Building on the work we did for the Bills’ measurables, it’s time to start comparing this year’s draft class to the physical traits of the players the Bills have rostered. “Rostered” is an important distinction here because those 2017 and 2018 teams still had numerous players on the roster that were rollovers from the previous administration, and some of those players’ measurables distort the average. “Rostered” also does not include players who were cut before the season started but were drafted. Ultimately, we’re looking for how this year’s draft class stacks up against who has played for the Bills.
Bills’ Relative Athletic Size: Skill Positions
We’ve talked a lot about RAS, to the point that you should have a cursory understanding of Kent Lee Platte’s work. What we’re looking at now is similar, just minus all the intelligence and leg work. To boil down all the measurable data we get on prospects from the combine and pro days relative to those of the players the Bills have rostered, I created the Bills’ Relative Athletic Size, colloquially known as BRA Size because I am forever a 12-year-old boy and it makes me giggle.
The chart below gives you the measurables that are currently available for each 2023 NFL Draft prospect. Their scores in each column have been formatted according to the one standard deviation from averages of the McBeane Era Bills by position. For example, the average 40-Yard-Dash time for Bills’ WRs in the McBeane Era is 4.50, with a standard deviation of 0.101, so any time within 4.40 – 4.50 falls within one standard deviation. One standard deviation accounts for ~68% of all players the Bills have rostered. A second standard deviation accounts for ~95% of all players, but really you can just look at the range because of how far out a second deviation goes. I know all my nerdiest friends are shaking their heads, but we’re looking at who falls within one standard deviation.
Today, we’re looking at the non-QB skill positions in an effort to get through the complete list of positions before the draft gets here. Results that are worse than one standard deviation than the Bills’ average, are in red. Results that are within the range are yellow. Results that are better are in green. So, a WR prospect who weighs less than 179.4 lbs is in red for weight. Say that same prospect ran a 10-Yard-Split that was under 1.52. That result would still be in green because in that category, lower is better.
To determine BRA Size, a player is given one point for each yellow category and 1.5 points for each green category. No points are removed for red – like the old baseball scout adage goes, “Once a player has demonstrated a skill, they own it,” so we won’t be subtracting from a 40-time because their hands are small. The players you’ll see in this chart are only from the combine for brevity’s sake. If you want to see all prospects and pro days results, use this link:
Notes on WR:
- Judge Mathes’ fave (but who isn’t), Andrei Iosivas, had the highest-ranking combine performance with 12.5 along with unheralded Bryce Ford-Wheaton
- Ant Prohaska believes in Nathaniel Dell, but, in one of the few times I’ve disagreed with him, I can’t buy into the guy who is a full 14 lbs lighter than 1 standard deviation in weight.
Notes on TE:
- Zack Kuntz is a certified B_E_A_S_T
- Even at the far end of the Bills’ weight range for TE, at 264 lbs, Darnell Washington was within range for the 40 and 10-yard split, and exceeded 1 deviation in shuttle and broad. An immense athletic profile.
Notes on RB:
- Evan Hull wins the position, but this is a good reminder that, for BRA Size, participation in the drills is really favored: you can’t score by skipping out.
- If you go to the spreadsheet, there is an RB named Fred Jackson from Mercer this year, but my heart sank when his score was a 2 even though he participated in all the drills.
Please know that I am fully aware these spreadsheets don’t replace any of the work on evaluating prospects from their film, medicals, interviews, etc. I would argue with you if you said it does. This is simply information to put prospects into a McBeane context, and no one else was doing it. Trust me. I looked everywhere. The Bills could very well draft a player who doesn’t rank highly in BRA Size, but that gives us information as well. There would have to be components to his game on film that encourage the Bills to overlook their tendencies.