2018 DL Prospect Speed Scores

Did you read “Speed Score” and automatically expect to find an article about RB prospects?


If you want a full explanation of why I’ve started applying Speed Score to pass rushers, then last year’s intro article won’t take you too long to read.

But if you have the attention span of a kid playing T-ball and only click away when your boss passes your cubicle, here’s the condensed version:

A Harvard Sports study from a few years ago found a strong correlation between a DE’s weight and 40 time (as measured at the NFL Scouting Combine) and his likelihood of succeeding early in his NFL career. My analysis of Combine measurements and NFL performance since 2000 found that DEs with above-average Speed Scores have clearly outperformed the below-average group (based on Pro Football Reference’s Approximate Value).

So I posted Speed Scores last March for every Combine invitee listed as a DE. Myles Garrette ranked 2nd. Solomon Thomas checked in 6th. Carl Lawson’s positional uncertainty dropped him to the 4th round of the NFL Draft. But his 9th-best Speed Score foreshadowed a promising rookie campaign in which Pro Football Focus graded him 20th in pass-rushing among all qualifying edge defenders.

First-round picks Taco Charlton and Charles Harris, on the other hand, notched below-average Speed Scores and endured quiet debut seasons.

These are a few cherry-picked examples, of course, and we’ll see how these 1-year careers progress. We’ll also have to keep up with evolving NFL defenses and designations. For example, guys that would have been DEs at the 2017 Combine hit Indy this year as “EDGE” or “DL.”

So I logged the weights and 40-yard dash times for every EDGE and DL at the 2018 Scouting Combine and then ran the Speed Score equation (200*<player weight> / <40 time>^4). On the group. Here are the 21 players who reached 100:

(Data from 2000-2016 determined 99.07 to be the average for DEs.)

Leon Jacobs, EDGE, Wisconsin

Weight: 246
40 time: 4.48
Speed Score: 122.1

Lorenzo Carter, EDGE, Georgia

Weight: 250
40 time: 4.5
Speed Score: 121.9

Marcus Davenport, DL, UT-San Antonio

Weight: 264
40 time: 4.58
Speed Score: 120.0

Josh Sweat, EDGE, Florida State

Weight: 251
40 time: 4.53
Speed Score: 119.2

Ade Aruna, DL, Tulane

Weight: 262
40 time: 4.60
Speed Score: 117.0

Peter Kalambayi, EDGE, Stanford

Weight: 252
40 time: 4.57
Speed Score: 115.5

Bradley Chubb, DL, N.C. State

Weight: 269
40 time: 4.65
Speed Score: 115.1

John Franklin-Myers, DL, Stephen F. Austin

Weight: 283
40 time: 4.75
Speed Score: 111.2

Rasheem Green, DL, USC

Weight: 275
40 time: 4.73
Speed Score: 109.9

Da’Shawn Hand, DL, Alabama

Weight: 297
40 time: 4.83
Speed Score: 109.1

Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College

Weight: 252
40 time: 4.64
Speed Score: 108.7

Kylie Fitts, EDGE, Utah

Weight: 263
40 time: 4.69
Speed Score: 108.7

Kemoko Turay, EDGE, Rutgers

Weight: 253
40 time: 4.65
Speed Score: 108.2

Uchenna Nwosu, EDGE, USC

Weight: 251
40 time: 4.65
Speed Score: 107.4

Jalyn Holmes, DL, Ohio State

Weight: 283
40 time: 4.82
Speed Score: 104.9

Da’ron Payne, DL, Alabama

Weight: 311
40 time: 4.95
Speed Score: 103.6

Vita Vea, DL, Washington

Weight: 347
40 time: 5.1
Speed Score: 102.6

Bilal Nichols, DL, Delaware

Weight: 306
40 time: 4.95
Speed Score: 101.9

Breeland Speaks, DL, Mississippi

Weight: 283
40 time: 4.87
Speed Score: 100.6

James Looney, DL, California

Weight: 287
40 time: 4.89
Speed Score: 100.4

B.J. Hill, DL, N.C. State

Weight: 311
40 time: 4.99
Speed Score: 100.3