Today I want to analyze some great data from Kent Lee Platt’s Relative Athletic Scores (RAS) for the linebackers. Here is a link to Platt’s website in case you haven’t seen his work. To qualify for a RAS score, a player must have a total of six recorded metrics from any of the following: Height, Weight, Forty-yard dash, 20-yard split, 10-yard split, Bench Press, Vertical Jump, Broad Jump, Short Shuttle, and 3-Cone. The player is then graded on each in comparison to the positional database since 1987 to get more of a feel of their size, speed, explosion, agility, and total value, giving context to the raw numbers.
The goal of the series is to provide the RAS from Platt, with a bit of my own twist with a size score and visualize it to get a simultaneous view of all the players at their position that participated at the combine. Here are the players that qualified for a RAS (NOTE: Positions are grouped from the combine results tracker compiled by Dave Bryan and Alex Kozora):
Right away we see several athletic options in this year’s class, including five +nine RAS scores. It is stale in comparison to the 2022 draft at the position when there was a whopping 15 such prospects. First up in the 2023 class is Iowa’s Jack Campbell (9.98 RAS), who had a solid and complete workout and has elite size, explosion, and agility, great speed, with height (6045) and a 6.74 three-cone tying for his best marks and a 4.65 40-yard dash his lowest (yet acceptable) result. Clemson’s Trenton Simpson (9.83 RAS) has elite speed, great explosion, good size and agility, with a historically elite 4.43 40-yard dash as his best workout and weight (235) his lowest but within the thresholds of what Pittsburgh has drafted. Louisville’s Yasir Abdullah (9.73 RAS) has elite speed and explosion, okay size, but no agility testing, with a historically elite 1.48 10-yard split his best number and height (6005) his lowest, just above what the Steelers have drafted at the position.
Auburn’s Owen Pappoe (9.31 RAS) has elite speed, great explosion, but very poor size and no agility testing, with a historically elite 4.39 40-yard dash his best mark, and weight (225) right at the cusp of Pittsburgh’s recent draft tendencies. Vanderbilt’s Anfernee Orji (9.19 RAS) has elite speed and explosion, good agility, but poor size, with a 1.51 10-yard split his best and weight (230) his lowest number but still an acceptable one.
Six players have RASs in the eights, starting with Tennessee’s Jeremy Banks (8.9 RAS), who has elite speed and explosion, okay agility, but poor size, with a 4.53 40-yard dash his best workout; height (6006) his lowest but still fitting Pittsburgh’s past thresholds. Tulane’s Dorian Williams (8.77 RAS) has elite speed, good explosion, but poor size and no agility testing, with a 1.52 10-yard split his best mark and weight (228) the lowest yet acceptable number. Washington State’s Daiyan Henley (8.56 RAS) has great speed and explosion, but poor size and no agility testing, with a 4.54 40-yard dash his strongest result and weight (225) right at Pittsburgh’s recent threshold.
Oregon’s Noah Sewell (8.32 RAS) has great speed, good size, okay explosion and agility, with a 1.56 10-yard split his best workout and a 7.28 three-cone that is outside of the Steelers’ past draft tendencies. Georgia Tech’s Charlie Thomas (8.16 RAS) has elite speed, good explosion and agility, but poor size, with a 1.53 10-yard split his best number and a concerning weight of 216 that likely points to more of a dime backer role (has slot corner experience). DeMarvion Overshown of Texas (8.11 RAS) has elite speed, great explosion, okay size and agility, with a 1.55 10-yard split his best mark and 15 reps on the bench, which is lower than what Pittsburgh has typically drafted.
Only one prospect lands in the seven range, Duke’s Shaka Heyward (7.88 RAS). He has elite speed, good size, but poor explosion and agility, with a 1.54 10-yard split his best mark but a 31” vertical his lowest that’s outside of the Steelers’ past draft tendencies.
After a drop off we see two players in the sixes. Alabama’s Henry To’o To’o (6.75 RAS) has great speed, okay explosion, but poor size and didn’t qualify in agility, with a 1.55 10-yard split his best workout and weight (227) his lowest yet an acceptable mark. TCU’s Dee Winters (6.26 RAS) has elite speed but very poor size. Didn’t qualify in explosion, and no agility testing, with a 4.49 40-yard dash his best number. His historically low height (5110) may deter Pittsburgh if past threshold holds true.
Another two prospects land in the five range, starting with Cincinnati’s Ivan Pace (5.63 RAS). He has good speed and explosion, okay agility, but very poor size, with a 2.66 20-yard shuttle his best workout but historically low height (5104) that would set a new precedent for the Steelers. Indiana’s Cam Jones (5.5 RAS) has great speed but poor size and agility and didn’t qualify in explosion, with a 1.55 10-yard split his best number and weight (226) right above the line through which Pittsburgh lenses.
The final player lands in the fours: Purdue’s Jalen Graham (4.23). He has good speed, but poor size, explosion, and agility, with a 1.59 10-yard split his best workout. His weight (220) is outside of the Steelers’ past draft tendencies.
Next, I wanted to provide more context with a size score using the RAS for the players’ height and weight, which includes all the Combine invites since all players are measured there:
Campbell tops this list (6045, 249) very comfortably, which highlights the lack of size in this year’s draft, considering five prospects had above-eight size scores in the 2022 draft. His fit in Pittsburgh has been well-documented and checks every box for a black and gold linebacker.
After the huge drop off, with no players in the eight range, we see three prospects in the sevens. Drew Sanders of Arkansas (6043, 235) didn’t qualify for an RAS, and has 32 1/8” arms along with 9 3/4” hands, which fit the Pittsburgh size mold but didn’t test otherwise. Sewell (6014, 246) also fits in these terms along with most of his full testing. But his 7.28 three-cone would set a new precedent. Heyward (6027, 235) has the requisite size but his 31” vertical and 7.32 three-cone are outside of Pittsburgh’s draft history.
Two prospects land in the sixes, starting with Simpson (6023, 235). He pairs this good size with the second ranked 9.83 RAS, and comfortably fits what Pittsburgh looks for athletically with complete testing. NC State’s Isaiah Moore (6022, 233) fits the size thresholds along with a strong 26 reps on the bench but didn’t test otherwise.
The only player in the five range is Overshown (6025, 229). But he misses the mark with only 15 reps on the bench and a 4.47 shuttle.
Four prospects land in the four range. Abdullah (6005, 237) pairs this with the third-ranked 9.73 RAS and fits in the workouts he participated in, but no bench or agility testing. Thomas (6025, 216) misses in weight ,as mentioned earlier, along with 8.5” hands and 18 reps on the bench, below what Pittsburgh looks for at linebacker. Orji (6010, 230) pairs his fitting size with his 9.19 RAS, but slightly below the Steelers’ past shuttle threshold (4.43). Banks (6006, 232) also has the size, and fits in many ways athletically with a 7.27 three-cone being the exception.
Six have size scores in the threes, starting with Graham (6017, 220), who would set new precedents in weight (220), bench (18), vertical jump (30.5), broad jump (904), shuttle (4.46), and three-cone (7.31). Williams (6010, 228) fits well in the drills he participated in, but he didn’t bench with no agility testing. Jones (6012, 226) fits the size mold, but 17 reps on the bench and a 7.3 three-cone miss past Steelers’ tendencies. To’o To’o (6010, 227) squeaks past several past thresholds, but didn’t bench or participate in the three-cone. After a bit of a drop off we see Florida’s Ventrell Miller (5117, 232), who lacks the height Pittsburgh has drafted, and didn’t qualify for a RAS with no athletic testing. Henley (6007, 225) just fits the size bill due to his weight, and fits what Pittsburgh has drafted in the drills he participated in, but with no bench or agility testing.
Four prospects have scores in the twos. Dennis (6004, 226) had 19 reps on the bench, which barely misses past draft tendencies and no other athletic testing. Pappoe (6002, 225) fits in every drill he did but no agility testing. LSU’s Micah Baskerville’s weight (6004, 221) would set a new precedent, and he didn’t qualify for a RAS with no speed or agility testing. Pace (5104, 231) lacks height and arm length (30 1/4”) for which Pittsburgh has looked.
The final player is Winters (5110, 227), the only prospect with a size score in the one range. That emphasizes his height missing the mark, along with hand size (8 5/8”) and 30.5 vertical jump a concern. He didn’t bench or fully test athletically.
To wrap up, here is a visual layering the RAS and size score to take it all in:
Campbell’s strong results really jump off the chart, with a striking balance of both metrics that were each in the high-nine range. He was more than two full points over any of the qualifying players in size along with the top-ranked RAS, an intriguing piece of the draft process that should make him a popular commodity come the draft, and I would love to see him as a Steeler. Simpson also fits very well in Pittsburgh lenses with the second-ranked RAS and a +six-size score that’s well above average.
Abdullah is another name to keep an eye on as a fit, with the third-ranked RAS, though he didn’t test fully like the previously mentioned players did. Sewell and Overshown are two other players who land above the mean in both, with lower RASs in the eight range but miss past draft tendencies in one way or another. Orji and Pappoe highlight the group on the bottom right with great athleticism but lack size comparatively, with the latter fitting more on incomplete testing. Williams and Henley fit this bill as well along with upper-eight RASs, completing the list I hope the Steelers have their eyes on for the 2023 draft.
For those who like the numbers, it’s unfortunate a few players didn’t test fully. It will be interesting to monitor the Pro Day results and see how the players stack up in the coming weeks when Platt updates the site with the unofficial numbers.