Did the Jacksonville Jaguars draft athletic players relative to their competition? Let’s find out!
If you’re not familiar with Relative Athletic Scores (RAS), allow me to briefly explain. RAS was developed by Pride of Detroit writer Kent Lee Platte and takes player measurements from combine and pro day testing — 40-yard dash, bench press, shuttles, three-cone, and more — and applies an easy-to-understand number on a scale of 0 to 10 to showcase that prospect’s overall athleticism, relative to his position.
Kent posted scores for every NFL team’s draft class, so naturally I was interested in the scores for the Jaguars, but I found myself looking at many teams because it is such an interesting metric.
Below, you can see the scores for the Jaguars draft class.
Jacksonville ranked 17th in the league this year, with an average RAS of 6.29. For comparison, the Jaguars ranked ninth in 2016 with Jalen Ramsey and a very good overall class. Despite the drop in ranking, the 2017 class still seems to be quite athletic in my eyes.
You may notice that Blair Brown, the fifth-round linebacker out of Ohio, registered the highest score of 8.48. While Brown has a slightly higher score than cornerback Jalen Myrick, it doesn’t necessarily mean he is the better overall athlete because the competition at cornerback may mean a tougher score for Myrick to achieve. Again, relative to position.
Keeping that fact in mind, I think the more telling takeaway is that Jacksonville selected five players who ranked in the top-15 of their positional group in 2017: Brown, Myrick, Cam Robinson, Leonard Fournette, and (albeit a small sample size for fullbacks) Marquez Williams.
Fournette, the No. 4 overall pick, ranked 11th out of 86 running backs in 2017 with a score of 7.20. Remember that Fournette opted not to participate in certain agility-related drills at the 2017 NFL Combine or his pro day. Whether that would affect his score either way is a mystery, but likely could have played a factor. That score puts him at 183rd out of 646 qualifying running backs since 1999.
Robinson ranked 15th out of 63 in his offensive tackle grouping with a score of 7.24, and 157th out of 566 players historically. Third-rounder Dawuane Smoot ranked 37th out of 86 defensive ends with a number of 5.38, in what was considered a highly athletic class.
Dede Westbrook, the Jaguars’ somewhat puzzling fourth-round selection, had a low score of 3.52. That puts him at 77th out of 162 qualifying wide receiver prospects. That score doesn’t hold up well historically, either, with a ranking of 689 out of 1,062.
Rounding out the class, Brown ranked an impressive 12th out of 127 prospects this year, while Myrick ranked an equally impressive 13th out of 104 cornerbacks in an extremely deep class. Williams, everybody’s new favorite fullback, ranked well at eighth out 21, however, it was with a low score of 3.5 — but, hey, he’s a run-blocking fullback.
Of course, athleticism doesn’t always translate to success on the field, and likewise, lack thereof doesn’t necessarily mean a prospect won’t be a solid NFL player. Nonetheless, it looks like the Jaguars focused on drafting a relatively athletic class. Tom Coughlin did say he wanted to add speed to the roster, and he certainly took guys with plenty of it. We’ll see how they pan out soon enough.
Bonus: Relative Athletic Scores for Jacksonville’s undrafted free agents: