One of the most interesting pieces from ESPN during “Draft Season” for me is not the Gruden QB camps, which this year includes non-QBs somehow, but the draft prospects Sports Science Video evaluation. Last year I greatly enjoyed watching Trent Richardson’s video, especially after we drafted him, as it got me excited for what he could do in the NFL. This year I found Dee Milliner’s video to have equal results in relation to excitement but also found myself evaluating how this information may translate to the football field. Watch here: http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=9144133
Obviously the goal of the video is to promote that which is interesting about the Defensive Back from a honest science perspective. The numbers themselves are impressive. Here is my review of a few of them and what they might actually mean.
Quickness – Accelerates up to 20 MPH in a straight line.
– In general speed is important for a QB, comparison to Adrian Peterson is also impressive.
– The only time a DB is going to run straight forward as such is either on a Interception Return, though often will be avoiding tacklers, or while chasing a WR after getting torched on a play, something we can hope a high pick could avoid as often as possible.
– Mostly DBs are changing direction instead of starting from a runners stance, which is addressed later.
– Thought and recognition is vital to use of this quickness.
Overall Impact – High. While the drill is somewhat useless, the speed is a great sign.
Vertical Running Leap – 41 inches
– Very rarely does a DB need to run forward and jump straight up, when blitzing and trying to tip a pass.
– The explosiveness is impressive.
– Not mentioned in the video is what is his standing reach or arm length. If his running leap is a sign of long arms, that is a great sign for a DB.
Overall Impact – Low as a test. Medium as relation to explosiveness and arm length.
Change of Direction – From Reverse to Forward in Half a Second
– Amazing his ability to transfer weight so quickly. Very important for DB to come out of his back pedal.
– The test allows client to wait for a specific action and only have one response from that action.
– Generally DBs are cueing on QB behavior but could get caught on pump fakes, etc.
– DBs don’t have one response. They have to be able to drive on the ball, turn and run or continue current backpedal.
Overall Impact – High for ability. Low as a test as DBs decision making process activates this ability, without quick/correct decision ability useless.
Defending Out Route/Back Shoulder Fade – Breaking to the Ball = 785 lbs of force on the ground, 480 degrees per second of Hip Rotation, Accelerates to 18 MPH in 4 steps and Covers 20 feet in less then .9 of a second.
– A lot of data in one test.
– The data is highly impressive. I won’t pretend to understand the force or rotation part but the acceleration and space covered is amazing.
– This test Milliner knew exactly what and where he would be responding to. He was primed to do well in this test.
– Just as the previous test Milliner’s decision making will make use of this ability. Without proper decision making this skill is not as effective.
– The narrator states that this test shows that the DB is “NFL ready to defend the back shoulder pass.” I disagree.
– A back shoulder pass is not the same as an out route.
– The Change of Direction test probably tests better for part of the back shoulder throw defense.
– Strength and Arm Length can more impact the back shoulder throw and should of been tested
Overall Impact- High for a ability. Test primed player for good response time. Test not appropriate for back shoulder throw defense but a good test related to out route defense.
What Information Would Be Helpful (Which may be in the full video when broadcast)
– Strength test
– Arm length and standing reach test
– Reaction timing. Previous years a touch screen board test was use.
– Would love to see Deion do a DB camp like Gruden does his QB camp. Great to see them break down film and even run some routes.
Based on all I read, some game footage and this testing I would have no problem drafting him #6.
– I don’t expect the Browns to do so, possibly won’t have a chance to, look forward to Factory of Sadness Mock Drafts later tonight.