Updated TEF scores

Following all of the pro-days, data is now available for players who didn’t do all three tests (bench, vertical, broad) at the combine to produce a TEF score (measuring explosive traits). The formula was explained in our combine preview. Basically, a score over 3.00 determines an explosive testing result.

Here’s the updated list for the 2024 draft class:

Beaux Limmer — 3.68
Mason McCormick — 3.60
Jarrett Kingston — 3.44
Troy Fautanu — 3.27
C.J. Hanson — 3.21
Dylan McMahon — 3.20
Frank Crum — 3.19
Tanor Bortolini — 3.16
Brandon Coleman — 3.16
Josiah Ezirim — 3.13
Kingsley Suamataia — 3.11
Jacob Monk — 3.10
Jackson Powers-Johnson — 3.04
Joe Alt — 3.02
Kinglsey Eguakun — 3.02
Matt Lee — 3.01
Jordan Morgan — 2.96
Tanor Bortolini — 2.94
Dominick Puni — 2.90
Nick Gargiulo — 2.90
Blake Fisher — 2.89
Karsen Barnhart — 2.87
Jalen Sundell — 2.87
Roger Rosengarten — 2.85
Charles Turner — 2.84
Brady Latham — 2.84
Christian Haynes — 2.83
Zach Frazier — 2.82
KT Leveston — 2.81
Delmar Glaze — 2.79
Gottlieb Ayedze — 2.75
Amarius Mims — 2.72
Trente Jones — 2.71
Drake Nugent — 2.70
Sataoa Laumea — 2.69
Cooper Beebe — 2.66
Javon Foster — 2.66
Keaton Bills — 2.66
Matthew Jones — 2.62
Javion Cohen — 2.56
Isaiah Adams — 2.45
Nathan Thomas — 2.43
Travis Glover — 2.42
X’Zauvea Gadlin — 2.40
Andrew Coker — 2.37
Anim Dankwah — 2.32

With 16 confirmed ‘explosive’ testers (anything over 3.00 is ideally explosive) this is now easily the most explosive O-line class since we started testing in 2016. The highest number of confirmed explosive testers we had previously was eight in 2020.

Several other players, who are virtually guaranteed to be explosive testers, haven’t completed a full set of tests (basically, they didn’t do a bench press). Here are projected scores for players who didn’t do the bench — using the average number of reps for the class:

Tylan Grable — 3.41
Garret Greenfield — 3.35
Caedan Wallace — 3.20
Taliese Fuaga — 3.08
Tyler Guyton — 3.05
Christian Mahogany — 3.04
Olu Fashanu — 3.02
Trevor Keegan — 2.92
Jeremy Flax — 2.66
Layden Robinson — 2.90
Andrew Ray — 2.43

With the confirmed and projected TEF results for this year, there are 23 explosive offensive linemen in total with several on the borderline of reaching the 3.00 mark. I will stress that explosive testing isn’t a measure of success/failure. Teams do pay attention to it, though. Short shuttle times are also vital in some schemes. Dominick Puni scoring a 2.90 in TEF and registering a 4.40 short shuttle, for example, is very appealing.

The following players didn’t test to accumulate even a projected score:

Graham Barton
Zak Zinter
Nick Samac
Sedrick Van Pran
Kiran Amegadjie
Ethan Driskell
Matt Goncalves
JC Latham

You could argue there’s never been a better year to have an offensive line need.

Here’s a list of the top explosive testers since 2016, with the 2024 prospects in bold (projected scores are noted with a ‘p’):

Beaux Limmer — 3.68
Iosua Opeta — 3.62
Mason McCormick — 3.60
Jason Spriggs — 3.54
Braden Smith — 3.52
Tristan Wirfs — 3.47
Jarrett Kingston — 3.44
Cole Strange — 3.42
Tylan Grable — 3.41 (p)
Peter Skoronski — 3.37
Bernhard Raimann — 3.37
Garret Greenfield — 3.35 (p)
Zion Johnson — 3.33
Zach Tom — 3.33 (p)
Kolton Miller — 3.31
Connor McGovern: 3.29
Troy Fautanu — 3.27
Hakeem Adeniji — 3.27
Andrew Vorhees — 3.26
Cesar Ruiz — 3.25
Forrest Lamp — 3.23
Phil Haynes — 3.22
Wyatt Teller — 3.22
Scott Quessenberry — 3.22
Austin Jackson — 3.21
C.J. Hanson — 3.21
John Simpson — 3.20
Dylan McMahon — 3.20
Caedan Wallace — 3.20 (p)
Frank Crum — 3.19
Chris Lindstrom — 3.18
Connor Williams — 3.18
Anthony Bradford — 3.17
Jovaughan Gwyn — 3.17
Tanor Bortolini — 3.16
Brandon Coleman — 3.16
Ezra Cleveland — 3.16
Garrett Bradbury — 3.15

A quick final point — if you want to know why Troy Fautanu might go in the top-10 — being as explosive as he is to go with his A++ character, exceptional athleticism, a highly aggressive playing style, being willing to take coaching and positional flexibility is why. He’s a can’t-miss prospect.

Why Marshawn Kneeland and Jonah Elliss are generating buzz

Kneeland is being talked about as a potential late first rounder, while there’s chatter about Elliss in round two.

I think it’s physical potential combined with agility. Kneeland is 267lbs and ran a 4.18 short shuttle. That’s incredible agility for a man that size. He isn’t quick — running a 1.65 10-yard split and a 4.75 forty. Yet his agility testing is excellent.

Elliss ran a 4.17 short shuttle at 243lbs and jumped a 38 inch vertical plus a 10-0 broad jump. His three cone was a remarkable 6.69.

I’ll also throw a third name into the mix. Braylen Trice couldn’t perform as intended at the combine due to illness. He’d had the flu and dropped weight as a consequence. He was only 245lbs at the combine. By pro-day, he was back up to 259lbs. He ran a 4.19 short shuttle. Trice was one of the most disruptive, consistent players in college football last year. Don’t be surprised if he also goes higher than people originally thought.

The shuttle highlights body control when changing direction, agility and quickness. These are important traits for a pass rusher.

For example:

Maxx Crosby (255lbs) — 4.13
TJ Watt (252lbs) — 4.13
Nick Bosa (266lbs) — 4.14
Aidan Hutchinson (260lbs) — 4.15
Khalil Mack (251lbs) — 4.18
Trey Hendrickson (266lbs) — 4.20
Joey Bosa (269lbs) — 4.21
Josh Allen (262lbs) — 4.23

There’s a fairly consistent theme here among players with strong agility testing and how it translates to the next level. It’s not that way for everyone though — Micah Parsons ran a 4.40.

Here’s how the edge rushers in this class tested (note — some didn’t run a short shuttle):

Jonah Elliss — 4.17
Marshawn Kneeland — 4.18
Bralen Trice — 4.19
Chop Robinson — 4.25
Gabe Murphy — 4.31
Adisa Isaac — 4.33
Laiatu Latu — 4.34
Brennan Jackson — 4.34
Jalyx Hunt — 4.38
Jaylen Harrell — 4.39
Jared Verse — 4.44
Austin Booker — 4.47
Mo Kamara — 4.49
Grayson Murphy — 4.56

Darius Robinson to go earlier than expected?

Todd McShay tweeted on Friday that he considers Robinson a top-20 player since the Senior Bowl and that he’s a likely first round lock. I think there’s a reasonable chance his floor is the late first with Detroit (#29), Baltimore (#30) and San Francisco (#31) all viable landing spots.

I also continue to think he could be a target for the Seahawks. We know John Schneider has tremendous respect for the Senior Bowl. Only this week, he referenced Tyler Lockett’s great week in Mobile when discussing drafting him in 2015. Robinson was named the best practise player at the Senior Bowl this year after a dominating, outstanding week.

He’s versatile and capable of playing across the line. This is something Mike Macdonald will presumably be interested in, given he loves to deceive to create pressure. Robinson is a heart-and-soul type, who can help set the tone for the new era. There’s every chance he can emerge as the vocal leader of the defense within two years. He is the type of player you can imagine Pittsburgh or Baltimore drafting.

I also think Robinson’s a lot more disruptive than people realise. Granted, he lacks fantastic speed and agility. He did have a 35 inch vertical and a 9-3 broad jump at 285lbs though. His style of play is ungainly at times and occasionally out of control — but he reminded me of Jadeveon Clowney in that regard.

I’ll again reference what I was told by someone who used to work for Ron Wolf (Schneider’s mentor). Wolf’s approach was to focus on the trenches, not linger on combine testing and stick to the tape. I got a real sense that Wolf had a genuine preference for physical toughness up front and building through the lines. It doesn’t mean Schneider shares that approach. Robinson does fit the profile, though, of the kind of player I think Wolf would be interested in.

Let’s also remember — Devon Witherspoon didn’t do any testing a year ago and they took him with the fifth overall pick because they liked his playing style and attitude. Jaxon Smith-Njigba had great agility testing but his long-speed was enough of a question mark to keep him on the board until pick #20. He didn’t run a forty. In 2022, Charles Cross did not test very well at the combine.

On Witherspoon, how would people have reacted if he ran an OK forty a year ago at 181lbs? He’s an older player (turns 24 this year) and he lacks great size. Lance Zierlein, in his write-up of Witherspoon, said this:

“There are snaps where he gets behind and stays behind due to a lack of premium speed and closing burst.”

If he’d run, say, a 4.45 at 181lbs, would people have been saying he’s not athletic enough or special enough to take early? And a year on, wouldn’t that opinion have changed?

That’s why I think it’s important to stress that just because L.J. Collier wasn’t a great tester five years ago, it doesn’t mean every player you draft has to be a twitched-up workout warrior to succeed.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Seahawks traded down a bit and eventually took Robinson with their first pick. He’s far from the only option for them — but I suspect he might be under consideration.

I still think Minnesota might shock the NFL

When the Vikings acquired the #23 pick from Houston, at the time it felt like a move into the top four was imminent. Over the years we’ve seen several trades weeks before the draft. Yet even after the pro-day and private workouts, Minnesota remains in possession of #11 and #23.

I think there are two potential reasons why. One theory is they know they have an advantage over other teams because they can offer two first rounders this year. The Broncos, for example, can’t even offer a second rounder in this draft. It’s possible they’ve offered #11 and #23, plus some change, to teams like Arizona and New England and are waiting them out. If Minnesota knows their offer is the best, it could just be a waiting game. If the Cardinals end up taking #11 and #23 and Minnesota gets to keep its 2025 first rounder, that’ll be a masterclass in patience and leverage by the Vikings.

My other theory is they’ve been targeting Michael Penix Jr all along and want to add Byron Murphy in round one too. In this situation, they could take Murphy at #11 and then trade up above the Raiders at #12 to get Penix Jr. Alternatively, you take Penix Jr at #11 and then have the Broncos, Raiders, Saints and Colts to trade with — all of which I’d suggest are unlikely to draft Murphy. Going from #23 to #15 might not even cost you a 2025 first rounder.

If you’re going to spend #11, #23 and another high pick to move up for J.J. McCarthy, I think it’s a far better deal to use those picks to secure Murphy and Penix Jr instead.

The Vikings had Murphy in for a visit recently and he’s an ideal pick to complete their defense. Meanwhile, Penix Jr is ideally placed to start quickly. He’d play behind a decent line, throwing to Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison and T.J. Hockenson, playing in a dome for one of the best young offensive-minded coaches in the league.

This would give the Vikings a shot to be really good within the next two years.

Minnesota has a savvy front office. I think they’re being creative in a way I wish the Seahawks would be, while they’ve also done a very good job identifying great talent in value areas. Be ready for them pulling off the shock of round one by not moving up into the top four.

A confirmed story!

Finally, it’s taken 14 years but it was great to finally confirm, to some extent, something I wrote about during the 2010 draft. Regulars might recall that I had a connected source ‘back in the day’. That same source was the one who told me Marshawn Lynch was coming to Seattle via trade:

I saved that screenshot because it’s not every day you get to share credit with Jay Glazer. Anyway, per the source, in the 2010 draft, originally the Seahawks were thinking they might be able to draft Eric Berry at #6 and Trent Williams at #14. Williams was widely considered a mid/late first round pick until the combine, where his stock exploded. He ended up going fourth overall. Berry also went fifth overall. Thus, Seattle pivoted to Russell Okung and Earl Thomas.

John Schneider talked about the 2010 draft on his Seattle Sports show on Thursday and mentioned that it was ‘Russell Okung or Trent Williams and Eric Berry or Earl Thomas’. I’m going to take that as validation of what we originally said, back on the old ‘blogspot’ website.

It’s fun to think how different things would’ve been if the LOB featured Berry instead of Thomas and if it was Williams playing left tackle instead of Okung. Imagine going from Walter Jones and the career he had to Williams and the career he’s having.

If you missed it yesterday please check out my interview with Troy Fautanu. He’s such a good player to talk to, so help support content like this by checking out our conversation, liking the video and leaving a comment:

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