestingly, there was a four-way tie for third place: Ty Chandler (North Carolina), Brian Robinson Jr. (Alabama), Jerome Ford (Cincinnati), and Jerrion Ealy (Ole Miss). Chandler fared well across the board with age being his lowest mark, along with a perfect athletic score that is seemingly another option on day three. Robinson Jr. fared similarly with age also a low mark along with a ten athletic score (DNP on the bench) and appears to be a day two-early day three candidate. Ford’s lower marks were level of competition and experience comparatively, along with a nine athletic score (DNP on the bench and shorter arms that would set a new precedent) and appears to be an early day three player. Ealy’s lower marks were lack of a bowl game and experience comparatively along with a nine athletic score (short arms and small hands that would each set new precedents), seemingly and late round/undrafted option.
There are many other intriguing names at the position with strong results, and especially wanted to point out BYU running back Ty Allgeier who made Alex Kozora’s “What The Steelers Look For Study”.
Do you think Pittsburgh will draft a running back? If so, one of the names listed above? Who are some of your favorites? Thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts in the comments!