What does it mean in regards to the draft?
Some of you may know what RAS is. Other may not. So I will break it down for those that don’t and explain why RAS or some variation of RAS is important to the Packers and their draft boards.
What is RAS?
Simply put RAS means Relative Athletic Score. It is a mathematical equation that Kent Lee Platte came up with to measure, of course, athleticism. Platte created this to specifically measure football players. He has his own calculations that he has come up with, and it takes a players position, height, weight, speed, strength, etc.. into account and spits out a score between 1-10. 10 is an elite athlete and 1 would be like a ball boy. You can read all about him and his site here.
He has combine/pro day workout numbers all the way back to the late 80’s!
What does it have to do with the Packers?
Now what does RAS have to do with the Packers? Well, to be short, a lot!
If you look at the draft history of the Packers from Ron Wolf on and you compare their workout numbers and the players RAS scores. You see a pattern in general and position specific. We are excluding Mike Sherman because well….its Mike Sherman I don’t think he even knew what he was doing as GM. So we will be looking at Thompson and Gutekunst. Gutey is a disciple of Wolf and Thompson, who both followed their athletic thresholds. Now do I think Thompson and Gutekunst use Ken’s RAS? No, I highly doubt it. They have to have their own system, BUT whatever they use is VERY similar to Ken’s RAS. Also like I said you can see patterns in their drafting. Especially Thompson. It may be a little early to tell with Gutey, but he is similar to Wolf and Thompson.
I will break down by position group what the Packers look for in draft picks. This does not apply to undrafted free agents and regular unrestricted free agents. The athletic scores of current NFL players does not get factored in weather they sign them, and when it comes to undrafted guys you can see the Packers allow a lot of leeway since these guys are not costing draft picks and are super cheap to sign.
Basically, as you may imagine, they don’t care too much about a QB’s RAS score. They tend to like QB’s who are 6’2+ and 215ish+. They like guys who have some athleticism. Like if the QB needs to he can at least move around the pocket and is not a statue. Outside of those measurables, they don’t have much of a preference.
Running back is kind of interesting when it comes to the Packers and the draft. Here are the RAS scores for every running back drafted by the Packers under Thompson/Gutekunst. DeShawn Wynn: 6.03, Brandon Jackson: 8.91, James Starks: 8.34, Alex Green: 8.37, Jonathan Franklin: 6.06, Eddie Lacy: 4.58, Jamaal Williams 4.55, Aaron Jones: 9.21, Devante Mays: 7.66, Dexter Williams: 8.15, AJ Dillon: 9.16. Outside of Williams and Lacy everyone of them is a 6.03 or better. six of them are a 8.15 or above. So they do prefer athletic running backs but its not a requirement. They seem to like backs with good explosion scores which includes vertical and broad jump tests, but its not definitive. All their backs have run 4.6 or lower. All are 200 pounds or heavier. Aaron Jones is the shortest at 5’9 1/2 so I would take any back under 5’9 off their board and under 200 pounds. They also look for backs that run 4.55 or better outside of Lacy and the two Williams every other back ran 4.55 or better. So running backs are a little hard to nail down exactly what their thresholds are, but we have some parameters.
This is where we get to the fun. The Packers definitely have their thresholds here. Outside of Cobb and Jennings they have not drafted a receiver under 6’0. Although it is a small sample size, Gutey hasn’t drafted one under 6’2 5/8ths. So any receiver under 5’10, you can pretty much take off their board. The lightest receiver they have drafted was Trevor Davis, who was 188 at the combine. Most of the guys they drafted were 195+. So if there is a receiver that is under 190, I would assume he probably isn’t on their board. Out of 20 receivers drafted since Thompson came in, 11 had a RAS score of 8.13 or above. Anything over an 8 is a very good athlete. They also had four who were 7.66-7.75 which would be classified as above average. So while they have drafted some receivers who were below average or average athletes the majority were above average to elite. Specific workouts that the Packers look at are vertical jump, broad jump, 40, short shuttle, and 3 cone. Vertical and broad show explosion. the 40 shows speed, and the short shuttle and 3 cone show agility.
The Packers have drafted 21 receivers from Ted Thompson to now. No workout numbers for Brett Swain can be found so he is being left off the numbers I am calculating. I will list the slowest times in each category to give a baseline of what is acceptable for the Packers. The lowest vertical was a 30.5″, lowest broad jump was 9′-7″, slowest 40 was a 4.6, slowest short shuttle was 4.35, and the slowest 3 cone was a 7.19. Think of those numbers as a bare minimum for the Packers. If you averaged out their vertical jumps you would get 36.2″, so we will round off and get 36″. For the broad jump, you get 10’3″. and 4.52 for the 40 yard dash. With the short shuttle, you would get 4.19 and with the 3 cone you get 6.49.
While these numbers are not end all be all they give you an idea what the Packers are looking for. So any receiver that hits or is around those averages or above and is over 5’10 will almost guaranteed be on their board as long as back round and medicals check out.
Part two will focus on tight ends and offensive line, so watch for that coming soon.
Go Pack Go!