Last year at this time I had my eyes firmly focused on the Running Backs at the combine. We were going to have to replace a legend after all. This year, at most the Chargers will do is replace their faux "Franchise Player" in Darren Sproles. Not quite as sexy, but no reason to avert our gaze. One of the things I brought up a bunch last year was Speed Scores. This is a stat developed by Football Outsiders' writer Bill Barnwell and he explains its purpose in this Washington Post article. The combine ends up producing a blinding amount of numbers coming from all sorts of drills, so it's fun to think that some of those numbers have some predictive power. So, let's go down that path and take a look at the speed scores for this year's crop. As a rule of thumb remember: 100 Speed Score (okay), 110 Speed Score (good), 120 Speed Score (great).
|Prospect||College||Weight||40 time||Speed Score|
|Anthony Allen||Georgia Tech||228||4.54||107|
|Armando Allen||Notre Dame||199||N/A||N/A|
|Noel Devine||West Virginia||179||N/A||N/A|
|Darren Evans||Virginia Tech||227||4.58||103|
|Kendall Hunter||Oklahoma St.||199||4.53||95|
|Taiwan Jones||E. Washington||194||N/A||N/A|
|Jacquizz Rodgers||Oregon St.||196||4.64||85|
|Evan Royster||Penn St.||212||4.61||94|
|Brandon Saine||Ohio State||220||4.43||114|
|Daniel Thomas||Kansas State||230||N/A||N/A|
|Ryan Williams||Virginia Tech||212||4.55||99|
Some of the prospects I've mentioned as being Sproles replacements are: Noel Devine, Mario Fannin, Kendall Hunter, Derrick Locke, Brandon Saine and Jacquizz Rodgers. Devine didn't run, so I don't know what to think about that. Mario Fannin stole the show and may have significantly improved his stock (he was thought of as a later round pick). Kendall Hunter made himself look undraftable. Locke did okay for himself. Saine has been putting on weight and keeping his speed, which impresses by itself, but also keeps him viable after being a backup as a Buckeye. And then we come to one of my favorite collegiate players in Jacquizz Rodgers, who looked fast on Saturdays but was incredibly slow at the combine. I need to rethink some things there.
RB Speed Scores are generated, and researched, by Football Outsiders.