NFL Combine Measurables: What do the Bills look for at LB?

03/06/2023
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If you’re watching the NFL Scouting Combine and wondering if that burgeoning crush you’re developing is a player who fits the Buffalo Bills’ archetypes, then this series is written especially for you. This series will examine the Bills’ combine measurables by position during the McBeane Era. Previously, we laid out the format and the statistical composition, and you can find that here as introduction to the IOL chart. For the rest of the series, there will be less of the math class talk, and a little more description of the types of players who exemplify those traits.

Components

The chart below details the average scores for that year’s group of rostered players. “Rostered” is important because these are not just drafted players, but the accumulation of all the players who spend time on the roster, regardless of acquisition method. The combine columns are items you are already familiar with if you clicked on this article, and the last column you likely already know too, Relative Athletic Score (RAS). RAS was created by Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb on Twitter), and it combines a player’s combine results and uses position-specific formulas to convert them into a score that can be compared between athletes. RAS uses a scale of 1-10, and a score of 10 is considered perfect.

The Range lines are the far extremes, plus or minus, that the Bills have rostered. For LBs, the historical averages for their height and weight are 73.56″ (6’1.5″) and 234.6 lbs respectively. The highest RAS any Bills’ linebacker has scored is unsurprisingly…Julian Stanford at 9.81. At first blush. we would all assume it’s Tremaine Edmunds, and his RAS was just a shade lower at 9.74, but RAS isn’t about a player’s football IQ, it’s about how athletic a player is.  You get the idea.

The “SD” lines might be strange if you’re unfamiliar with standard deviation and/or didn’t read the first article, but the link above will get you there.

The LB Chart

To offer an idea of what some of the outliers look like, here the far ends of of some key LB measurables:

  • 3 Cone: Fastest, Stanford, 6.59; Slowest, Tanner Vallejo, 7.80
  • 20 Yd Shuttle: Fastest, Baylon Spector, 4.18; Slowest, Deon Lacy, 4.68
  • Vertical: Highest, Stanford, 42.5; Lowest, Joe Giles-Harris, 29.5

One of the players who most typifies the Bills’ archetypes is Matt Milano. While slightly higher in a couple of explosive metrics, Milano is right in line with many of the physical traits of Bills’ LBs.

  • LBS: 223
  • Height: 73″
  • Arm Length: 32.00
  • Hand Size:9.375
  • 40: 4.67
  • 10 Yd Split: 1.65
  • Vertical: 35
  • Broad: 126
  • 3 Cone:
  • 20 Yd Shuttle:
  • Bench Press: 24
  • RAS: 6.95

RAS for the Composite

The caveat remains throughout this series that prospects who are outside of the Bills’ athletic profile are not automatically expunged from the draft board. In fact, it might even be more telling when a player who doesn’t fit the profile is drafted because it means they like other aspects of the player’s game to move forward with acquiring him despite the fact that he didn’t fit what they usually look for.

You can find Chris on Twitter (@lowbuffa), getting dirty in #MafiaGardens, or watching football. Go Bills!

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