The NFL draft is quickly approaching. Teams are wrapping up their assessments, and are finally—if they haven’t already—zeroing in on targets to pursue both during the draft and immediately following it.
The Arizona State Sun Devils have several graduates who have submitted their name for selection. Using their Pro Day data, we can have a better understanding of their athletic profiles and how they compare to the average NFL athlete, thanks to Zach Whitman.
On his website, Three Sigma Athlete (3sigmaathlete.com), Whitman compiles the data into a composite score, individual to each player, considered comparable to Nike’s SPARQ grade. (Whitman’s version of the metric is called pSPARQ.)
Below is a presentation of how the Sun Devils entered into this year’s draft graded out:
Note: The “NFL%” and “z-score” columns refer to the NFL positional averages and not to the draft positional averages. This means that a 0.0 z-score and 50.0 percentile would represent a player who rates as a league-average NFL athlete at the position. The average NFL player is pretty athletic, so this designation is not at all a poor result.
2017 ASU pSPARQ Data
For those with questions about pSPARQ, you can view the site’s frequently-asked questions page, here.
Below is an explanation from Whitman regarding how the z-score is used.
- z-scores: “I’ve calculated positional pSPARQ statistics which allow us to calculate the player’s standing relative to peers in terms of z-score. A 0 z-score would mean a player is average, while a 2.0 would mean he’s two standard deviations above the peer average. ...
As of February 2015, z-scores are calibrated to the league average athlete. This means that a 0.0 z-score for a draft prospect represents the 50th percentile on an NFL roster.”
- Tim White, WR — Without knowing how the data is punched into the formula, in comparison to the other numbers available, I would assume White’s recorded times in the short shuttle (4.44) and the three-cone (7.11) altered how he scored, which would place him around the 40th percentile of NFL wideouts. This isn’t necessarily shocking, however White is a powerful runner possessing good strength and tantalizing leaping ability.
- Kody Kohl, TE — Kohl ranked in the top 20 of this year’s tight end crop (which I’ve read is considered to be a pretty good group). His height (6024, read 6-foot-2 and four-eighth inches), broad jump (9.67) and short shuttle (4.46) times probably pushed him outside of the top 15, but Kohl is a very good athlete overall, landing in the 46.4 percentile of NFL tight ends.
- Edmond Boateng, EDGE — Boateng is listed as an edge defender in Whitman’s chart here, and was also listed as such on CBS Sports prior to the year’s start (Boateng saw time at Devilbacker during his ASU career). However, at 260 pounds, he outweighs most of the other EDGE prospects he’s charted against, and might have scored higher if we were 10 pounds heavier and plotted against defensive line prospects.
- Laiu Moeakiola, Off-LOS LB — Unlike Boateng, Moeakiola benefited from his positional grouping and weight. Built more slightly than some of his counterparts (Moeakiola is listed at 210 pounds; the average weight of the other nine players in the top 10 is 232 pounds), Moeakiola outclassed other players in the short shuttle (4.04) and vertical jump (39.5), validating his reputation for offering springy athleticism and short-area quickness.
- DeChavon Hayes, CB — Of all the Sun Devils tested, Hayes landed in the highest NFL percentile of any prospect (64.1) outside of Moeakiola (82.1), who may have tested out of position. Hayes was one of the best pound-for-pound athletes ASU had on its roster last season, so seeing him rank 25th out of 188 corners in this class should not come as a surprise at all. He’d probably even rank higher, had his 36-inch vertical also been accounted for.
Note: Not all ASU prospects who have entered the draft are included in the data.